waltz is a favorite dance of a lot of older people. The name comes from the German
word “walzen,” which means to roll, turn or glide. Originating in the 1500s, dancers
were not allowed to touch each other. By the 18th century, partners were allowed
to embrace as they danced.
Introduced first in England, the dance was
carried by Napoleon’s soldiers to France, where it became a favorite. Paris once
boasted 700 night clubs where the waltz could be danced. It came to America in
1834 and instantly became the rage.
By 1921, a new dance called the foxtrot
was introduced and stole the spotlight. The waltz faded quickly.
up in a musical family, then later playing professionally for 35 years, I consider
myself somewhat of a waltz expert. My father played all the old-time waltzes on
his fiddle, and then later I learned the new waltzes as they became popular.
for dances for the public for many years provided many amusing stories. Here are
a few that stand out.
During the “Dirty Thirties” down on Wolf Creek at
Lake Fryer in Ochiltree County, my father’s band played many Saturday nights.
One night, unknowingly, a woman wearing a full skirt returned from the outside
privy with the rear of her skirt tucked into her bright red panties. The instant
she stepped through the door her waiting partner grabbed her and they began whirling
around and around dancing to a fast waltz. Each time she whirled by the band stand,
the band almost quit playing as they were laughing at the spectacle. Now picture
that sight, readers!
Down in Borger
many years ago, while playing at a club so rough they had stapled chicken wire
up around the band stand, we learned “why the chicken wire?” If we did not play
the Cajun waltz “Jole Blon” every fourth tune, roughnecks threw glass beer bottles
at the band stand.
The bottles burst on the dance floor, and the band had
to take a break so the waitresses could sweep up the glass from the floor. As
you might guess, we played many “Jole Blons” during that long, long night. The
memory comes to mind each time I hear the old waltz.
While playing for
several years at the McLean Dance Club in McLean,
we had a rancher who could only dance to the fast one-step we called a Paul Jones.
The ladies circled up on the inside with the gents on the outside, and we played
and blew a whistle for them to couple with the nearest lady. After a few rounds
we blew the whistle to circle up again.
About every fourth or fifth dance
the rancher requested another Paul Jones. We had the option, but he always dropped
a $20 bill in the Kitty with his request.
Times were hard, and my young
band members needed the money. I can assure you we played many a Paul Jones when
the rancher attended the dances.
Trew - September
13, 2011 column
Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164,
by mail at Box A, Alanreed, Texas 79002, or by email at trew email@example.com.
For books see delberttrew.com. His column appears weekly
Columns | Music
| Texas Panhandle