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
- Souvenir Ray Little's M Bar C Ranch; Circa 1945-1946
- The Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; October 1946; New Series - No. 10;
Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co., Inc.; New York, NY