Imagine an empty dancehall, the fresh scent of powdery wax on the floor and echoes of good times gone before. The year? 1938. A gray-haired woman sits at the ticket window and a man wearing Old Spice and hair tonic positions at the door. People arrive. All ages, all walks.

The room darkens. Eyes focus on the stage as the platform fills; the dancehall owner and musicians wearing white shirts, ties, boots and brown pants.

“Ladies and gents,” the proprietor drawls, his lanky body mimicking the tall microphone, “Tonight, you’re in for a dancin’ good time, believe you me. We’re glad you’re here, be good to one another and now let’s welcome the man and the band…the ones you’ve come to hear…the one and only…Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys!”

The sound of the steel guitar rips through the air. Toes tap and bodies sway. Fiddle in hand, the bandleader appears. Early-thirties and darkly handsome, he glances toward the musicians and then nods to the audience. Lifting his fiddle, eyes to the crowd, he puts bow to strings, raises his eyebrows and hollers “Aw…haa! Let’s play it, boys!”

 

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