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How I Get Square Dance Music

Rich Reel   6 Mar 2007

Building a good square dance music collection is something I spend a lot of time on.  Great music builds excitement and makes dancing, and calling more fun. 

This article is in two parts: How I Get Square Dance Music and How I Get Alternative Music.

See also: Vinyl records I own and Music I've converted to MP3 (my best square dance music)


Square Dance Music

There are several companies that offer square dance records including Palomino Records and A & S Records.  You can now listen before you buy.  There are individual record labels that are also selling their music directly.  Find a list of them here

I mostly use BRS Square Dance Records and Engraving in Pinole California (Greater San Francisco Bay Area).

I simply send e-mail to Ronda (Bert and Ronda Swerer) at and tell her what I want.  I try to tell her as much as I can about the records I want.  It is amazing that she can find records sometime if I only can remember some of the words in the song - not even the title.  If you notice only the color of the record label of another caller's record, this is helpful information.

Ronda will typically get any records she has in stock out to me in a few days.  If I order new records (from this or last month's new releases), I can expect about 80% or more of what I order in a few days.

If I hear a record at a weekend dance then try to order it, I typically can expect...

With tax and shipping, records cost about $7 each, maybe a little more.  I order just about every record that I hear that I really like, then am happy with whatever comes my way.  Records can't be returned, so I give those that turn out to be mistakes to friends who are curious about calling.

Tape Service

I subscribe to BRS's cassette tape service.  Once or twice a month, I get a cassette tape in the mail that has a sample of 10 "new release" records on it.  Each has a cut from the "music" side and a cut from the "called" side of the record.  A fair number of the singing call figures listed on were collected by listening to and noting the figures from these tapes.  The tape service costs around $15 for 10 tapes.  As a tape service subscriber, I get a little discount when I order records.


Only thinking about calling at this point?

I highly recommend that you subscribe to a tape service now.  Two reasons...
  • You want to start building up your record collection.  Even if you don't order any records, at least keep track of the ones you like.  You'll want to have great records when you start calling and it will take a while to build up a decent collection.
  • You want to hear the variety of callers singing on these records.  This will help you develop rhythm and timing and give you a vocabulary of "filler words" that will make your calling sound polished.

What WAS the name of that record?

Most callers are very willing to share with you the name and label information of the record they are using.  Simply walk up and ask them after the tip.  Do not approach the caller at the beginning of his/her tip when they are busy preparing and writing down key couple information, etc.




Alternative Square Dance Music

Alternative square dance music is simply music from sources other than the square dance music industry.  With powerful software, even free software, available to record and edit music on the common PC, it is now possible to get a wide variety of music from many sources and reformat it (if necessary) for square dancing yourself. 

I think it's vital that we callers support our square dance music industry.  That said, I think it's almost a given that the modern caller needs to be able to find and reformat "alternative" music for him or herself to keep the activity fresh and current. 

Remember when you are working with copyrighted music, there are some legal issues to keep in mind.

A great tune for square dancing will have...

Additional comments about choosing music


Ok, let's get to work.  Five steps: Discovering, Obtaining, Digitizing, Cleanup, Formatting

  • Discovering title and artist/label information of songs that are good
  • Obtaining a legal copy
  • Digitizing to a digital computer file
  • Digital Cleanup
  • Formatting music for square dancing...


  • Square Dance record labels
  • My Square Dance record collection
  • My most wanted Square Dance records


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