Without music there can be no dancing and it falls to the DJs, alone on the stage, to decide what tracks to play for those of us determined to have a great night out. Its no easy gig for the DJs, for amongst the dancers on the floor are people with their own favourite tracks and a list of songs they wouldn’t mind if they never heard again. But somehow, in a four hour freestyle, the DJs have to find in the region of eighty tracks that will provide everyone with some great dances and memorable musical highs. They must take care not to play the same old – same old, and they need to differentiate themselves from their peers by playing something fresh. They need to find something a little different, but at the same time tried and tested. I thought it might be an idea then, from time to time, to focus entirely on the DJ and their choice of music and the way they mix it up. My third review is of Roy Blewitt who provided the tracks at Braunstone Civic Centre for a Ceroc Passion class night last Wednesday.?
I’ve danced to Roy’s music many times before and I’ve been on the stage asking ‘What was that?’ more times than I can remember. But one of his first choices was a track I know very well. In fact it’s suddenly re-emerged in the last few months, and Braunstone was the fourth venue I’d heard it in that time. Is this song recorded back in 2010 becoming a modern Ceroc classic? The track in question is Craig David’s Signed Sealed Delivered.
I’ve been reviewing DJs’ music now for three months and the best will always play some recent club infused tracks. Roy quickly ticked that box, but I’m more interested where they go to next. Bearing in mind the demographic of the dancers, the seventies is a great place to go, and Roy treated the dancers to one of the greatest dance tracks from that era – Barry White’s My first my last my everthing. That song, quite rightly, gets a lot of plays at Modern Jive events, but I want to showcase two other tracks Roy played from that era.
John Paul Young’s Love is in the air happily isn’t over played, but whenever I hear its opening strains I have a smile on my face. It’s just so wonderful to dance to. It has such a mellow rhythm but at the same time has a vibe that can’t help but lift your spirit. It was of course featured in Baz Luhrmann’s ground breaking film Strictly Ballroom, which has itself inspired many people to join a dance class. Roy’s next venture in to the seventies was another joyful choice.
Of course you didn’t have to live through the seventies to enjoy the music from that time and Barry Manilow’s Copacabana is testament to that. If you love dancing you can’t help loving this song with its sad story line but joyous melody. One other track Roy played from that time, and one of his favourites is The Drifters You’re More Than A Number in My Little Red Book. Roy played it last time I came to Braunstone, and I just wish other DJs would pick this up, because its fabulous to dance to. Before I leave this seventies cameo can I suggest a venue consider running a seventies night. There is so much great dance music to be found there. If they do, please play Get it on by T Rex. I always thought this was a little slow but it was one of Wednesday Night’s dance highlights for me.
I’m always hoping that a DJ will play something that reminds me that there are so many other genres of dance music to explore. Recently another DJ played a Country & Western track that got me exploring this rich vein of music, and I found lots of great music that should get a modern jive airing. Roy did a similar thing with a track by Teddy Thompson a British Folk Rock artist.
Looking for a girl has elements of C&W, but whatever its heritage its a great find. The song has an energy that invites you to express the boundaries of your musicality. Bluetooth your device to a speaker, turn up the volume and just do your own thing.
I was really enjoying Roy’s selections, but my view is of course subjective. What of everyone else in the room? The proof of the pudding is always in the eating. The room was perfectly gender balanced, and it is fair to say that for most of the night there were very few people sitting out, as everyone wanted to dance to every track.
Roy’s playlist was filled with modern jive classics and here’s two that show the variety on offer to DJs. The first by the Pussy Cat Dolls has a lovely latin feel. Watch the video and see the glimpses of tango. No need to tango of course, but try a few modern jive mambo moves so you can both sway to the music.
The second sounds like something from the 1930’s but is actually relatively recent. When I come to think about it, I’ve danced to this track many times in many places and that’s what makes it a classic. I won’t attempt to describe it, other than to say it always stands out against the tracks played either side of it.
I love the clips of dancing in the video. It just shows what a rich heritage of dance there is. I’ll be bold enough to say that Modern Jive is a great addition to that culture, and one that is a very inclusive. Non of us are Fred Astaire, but hey, we can still have fun on the dance floor.
It was of course Christmas and Roy mixed in a few seasonal delights. He played a lovely Gareth Gates Christmas track from his Pop Idol days. I would love to share it with you but I just couldn’t find it. One track that I knew well, though, was The Tractors Xmas version of their classic modern jive track Boogie-Woogie Choo-Choo Train. Christmas on the dance floor is a wonderful place and the Braunstone Dance Gang were having a real party.
Roy also included a track I was convinced was by Wizard, as it had the same production feel as I wish it could be Christmas every day, but it turned out to be All alone on Christmas by Doreen Love. I’ll leave you with this little bit of festive joy and thank Roy again for a great mix of music, for what was a great dance night out.