Bear Lake Monster (click to hear) is found in Lester A. Hubbard's 1961 book “Ballads and Songs from Utah” The song was collected by George S. Taggart of Salt Lake City in 1948 but probably dates to the late 1870s since the name of Utah Territory Supreme Court Judge J. B. McKean is mentioned.  Although putatively about the Bear Lake Monster of Native American and pioneer legends, the song is a terrific political parody which uses the monster as an allegory for the federal government (or Mormonism).  The song is a rare example of an Idaho-specific Mormon folk song. The home recording here is by Gary Eller.


The instrumental Thousand Springs Waltz (click to hear) likely dates to the early 1900s. The song was written by Otis Howard, one of Idaho's most beloved old time fiddlers. Howard came to Idaho in 1885, was crippled in a logging accident and turned to banjo and fiddle to eke out a living. He strongly influenced many fiddlers who had strong presence in the early days of the Weiser Old Time Fiddlers Contest, including Rue Frisbee who fiddles on this track. Rue learned the song from Otis. Rue's father Dave (shown at right), a southwest fiddle legend in his own right, provided guitar backup. This recording is courtesy of Steve Green of the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada. Steve recently digitized a large number of performances (including this one) from a reel to reel tape made in the late 1960s and early 1970s at the Weiser contest.



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