Cracking Sound System rocks Kelham

You can’t stop me writing about great dance music and there was plenty as Ashley Davis made his Kelham Hall debut last night, but what I have to mention occasionally is the sound system.  Sadly at times the sound system can let the music down at venues, but last night Mark and Ash got the volume and balance spot on, and it gave a real lift to the music.

Half way through the night Ash played Dancing on the ceiling by Lionel Ritchie.  I’ve always loved this track, but last night it sounded even better, and I had one of the best dances of the night to it.  As always after a fab dance I wondered what Ash would follow it with.  He played a cracker.  Now put your headphones on, turn the volume as high as you dare, and you’ll get some idea of just how good ZZ Top’s Sharp dressed man sounded last night.  (Posted Saturday 30 December)

You’ve got to read this autobiography

I’m supposed to be writing a couple of articles for the blog, but I’ve got my nose in a book I can’t put down (actually I’m reading it on the Kindle App on my lap top but the nose in the book cliche doesn’t work with a lap top).  If you love dance music and want to know about one of it’s greatest creators then you have to read Berry Gordy’s autobiography: To Be Loved:

Gordy was the creator of Motown Records.  Though much maligned as a ruthless operator who exploited his stars, let me tell you that there would have been no Motown without his single minded determination to succeed.  His auto biography is a shining example of the power that comes when you really believe in your dream, and you let nothing distract you from achieving it.

You might never have danced to This Old Heart of Mine

It’s hard to imagine a world without Stevie Wonder or Diana Ross.  It’s even harder to imagine a dance floor without Edwin Starr or Marvin Gaye.  The Isley Brothers’ This old heart of mine is the Motown track that gets played the most on the Modern Jive dance floor.  Can you imagine a dance journey where you had never danced to this timeless classic.  We owe all this musical heritage to Gordy’s single mindedness.

Berry Gordy started out as a song writer and his first success was with Reet Petite by Jackie Wilson.  I’ll finish this Quick Note by featuring the song that Gordy wrote and gave Motown their biggest hit to date in 1962.  Many people don’t even realise that this was a Motown track, but its success gave Gordy the platform he needed to reach a wider world.  Thank God then for Do you love me by The Contours.  (Posted Thursday 28  December)

Thank God it’s Wednesday

I know what you’re saying, shouldn’t that be thank God it’s Friday.  Well on any other week yes, but it’s Christmas Week.  The thing is, there’s been no dancing over the last few days – just stuffing.  I don’t mean the Paxo variety either.  I mean the general Christmas tradition of eating as much as possible on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and quite honestly I’ve done too much.  It didn’t help opening a Thorntons Chocolate Santa last night, and finishing it off over a cup of tea while I updated the blog!

Thankfully there’s a Ceroc Heaven Betwixtmas freestyle on tonight at Grange Hall, so calories are going to get burnt starting with the 300 of my share of the chocolate Santa.  Dancing of course is a great burner of calories, and I estimate that the equivalent of four hundred Chocolate Santa’s will disappear on Wednesday night at The Grange.

I also see it’s The Ceroc Passion Black Magic & Sparkle 3 Room event at Daventry, and I’m sure they’ll get a great turn out with people travelling from all corners of the UK.  So I reckon that’s another one and a half thousand Santa’s danced into the ether.

Sadly Thorntons probably sold over a million of these traditional Chocolate gifts in the run up to Christmas, so hopefully a lot more people are going to do a lot more dancing in the next few days.  (Posted Wednesday 27 December)

Serious Readin’ (no G) figures

Every week I check out my Google Analytic stats to see just which pages are being read.  I have almost two hundred articles on the blog and it’s interesting to read which old posts still keep being read.  My ‘What is Ceroc’ post has been read over two thousand times, with people spending almost five minutes on the page – that’s some Serious Readin’ (no G).

It’s easy to understand why.  If you ask Google ‘what is Ceroc’ my article comes towards the top of the listing on Page 1, and it explains why it gets a minimum of fifty reads every week.  Another article that has done really well is the one I wrote about Serious Jockin’ (no G).  It has been read almost five hundred times and the number ticks up every week.

The article was about how this Friday afternoon segment of The Radio 2 Steve Wright Show, is a great resource for finding new dance tracks.  But why was it getting read so often?  I’ve now found that it ranks on Google.  Search for Serious Jockin’ and a link to the article appears at the bottom of page 2.  I didn’t think that anyone scrolled down beyond Page 1 on Google – obviously they do!

I’ve now refreshed the article and added some new music, and I hope my regular readers will find it interesting.  The show throws up some long forgotten tracks that might just work on the Modern Jive dance floor.  Here’s one such track I featured in the article, and I’m sure it’s worth a spin. It’s the Richie Family with The best disco in town.  Serious disco-in’.  (Posted Wednesday 27 December)

Click here to read the full article

I’ve got to learn to dance like this!

I was doing a bit of research on Rock ‘n’ Roll tracks that are suited to Modern Jive when I came across this video on YouTube.  It accompanies a fabulous track by Rockin’ Louie and The Mamma Jammers called Club Savoy.  The video is an extract from the 1944 film Swing Fever and features the dancing of Jean Veloz, Don Gallagher, and Lennie Smith.

The reason I’ve featured it, is because it shows the kind of dancing I was so bowled over by at The LeRoc Scotland Christmas Party in Glasgow last Saturday night.  So impressed was I with the dancing of Shirley and Moira, that I decreed there and then that I would learn to dance like this myself.

The video is interesting for other reasons too, as it shows Don and Lennie indulging in a little tagging, and then Jean does some double trouble with the two guys.  Now its a small world, because at The Ceroc Heaven class night on Monday we were taught a simple tagging routine that I really enjoyed.  So that’s something else I’ve got to have a proper go at.  Is there no end to the fun you can have dancing? (Posted Tuesday 19 December)

Dance Tips for Ladies: The Feedback

In October I published an article giving dance tips to ladies, who were anxious about making the jump from class nights to freestyles.  It proved to be the most read article in the blogs history after being shared all over Facebook.

Prior to writing the article I’d asked some of the ladies I knew from my local class nights what anxieties they had experienced before making the leap to freestyles.  I also asked a few ladies who were yet to go to their first freestyle what was holding them back.  Their answers formed the basis of my article.  Here’s an extract from the posting:

One night I was talking to a woman about why we hadn’t seen her at a freestyle.  She was a lovely dancer and I was sure she would get plenty of dances and have a great time:

‘The thing is Paul, I just don’t want to be chatted up.’

My first thought was to think that I couldn’t imagine any man, whatever his status, mentioning this was an issue.  My second thought was that this deserved a bit more consideration.  We all go dancing for different reasons.  Sure there are people who want to find love on the dance floor, but most people, men included, just want to dance and have a fun night out.

Last Friday the lady in question surprisingly turned up at the Ceroc Heaven Grange Hall Freestyle, and I’m happy to report that she had  a fabulous time.  Whether she got chatted up too much I’m not privy to!  I danced with her again last night, at a Ceroc Heaven Class Night, and she told me this:

I always wanted to go to a freestyle, but kept putting it off.  In fact I waited a whole year before going, and I took your advice and went local, so I did know a lot of the people from my class nights.  Looking back I don’t know why I was so worried and wished I’d gone a lot sooner.

That was nice feedback to receive.  I actually received a lot of feedback from writing that article, and a lot of it revolved round the etiquette of asking for dances.  I’ve now started working on an article that puts all the feedback together and I’ll hopefully have it ready in the New Year.  In the meantime can I thank all the people who left comments on the blog or on Facebook. (Posted Friday 15 December)

I’m in love with a Funky Bruno Mars track again

OK, Uptown Funk was a monster of a track, but hey guys I think we’ve had enough.  I know you have to play the tracks we all love, and we did love it, but surely there are plenty of other great funky floor fillers you can play.   Bruno Mars is a great vocal talent, so I was pleased that DJ Ashley Davis introduced me to this gorgeous track, resulting from a collaboration with French producer David Guetta, at the Grange Hall freestyle on Friday night.

Versace on the floor has a relaxed beat that makes it perfect when the DJ wants to slow the pace down a little – a good alternative to The Temptations’ Lady Soul or Tone Damli’s 40 Years.  The track has a wonderful layered production, topped by soaring strings, but underlying it is a gentle funky beat, extenuated at times by a Daft Punk style vibe,  that offers plenty of opportunities for expressing your musicality.

I’m sure that Ashley wasn’t the first DJ to play this gorgeous track, but as I’ve said before, it sometimes takes a little time for tracks to sink in to my subconscious and hint at their potential.  I hope it gets a lot more plays because I’ve really fallen in love with this track. (Posted Sunday 10 December)

Silcin’ (no G) to a Blues track from DJ John

Seems I’ve got in to a few bad grammatical habits while I’ve been developing my writing style.  Apparently I over use verbs with the G knocked off – perhaps I’ve listened to Steve Wright’s Serous Jockin’ (no G) too many times.  My abbreviations include rockin’ – a lot of the dance music I love is rockin’ and I too often write that a DJ was ‘rockin’ the floor’.  Seems I love chillin’ out with my dance gang friends and it’s how I too often describe the action in The Blues Room.

Now I’ve dared to add another to my list – Silcin’ the action of dancing SILC moves up and down the slot.  That explained, I’ll mention the track that had me imagining I was Silcin’ to it.  When writing my recent Review of the Warmwell Weekender I was in touch with DJ John Dunlop who span the Blues tracks over the three days.

John kindly gave me a list of some of his Blues favourite tracks and I included one in my review.  It seemed a shame not to feature another of his tracks that I really enjoyed.  While I can see that it would suit close hold Blues, it would also work with West Coast Swing or SILC.  So please take a listen to Bobby Bazini’s I wonder and if you feel like Silcin’ to it (G or no G) then its alright by me. (Posted Friday 8 December) 

Strictly’s Rev Richard Coles rocks The Shed

A great performance from The Rev Richard Coles last night at The Shed freestyle in Beeston, Nottingham.  I should explain that he wasn’t there in person, though I have heard that he has been seen at Ceroc lessons in Higham Ferrers, but featured on the song that gave me the best dance of the night.

The Rev played piano in the Communards along with lead singer Jimmy Sommerville.  Last night DJ Gary Wharton played the Communards Don’t leave me this way.  What a fantastic dance track this is, and it gave me the best dance of the night.  One of my favourite moments in the track is the piano break half way through.  It’s a wonderful piece of piano playing and The Rev’s  one of the reasons that this song is actually better than the Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes original


It’s a wonderful piece of piano playing and, along with the horn section, makes this song such a great dance track.  With his musical background I was surprised that The Reverend didn’t do better with his dancing on Strictly, but at least he achieved a level of immortality with this great performance. (Posted Sunday 3 December)

This Month’s Funkmaster Award goes to…

Last night I was at one of my favourite venues – Kelham Hall near Newark for Ceroc Heaven’s Christmas Ball.  The place was packed and DJ Mark O’Reilly had the place rockin’ all night.  Towards the end Mark played a track that oozed Funk from the first beat, and after a great dance I was rushing to the stage to ask ‘What was that track?’

It’s been around for a while now, but I can’t remember ever dancing to it before.  Produced in 2008 it has all the hallmarks of a ’80s funk groove.  It’s all there – the twangy guitar lick, funky James Brown style drumming, a bass line that you can’t fail to connect with and a horn section injecting extra funk pulses.  I loved it.

Now it’s only the first dance day of December, and there’s a lot of dancing to do until the end of the month, but I’m wondering if any DJ is going to play anything funkier to stop Mark getting this month’s Funkmaster Award. (Posted Saturday 2 December)

Momma sold my bed

In the ’70s people, including myself, would sing along to Jimi Hendricks’ Purple Haze with the line ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy’.  It’s one of the most famous song lyric misquotes of all time.  The actual lyric being ‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky’.  Seems I may have spotted another one – ‘Momma sold my bed’.

Over the past few weeks I’ve become aware of a great new dance track.  It’s been played since September, but it’s amazing sometimes how long it takes for my brain to pick out a track above all the others.  Unaware of it’s title I’ve been sing along to the chorus –  ‘Momma sold my bed, Momma sold my bed.’

I suspected I’d got the lyric wrong, and so it turned out.  The song is More mess by Kungs featuring the voices of Oly Murs and Coely.  It’s a thumping dance track with great trumpet punctuation, and it’s become a real modern jive favourite.  Last night DJ Mark O’Reilly played it at the Ceroc Heaven Class Night in Nottingham and once again I was singing along, ‘Momma sold my bed, Momma sold my bed’.

The correct lyric is ‘More mess on my thing.’  Sadly I can’t see it, so with a nod to Jimi Hendricks ‘Scuse me while I . . . sing ‘Momma sold my bed, Momma sold my bed’. (Posted Friday 1 December)

To read the previous edition of Quick Steps: Quick Notes please click here