About The Artist
We first learn about Dusty Rio in an old souvenir folio featuring Ray Little. From what we can tell, Dusty worked with Ray's troupe before and after their service in the U. S. Army during World War II. Dusty joined the Ray Little show in 1941.
In 1942, Ray Little had opened the M-C Ranch in Carmel, Maine. The venue attracted many stars of the day passing through the northeast such as Ray Whitley, Polly Jenkins, Gene Autry, Georgia Mae, Pappy Howard, The Down Homers, the Tennessee Partners and others, including the Lone Pine Mountaineer.
The M-C Ranch closed for the season on Labor Day 1942. Ray took his group on a bit of a tour doing personal appearances in Aroostock County. But World War II was calling them. On September 30, Walt, the accordionist for the group, was called into service with the U. S. Army. In a few weeks, on October 18, 1942, Ray and Dusty Rio enlisted in the U. S. Army at Fort Devens and went to training in Virginia. No mention was made in Ray's booklet as to where Dusty eventually served. Ray's booklet notes that while in the service, their paths crossed in England in 1944.
Ray was discharged from military service on September 27, 1945. After a short rest, Ray was back on the air at WLBZ in Bangor, Maine on November 1. Former band members Dusty Rio and Champ were with Ray at the time as well.
Dusty played guitar and was part of the trio numbers the band did. Dusty also worked at other radio stations such as WEEI and WBZ in Boston, Massachusetts and WKNE in Keene, New Hampshire.
Richard Keeler in his News From Old New England column in late 1946 that Dusty did personal appearances during the summer to various Canadian venues along with Ray and Ann Little and Big Champ. The expectation was that Ray's show would be doing appearances and radio work in the Boston area during the winter season.
Credits & Sources
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