Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 2, Spring 2009, pp. 166-167
In Texas, music and dancing are inseparable. Whether country, blues, Tejano, or zydeco, most Texas music is crafted specifically for active audience participation. Dance halls have been the cornerstones of many Texas communities; thus it is not surprising that two recent books, Pat Green's Dance Halls & Dreamers and Texas Dance Halls: A Two-Step Circuit, examine these cultural institutions. Both works investigate how personal and community histories unfold across the dance floor and celebrate the individual owners, musicians, and patrons who distinctly mark each hall.
As the title suggests, country musician Pat Green conceptualized Pat Green's Dance Halls & Dreamers, but the work is a collaborative project. Guy Rogers's beautiful color images capture the look of the halls themselves and the personalities of the people associated with them. Luke Gilliam provides a brief history of each site, introduces us to its present-day owners, and depicts each venue's feel as a different country music legend performs there; such pairings include Cory Morrow at Luckenbach Dancehall, Robert Earl Keen at]ohn T. Floore's Country Store, and Willie Nelson at Billy Bob's Texas. The behind-the-scenes information Gilliam provides on each venue is fascinating and should offer something new even to those well acquainted with Texas dance hall culture.