Thursday, June 18, 2009

Earl Mitton on CFNB

I rarely write aboot Canada... but I really like this band, and in the whole of the Internet there are less than 400 words on them. So today I try to contribute to the cannon.

Earl Mitton was born in Mocton, New Brunswick in 1926 For much of North East Canada Earl defines old time country music. He started his first band, The Valley Rhythm Boys in 1950. The band got their name from announcer Jack Fenety of CFNB. Earl had a show on that station for another 10 years. But he also moonlighted on CHOV. In the late 50s he also filled in for Don Messer at CFCY. NSARM even had that last bit on transcription disc. [Note to researchers it's often misspelled as Mitten]

CFNB played a lot of early country music, bluegrass and western swing. Mitton regularly appeared on the program Capital Co-Op Saturday Night Jamboree. After that e moved onto a regular gig with the CBC Maritime Farmers Show.. and others. The gig did right by his career as it landed him a 3-record deal with Quality Records. The first of those is “Down East Fiddling.” That was followed by "Fiddlin' for fun." Which I proudly own.

At times his band includes: James Swazey, Maxime Richard, Bob Barry on Piano, Al Goguen on guitar, Roy Malanson on bass, Ron Goodine on banjo, and his own brother Gary Mitton on drums. Vocalists on various records included Bill Ritchie, Emma Mersereau, and William Spencer.

In the early sixties, the TV tube beckoned, and the Earl Mitton Show began to be seen by viewers of CHSJ-TV in Saint John. This led to guest shots the last few seasons on the Don Messer Jubilee over CBC-TV, and national recognition for this talented old-time fiddler. Mitton died in 1991.