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Schroeder's Playboys

Schroeder's Playboys - An Appreciationby Tony Parkes, August 2012If I could be transported back to the 1950s and had my choice of any one square dance band to hear and/or dance to live, it might well be Schroeder's Playboys in Phoenix. I've seldom heard such sheer energy, combined with technical skill and tight teamwork."Little Spanish Restaurant"…

Cut Away 6, 4, 2 (clip) - Fred Townsend

Canadian caller, born 1900, who was the caller for Don Messer's bands on its many cross-country trips. A three-LP boxed set of his dance calls (Let's Square Dance) was released (Doncaster DS-3-102). Father of fiddler Graham Townsend.Here's a description of the man:One Sunday, young Graham was driving in Quebec from Wolf Lake to Quyon with his…

Arkansas Traveler (clip) - Rod Linnell

Despite the title of the dance, with a reel by the same name, the tune for this recording is Little Burnt Potato, a jig. Rod Linnell, from Maine, was a contemporary of Ralph Page, perhaps best known today for a series of five double quadrilles he composed that were published in Square Dances from a Yankee Caller's Clipboard.

Box the Gnat - a short history

Box the Gnat - a short historyby Tony ParkesNobody seems to know when "box the gnat" took on the standardized meaning it has today inrecreational square and contra dancing. In Instant Hash (1962), Rickey Holden (who is passionate about square dance history) doesn't include it on a list of terms whose originator and date of introduction are known.…

Singing Calls - a short history

History of Singing Squaresby Tony ParkesThe earliest description of a singing square I've found so far (in fairly shallow digging) appears in the first edition (1925) of Good Morning, prepared by Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Lovett for Henry Ford. It is Plain Quadrille No. 13, Figure 4, page 65, "Girl I Left Behind Me." It is first described in the same…

Ed Durlacher (photos)

Two photos of New York caller Ed Durlacher, one showing him in regular clothing behind the microphone and one where he's in full dance caller regalia. Both photos are from newspaper files; one is date-stamped "April 26, 1953" and the other has "1953" written on the back. This site contains a link to newsreel footage of Durlacher calling to huge…

Old Folks' Frolic

This is a photograph from a news story in the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times of April 7, 1942. Caption: "These lively square dancers and other oldsters performing yesterday brought a Chautauqua salute of white handkerchiefs from the large audience." The performance was part of an "Old Folks' Frolic" staged by the Three-Quarter Century Club. The…

John Roach Square Dance History - Minnesota

This website, curated by Lon Roach of Glencoe, Minnesota, documents the career of his parents, John (Jack) and Mabel Roach. Jack was a square dance caller from 1949 to 1974; his career spanned the transition period from traditional to modern square dancing.

The page "How Did Jack Learn To Call?" deals with the history of square and contra…

Utah Square Dance History

The June 28, 1973 issue of the Deseret News (a Mormon-owned daily newspaper published in Salt Lake City) contained a supplement on the 22nd National Square Dance Convention. The article on Utah square dance history (on page 2-S) gives interesting information that is hard to find elsewhere. Its authors, Wendell and Celia Taylor, learned to square…

Square Dance in Tacoma, 1940–1960

A collection of seven photographs from the collection of the Tacoma (WA) Public Library. It's likely that similar collections of photographs and-- we hope!--old films exist in libraries and historical societies around the country. Please call such resources to our attention!It may indicative of the surge of interest in square dancing, and then its…

Utah Square Dance History (JPG)

The June 28, 1973 issue of the Deseret News (a Mormon-owned daily newspaper published in Salt Lake City) contained a supplement on the 22nd National Square Dance Convention. The article on Utah square dance history (on page 2-S) gives interesting information that is hard to find elsewhere. Its authors, Wendell and Celia Taylor, learned to square…