What PUMPS you up? Convinces you to get off your rusty-dusty and grab a partner? As a dancer and a DJ, what tunes are most inspirational?
I get asked this a lot, and it’s hard because it changes almost every time I’m asked. For example, a month ago I gave my Top 3 Songs and now this month they’re replaced with fresh ones from my vast collection.
So again, here’s what moves me (today):
Flypaper Boogie – L.B. Lawson
This one’s a sleeper hit. Does it have any raging vocals? Nope. Big orchestration? Nope. Hell, once it gets going it barely even changes. But that groove! Once you find it, it’s inescapable; you can just meeeeeelt into the pocket of this tune.
He’s a prime example of Post-War Country Blues (that’s WW II for those scoring at home) through the US-Korea War of the 50’s. As for the rest of his music? Oh, you mean his other 4 SONGS. That’s right, with a total of 5 songs (most of which are only available today on the original 45’s) he wasn’t prolific, but the tunes he made are each bold punctuation points in the history of Blues.
Story That Might Interest Only Me
So little is known about this artist that we don’t even know what his initials “L.B.” stand for! This record sat in the vaults, unreleased, for 35 years. If you’re curious, here’s more of his backstory.
Good Morning Blues – Count Basie
I could say I’m highlighting this song due to my recent spate of teaching Ballroomin’ Blues workshops. But in reality, this song’s always on my rotation. Calm, patient, but filled with delightful flourishes which make for interesting musicality on the dance floor.
Also, posting this is a good excuse to share Basie’s quote about different types of Blues music:
Of course, there are a lot of ways you can treat the blues… but it will still be the blues.”
Truckin’ Little Woman – Willie Nix
This song. This song, y’all. Finger snappin’, hip poppin’, euphemism usin’, and hen struttin’. Or in short: BOOM!
The strong rhythm here was no-doubt influenced by his background: Nix was a tap dancer and ‘dancing comedian’ during the 1930s, joining up with Traveling Minstrel Shows at the age of 12 (more about Minstrel Shows here, see “Cocaine and Storytellers”). Plus, if he sounds a lot like Sonny Boy Williamson II…well funny enough, he drummed for Sonny Boy and other big names in the late 40s before headlining his own group.
So there’s my Top 3; maybe next month I’ll redo this list. What’s on your Top 3?