Y’all come, you hear!

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 28, 2004

WOODLAND – For nearly a half-century, the Woodland Community Building has seen its fair share of activities – everything from teen dances to family reunions.

Now, each and every Friday night (with the exception of holidays), this center for social entertainment comes alive with the sound of music from the Wildwood Country Boys Band.

Formed three years ago, the original band members consisted of Clyde Futrelle, Dudley Vick, Walter Askew, Jackie Dunlow, Jay Wall and Bill Joyner. Wall recently passed away.

Despite the loss of their friend, the band knew they had to go on.

&uot;We still miss Jay Wall and his music,&uot; said Joyner. &uot;We cherish the time we all spent with him.&uot;

Moving forward, the band took on a different look by adding musicians Lanie Dunlow, Donnie Dunlow Jr. Bobby Mizelle and James Storey.

&uot;His hands are liquid motion,&uot; said Futrell of Storey’s guitar playing skills. &uot;He doesn’t sing, but his guitar sure does.&uot;

That’s a big compliment coming from a musical legend such as Futrelle. He is known far and wide for his banjo playing skills.

All of those skills from the band’s nine members – who have a combined 300 years of musical experience – are evident when it comes to laying down licks and vocalizing on a sound that ranges from bluegrass, to beach, to gospel, to rock-and-roll. Heck, don’t be surprised if the band breaks into a country rap number one night.

Joyner is a hit when he performs his favorite solo – &uot;Farewell Party&uot; by Gene Watson. The Dunlow family harmonizes &uot;Elvira&uot; and does a kicking version of &uot;Seven Spanish Angels.&uot; One of the crowd’s favorite requests is for Donnie Jr. to solo Josh Turner’s classic – &uot;Long Black Train.&uot; &uot;Salty Dog&uot; is another favorite request.

Futrelle will treat the crowd with a Vince Gill favorite – &uot;Nobody Answers When I Call Your Name – or Ricky Vann Shelton’s &uot;I’ll Leave This World Loving You.&uot;

Askew and Vick perform solos and duets such as &uot;Irene Goodnight&uot; and &uot;Old Country Church.&uot;

Mizelle, who &uot;tickles&uot; the keyboard for the band, is a crowd favorite when he performs &uot;Under the Boardwalk&uot; – a classic beach music song by the legendary Drifters.

&uot;We are able to guarantee variety due to my ‘one song-one time’ rule,&uot; stated Joyner.

What makes these Friday nights in Woodland even more popular is there is no admission charge. However, Nettie Ruth Futrelle (Clyde’s wife) does pass the donation plate.

&uot;The money we collect goes for various expenses like building rental, coffee and kitchen items,&uot; she said. &uot;It’s also used for keeping the band’s shared sound system up to date and for improvements to the equipment.&uot;

Mrs. Futrell along with Barbara Outland and Ellen Vann are in charge of the kitchen detail – setting out the refreshments and doing the other things behind the scenes that make these evenings so special.

It’s the &uot;refreshments&uot; that helps keep the crowd coming back every week. They started with (and still include) chips, nuts and finger foods, but have evolved into a southern tradition – a covered dish supper. Main courses include chicken, pork and beef along with a wide variety of vegetables. Chickens are turned every which way but loose – fried, baked, broiled, barbecued, casseroled and turned into salads. The sweet tooth is more than satisfied with homemade fudge, pies, cobblers, cakes and cookies.

All that lip-smacking food presents another popular pastime – trading recipes.

After eating and socializing, it’s back to business. Texas Two-Stepping and Line Dancing are among the favorite &uot;exercises&uot; to work off a big meal. The Twist also burns off unwanted calories.

Every now and then, Joyner will say, &uot;Let’s do a slow un,&uot; which suits everyone just fine; filling the dance floor and allowing the dancers a much needed deep breath.

There’s even more treats with a host of special performances from the audience with their vocal selections, playing the drums or accordions or the spoons. Madge Jenkins treats the crowd with song and jokes. Bennie Jean and Harold Britt are regulars. Harold’s famous train whistle is a welcomed addition.

Regulars on the dance floor include Louise Leary, Sidney Allen, Brenda Brickle, Lillie Byrum, Dotsie Dunlow and Donnie Dunlow Sr. Meanwhile, Jane and Donnie Tyler travel from the Raleigh area on most Fridays to join in on the fun.

Madge Jenkins is joined by Leora Smith, Selma Lanier and Jackie Worley to carpool to the Friday night event.

&uot;We go out to eat and then come here because we enjoy it,&uot; said Ms. Smith.

Another regular says she simply enjoys the music.

&uot;The band and I have come full circle from Woodland, to St. John, to Millennium and now home again back to Woodland,&uot; said Lorna Storey.

Ellen and David Vann, along with his mom, Reetha, became fans of the Wildwood Country Boys when they played in Millennium. Now they are Friday night regulars in Woodland.

That type of faithful support is pleasing to the band.

&uot;Our goal is to provide a place where people in the community can gather and have good clean fun in an alcohol and tobacco-free family setting,&uot; noted Joyner.

Average attendance is in the 60’s. The single-night record is 75.

&uot;Our goal is to break 100,&uot; stressed Joyner. &uot;And you guessed it, you’re invited to help us reach that goal.&uot;

Those wishing to attend are asked to bring along a two-liter soft drink, a favorite dish or just something to snack on.

&uot;We try to make every Friday night a special one,&uot; promised Joyner. &uot;The holidays are even more special such as our July 4th cookout. Thanksgiving and Christmas are celebrated, with all the traditional trimmings, the week before in order to allow families an opportunity to share those special times together.&uot;

This Friday night (Oct. 29) will prove as a grand time with a Halloween costume party.

&uot;Trick or treat – I guarantee a treat on Oct. 29,&uot; said Joyner. &uot;You ain’t gotta, but you can come dressed to impress.&uot;

The event starts at around 7 p.m. and normally lasts until 10-11 p.m. The Woodland Community Building is located on Main Street (US 258) near the old Woodland-Olney School.

Y’all come, you hear!