Tested and verified, here are the Blues songs crowning my list of floor-shakers and hip-quakers. Should you add them to your collection? Listen as we check out July’s best.
“What are your favorite songs?” The answer changes every time. So I’m sharing my Top 3 Blues songs every month to hopefully inspire you as a dancer and/or DJ.
Here’s what moves me (today):
Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie – Pinetop Perkins
Two things are going on here that I dig:
- interaction with the audience is such a classic staple of pianists in Jazz & Blues (see House Rent Parties, “A New Black Sound Emerges”); plus it pulls me back to being in the club, with the give-and-take energy created between musicians and dancers
- getting the dancers to do “your dance move” is another timeless aspect of Afro-American history; from modern Hip-Hop like Cupid Shuffle or The Dougie; to R&B oldies like The Twist or The Mess Around (“When I say stop don’t you move a peg / when I say go just shake your leg / and do The Mess Around”); even back to early 1900’s Jazz as seen in my Animal Dances blog post
Without You – Jimmie Vaughan
Sexiness on a stick. Unrequited love. Begging for second chances. All these emotions and more can be found in this single song.
At 6 minutes 23 seconds in length, it’s not even close to being ‘too long’ for social dances. (Only above 7 minutes in length do I start being selective with when to play something)
If a song is good, why the hell would you want to cut it short? Nothing makes me more upset than a song that just gets started and then stops…
Grandma’s Hands – Bill Withers
…okay, this song makes me upset. It just gets started and then stops! But goddammit, what an amazing 2 minutes and 4 seconds!
I recommend transitioning into a similarly minimalist song next to keep the good vibes going on the dance floor.
What can DJs take away from these last 2 examples? If you’re wondering whether a song is too long or too short, maybe it’s just not good enough. Put it in your Archives to dust off a year later. I keep a music folder exclusively for songs I thought were great, but after trying them with dancers, I tucked them away for later review to see if my opinion (or the scene’s) has changed.
So there’s my Top 3; maybe next month I’ll redo this list. What’s on your Top 3?