Clarence Richards

Few Adirondack musicians have covered as much ground in the entertainment world as Clarence “Daddy Dick” Richards (1918-2000) of Corinth .  Richards was a master entertainer who, over the course of a seventy-year career, served as old-time fiddler, singing dance caller, country guitarist, concert attraction, movie actor, string bass player for commercial musicians, raconteur, recording artist, radio personality, early television star and probably more. 

Meet the Masters Radio Documentary:

Since 1993, TAUNY has been recognizing individuals, families and community groups with North Country Heritage Awards their significant contributions to our living local cultural heritage. The major criteria include evidence of traditionality, mastery, and creativity; a commitment to the art form over time; and a commitment to the community and to the teaching of others.

During 1999-2000, folklorist Varick Chittenden and audio producer Lamar Bliss researched, wrote and produced a series of 19 half-hour documentary features on award recipients for broadcast on
North Country Public Radio.

The following is the program about Clarence "Daddy Dick" Richards from that series.

Known by many as the consummate entertainer, Dick Richards speaks here about his days as a singing cowboy on local radio in the 1940s, his childhood fascination with old time music resulting in a repertoire of over 3,000 songs, his many appearances on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour as a teenager, barn dances in the 1950s, his years as Davy Crockett at Frontier Town and as an early television host, practical joking, storytelling and, in his later years, performing for senior citizens. 


Songs included are “Pictures from the Other Side of Life” and “Streets of Laredo.”

Meet the Masters:
Clarence "Daddy Dick" Richards

Daddy Dick got his start in music very early in life; he remembered falling asleep night after night to the sound of the fiddle and accordion as played by his relatives, his parents and their friends.  His father was a woodsman and fiddler, and his mother sang; both performed in vaudeville.  His grandmother was a full-blooded Mohawk Indian.

Richards started playing the harmonica at age five, and ukulele (“tuned fiddle-style”) at nine.  By age twelve he had picked up the fiddle, playing for local dances and substituting for the caller when necessary.  Known early as a "song sponge," he is said also to have had nearly 3,000 tunes in his repertoire.  As a boy he met the radio personality Bradley Kincaid who had a summer home near Saratoga, and often traded songs with him--for chickens! 

Early in his music career, he lost his left hand in a paper mill accident, but within six months he had discovered a way to continue playing the fiddle. "Daddy Dick" was an early entertainer on radio and television, a regular at area dude ranches, and an occasional movie actor.  Over his long career he also performed with many   prominent country and bluegrass music stars. For years, Dick was Frontier Town's “Davy Crockett,” and later performed with his own sons Bill and Jack as “The Richards Brothers and Daddy Dick.”  Jack Richards continues to perform as a musical entertainer, and Jack’s daughter Heather Richards--Daddy Dick’s granddaughter--is also a country music artist, carrying on the family musical heritage. 

In his last years, Daddy Dick was a member of the Adirondack Liars Club, where he was featured as a premier storyteller of tales both tall and true.