Saturday, October 16, 2010

For sentimental reasons...

Seeing Jerry's list inspired me to pull together a list of my own cliche, overplayed jams and songs that remind me of old times. Everyone knows that music can carry really strong sentimental value, but I think its something that DJs sometimes overlook (myself included). Also, no matter how into the latest trends you are, you've got to admit that our taste wasn't uniformly 100% all bad back in the day. Some of the stuff that got played was really quality music, and deserves a fresh listen, especially since dancers who aren't ancient (and crotchety old) bastards may never have heard them. So, here's my own selection of songs that bring back strong memories and tracks that will never get old in my book:
  1. Swing Lover - Indigo Swing - Indigo Swing - 3:11 - 115 (You are not allowed to call yourself old school unless you can recite the introduction to this song verbatim, right now.)
  2. It's Only A Paper Moon - Oscar Peterson - With Respect To Nat - 2:32 - 124 (This was the song playing week in and week out as everyone learned the lindy hop at Its All Swing Studio in Boston. It still makes me roll my eyes but I love it anyways.)
  3. Oh! Babe - Lucky Millinder - Apollo Jump - 2:56 - 170 (The Love Dogs, Boston's favorite jump blues band at one time, used to do a rollicking version of this tune. Back when I was but a young pup, I remember being at a dance when Ed Scheer, the lead singer, stopped everyone in their tracks with his extended scat solo on this number.)
  4. I Love Being Here With You - Ernestine Anderson - Ernestine Anderson - The Concord Jazz Heritage Series - 3:39 - 130 (Birthday jam song of choice at Monday Night Practice in Boston.)
  5. St. James Infirmary - Lou Rawls - Lou Rawls Live! - 4:34 - 115 (Slick Mike, the MNP DJ for years, ended every dance with Lou Rawls. In the past year or two they have a new DJ crew there, so I'm not sure if that tradition continues.)
  6. You Don't Know What Love Is - Rachelle Ferrell - First Instrument - 5:14 - 120 (This was my absolute favorite song back in the days of groove. I have a really vivid memory of dancing with my teacher, Marilee, to this song.)
  7. Plenty (Feat. Erykah Badu) - Guru's Jazzmatazz - Streetsoul - 4:38 - 165 (If you started dancing in the last 6 or 7 years, you may not know this song. It may just blow your mind.)
  8. Evil Gal Blues - Aretha Franklin - Aretha Sings The Blues - 2:43 - 118 (Blues Brian played this album all the time at the Wednesday night dance at MIT.)
  9. Fever - Kenny Burrell & Jimmy Smith - Blue Bash! - 5:36 - 116 (Years ago, when Johnny & Becky came to Boston--you probably have no idea who they are...just picture Johnny as like the Peter Strom of the day, only he was about 5 foot 2, a very talented contact juggler, a little bit balding, and prone to wearing wife beaters. Anyways, Johnny & Becky taught a workshop and played this song over and over again, but Johnny refused to tell me who it was. It took me about 3 years to figure it out.)
  10. Happy-Go-lucky Local (Night Train) - Oscar Peterson - Night Train - 5:00 - 110 (I still love the Ray Brown bass solo in this song.)
  11. In the Mood - Glenn Miller - Best of the Lost Recordings & The Secret Broadcasts - 3:15 - 180 (Just to be crotchety, I enjoy pointing out that this version of In the Mood, recorded when Glenn Miller had his military band, is actually a pretty respectable piece of music.)
  12. Meet Me in Uptown - The Mighty Blue Kings - Meet Me In Uptown - 2:59 - 145 (These guys were kings of Chicago at one time.)
  13. Minor Swing - Django Reinhardt - Django Reinhardt 3: Minor Swing - 3:16 - 200 (Periodically I get it into my head that Stuff Smith was a better fiddler than Stephane Grappelli. And then I hear this track again and change my mind.)
  14. Carioca - Artie Shaw - Self Portrait - 4:06 - 215 (People will still be dancing balboa to this tune 100 years from now.)
  15. Bei Mir Bist Du Schane - Janis Siegel - Swing Kids - 4:11 - 150 (The crowning achievement of the Boston College Swing Kids was the routine we put together to this song. I think I had a Swango solo during the slow bit. Supposedly there's a video that exists to document this...)
  16. Tutti Frutti - Slim Gaillard - 1938-46 - 2:38 - 170 (As you read this, there is a swing dance happening somewhere in the world, and this song is playing.)
  17. Let Me Off Uptown - Roy Eldridge - Little Jazz - 3:24 - 130 (This song is a DJ's best friend, because it starts out chill, has an appealing vocal, and goes out with a lot of energy.)
  18. I Want a Tall Skinny Papa - Sister Rosetta Tharpe - The Gospel of the Blues - 2:52 - 140 (I played this song last Monday and my wife pointed out to me that it will soon be her jam, in a very literal sense.)


  1. I do wonder what ever happened to Johnny and Becky? They did some pretty amazing things.

  2. You were once a young pup? I don't believe it!