Whether the venue was the VFW, American Legion, Elks Club or Moose Lodge, on more Fridays or Saturdays than not, you could find The John Wood Combo providing musical entertainment for an appreciative local crowd.
"We even used to play between movies at the Old Voncastle Theatre and at the DePauw parties," offered the veteran musician whose name still fronts the local combo.
This past Friday at VFW Post 1550 on South Jackson Street was no different for John Wood, the soon-to-be 85-year-old sole surviving member of a group that became synonymous with his name over those six decades.
Familiarly perched in front of the piano, Wood was engrossed in the music, knocking out one old standard after another on the evening.
Only this time, instead of his longtime partners in crime -- Tom Hardwick, Tim Grimes and Fred Wilbur, all of whom have passed away in recent years -- Wood was accompanied by Carol Hamm on bass, Robin Hopkins on banjo and Donnie Hopkins on drums. Kathleen Miller was even on hand to provide vocals.
In total, that group represents more than 200 years in the music business, much of it locally.
"You're going to make us sound so-o-o-o old," Carol Hamm, who starting playing 50 years ago when she was 10, suggested from behind her trusty bass.
"I've got 60 years in this business myself," Wood said, "and Robin has been making his living playing the banjo for 40 years."
So between those two headliners Friday night, Wood and Robin Hopkins totaled a nice, round 100 years of local music lore.
Hopkins, who turned 60 years old in July, celebrated his 40th year in the business in September. He and fellow local entertainer Dick Hardwick took off for New Orleans 40 years ago last month, ultimately ending up as featured entertainers aboard the famed Delta Queen riverboat.
It was Wood's idea to get Hopkins and Miller on board Friday night at the VFW, collaborating for the third such time locally in recent years.
Drummer Donnie Hopkins, who is Robin's half-brother, has been involved in the local music scene "off and on since the 1960s."
And incredibly, he is the 23rd drummer in the long history of the John Wood Combo, proudly noting, "There's only two of us still alive!"
Wood says the group still plays the VFW dining room once a month and also entertains faithfully at the Elks Club, Asbury Towers and area nursing homes, among other local venues.
"We've played practically every big event in Putnam County over the last 60 years at one time or another," noted Wood, who paused long enough to put out a John Wood Combo CD about 10 years ago.
"Our music is old, and it's still old," he assured. "All we play is old music."
It may be old all right, but it was lively enough to get folks like Bob and Marilyn Jackson up and dancing -- at least for one tune -- in front of the band at the VFW Friday evening.
"We still play old music ... nothing new," Wood said. "That's what they want from us."
And that, most assuredly, is what they get. Even after 60 years.