A warm ‘Hello’ from Rehoboth Beach, DE where Susanne and I have spent the week on vacation. This post is part of what was formerly the “Songs of the Month Club,” but we decided to mix it up. Frankly, I was tired of sharing all my carefully collected gems without hearing back from you all about your discoveries! So I’m hoping that everyone who reads and enjoys this series will share at least one of their favorite dance tunes from the past month to help me build my collection as well! Let me know what you’re listening to!
Onto the music, this was a bit of an odd month. I DJ-ed for a couple of July 4th patriotic themed dances, and went hunting for vintage WWII themed songs. We also hosted our annual Luau Dance in Annapolis, and I found some Hawaiian swing for the occasion.
- “Thanks Mr. Roosevelt” – Harry Leader & His Band. A peppy little vintage sounding tune that clocks in just over 205 BPM, but feels very laid back and approachable. I am particularly fond of the vocals which are backed by some great piano work. Sid Pimm is listed as the pianist for the band, and I may try to track down some more of his work.
- “Yankee Doodle” – Jack Teagarden. The vocals are just passing, but the band is swinging hard with some really tight ensemble work from both the trumpet and the reed sections.
- “You’re a Grand Old Flag” – Barrel Fingers Barry. Barrelhouse piano styling. It has a little more square, ragtime/early jazz feeling to it. If you need some patriotic music for dancing, it can fit the bill nicely, but otherwise I’d let this one sit for better options. Continue reading
Songs of the Month Club is a regular feature on All the Cats Join In where Craig lists his newest finds and old gems that he’s dusted off. Enjoy!
“No Me Voy Sin Bailar (When I Get Low I Get High)” – Ana Belen. This song sounds primarily like trad jazz, but there are a few little nuances that give it a hint of gypsy jazz. (I swear there’s an accordian or bandaneon in the background)
“I’ve Got No Strings” – Andrew’s Sisters. One of our April birthday girls in our scene is enamored with Disney, so I tracked down a couple of swingin’ Disney songs. Everyone knows the jungle book, but as a DJ, I don’t always like to go for the obvious if I can find a high-quality, unknown gem.
“Pure Imagination” – Boilermaker Jazz Band. Nice Work If You Can Get It, the Boilermaker’s new album, dropped this month. This is a fantastic song, one that I do with my band as well. Paul and his crew do a great job of it. I’ve heard him do it live many times, and am incredibly glad he recorded it on this album. Continue reading
As a DJ, I’m constantly hunting for new songs to play or familiar songs that I might be missing from my collection. Sometimes, I look through the depths of my collection to discover gems I never even knew I had or that I had forgotten about. As a new feature for All the Cats Join In, I thought I’d share my DJ finds with you at the end of each month.
“Something’s Gotta Give” — The McGuire Sisters. I played cocktail music for a birthday party where the guest of honor had been in a McGuire Sister-esque group. They asked for a medley of McGuire Sister songs, so I did some research and found this totally danceable tune.
“Conjunction Junction” — Cartoon Theme Players. This one has been around for years, but I’d never gotten it for my collection. Its always a hit.
“Rhythm of Love” — Plain White T’s. I think this is the Plain White T’s way of making up for “Hey There, Delilah.” A great danceable song with apologies to all dancers for the horrid dancing in the video. Continue reading
After my last post about the role of popular music as a gateway drug to lindy hop, I started thinking about some of my favorite pop songs for dancing. Below, you will find them sorted by the bizarre categories I have in my head, and not by any sort of sane or rational process. I’ve included some notes about a few of the songs and artists as well. Even though there are a bunch of songs here, this is by no means a comprehensive list. If I have left off your favorite, it is not an intentional slight and that’s what the comments are for anyhow. If you want to watch all the videos at once, you can check out our YouTube playlist.
Uptempo Pop Songs with a strong swing beat:
- “Alive and Kickin’ ‘” – Jesse Dee (201 BPM): Great artist from New England area that bills himself as a neo-soul singer, but his first album shows much more range, and has some great songs for dancing.
- “My Medicine” – Snoop Dogg (192 BPM)
- “Lollipop” – MIKA (192 BPM)
- “Spiderman Theme” – Michael Buble (188 BPM) Also check out the Junkie XL remix.
- “Come to Me” – Koop featuring Yukimi Nagano (174 BPM) [Susanne note: This video has a Great Gatsby theme and includes ’20s charleston.]
- “Jazzmatazz: – Guru (168 BPM)
Mid Tempo Pop Songs with a strong swing beat: Continue reading
Today, I watched clips from the 2011 Lone Star Championships. For the invitational jack and jill competition, competitors danced two songs together, one classic lindy hop selection and one that was “Sweet Soul Jam” or “Karaoke Grab Bag.” I got a big kick out of watching some of the best dancers of our day let loose during the second selection (Check out Peter Strom and Mia Goldsmith). It got me thinking about the role of popular music in our lindy hop scene.
Some dancers really enjoy dancing to non-traditional swing songs. Some dancers don’t enjoy it at all. For as long as I’ve been dancing, I’ve heard arguments, sometimes heated ones, about popular music and lindy hop. I’ve heard people argue that, because the aesthetic of the dance changes when danced to non-traditional swing songs, its no longer lindy hop. I’ve heard others argue that the lead/follow technique and the shared framework for creating the dance is the same in both, and so its a perfectly valid expression of lindy hop. Personally, I think there’s some truth in both perspectives. Continue reading