Play Party Fun, With And Without That Devilish Fiddle Music

In the parts of the world I wintered in, fiddle music was one of the Devil’s lures for boys and girls. Yet the dances in this video are very similar to the ones at the “play parties” parents would give so their children could have a social life beyond the school yard. Have a bit of fast and fancy footwork, the old fashioned way:

Of course, the tunes were almost entirely “mouth music,” with perhaps the Irish Washerwoman, performed on a washboard. Or “rub board” as they were more commonly known. Have a bit of the typical music for a play party, but without the git-box:

Several of the boys could take the tune and go with it for an hour or more before they had to stop for a buttermilk. Or hot tea in cold weather. It was not really unusual for a couple to meet at 14, see each other once or twice a year at another play party, and then elope on her birthday.

One young fellow that I knew pretty well told me he was engaged, and would be married on a certain date two years in the future. And no amount of prying would reveal his bride’s name. But two years to the day, he did not show up for work. He was over at Childress, getting hitched. To a girl from the next county that no one remembered he had danced with at a play party.


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