Page 91 - Estwood Davidson: Travels with Beattie and Winston
ISSUE : Issue 54
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/6/1
(Dance floor, tables--what was it like?) There was no booze served in those days. No, there were no tables. Just rows of seats, you know. An old baron had built the place. But oh, it was beautifully fin? ished- -he was an Italian--inside, you know. Well, we played round and square dance there. We had sax and drums and-- Winston and I and Beattie just did the square dancing. Of course, I always played with the round dancers. That was in every dance in the country, too. Beattie and I played all the round dance alone. You see, that's where it came so hard on us--we did more work than anybody. 'Cause we played right straight through, the 4 hours. Wins? ton played all the square dances. And then we'd get roasted for doing the round danc? ing. Beattie was a beautiful round-dance player. (What is a round dance?) Well, like modern dancing, then. Waltzes, Strauss waltzes, fox trots, and two-steps --that sort of thing. (So how would an evening go? The dance would start about what time?) Nine o'clock on the nose. (Start with a square set or round dance.) Oh, square--probably two. One right after the other. And then a lit? tle break. And we'd play, oh, probably 10 minutes of round dancing. And then, proba? bly, two more sets, and then 10 minutes of round dancing. Went like that till it came 1 o'clock. Then we'd play "God Save the Queen," and away we'd go! We always closed every dance we ever played for with "God Save the King" or "God Save the Queen." That was our trademark, too. Nobody else ever did that, I don't think, in dance halls, in those days anyway. We never practised. Only practice we got was in dance halls. And a little when we started playing on TV. We u,sed to put the program to ready--piece together the things we wanted to play. And we'd do that in his lit? tle kitchenette, probably 12 or 1 o'clock in the morning sometime. So that's the way we worked that. That's the only practice we ever got. We really didn't need prac? tice. Every one of us knew the exact move that the oth? er player was going to make. (Would Winston always play a certain tune following...?) Right. Pretty much the same routine. Probably he'd have new tunes that he'd mix up. Another trick that old Beat- tie and him used to--I have a habit of calling people "old"--we always had that. But probably they'd pick out some real tough twister of a tune. And we'd get into the set, and get partway through it, and they'd swing onto this tune. And I couldn't follow it. Hadn't a clue what it was. And I'd see him winking at Beattie. And I knew there was some rory they were pulling on me. When the tune'd be all over, he'd say, "What the hell is wrong with you?" he used to say. "You missed half the chords there was in that tune." I said, "No, I never heard that tune in my life." He said, "You and I played that 40 or 50 times," he said. Never heard it in my life. They just did it to get my goat, see--get me cursing or something! (But usually if you played "McNab's Horn? pipe," what was going to follow it?) "The Farmer's Daughter Reel." So we knew just exactly what was coming next. So, there was no guesswork. (I'm thinking about Cape Breton weather, and 25 years of trying to get to Judique and Cape North and various parts of this island. What kind of weathers did you run into?) The worst, sometimes. We played 6 nights a week. Some nights it'd be storm. The 295-3006 HIGH WHEELER Cafe * Deli * Bakery Excellent Eating ENJOY THE DECK IN THE HEART OF BADDECK! The View at the Heart of Your Great Cape Breton Visit! Kelly's View "Tiyr''X ''1 East of Boularderie Centre lYxU l/"l. 3/4 mile from Seal Island Bridge Cape Breton's Newest Motel at Affordable Rates ( Modem Motel Units featuring Full Baths and Colour TV ) Phone 674-2473 Your Hosts: Billie & Joe Smolenaars RESTAURANT ADJACENT ' Overlooking the Bras d'Or Lakes and Kelly's Mountain ~ stores To Serve You CAPE BRETON SHOPPING PLAZA SYDNEY RIVER Um' Featuring 'Wfl? OCf ARTMINT tTOMt The Crossroads of Cape Breton' Open Daily 'ril 10 p.m. PI • tyOfFr • ? Sobeys & Shopper's Drug Mart "'' • ""y' * ?"< •
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