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September 22, 2008

lovely blooz action

Posted by dogpossum on September 22, 2008 3:34 PM in the category djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

Firstly, I just wrote a decent version of this post then deleted it. Shit.

Ok, so I'll see what I can remember.

Firstly, you have to watch this clip below.
I think a lot of people think that blues dancing is just standing about cuddling to really slow music - sort of frottage on the hoof. But it's not. It's not that boring (and I have to say, there's nothing more boring than DJing that type of blues gig - booooring. Unless you're into voyeurism. But I guess even then you'd lose interest after about 4 hours). It's not. There's lots more fun stuff going on.

I think Blues Shout is on the top of my list of American camps I'd like to go to, right now. There's lots of interesting stuff going on there.
I blogged about this a little while ago with this great clip from 2007.

So what do I like about that latest clip?

1. body shapes. There's a lot more going on there than the muscle and sinew action we've been seeing in lindy hop lately as the tempos get really high. But there's no silly barbie frou-frou rubbish either. I keep thinking 'built for comfort'.

2. sass + sauce. The extreme sensuality, but also the radical parody. The snicker with the shimmy. I like the way you really have to bring it to make this work - you have to commit, physically and emotionally, and really perform to make the tension between humour and sexuality work.

3. hot and cool. The relationship between extremely hot bodies and very cool faces.

Well, with all that in mind, here's the set I did last night. It was quite a long set, which was nice (though a bit scary, as I really don't have that much music for blues dancing - just what I find on my 'lindy' CDs... hahahah... well, really, this is a good argument for buying CDs rather than downloading individual songs - with an album you get the whole emotional spectrum and a selection of songs by an artist, with one song you get ... just one song).
It was a lovely set to do, though I was fanging for a dance. I would have, perhaps, as this crowd is pretty laid back, but I don't feel confident enough to line up a few songs and then dance, with blues. I'm just not experienced enough to be sure it'll work. I ran through a whole range of styles, partly because my tastes are quite varied, but also because I think it's a better idea with a group of dancers who are newer to a style - give people a general taster. Also, I'm not sure I have enough music to do a solid speciality set. People really seemed to like it... I think. There's a lot more socialising and drinking here in Sydney than at Melbourne dance events, and that makes it harder to judge the crowd. Also, there were about six zillion chicks there last night, so there'd always be a lot of people sitting and watching.

A couple of notes about the music:
I've been exploring Taj Mahal lately. He's not my number one favourite, but you have to respect a legend. I've downloaded a couple of songs from his greatest hits albums from itunes, but I'm not sure I really need entire albums just yet. I'll think about it though, especially if I see them cheap at a shop.


I came in loud and proud, partly because I wanted to get the energy up and fun, rather than coming in all quiet and kissy. Most useful thing I've ever learnt about DJing blues was from Andy: keep it loud, like a party. Loud as in high energy. I also favour a little humour and sass in my blues, so I'm not much good with the overly earnest artists (though I do like a little Nina Simone).

There was a birthday dance, for which I chose 'Miss Celie's Blues'. I had a feeling the birthday girl would be into that Sistah action, and she was very happy with the choice.

jr.jpegPeople seemed to like 'New Orleans Bump'. I mean, I've played it before, but the reaction of dancers last night was more interesting than in the past. They were warmed up, which helped. They were feeling 'up', which helped. They'd had a couple of drinks, which helped. The class before hand (which was really quite interesting) was all about dancing to the music, and how to combine moves and types of movements to illustrate the music, and the dancers were all trying out the ideas all night. It made DJing a whole lot more interesting. But anyhow, people were experimenting with stuff in the percussion intro, and then they really seemed to dig the tango rhythms, and then were totally digging the 'drama' of the song - there were many campy dips and uber-emoting. Which is just perfect for Jelly Roll, who's all about making shit up and showing off.

I still don't feel that I'm a terribly good blues DJ. I feel as though I ignore tempos too much, and tend to ram songs together based on style, rather than working for a longer-range emotional wave. But there's a much smaller tempo range to work with (about 45-120bpm as opposed to 120-300 bpm for lindy) and you can't apply the usual rules about giving dancers a break 'cause they're tired. It's all slow, so you can just dance every single song, forever. I think I jump about, 'mood' wise, and that's not so cool. But I guess I just need more practice.

I don't much like Molly Johnson, but I do like it that she sounds like Masie Grey (sp?). She's really not as good as the old school chicks. But she doesn't suck. I bought a few of her songs from itunes after listening my way through most of her albums on amazon.

Every time I play Dinah Washington a woman asks me who that artist was. She goes down well with ladies. Because she rocks. I own a lot of Washington, but I still want this Mosaic set. Because.
Carol Ralph also always goes down well. People can't believe she's local. But she is. And that album is really very good - the musicians are top shelf. Not many Australians can pull off the sass/humour of those old school blues queens. But she can.

[title, artist, bpm, year, length, album, last played - NB there are some inaccurate dates as I just can't keep up with that data - I can't keep up with making sure all the dates are actually the recording dates and not the album release date. This is especially tricky because sometimes CDs' liner notes don't include recording details, especially if they're a cheap CD (like that Aretha greatist hits).]

Sleep in Late Molly Johnson 86 2002 2:47 Another Day 21/09/08 9:55 PM
Built for Comfort Taj Mahal 98 1998 4:46 In Progress & In Motion (1965-1998) 21/09/08 10:00 PM
Blues Stay Away George Smith 82 1955 3:10 Kansas City - Jumping The Blues From 6 To 6 21/09/08 10:03 PM
Confessin' The Blues Jimmy Witherspoon With Jay McShann And His Band 92 1957 4:16 Goin' To Kansas City Blues 21/09/08 10:08 PM
Bargain Day Dinah Washington 89 1956 2:55 The Swingin' Miss "D" 21/09/08 10:11 PM
Jealous Hearted Blues Carol Ralph 80 2005 3:48 Swinging Jazz Portrait 21/09/08 10:14 PM
Reckless Blues Velma Middleton with Louis Armstrong and the All Stars 88 2:30 The Complete Decca Studio Recordings of Louis Armstrong and the All Stars (disc 06) 21/09/08 10:17 PM
Rosetta Blues Rosetta Howard with the Harlem Hamfats 103 1937 3:00 History of the Blues - disc2 21/09/08 10:20 PM
Kitchen Blues Martha Davis 80 1947 3:05 BluesWomen Girls Play And Sing The Blues 21/09/08 10:23 PM
I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl Nina Simone 65 1967 2:33 Released 21/09/08 10:26 PM
Rangoon Cootie Williams 63 2:12 In Hi-Fi 21/09/08 10:28 PM
Goin' To Chicago Count Basie and His Orchestra with Jimmy Rushing 79 1952 3:22 Complete Clef/Verve Count Basie Fifties Studio Recordings (Disc 2) 21/09/08 10:31 PM
Incoherent Blues Clark Terry, Ed Thigpen, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown 64 1964 2:41 Oscar Peterson Trio + One: Clark Terry 21/09/08 10:34 PM
My Handy Man Ain't Handy No More Alberta Hunter 76 1978 3:49 Amtrak Blues 21/09/08 10:38 PM
I Feel Like Layin In Another Woman's Husband's Arms Blu Lu Barker 89 1946 2:57 Don't You Feel My Leg: Apollo's Lady Blues Singers 21/09/08 10:41 PM
I Ain't No Ice Man Cow Cow Davenport 89 1938 2:51 History of the Blues - disc2 21/09/08 10:43 PM
Tin Roof Blues Wingy Manone and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings 92 1934 2:58 The Wingy Manone Collection Vol. 2 21/09/08 10:46 PM
New Orleans Bump Wynton Marsalis 128 1999 4:36 Mr. Jelly Lord - Standard Time, Vol. 6 21/09/08 10:51 PM
St. James Infirmary Henry "Red" Allen 98 1991 3:45 World on a String - Legendary 1957 Sessions 21/09/08 10:55 PM
Wild Man Blues Louis Armstrong and the All Stars 75 3:58 The Complete Decca Studio Recordings of Louis Armstrong and the All Stars (disc 05) 21/09/08 10:59 PM
Do I Move You? (Second Version) (Bonus Track) Nina Simone 70 2006 2:20 Nina Simone Sings the Blues 21/09/08 11:01 PM
Shave 'em Dry Asylum Street Spankers 131 1997 4:21 Nasty Novelties 21/09/08 11:05 PM
Son Of A Preacher Man Aretha Franklin 77 3:16 Greatest Hits - Disc 1 21/09/08 11:09 PM
Soul of a Man Irma Thomas 121 2006 3:02 After the Rain 21/09/08 11:12 PM
Telephone Blues George Smith 68 1955 3:03 Kansas City - Jumping The Blues From 6 To 6 21/09/08 11:15 PM
Miss Celie's Blues Molly Johnson 97 2002 3:46 Another Day 21/09/08 11:19 PM
Back Water Blues Dinah Washington with Belford Hendricks' Orchestra 71 1957 4:58 Ultimate Dinah Washington 21/09/08 11:24 PM
Wee Baby Blues Count Basie with Mahalia Jackson 64 1968 3:14 Live In Antibes 1968 21/09/08 11:27 PM
Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You Count Basie and His Orchestra with Joe Williams 68 1957 2:32 The Count Basie Story (Disc 2) 21/09/08 11:30 PM
When The Lights Go Out Jimmy Witherspoon 100 1998 3:01 Jazz Me Blues: the Best of Jimmy Witherspoon 21/09/08 11:33 PM
The Mooche Michael McQuaid's Red Hot Rhythmakers 117 2006 3:41 Rhythm Of The Day 21/09/08 11:36 PM
Blue Leaf Clover Firecracker Jazz Band 111 2005 4:59 The Firecracker Jazz Band 21/09/08 11:41 PM
Sweet Home Chicago Taj Mahal 93 1998 3:15 In Progress & In Motion (1965-1998) 21/09/08 11:45 PM
Young Woman's Blues Loose Marbles 102 4:22 21/09/08 11:49 PM

Posted by dogpossum on September 22, 2008 3:34 PM in the category djing and lindy hop and other dances and music