Great Dancing comes

from Great Music!

 

      

Great Dancing comes

from Great Music!

 

 

NOTE:  I haven't updated this in years.  Most of these aren't song I play currently at my dances.  What makes my dances unique is the NEW music I play.  To put my current music in here would give local DJ's access to my "best" music.   As I do a lot of research into finding new songs for each dance, if you want to hear the best music available to dancers you just need to come to all of my dances, because you won't hear my best music anywhere else!

 

 

Recommended dance tunes from my emails

Tunes you may never heard but need to dance to!

 

"Great music inspires better dancing"

 

July 26 2006 email

 

Night Club 2-step - Vince Gill - "Whenever you come around" (truly beautiful Country song everyone should love).  This guy has a great voice.  As a NC2-step it's on the slower side, but on a great floor that's simply a bonus because a great floor will give you great slides. 

 

Night Club 2-step - James Taylor - "Our town" (Bonus song because it's so beautiful - from the fabulous movie Cars, if you've heard the song in advance and you hear it in the movie, you may need Kleenex, and who doesn't just love James Taylor's voice?)

 

Triple Rhythm Jive - Fantastic Shakers - "Don't look good naked anymore" (These guys have a lot of cute music)

 

Salsa - Celia Cruz - "Mamba Del Amor"  (In the Latin world Celia must be huge.  She was even involved in a album of Beatles songs made salsa.   Pretty cool.  If you're at a wedding and you hear Lynard Skynards "Sweet Home Alabama" what would be your dance step if you didn't want to just sit down?  Salsa of course.  But given a option I'd take a real salsa.  Plus, if you  have a hard time finding the "One" beat, this one's more straight forward!)

 

Rumba - Richard Clayderman - "Besame Mucho" (Richard's a pianist with some gems with incredible arrangements.  On first listen you'd think this was off of a standard "Ballroom perfect tempo" CD.  But listen more carefully and you'll hear beautiful chordal changes the original artist never had, beautiful instrumentation wonderfully recorded.  As an added bonus some of his other songs follow the beauty of the music and have simply wonderful tempo changes that are so much fun to play with!  Listen to the lovely rhythm guitar, and this is one pianist who doesn't just pound on the keys, he really plays with expression)  AND the ending gives you lots of chance to slow down and end the song in a really nice way by dipping your dance partner

 

Cha Cha - Jimmy Cliff - "Bright Sunshiny Day" (a peppier version of the original Johnny Nash song)

 

Single Rhythm Jive - John Mayer - "Route 66" (Old rock & roll rhythm feel, a true straight ahead tempo, but some of you may feel like doing a Triple Rhythm to it.   Song is from the highly recommended film I just saw "Cars")

 

Foxtrot - Spirit of the West - "And if Venice is sinking" (A really cute tune that would make a great practice Country 2-step)

 

Samba - Passion Fruit - "Vamanos" - Enrique Iglasias's two killer Sambas "Balamos" and "The Rhythm Divine" have become the gold standard for Samba, but check this one out from a totally unknown group.   Heavy bass just like you want from a Samba, but the tempo is right on, and the song's tune is great as is the instrumentation.   The only fault a dance teacher might point out is that the bass line is more straight than a "true" Samba, but other than that this song kicks serious butt over many way less catchy Samba's some people are willing to dance to!   For me, I'd rather dance to a really great cute tune than a technically correct boring song.  

 

West Coast Swing - Montgomery Gentry - "Daddy won't sell the farm" (Simply wonderful song & rhythm you can Triple Step or Cha Cha to, but the reason you MUST(!) West Coast Swing is for the really cool breaks and accents.  Get the song, work out some neat patterns, and "play it live at my July 22 dance!)

 

Country 2-step - Vince Gill - "One More Last Chance" (not a bad Single Rhythm Jive, but as sprightly a Country 2-step as you'll ever find)

 

Waltz - Olivia Newton John - "Sam" (I've heard the 30 bpm ballroom version of this and it pales to her version, so put aside for a minute all your rules and regulations and dance to real world music!)

 


 

 

Triple Rhythm Jive - The Turtles - "Elenore" - With it's minor chords this song has kind of a plaintive feel to it, but the main body of the song shakes that up!  Lots of fun

West Coast Swing - BB King - "The Thrill is Gone" - Slow & sexy does it.  Songs this great give lots of time for the lady to take the lead and show off a bit.  Fabulous practice tune if you find the pace too slow for your style of WCS!

Single Rhythm Jive - Olivia Newton-John / John Travolta - "You're the one that I want" - Remember the movie Grease?  Take you back?   Can't get too much more Rock & roll than this song!

 

West Coast Swing / Cha Cha - Gino Vanelli - "Venus Envy" - Canada's most underrated musician (with fabulous hair!) who had a string of hits in the 70's & 80's lets loose with a brand new tune that you sound 100% WCS but at times is so, so, Cha Cha!  AND, the ending gives a guy a chance to drop his dance partner back into a nice dip for a great ending!   Gino was also seen by a friend at River Rock Casino and she reports back that he was absolutely fabulous.

 

Samba - Shakira with Wyclef Jean - "Hips don't lie".  The video has Shakira doing quite enticing belly dancing moves which has spawned lots of people on the net to make mini clips of their own showing off their moves!  

 

Country 2-step - The Road Hammers - "Girl on the Billboard" - Another Canadian group from Alberta shows its stuff with a red hot Country 2 that's all over the radio & TV.  Another song off the same album is a great re-do of an older song "East Bound & Down".   If you don't Country 2-step, then you may want to Jive to it!   As a country 2-step it's just about as fast as a 2-stepper would want to, but it's sure one song you don't want to sit out!   And if you're a banjo fan you'll just love it more, if you aren't it's really tasty banjo playing!  If you love these guys, they're playing at the PNE in August.

 

Country 2-step - Poco - "Rose of Cimarron" - One of the most beautiful slower Country 2-step songs you'll ever find.  Ever watch some country 2-steppers and notice that many have great moves but a lot of the time the moves just blend in a whirlwind of motion?  What's so nice about this song is that it has a slightly Jive feel, and because it is slower you can feel the music better.   There is no rush, you can really feel the "quick quick, slow slow", and great music makes you dance better!   The only downside is that it's a very long song taken to the ending, so you need to edit it to 4 1/2 minutes. 

 

Waltz - Dolly Parton - "Sandy's Song" - "So you think you can Dance" used this song for one of the waltz routines.  A very pretty song with an ending that is really nice and gives the guy ample time to do a fabulous graceful ending. 

 

Foxtrot - Edith Piaf - "Chanson D'Amour" - WOW and old classic redone with the Manhattan Transfer doing terrific harmonies.  Foxtrot doesn't get much better than this, with all due regards to Michael Buble and Rod Stewart!

 

Foxtrot - Manhattan Transfer - "In a Mellow Tone" - The tempo is a little faster than the one above.  This has a slightly jazzy feel.  Pretty tune with a sophisticated feel.

 

Rumba - George Benson - "This Masquerade" - Truly a most beautiful song with an incredibly tasty arrangement.  And if you're an audiophile with great speakers you'll really appreciate how well recorded this song is.   If you don't know George Benson, he's famous for playing the same notes he sings, let me tell you that's really really hard to do with the level of skill and finesse he has!   Three minutes and 18 seconds of pure romance!

 

And for something a little different - Richard Harris - "McArthur Park" - Written by the incredible Jimmy Webb who offered it to "The Association" who rejected it.  Webb recorded the orchestral parts then got Richard Harris to sing on it.  At 7 minutes 29 seconds it's long you may think it long for a dance song, but it's easily danceable!   The song has different tempo's I'd try a slightly fast Night Club 2-step for the first 2 1/2 minute section, then the next two minutes is a very beautiful slow rumba ending at 4:50, at which point it changes to a fabulous Jive.  At 6:20 it slows down completely back to the Night Club 2-step, then it slows down and at 6:55 would be a great place for a really energetic lead to lift his partner off the floor and do a slow spin dropping back and back to a Night Club 2-step.   At 7:08 the lead would stop and simply spin his partner for 7 seconds to finally end in a graceful dip.

 

Night Club 2-step - Shania Twain - "When you kiss me".   Do we dance simply to dance or does a really great song inspire better dancing?   The latter I hope for all of us.    This song is a little sappy maybe, but guys, I have a hunch your dance partner would never say no to a song this pretty.   Songs like this are a must for your collection because they are the perfect speed, have a perfect ending you to apply a graceful ending.   How many songs do we end where the song hasn't finished and we're walking our partner off the floor?  Guys, when we have a song like this it gives us room to use the full 4 minutes & eight seconds to give our partner a chance to savor every last second of the beautiful music, rather than break off and walk her back to her table during the last beats of the song! 

 

West Coast Swing - Salt-N-Pepa - "The Brick Track versus Gitty Up".  If you're familiar with Pink Floyd you'll recognize this as "Another Brick in the Wall Pt 1"  right away, but don't let that scare you, this is a really really cute re-do of that song.   You only wish that every West Coast Swing song your hear at dances in the lower mainland was this good!   The only thing that would make this song better would be accents & breaks!

 

West Coast Swing - BBMak - "Back Here" - Here's one of those songs that no one should ever sit down to because they don't know what to do.   I've listed this as WCS simply because it has that wonderful "up & down the slot" feel a great WCS should have.   BUT WAIT!   It's also great to Disco Rock, Rumba, Cha Cha and Triple Step to if you don't WCS!   Want to spruce up your dance a bit?   Listen to the song beforehand and work out something cool to do with the first 33 seconds, because that's where this song really starts.  Guys, keep it interesting for the ladies!   And it gets better around 2:07 when there's a change in the music for you to play with and come out of at 2:18 for 3:39 of exquisite fun!

 


August 30 2006 email

 

Night Club 2-step - Josh Groban - "You raise me up"  - WOW, opens with a violin, and I ain't no fiddle fan, but this is hauntingly beautiful.   Leads, the first 55 seconds is very quiet and contemplative, why not get your partner on the floor and set the mood by just swaying, and start NC2 when he starts singing.  Don't just dance by rote, because the tempo will slow now & then, it'll get quiet, then build to a crescendo, then quiet down with the possibility of a slow cuddle dance at the very end.   Make the most of this song, it's must in your dance collection.

 

Cha Cha - Earth Wind & Fire - "Sing a song" - EW&F has been a favorite band of mine for 30 years - these guys have rhythm, and even though this song is from 1978, it's age doesn't show.   If you don't know EW&F, think tasty horn arrangements, tight rhythm section, great vocals

 

Single Rhythm Jive - Asleep at the Wheel - "Bump Bounce Boogie" - I grew up on Boogie Woogie listening to my dad's old 78's and when I took piano lessons guess what I liked to play?  This song is really cute, starts off with a great piano intro, horns just like the 1940's style arrangements, and great vocals.   If you're sitting down when this is played and you don't feel like dancing, you need to turn your hearing aid up!

 

Rumba - 911 - "A Little bit more" - Remember this old Dr Hook song?  Well their "old" version was slower - not bad for an almost too fast Night Club 2-step.   Compare the two and you'll instantly prefer this one.  It's better recorded, fuller sound, 911's breathed fresh life back into this number, just like great musicians should!  

 


September 11 2006 email

 

Salsa - Frankie Negron - "Mi Mulata" - Because you know some salsa moves doesn't mean you need to be stuck dancing to music that has the beat, but not the enchantment.  What's nice about this song is that it's pretty cute which places it high on my list of "must dance to" songs, but also that the beat is more straight and easy to follow that many salsa tunes.  And even if you're a seasoned pro that's always a welcome bonus!   The beat is slower than much salsa music and at 4:17 playing time you can get a lot of fun dancing in!

 

Salsa - Fruko Y Sus Tesos - "Cachondea" - If you think you're a salsa master and want to step up the heat a bit then try this one out.   Beat is faster than the previous song, and the rhythm less straight forward, and at 4:57 in length, "salsa heat" will have a whole new meaning!   Cute song, with typical Latin rhythms interjected here & there that will really give your sense of timing a good workout!

 

Rumba - Phil Collins - "Another day in Paradise" - So sue me I'm biased.   I cut my musical teeth on Genesis, Yes, Led Zepplin, and tons of British artists.   Phil Collins you may know him as a silky smooth pop artist who writes "lovely tunes".   In reality he's an incredible drummer bar none, became the Genesis lead singer when Peter Gabriel left, and also heads a jazz band that he likes to dabble with.   But thanks to us he also writes great songs that enjoy a lot of radio play.   While the lyrics are about a "down & outer", this is truly a really beautiful great rumba. 

 

Slow dance / Night Club 2-step - Phil Collins - "Separate ways" - Breakup song, just ignore the lyrics, and beneath it all is a really beautiful powerful song!  As a Night Club 2-step it's about as slow a tempo as you'd want.  The first 50 seconds are slow dance material as is the last 40 seconds.   Any song of this tempo means one thing - generous use of your dance floor during the Night Club 2-step portion.  That means your slides to the sides will be extended and graceful!

 

Jive - Phil Collins - "Two Hearts" - When I first heard this song I thought it was a remake of someone else's 60's song but it was actually co-written by a guy named Lamont Dozier who was in part responsible for writing songs for many Motown artists.  This is a perfect example of a great great Jive.  Mostly I'd prefer to Single Rhythm Jive to this and put a little more "swing" into my body motion because as a Jive it's a little slower than some, but the beat!   WOW.   3:24 of dance bliss!   What else makes this song so infectious?   The underlying triple rhythm.  And if you've got energy to spare like a couple of my dance partners this is one spirited Triple Rhythm Jive!


September 15 2006 email

 

Merenge - Elvis Crespo - "Tu Sonrisa" - Not too fast, not too slow, still this excellent example of merenge is a great practice song.   Starts out with the beat half the regular speed for 25 seconds, however that just gives you time to get on the floor and into a dance hold!

 

West Coast Swing - Mark Knopfler - "Wag The Dog" - Mark is the brains and genius guitarist that you'd know better as the founder of Dire Straits.   The first 10 seconds start off with an off beat rhythm guitar that might throw you until you hear the bass guitar lead you in, then you know for sure that this is one dynamite WCS.   It has some really great breaks in it that should make you want to stop and play a bit.  Really cute song running 4:42

 

Foxtrot / practice Country 2-step - Tim McGraw - "Back When"  - Even if you don't like country you should love this song.   Lyrics are about how "things used to be"   Upbeat and a really pretty tune.  And if you're the sort who likes good country, this song will make you stand proud and wanna strut cowboy style. 

 

Rumba - Laura Pausini - "It's Not Goodbye" - Simply beautiful song.   Think Toni Braxton (Un-break my heart) similar song writing similar orchestration, with a voice closer to Celine Dion.   Who's Laura Pausini?   A beautiful Italian singer with no accent, who hangs out with the likes of Ray Charles, Marc Anthony, our own Michael Buble, who also won a 2006 Grammy award for best Latin Pop album "Escucha"

 

Foxtrot / slowdance / practice Country 2-step - Brooks and Dunn - "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone".  If you've ever been an Eagles fan and yearn for the days when they wrote great songs like "Peaceful Easy Feeling" you're going to be in instant heaven with this song.  As you can tell from the title, it's kind of a break-up song, but who cares, when the song is this pretty.   If you don't Foxtrot or Country 2-step, then grab your partner, chuck those ballroom lessons aside for 4:52 and simply enjoy a romantic beautiful slow dance.

 


October 1 2006 email

 

Rumba - Antonio Vega - "Estaciones" - WOW, this is a beautiful song.  Listen to the rhythm of this song and it's not hard to hear the Latin Salsa influence.  Indeed, you could dance Salsa to it, and it would be the kind of Salsa that has an "easy to find the one" beat.  However the melody line pegs it as rumba even though the lyrics aren't sung in English, you'll want to feel sexy & Latin and Rumba into the sunset

 

Salsa - Aterciopelados - "El Album" - If you've been waiting for one of the sexiest and prettiest salsa songs ever heard, well this is it!  No English lyrics, so you can simply concentrate on your dancing.  This is a slower Salsa, but that's perfect for working on your Cuban motion.

 

Waltz - Cait Agus Sean - "Flying" - First heard on "So you think you can dance", this is a beautiful waltz.   Think Enya and you have an idea of what you're going to get.  Enya would make me fall asleep during a ride at the PNE, but this song will want you to pull out all the stops in 3/4 fashion!

 

Triple Rhythm Jive - The Drifters - "Gonna move across the river".   Do you remember George Thorogood's "Move it on over"?   Well that's a harder, faster Triple step.   Sounds to me like these guys re-vamped George's song a bit.   Honky tonk piano exceptionally well played, a more refined song, a solid, slower triple rhythm makes this a great Jive to have in your collection.

 

Salsa - Azucar Moreno - "El Amor" - this is a really great song, really catchy tune, but more than that is that it's relentless and intense!   This is one of those really cool songs with sharp attacks occasionally you can play with, quiet parts which build to the relentless & intense sections.  Highly recommended!

 


Can you do Swing & Ballroom to "The Beatles" - you bet!   If you're a strict Ballroom dancer and go to a wedding you're going to have a really boring time unless you learn how to adapt your dancing skills to the real world.   For the following songs you'd never find me sitting down!

 

Single Rhythm Jive

    Rock and Roll music

    She loves you

    I saw her standing there

    Roll over Beethoven

    Help!

    Can't buy me Love

    She's a Woman

 

Rumba

    In My Life, but please check out this one too "Chantal Kreviazuk - In My Life" as it's really nice and better recorded.

    Yesterday - this is the most recorded song of all time, rumba would be the appropriate dance for it although it just doesn't have that "sexy" feel to it.  Elvis Presley has a much nicer rumba version, and Cheo Feliciano has a great salsa version!

 

Triple Rhythm Jive - don't always expect a strong triple rhythm beat if you want to dance to a great song!  The difference is this.   A "real" Triple Rhythm has a very strong "one" beat like Ringo Starr's fabulous "You're sixteen".  But I also love a mild triple step as in CCR's "Cotton Fields".  

    Nowhere man

    I want to hold your hand - fast for a triple step for some people, but your alternative is to do the "high school shake" or just stay sitting down to a cute tune.

    Twist & shout

    Revolution - "heavy" song but nice triple step

    Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da - another real triple rhythm

    Day Tripper - straight rhythm, but triple serves it up just fine!

    Get Back

    8 days a week

    Birthday

    Drive my car

 

Foxtrot

    Love me Do

    Michelle - a really nice foxtrot for sure

 

Night Club 2-step - If you're a Beatles fan this is probably as good as it gets for NC 2-step!

    The long and winding road

    Let it be

Viennese Waltz

    Norwegian Wood

 


 

Remember Peter Frampton?  Mid 70's?   Oddly enough his "Comes Alive" album was his big seller and is still the third biggest selling album of all time.   However people "in the know" all know that his very best album was the one that dealt with his marriage breakup and was called "Framptons Camel".  

 

Night Club 2-step - Peter Frampton - "Just the time of year".   Sappy, beautiful, soulful, just the type of song you want to listen to after a big breakup!  Or like me, when you just love to listen to a great song that might be fun to dance to!

 

Foxtrot - Guy Mitchell - "Singing The Blues".  Although originally a Marti Robbins song, Guy's version of this in the mid 50's pretty defines a great foxtrot, albeit an up-tempo one! 

 

Foxtrot - Henry Mancini - "The Pink Panther Theme".  Fabulously recorded, and we all know about the Pink Panther movies and Inspector Clouseau, so step onto the floor with an "air of international intrigue" and strut your stuff!

 

Cha Cha - Shocking Blue - "Venus" - Folks forget about the Bananarama version and the short Stars on 45 version, this is the REAL thing.  And forget about looking for a hard core "cha cha" rhythm, the only place you'll find it is in the rhythm guitar!   This song has the cuteness & play that only a great cha cha can deliver! 

 

Cha Cha / WCS / Triple Rhythm Jive - The Pointer Sisters - "He's So Shy" - I just LOVE songs like this.   Some may say this isn't a real triple step because it's not present in the rhythm section, but it's there plain as day in the keyboards and the melody line, PLUS all you have to do is think of the moves you do on a triple step and this song has a wonderful feel when dancing it as a Triple Rhythm Jive.   Second it is a West Coast Swing partly because of the speed, and partly because of the just mentioned triple rhythm feel quality it has.   Lastly it's a great Cha Cha.  Just listen to the beginning, there are three drum beats starting on a "2" count.   If you catch it in time you're ready to start on the "1" beat when the music starts.  And what a great Cha Cha, perky (the slightly staccato instrumentation), playful because of the cute lyrics and rhythm, this is just one of those all time great songs everyone loves.  WOW!

 


 

Cool Songs - how about some Swango?   Mediocre dance music is everywhere, Great Swango songs are hard to find.   Even the songs that are recommended as Swango have odd tempo's or are plain boring, or in the case of one recommended song Deborah Morgan's - Dance with me, that's not Swango in my opinion.   It's not sexy, it's too fast, and it's 100% Cha Cha and a darned good one at that.   So I start this off with a Cha Cha just to set the record straight! 

Cha Cha - Deborah Morgan - "Dance with Me".   And to sum it up, even songs recommended as Swango are typically well over 4 1/2 minutes long, this one is 3:46.  End of story

Swango - Celine Dion - "Falling into you".  Some might call this a slow dance, some might even rumba to it, and it's a nice rumba, and I have no doubt that a die-hard West Coast Swinger would WCS to it, but listen to the song, just LISTEN to it and imagine a couple dancing this song as a Swango in a darkened room, and think about the title "Falling into you", the lyrics "catch me, don't let me drop" "so close your eyes and let me kiss you", think about dipping, ladies back kicks, and all the ultimate sexiness of a slow WCS, and this almost becomes an X-rated dance to a truly beautiful song.   If you're into choreography, at 1:37 is a place where you could add something really special.  This would be a great show song

Swango - Jack Johnson - "Sexi Plexi" - This is a really cute song and one of Robyn's favorite's I believe.  Very sparse instrumentation, and really short at 2:07, which for a beginner Swango dancer is probably perfect!

Swango - John Mayer - "Your body's a wonderland" - This is a great song, the speed, the backbeat rhythm on the rhythm guitar, around 2:40 it quiets down, and kicks back in at 3:14 giving you an opportunity to simply your dance then time it to the music at 3:14 and "kick it all into gear again".  It's 4:09 long, the title and lyrics fit the sexiness quota for Swango to a tee!

Swango - Tina Turner - "Golden Eye" - somehow the idea of mysterious James Bond intrepid world traveler and Swango makes perfect sense, and this song has the speed, a great tune, and Tina Turner at her age is still an eye-turner for many(!), with a fabulous voice.   I know of three versions of this.   There is a long version that is 4:16, the last 40 seconds being the time it takes for the song to die out.  There is a version that is called "Urban Mix", which could be Swango'd to, but I'd Disco Rock to it or do Street Hustle, so the version you want has a proper ending and is 3:33!

Swango - Sverre Indris Jona - "Felino" - I overheard a conversation the other day and someone mentioned Swango and accordion in the same sentence, and it's true that many songs touted as Swango have accordion because of their Argentine Tango heritage.  I've known many accordion players and the only ones that openly admit they know how to play the instrument is my mom and Weird Al!  Of all the Swango songs this one is a classic.   It's got a great melody, a really great accordion line, it's spooky & eerie, incredibly orchestrated (musically really interesting), and a Swango every dancer NEEDS to dance to!  If this song doesn't make you dance Swango at least 30% better I don't know what will.   It's 4:43 which when you get in the "Swango" mood and all 12 cylinders are kicked in will still seem short when the song abruptly ends!


November 5 2006 email

Cool songs you can use with multiple dance steps!

 

Let's face it, dance teachers teach you using proper music for your cha cha, proper music with a hard core triple rhythm for triple step, and if you're an International dancer you'll be doing every dance at a speed that is "perfect tempo".   That's OK for some, especially beginners (my opinion!), but there's too much great music that can be danced to also that unfortunately is totally neglected by everyone, and that's not what you get to dance to in real night life. 

 

Now to some great tunes most of which you can WCS / Cha Cha / Street Hustle / Disco Rock / Triple Step

 

Bryan Adams - "Cloud Number 9" - This is such a good song, I absolutely love it as a West Coast Swing, the rhythm and feel is simply unbelievable.

 

_NSYNC - "I want you back" - When you're finished laughing about dancing to a "boy band" aka Back Street Boys, you'll find this a really cute engaging song.   The song is 3:21 and at about 2:25 the rhythm changes, but if you know the song, it's a place where you can slip in a bit of Night club 2-step till 2:37!

 

Cliff Richard - "Devil Woman" - This old 70's song is maybe a little fast for Street Hustle for some, but it's so well recorded and so catchy it's a must have for me!

 

Michael McDonald - "I heard it through the grapevine" - OK, so most guy have little use for McDonald and other crooners like Michael Boulton, but this is a great re-do of the dated old CCR song.  First of all it's a little slower and better recorded.

 

Fantastic Shakers - "Something said love" - This is one band I totally love, same as there's nothing Lou Bega I don't like!  I'd love to see him in concert because he has such a great attitude personality wise and musically.  But Fantastic Shakers have some really fabulous Triple Step music, one of the best Single Rhythm Jive's I've ever danced to - get my drift yet?   This tune is incredibly cute, not to mention a beautiful recording.   Get it now! 

 

Olivia Newton-John - "Magic" - Maybe a little slow for Cha Cha and Triple Step, but this old goody is perfect for WCS, Disco Rock & Street Hustle.  You'll love her beautiful voice, pretty song, catchy arrangements

 


 

This is one of those songs that's good for a lot of dance styles.   It's one of the catchiest Country tunes I've heard in a while, so I thought I'd share it with you.  I'm positive that even if you don't like Country music you'll love this song because it's got great rhythm.   It starts very simply with guitar, drums & a vocal to a guitar riff lifted directly from the original "Batman" theme and yet doesn't seem a bit corny!   At 43 seconds the whole band kicks in.   At 3:45 the song is cute enough you may wish it wouldn't end!

 

Point of interest.   If this song was played at a country bar such as Boone County, you'll find dancers doing primarily West Coast Swing and Country Triple Two (a dance no one seems to teach around here, but that'll change in 2007!), however it's a perfect example of a Country Cha Cha, and despite no hard core triple rhythm, I'd love to triple step to it anyways because the tempo's perfect.  

 

Billy Dean - "That girl's been spyin' on me"

 


November 17 2006 email

 

I darn near fell off my horse when I heard this incredible song!  The only problem I have with this song is it's too short even at 3:56.   Simply beautiful orchestration, perfectly recorded, excellent acoustic guitar.  You'll recognize this as a re-done version of "A Man without Love" by Englebert Humperdinck.  This is much much better and much more "Latiny" when sun in Italian!

 

Andrea Bocelli - "Cuando Me Enamoro (Quando M'Innamoro)"

 


December 16 2006 email

 

When you think of Jive, it's not hard to think of 50's music, but for me, much of the 50's music left a lot to be desired!   Here's a few tunes that really tap my feet.  The beauty of these songs, especially the last two is that dancing can be more than just getting on the floor and pounding out your moves by rote and muscle memory.  Music can also give you opportunity to express yourself and really react to the music in a way that's uniquely yours.

 

Doug & The Slugs - "Chinatown Calculation" - Doug passed away in 2006, but this great tune will last forever, this song is pure fun!

 

Hank Williams, Jr. - "Born To Boogie" - This is a great tune, don't let the name Hank Williams fool you, this doesn't sound country one bit.   First it's musically interesting - not just a 3 chord song, second these guys can play better than most of the stuff recorded in the 50's, there's some great horn stuff, AND for dance people, there's musical stuff you can play with if you know the tune!

 

J. Geils Band - "Freeze-Frame" - Talk about play time!   This song is worth while working out a dance routine to because it has so much fun stuff to work with! 


Really nice waltz's are hard to find.   First they make up a small percentage of all songs composed, and then some are too slow, or too fast, it's like the "Three Bears", few seem to be "just right".  

 

Unless someone takes a great song, mellows it out, grinds it to the correct speed and turns it into a ballroom music strict tempo song!   Then rather than having a lovely banana split with all the fixin's, you have an ice cream sundae with whipped cream - but at proper tempo - And that's why it's hard for me to find a lot of really inspiring authentic ballroom music for my dances. 

 

This is more an in-between song.   While a "standard" waltz is 30 beats per minute, and a Viennese is 60 beats per minute, this one is somewhat in between at about 47.  Is it this?   Is it that?   Who really cares?   It's an awfully pretty song with nice lyrics that deserves to be danced to.  

 

Here's another way of looking at it.  It's a practice Viennese, OR for those who don't know Viennese but want to play house and think they are, they can do a regular waltz simply faster!  

 

I call it using your dance skills to dance to real music!   Have fun with it.

 

Lifehouse - "You and me"


Christmas dance songs - What I don't like is "just another Christmas song done just like it's always been done".   So here are some great tunes you can actually dance to!

 

Bon Jovi - "Please Come Home For Christmas" - A very nice Night Club 2-step.

 

Boney M - "Mary´s Boy child" - Boney M still plays at places like the Commodore, and many consider them as catchy as ABBA.   This is a really nice Disco Rock or Street Hustle

 

Clay Walker - "Blue Christmas" - Somehow the Country flavor this guy gives this song, just fits great.   A really nice Foxtrot

 

George Strait - "Christmas Cookies" - Country is offensive, and the lyrics on great tunes can be deadly cute, puns & all, and this song is no different.   This is a really nice Country 2-step

 

Hilary Duff - "Last Christmas" - The slightly heavier bass on this really cute tune give it an exceptional West Coast Swing.  BUT WAIT!   It's also a great cha cha, or Triple Rhythm Jive, or Disco Rock OR Street Hustle.  

 

Jewel - "Oh Holy Night" - If you used to think that Jewel was some little teenie bopper singer, then get this song QUICK.   It's very easy for singers to put vibrato on their voices and they can get away with singing off key a bit, but she sings a lot of this straight, which requires absolute pitch.   A really beautiful arrangement of an old tired classic.   This could be considered one of those triple rhythm Night Club 2-steps, but it's almost (for the International crowd), a perfect temp Viennese, with some tempo changes.

 

Vince Gill - "What Child Is This" - A really nice remake of this song into a great waltz.  This guy has a great voice perfect for music like this


My day is made when I discover great new tunes to dance to!  Expect these at my Jan 20 dance for sure!

 

Single Rhythm Jive - Colin James - "Cadillac Baby" - What can you say about guys like this?  This is absolutely perfect Jive music.  Infectious, 50's style music better recorded, big band sound with all that brass you just have to love, a boogie woogie rhythm, and a great break to play with at 1:55.  At the end you have from 3:00 to 3:10 to lead your lady in spins & stuff till the end of the song and unlike some songs where you don't know how long the musicians are going to take to end the song, this one's pretty straight forward.  This guys a fabulous guitarist but he plays it tasty.  If this doesn't make you want to get up and boogie then maybe your hearing aid is turned down!  At 3:10 I say "play it again Sam"!

 

Night Club 2-step - Christina Aguilera - El Baso Del Final - From the Dirty Dancing Havana Nights sound track, this song has everything you need.   Incredible arrangements, Latin to the 9's, (not a word of English is sung), and a really pretty song.  From 4:20 to the end 4:35 is a "backbeat" rhythm guitar that ends this song beautifully (try Robyn's sway move and just take the sways slower and slower as the song ends).   If you don't know Chirstina Aguilera think of any of the great female singers like Celine or Barbara Streisand, and add a bit of the vocal styling's of the greatest R&B singers - her vocal technique is amazing & perfect.  At 4:35 this is a slightly fast, but powerful, Night Club 2-step.

 


Music for Street Hustle can be used for one of my favorite dances - Disco Rock.  You'll never see Disco Rock being taught anywhere - like Country Triple 2.   Too bad they're really great social dances.

 

But if you're having a tough time with the "and ONE, two three" count of Street Hustle, then here's two simply fabulous, catchy songs you MUST have!   First, one of my old 70's favorites is by a group called Raydio, and the second is from a guy you all may know "Ray Parker Jr" who wrote the "Ghostbusters" song.  Ray Parker Jr was the main composer in Raydio.

 

Raydio - "You Can't Change That" - To get your Street Hustle under control so you can get a real good hang of the "and ONE" count and push apart, you need two things, the first being a really good reason to learn Street Hustle, and that would mean you need great music that you can't sit down to, and secondly something slow enough that you have room to execute your moves!   This is it - solid gold for 3:24!  

 

Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio - "Jack And Jill" - This song has a rhythm so sweet it's unbelievable!  Beautifully recorded, it's as fresh today as 20 years ago!  And like those TV advertisements where the guy goes "but wait, there's more...", indeed there is!   This is folks, 4:30 of dance joy, better than that, it's one of those great tunes that you can do other dances to - in "my" preferred order Disco Rock, West Coast Swing, Triple Rhythm Jive & lastly Cha Cha!   In other words there's no reason to sit down!

 


January 30 2007 email

 

Here's a couple of tunes I played at last years Valentines Dance.  What makes a great Valentines Dance song?  Appropriately romantic lyrics and a beautiful melody and don't tell me you don't like Country because that just means you haven't heard really great Country Music!   Maybe these will change your mind!

 

Rumba - Alan Jackson - "I'll Go On Loving You" - Really beautiful Country song and excellent rumba.  Gorgeous musical arrangements, this song is a 3:59 jewel.  You'd hardly know this was a country song because the fiddles have been replaced with orchestral violins giving it a grandeur sound.  Here's a couple fabulous songs.

 

Waltz - Clint Black - "When I Said I Do" - Probably somewhere is a Ballroom dance CD that's redone this song at exactly 30 beats per minute because it's absolutely one of the most beautiful waltz songs ever written.   However there is absolutely no way anyone else could sing like Clint Black, nor would the exquisite beauty of the songs arrangement remain intact.   So, that means I'll take this one at 35 bpm in a heart beat.  The first 22 seconds gives you time to get your dance partner to the floor and simply sway because the meat & gravy starts at 23 seconds!  The song is 4:30 long, and be prepared for 3:44 because the waltz part gently stops - maybe go into a slow dance, with a nice ending about 4:20

 


February 2 2007 email

 

I've been playing these two songs regularly because they are two of the most beautiful waltz's ever written, and are incredibly orchestrated.  Songs this great make you wish you had a fistful of fabulous waltz dance steps. 

 

Neil Diamond - "Play Me" - Starts with a pretty guitar intro, adds vocals, then builds from there.  Wonderful violin arrangements and a beautiful acoustic guitar solo, great lyrics, this is one waltz that should be a staple of every dance environment.  At 3:51 you're left wishing it could last a little longer.  At about 36 bpm it's not exactly standard 30 bpm ballroom speed, but you'd hardly notice it the song is that fabulous!  For a guy who sang in his school choir with Barbara Streisand and went to New York University on a fencing scholarship, I'm glad that that he switched to music for his career!

 

Roch Voisine - "I'll Always Be There" - Canadian born, this is a simply majestic waltz, and wow, can this guy sing.  Stunningly beautiful arrangements, I absolutely love the piano solo in the middle.  At 52 bpm this is a Viennese Waltz I can do without having to stop for a breather in this breathtaking 4:33 of waltz gold.  The ending gives you time to apply a nice ending to your dance routine.   Don't you dare just walk off the floor without a grand ending flourish this song allows you!  Want to something a little more interesting?   During the song at about 2:50 the song builds to a short stop at 2:57.   Simply just stop your dance there & hold, then at 2:59 start again right on the beat!  You could also do this at 3:16 to 3:19 to add a little variety and interest to your dance.

 


February 7 2007 email

 

Triple Rhythm Jive to me comes in many flavors.   Those with a strong triple provided by the bass & drums (easy to identify), progressing to those that have the triple evident only in the vocal line or a rhythm instrument such as a strummed guitar, to those that you might WCS to but still "just love that Triple Step dance".   There are also Triple Steps where the accent is on the "one" and "three" beat, and Triple Steps where the accent is on the "back beat" which is the "two" and "four" beat.  Both of these are exceptional songs.

 

Abba - "I do, I do, I do" - appropriate for Valentines Day, this catchy tune has an easy swing to it making it a great candidate for those Triple Step moves that need a little more time to execute.  There are a swack of songs that have the accent on "one" and "three" like this one.

 

Collin James - "Let's Shout" - Here's a perfect example of a definative Triple Rhythm Jive with a solid triple with a back beat - accent on "two" and "four".   This beat has also been popularized by The Blues Brothers, Powder Blues Band, and Downchild Blues band, but much of their Triple Rhythm is pretty fast and you have to dance Single Rhythm Jive to them.   This song however is perfect in every way.  Big Band, infectious beat, catchy tune, and a great guitar solo that isn't excessive. 

 


February 28 2007 email

 

Waltz - Josh Groban - "February Song" - This is the latest hit from this 25 year old great singer.  The song is beautifully orchestrated produced by the venerable David Foster who's been very prominent in Josh's career.  Where some great singers sing songs picked out for them by others, this one was actually co-written by Josh Groban and Five for Fighting.   This is one of those songs that starts quiet, builds then dies down again.  The effect is very, very powerful.  At 48 bpm this is much faster that 30 bpm ballroom waltz's and slower than 60 bpm Viennese, but who cares?   It's a gorgeous song that is pure 5:12 of dance joy!

 

Rumba - Five for Fighting - "If God made you" - Sultry beautiful song with one of the best lines in the business "If God made you, he's in love with me"! 

 

It's one thing to learn dance moves by the armload, and then pull them off machine gun style on the dance floor, but is that really fun?   Where's the challenge?  I'll harp at this to the bitter end, "give me great music" AND if I'm lucky, something with a challenge!  Try this out for size, but listen for the tempo changes and try to follow them to a tee!   Now that requires real dance skill.


February 26 2007 email

 

Viennese - Andre Rieu - "The Second Waltz" - This drop dead beautiful song is real Viennese for all you International buffs, maybe 62 bpm overall, but at 1:30, 1:48, 2:18, and 3:00 the tempo slows noticeably.  Believe me when I say this doesn't sound like a typical re-done Ballroom music.   It's a glorious classical tune that is right out of the 18th century - no guitar, no electric bass, no sit down drummer.   Viennese does work up a sweat for some, and that's probably why so many Ballroom Viennese are 1:30 - 2:30 in length, which, if it's a song you just love is eons too short, but this one clocks in at 3:41.  Just put an extra battery in your pacemaker and go for it, and hope that the next song is a rumba!

 

 

It's Country 2-step time for all you country fans.   We've been out to a few country bars around Vancouver, and here's my synopsis.   Roosters has the best floor despite the occasional shard of glass, but we usually get there early and they don't mind us sweeping their floor for them.   I also prefer the Country bands at Roosters.  However, most nights of the week we become outnumbered by the younger generation round about 9:00-9:30pm any given night.   No problem, by that time we've got our dance practice in.  Roosters also has drink specials almost every day of the week that are quite yummy, and helps oil the joints!   This is not a conversation dance with equal rights to both partners, no sir, this is a dictatorship!  This is a dance for a lady who loves turning, and is willing to give complete trust to her partner because much of the time she could be traveling at breakneck speed going backwards!   I love this dance and great country music to dance to!  Ladies, if you want excellent practice on turns and spins forcing you to travel in a straight line this is a dance you need to get serious with!  Want a reason to learn how to spot, this is THE dance that'll keep you focused on the line of dance!

 


March 26 2007 email

 

Country 2-step - Lonestar - "Amie"  - 94 bmp - Remember this old Pure Prairie League song?  I liked it back then (70's) and I love it better now.  The original seems quite tame now.   This version is a bit faster, better recorded, with stronger accents and is simply a perfect Country 2-step bar none.  I like how it slow builds and at 46 seconds the drums step it up a notch to make life more interesting. 

 

Country 2-step - Faith Hill - Bed Of Roses - 84 bmp - This is at the slower end of 2-step and is a great practice tune but still a great song for the dance floor.  Another exceptionally arranged song, with the typical fiddle & steel guitar thrown in. 

 

For me, what defines a great dance song is something that has a great melody line, musically interesting, is beautifully recorded, a musical hook you can hang a winter coat on, and inspires great dancing.  The following tune is from a Canadian Glenn Lewis.  He originally wanted a career in animation, but chose music, thank goodness!   His strongest influence is Stevie Wonder, and that shows in the way he sings, but this tune is 100% original.

 

Night Club 2-step - Glenn Lewis - "Fall Again" - The songs starts simply with acoustic guitar & drums, and builds, and you just know there's something special going on here.  He's got a voice like one of the Backstreet Boys, exceedingly pleasant, with excellent vocal technique.  But it's the sum total of everything, beautiful chord changes, fabulous orchestration, louder parts, quieter parts, this song is a musical tour de force for me, and I must dance to it.   The music hits a crescendo at 3:50 and as it quietens down you know the end at 4:19 is coming and you can't help but think "oh no, please don't end yet!"   Expect it at my April 21 dance!

 


April 1 2007 email

 

Here's an exceptional song from a 35 year old Quebec singer Garou (real name is Pierre Garand).  Currently he's been managed by Celine & Rene, thus this duet.   I've included both sets of lyrics as the song is sung in French which after reading the English lyrics and following the song along, seem the appropriate choice and certainly sexier!  What does his voice sound like?   Think Joe Cocker in French(!), except his delivery and style are much more refined.

 

Night Club 2-step - Garou & Céline Dion - "Sous Le Vent" - The opening sounds similar to Foreigner's "Waiting for a girl like you" (Rumba), but opens into a nice guitar intro and builds from there.  Garou and Celine trade off verses.   This song "is a dialogue between two ex-lovers who are marking a pause and are on good terms", and the lyrics are very nice and for some may help understand the nature of the song while dancing, but the music is stunningly beautiful just by itself with naturally fabulous arrangements similar to all the other great songs Celine's brought us in the past. 

 

Under the Wind lyrics

 

Et si tu crois que j'ai eu peur
C'est faux
Je donne des vacances à mon coeur
Un peu de repos
Et si tu crois que j'ai eu tort
Attends
Respire un peu le souffle d'or
Qui me pousse en avant
Et

And if you think I was afraid 
That's not true 
I'm giving some vacation to my heart
A bit of rest
And if you think I was wrong
Wait
Breath a bit the golden wind
That pushes me ahead
And

Fais comme si j'avais pris la mer
J'ai sorti la grand voile
Et j'ai glissé sous le vent
Fais comme si je quittais la terre
J'ai trouvé mon étoile
Je l'ai suivie un instant
(Sous le vent)

Do as if I've taken the sea
I took out the large sail 
And I slipped under the wind
Do as if I was leaving Earth
I found my star
I followed it for a while
(Under the wind)

Et si tu crois que c'est fini
Jamais
C'est juste une pause un répit
Après les dangers

And if you think it's over
Never
It's just a pause a break
After the dangers

Et si tu crois que je t'oublie
Écoute
Ouvre ton corps aux vents de la nuit
Ferme les yeux
Et

And if you think I'm forgetting you
Listen
Open your body to the winds of the night
Close your eyes
And

Fais comme si j'avais pris la mer
J'ai sorti la grand voile
Et j'ai glissé sous le vent
Fais comme si je quittais la terre
J'ai trouvé mon étoile
Je l'ai suivie un instant
(Sous le vent)

Do as if I've taken the sea
I took out the large sail
And I slipped under the wind
Do as if I was leaving Earth
I found my star
I followed it for a while 
(Under the wind)

    Et si tu crois que c'est fini
Jamais
C'est juste une pause un répit
Après les dangers

And if you think it's over
Never
It's just a pause a break 
After the dangers

Fais comme si j'avais pris la mer
J'ai sorti la grand voile
Et j'ai glissé sous le vent
(j'ai glissé sous le vent)
Fais comme si je quittais la terre
J'ai trouvé mon étoile
Je l'ai suivie un instant

Do as if I've taken the sea
I took out the large sail
And I slipped under the wind
Do as if I was leaving Earth
I found my star
I followed it for a while 
(Under the wind)

Fais comme si j'avais pris la mer
J'ai sorti la grand voile
Et j'ai glissé sous le vent
Fais comme si je quittais la terre
J'ai trouvé mon étoile
Je l'ai suivie un instant
Sous le vent
Sous le vent

Do as if I've taken the sea
I took out the large sail
And I slipped under the wind
Do as if I was leaving Earth
I found my star
I followed it for a while
(Under the wind)
(Under the wind)

 


April 12 2007 email

She's only 5' 2 1/2" tall, 27, has a four octave vocal range, and has lately been making incredibly smart, danceable music.  Who is it?   Christina Aguilera.  

 

Single Rhythm Jive - Christina Aguilera - Candy Man - (click on song title for You Tube video).  Infectious, brilliant tune with a really cute video.   If it sounds familiar to you it's because it really does kind of sound like "Boogie woogie bugle boy from Company B"!  Possibly the video has a military theme because her father was a military officer.  No matter, just watching the video makes you want to get up and dance for the full 3:14.

 


April 23 2007 email

 

Here's a great Cha Cha from ABBA in 1981.  It's hard to believe that this tune didn't make it very high on the charts, hard to believe that the groups that re-do songs for ballrooms didn't pick it up, as it's a really catchy song with the "spark & playfulness" really great Cha Cha's share.  The following year ABBA broke up, a sad moment for ABBA fans!  Click on the song title and you'll be taken to YouTube where you can view a video of it been done to a Cha Cha line dance (56 count 2 wall line dance).   For those of you who were at the BJO dance April 21, and took Robyn's Triple Rhythm Jive lesson, this is a perfect way to see a nice "kick, ball, change" move!

 

Cha Cha - Abba - Head Over Heels - Why is this a Cha Cha when there is no rhythm instrument doing a "Cha Cha Cha"?   You know, from the playful catchy intro with the staccato accents!  This song is a great tune because, the first 7 seconds you can just get into dance hold and start right on "8" and stop when the music breaks on "27".  You have a 3 second break and you start dancing again on "30".   This break also occurs at 1:30 to 1:33, 2:28 to 2:32, and 2:45 to 2:48.   At 3:31 the song slowly fades to 3:48.


May 2 2007 email

 

Rumba - Jimmy Rankin - "Midnight Angel" - Recognize the name "Rankin".  He was one of two guys in the 5 member ensemble "Family Rankin".   This song is a departure from their regular material as it's off his solo album.   But it's a very pretty song and a nice rumba!  Ignore the video as someone's taken the music and put it to their own visuals!

 

Rumba - John Michael Montgomery - "This Little Girl" - If this song weren't so beautiful and sad it would be a fabulous rumba.   So I can't play this at my dances or Kleenex might be standard issue!

 


May 11 2007 email

 

Some of you may be now asking "what is Country Triple 2?  It's a circular (around the outside of the dance floor) dance that has a rhythm of "triple step, triple step, walk walk".   It's just that simple!   While you'll see it at every place that plays country music, it's not taught anywhere.   Yet!  Check it out because there are a lot of great tunes that use this dance style.  

 

Country Triple 2 - Brooks & Dunn - Mamma don't get dressed up for nothin' - You could Triple Rhythm Jive to it, but it really is a great Triple 2.   For me it doesn't have the "swing" of a West Coast Swing, although I suppose you could Cha Cha to it if you don't know Triple steps.   Cute song, cute lyrics.

 


May 17 2007 email

 

Rumba - Anne Lennox - "Why" - Possibly known better for her hits with "The Eurythmics", born in Scotland, classically trained in Britain as a flutist, plays piano, hailed as "The greatest white soul singer around", born Christmas day 1954, known for her humanitarian work, and watch for an upcoming album with duets with Mary J Bilge, Pink & Celine Dionne!   This song is lushly recorded, sadly beautiful, and for Rumba lovers clocks in at a fabulous 4:54!

 


May 22 2007 email

 

You may not recognize her name, but you'll recognize the big hit "You gotta be".   Des'ree's parents are from the Caribbean although she was raised in Britain.   Here's a couple of danceable songs from her.  First signed with Sony in 1991, this 39 year old's songs have been covered by artists such as Beyonce.

 

Street Hustle/Disco Rock - Des'ree - "Life"  - When you think of Street Hustle, KC & The Sunshine Band, ABBA, The Bee Gee's probably spring to mind, but here's a recent song that doesn't have the feel of Saturday Night Fever, but is absolutely perfect for this dance style.  I love her voice, the sound is really cute, and it has that easy breezy feel that a great song of this genre needs to have! 

 

Rumba/Samba - Des'ree - "You gotta be"  - no doubt a dance teacher will peg this as a Rumba, and it works as a Rumba, although the percussion is somewhat busy, but if you listen to the very prominent snare drum, it hits exactly on the accent beat that would be normally assigned to bass/kick drum on a Samba, so if you're able to identify that, you could Samba to it! 

 


May 27 2007 email

 

Night Club 2-step - Elton John - "Friends Never Say Goodbye" - Master Balladeer Elton John gives us another beautiful song with a stunning arrangement.   From a musical point of view any musician who can compose a song with more than four chords is considered special, and Elton has a way of writing music that doesn't sound like "verse, chorus, verse, chorus" in that his music often sounds like a long symphonic piece only 3-4 minutes long!  This Night Club 2-step has a perfect leisurely tempo that caters to graceful dancing for a full 4:20, and for those who love songs that give them a chance to end their dance with a graceful ending, this song has it all

 


June 7 2007 email

 

Hall & Oates are one of those groups that write terrific songs with catchy tunes, and musical hooks you just can't forget.  Often billed as "white guys doing blue eyed soul" they have a group of songs that are eminently danceable!

 

Sara Smile - Night Club 2-step

Kiss on my list - Cha Cha (fabulous), or West Coast Swing

You make my dreams come true - Single Rhythm Jive

Private Eyes - Cha Cha or WCS

I can't go for that - WCS or Cha Cha

Maneater - Single Rhythm Jive (fabulous)

One on One - Rumba

Family Man - WCS or Cha Cha

She's Gone - Night Club 2-step

You've lost that lovin feeling - Rumba (their redo version is very good and a great up-to-date recording)

 

Of course that's just the stuff that could be considered great dance songs, there's another dozen or so big hits!


June 20 2007

 

Mamba Line dance - DJ Bobo - Chihuahua - One of my favorite musicians is Lou Bega who has a lot of great songs, one of which we use as our regular song for Mamba Line dance.  Lou Bega is one of those guys you know you'd love to see in concert because his music is full of fun, cute cheeky lyrics and really catchy songs.  Well this song captures that spirit of fun and makes a great mamba line dance to rival Lou Bega's classic song.  Lou's song is 3:42 and that would be the only downside of DJ Bobo's great tune because it's about 30 seconds shorter.   Hey, but then again some people don't like line dancing right?!June 26 2007

Enrique Igesias is still probably the best selling Latin artist in the world and is responsible for two songs that defined Samba more than any other song ever written.  Even though he was Julio's son, he didn't know his parents that well.   His mother was a journalist in Madrid, and his father traveled a lot, so he was raised by his nanny, and was never really close to his parents.   Not wanting to rely on his father's fame, he recorded a demo under an unknown Central American singer named Enrique Martinez, borrowing $2,000 from his nanny to do so.  He then went to Toronto and recorded the album "Enrique" which sold over a million copies in three months, and the rest is history.

 

Enrique Iglesias - "Do You Know (ping pong song)" - If you've been listening to the radio lately you'll have heard this song.  Also known as "the Ping Pong Song", because there is ping pong being played in the background in time to the music!   Is this West Coast Swing (maybe too Latiny), or Cha Cha?   Cha Cha if you're really comfortable with Cha Cha rhythm, except a teacher may point out that Cha Cha has the emphasis on beats 4 - &, whereas the snare drum in this song is hitting & - 4.  But remember that there are a ton of songs that lack a 4 - & emphasis that you'd Cha Cha to.  So if you're new to Cha Cha, this may not work for you, but for me, it's Enrique, who has a lot of great dance songs, it's a cute catchy tune, with a great tempo, so I call it more a Cha Cha!   Video is cute and explains why there is a ping pong beat in the song you actually hear on the radio! 

 


July 1 2007

 

West Coast Swing - Lou Bega - The Trumpet, Pt. 2 - (couldn't find a YouTube video link, sorry).  Remember Ravel's Bolero?  One of the most famous classical pieces ever written.   Based on a red hot musical riff that simply repeats itself.  Boring?   No, because Ravel did things that made the piece a fabulous study in the art of composition.  Well Lou Bega (one of my favorite artists) is someone you just want to see because he's fun, his music's fun., and now he's got this song.  This is a West Coast Swing with a very straight feel to it (no triple feel here), but it's a song that has a repeating motif for a full 6:03, but is interesting because stuff comes & goes.   It's a song that is great to practice your body isolation techniques with. 

 

Waltz - Emmylou Harrisl - The Last Cheaters Waltz - There are several versions of this but Emmylou's is the prettiest and best recorded.  It's a nice 33 bpm, so it's almost standard speed, but if you're a waltz fan with a lot of moves this is double your fun because it's 5:37 long!

 


July 8 2007

 

All Purpose - Janet Jackson - Runaway - This song is so cute and peppy that what first comes to mind is Cha Cha.  However it makes for a really nice Rumba, and a great West Coast Swing!   At 3:34 this overlooked song by the dance world deserves more play and dance time!

 

Night Club 2-step - Elvis Costello - She - From the Notting Hill Soundtrack comes this really pretty tune.  Elvis Costello was part of the New Wave movement (along with Blondie, The Police, Joe Jackson...)  in the late 70's, but has composed in most musical styles and worked and composed with numerous musicians including Paul McCartney!   This song is from 1999 and 3:09 long.  In 2003 he married Dianna Krall.  While this song was originally a Charles Aznavour tune I like this version better as it sounds less rushed.

 


July 16 2007

 

Waltz - "Last Cheaters Waltz" - Emmylou Harris - Written by T.G. Sheppard and redone by many, this is the most beautiful danceable version for me.  The pace is 33 bpm which is perfect for me.  Other versions sound much more country, but this one's impeccable arrangement and harmonies let you forget the songs roots except for a bit of fiddle!  If you're a waltz fan you'll really appreciate it's length at 5:37.

 

Night Club 2-step - "20 Million things" - Lowell George - There are a few musicians who are superb craftsmen, and in this genre is the likes of The Eagles, Poco, and a little known group Little Feat.  Lowell is one of those guys who played with (unbelievable) Frank Zappa, produced Greatful Deads most popular album, and had friends all over, but never made a lot of radio play.  Poco and Little Feat are among those groups who, when you got tired of hearing the same Top 40 groups you could retire with and enjoy, because most of the world just didn't have a clue who they were!  Lowell was the front man for Little Feat and composed much of their music, but in 1979 struck out on his own.  He had one great album with this song, and had a massive heart attack while promoting the album on tour.  An absolutely beautiful song with a simple theme "I've got 20 million things to do but all I can do is think about you"!  So well recorded that it's as fresh today as 1979.  At 2:46 you wish it could be longer.  Noted as one of the worlds most brilliant slide players, he used a socket for spark plugs, he ranks right up there with Ry Cooder and Bonnie Rait.  He took up slide playing after an accident involving a model airplane propeller!  Makes one wonder what he'd composed for us if he'd lived past age 35.

 

Night Club 2-step - "In some small way" - Celine Dion - If the previous song was on the slower side for NC 2-step, this one is on the faster side.   A dance friend who went and saw Celine in Vegas said "you don't really want to watch her, but just close your eyes and it just brings tears to your eyes it's all so beautiful".   True, this is one of those songs the begs to be danced to.  Gorgeous melody, stunning arrangements, and at 5:17 you really get your money's worth!

 


August 4 2007

 

West Coast Swing - Lowell George - "Easy Money" - Slow & sexy does it with this wonderful song that might be a great Triple Rhythm Jive if it were 20% faster.  Starting with Hi-Hat, Piano & Guitar in a back beat rhythm, it doesn't take long to realize you've something special that you can't simply sit down & listen to!  This great song give you time to play with body isolation, fancy footwork and all those cool elements that allow you to just play play play!  You gotta love his tasty slide guitar, and really great horn work.   This tune clocks in at 3:31.

 


Aug 22 2007

 

Samba / Cha Cha line dance Gina G. - "Ti Amo" - The Choreographer for the Cha Cha Fresco line dance we've been learning recommended some really awful country songs as a suggestion of what music you could use, but then he included this fabulous song.  For the purposes of the Cha Cha line dance, this is a great tempo for his line dance if you're just learning it, but it doesn't have the "pep and fun element" you want and expect in a Cha Cha!   Use it as a practice then and once learned use something really cute like Abba's - "Head over Heels" song forever more!   Gina G hails from Australia and works out of the UK currently, and this song deserves to be in every DJ's music repertoire because as a Samba it's flawless!   The production reminds you of Enrique Iglesias great Samba's except guess what?  She composed this beautiful song a full TWO years before Enrique!   It's 2:51 long, time enough for most people to use all their moves up!


Sept 9 2007

 

If you've seen the Batman movie "Return of the Joker" you'll have heard the great blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd at the opening and closing of the movie.  Kenny hails from Louisiana and has played with a lot of old blues giants and it shows.

 

West Coast Swing - Kenny Wayne Shepherd - "Somehow, somewhere, someday" - Some may find this a little "loud", but only if you aren't a blues or rock fan!   This is great blues, not someone playing a million notes a second, and thus the song has an slower easy going feel that a great West Coast Swing really needs.

 


Sept 20 2007

 

Rumba - Shania Twain - "Don't" - Released in 2004 on her Greatest Hits album, this beautiful song makes a great Rumba, although a bit on the slow side, but not the slowest Rumba I've ever danced to.  To be a really successful Rumba at this speed you need something to do or it'll really feel slow, so work on your Cuban motion!  As a Night Club 2-step it's a little on the fast side, but still danceable.  At 4:06 the instrumentation and song layout will really impress you.   10 seconds in is a perfect spot for a dip, again at 1:19, 2:06 and a final 3:55 to end the song.

 


Oct 1 2007

 

Night Club 2-step - Reba McIntyre - "He Gets That From Me" - This is a remarkably beautiful song from Reba that's wonderfully recorded and the perfect speed for Night Club 2-step.   Even if you aren't a country fan, you still should like this, click on the link and give it a listen.  A lot on the sad side as it's a song about a boy whose father has died, but you really wouldn't know that unless you watched the video the whole way through.   Still it makes for great dancing!

 


Oct 9 2007

 

Night Club 2-step - Roberta Flack & Maxi Priest - "Set The Night To Music" - You know Roberta Flack from her other fabulous Night Club 2-steps "Killing me softly with his song", "The Closer I get to you", and "Tonight I celebrate my love".   Maxi Priest is known as "King of Lovers Rock" - of Jamaican descent but grew up in Britain, he is best known for his reggae remake of Cat Stevens song "Wild World".   For those of you into cartoons the South Park character Priest Maxi is named after him!   Down to the music, this song came out in 1991, and is a beautiful ballad lasting 5:18.   The speed is perfect, the instrumentation and production simply great, and of course this wouldn't be on my list of favorites if the song wasn't simply fabulous!

 


Nov 5

 

Let's talk about Carole King.  Born in 1942 she was a classmate of Neil Sedaka's, and inspired his first big hit "Oh Carol", and in return she wrote "Oh, Neil"!   She had a big hit with her Tapestry album, but also wrote a lot of songs for other people.   Today we're going to look at a great waltz she wrote for Aretha Franklin - "Natural Woman"

 

Waltz - Carole King - "Natural Woman" - This is practically the original but a couple beats slower than the album version which has has a full band.  The album version is 29 bpm, almost perfect for International dancers!

 

Waltz - Aretha Franklin - "Natural Woman" - This is the big hit version, and it sounds it's age

 

Waltz - Mary T Bilge - "Natural Woman" - This is my favorite because somehow sometimes 30 bpm waltz's just feel sluggish, and at 38 bpm just seems right, plus it's recoreded better than the previous two version!

 


Nov 21 2007

 

I'll call these Kleenex Night Club 2-steps Country style!

 

Night Club 2-step - Joe Nichols - "The Impossible" - This is a little on the faster side for NC 2-step, but it's still a beautiful song well worth dancing to for a good 4:03!  

 

Night Club 2-step - Emerson Drive - "Moments" - (audio quality on this video isn't all that good) - This is closer to a better speed for NC 2-step, and is another beautiful well crafted 4:58 song you need to dance to!

 


Dec 15 2007

 

Rumba - "soulDecision - Lets Do It Right" - the amazing thing about this boy band group is that they originated from our very own Vancouver in the 1990's, and had a big album "No one does it better" in 2000 that sold a million copies worldwide!  This song was the last song released from this album in 2001 and is a beautiful rumba similar in style to Boyz II Men and such.  The video is not theirs but someone's wedding footage, so the link is provided just for the song, but at 4:03 this is a great song to dance to!

 


Jan 22 2008

 

Rumba - Mark Anthony - "When I dream at Night" - Mark Anthony was born & raised in the US of Puerto Rican parents and became popular in Latin America for his salsa music and romantic ballads.  He's got a number of fabulous Rumba, Night Club 2-step, Cha Cha and Sambas that should be the staple of every DJ, and this is a simply brilliant Rumba.  Not only is the song a beautiful ballad, but the amazing guitar works on top of an almost Samba like bass/drum beat.   The lyrics are what ballads are all about and his vocals are undeniably expressive.   Slowed down, this could also make a great Night Club 2-step.   But as a Rumba it shines and just makes you want to get up and practice your Cuban motion and arm work.  

 


Feb 7 2008

 

Night Club 2-step - TLC - "Red Light Special" - Something for the Valentines crowd!  When you listen to this you should be able to hear the 3/4 nature of the song.  As a Viennese though it just doesn't have a strong enough 3/4 beat, but it's one of those rare Night Club 2-steps that has a triple beat.  If you count on a slightly fast 1 second count, then break up each of those seconds into 3 counts, then the count will be (for a 4 beat count) 1 2 3, 4 5 6, 7 8 9, 10 11 12 (so to speak).   On a regular Night Club 2-step you'd count 1 and 2, 3 and 4, but on a song like this 1 is on a 1, and is on a 3, and 2 is on a 4, 3 is on a 7, and is on a 9, and the final 4 is on a 10.    Doing this you'll find that the "and 2" and "and 4" are actually danced faster on a song like this than on a regular Night Club 2-step.   This is a very sexy, sultry, catchy song that every DJ should have in their repertoire, and at 4:37 it's a delicious piece of music that you might want to practice at home on Valentines Day! 

 


Feb 26 2008

 

Rumba - Madonna - "You'll See" - This beautiful, somewhat sad "break-up" is a fabulous Rumba.  The speed is perfect, the orchestration and arrangement impeccable, and if you're like me and love Rumba, you'll absolutely love the whole 4:40!  

 


March 7 2008

 

A Salsa that's not a Salsa is what I call this!   You don't need real Salsa music to dance Salsa, although to get that "Latin" feeling while dancing it's a must.  However this song has the basic beat and fun in spades!  Someone commented to me "I'd WCS to this" to which I reply, "listen carefully, it's actually more of a Samba than anything"!

 

Salsa - Len - "Steal my sunshine" - Originally released in 1999 as a song for the movie "Go", Len is Marc Costanzo and sister Sharon and they hail from Toronto.  After a dreary winter and spring coming up we all miss the bright days of summer so this video gives it all to us right now.  The song is 4:08 and because this is not a standard Salsa it's really easy to find the "1" beat.  This is a really cute song that's guaranteed to raise your spirits!

 


March 9 2008

 

All Round - Lace - "I want a man" - This is a fabulous peppy tune I did as a singles mixer at my New Years 2007 event.   "Lace" is a three piece girl group of which Beverly Mahood & Giselle are from Ontario and Corbi Dyann is from Texas.  A "girl band" the brainchild of David Foster this is an extraordinary dance song that you can West Coast Swing, Cha Cha, Triple Step or Country Triple 2 to.  (Ms Mahood - the good looking blonde in the video - is also a Canadian television host with CityTV, Breakfast Television and CMT Canada, also writes the music).  The song starts with a great guitar/drum hook for 8 seconds, then the band kicks in hard, right there you know this song means business.  Great melody, and your usually cheeky cute country lyrics add to the fun of this song.   Along the way in the 4:16 goody is a nice break at 1:33 & 3:17 and a longer 11 second bridge at 2:38 you can play with if doing WCS!

 

Oh yeah, and I just figured out why these three great looking women turned away all the flat abbed hunks in the video...

 They can't dance!

 


March 29, 2008

 

Country Cha Cha - Blake Shelton - "Some Beach" - video is not his but some cute teenage girl acting out the lyrics!  - Whether you like country music or not you'll probably like this cute Cha Cha.  Not many country songs have the speed and rhythm that characterizes a Cha Cha, and lots of times Country folk will be caught doing WCS, Country Triple 2 or Triple Rhythm Jive to a song like this, and yes it is perfectly adaptable to any of those dances too, but, part of the Cha Cha fun is FUN, and the lyrics point that out in spades! 

 


April 6 2008

 

Rumba - "M2M - Mirror Mirror" - M2M is Marion Raven and Marit Larsen, two mid-teenage Norwegian girls who've known each other since age 5, who sing and compose their own music.  That's pretty good considering how many artists sing, but don't write their own music.  I absolutely love songs that are well recorded, and have a majestic, big sound to them, and this song delivers for a full 3:19.  The tune is catchy, the arrangement gorgeous in the style of Backstreet Boys.   In fact their producers are the same two guys that worked with Spice Girls, BSB and Robyn, and you don't get better pedigree than that.   In short this is a top notch Rumba.

 


April 24 2008

 

Country 2-step - Trace Adkins - "I Left Something Turned On At Home" - This song has soooo much going for it.  It has that country 2-step strutting feel to it with a great tempo, the tune is inspiring and catchy, the recording is impeccable, the musicians kick butt, Trace has the perfect country voice and check out the typically "country cute, tell a story with a pun" lyrics, something mainstream Top 40 music fails miserably at!   A song this great I wish would last longer than 3:08!

 


May 23 2008

 

Rumba - Fergie - "Big Girls Don't Cry" - This is a gorgeous 4:28 Rumba.  While the entire band doesn't kick in till 48 seconds, you can still start dancing right on the first notes.  You may know my fondness for dance songs with that little something "extra", well this one has a bit of that in that at 3:10 you can choose to keep dancing Rumba (to syncopated accents some may find hard to follow) or let it become a slow Night Club 2-step (more appropriate) until 3:31.  The song returns at 4:06 to the original guitar intro and fades out nicely.

 


June 3 2008

 

West Coast Swing - "Amanda Marshall - Sitting on Top of the world"  What an incredible song this is!   With a brilliant guitar opening, this song has a tempo that lends itself to great dancing.   While you could Cha Cha to it, there's a bunch of breaks and accents from 1:51 to 2:28 and another set from 3:03 to 3:12 that would make this fun to play with in West Coast Swing.  With a total play/dance time of 4:18 dance music doesn't get much better than this!

 


June 10 2008

 

Street Hustle - Andrea True Connection - "More More More" - We all have our favorite disco moments, but here's a classic from 1976.  This one in particular has the perfect tempo, has a great hook and melody, and if you're like me you'll love the great riff from 2:19 to 2:29!   There are a number of versions of this song this one being 3:01, but the one that I use is 6:14 and has a duplicate riff again at 5:20 to 5:30.

 

Triple Rhythm Jive - Boz Scaggs - "Lido Shuffle" - This fabulous old rocker dates back to 1976, which of course is right in my backyard.  A full 3:43 of dance fun.   If you're looking for something with a little extra, there are breaks and accents absolutely all over the place.  Not even 20 seconds in is the first couple, then at 41-47, 1:16-1:30, 1:51-1:57, and a final set at 2:25-2:40.

 


July 27 2008

 

Salsa / WCS - Kid Rock - All Summer Long - This is a brilliantly composed song.  It has the piano & guitar parts from Warren Zevon's - Werewolves of London, and a lot of stuff from Lynyrd Skynyrds - Sweet Home Alabama, both also great songs.   As a Salsa it may be a tad fast for beginners, and for the rest of us this can be a "Salsa that's not a Salsa", and it stands on it's own as a West Coast Swing where it has a really nice breezy feel, and at 4:55 gives you lots of dance time!

 


August 12 2008

 

Street Hustle - Barry White - "Can't get enough of your love" - When I was a musician playing in bands (1969-1986) all musicians had to hate disco because canned music put a lot of bands out of work.  No one new it at the time, but I was a huge disco fan!  Much of the better stuff from KC & the Sunshine Band is almost too fast for Street Hustle, and better suited for what some of us call Disco Rock, but this song is absolutely solid Gold for both.   It's equally good for beginners just learning Street Hustle and even better for experienced dancers.  Barry has a voice that has a deep resonance you just have to love in the first 30 seconds, then at 40 seconds it all clicks in.   THIS is Street Hustle music at it's absolute best.  Sexy, crisp brilliant orchestration, a great tune make this 3:54 second tune a great dance song!

 


Sept 1 2008

 

The risk you take when learning different dance styles is that you take a chance on being a master of none.   But reality is that most people have dance types they know a bit about and others that they know a lot about.  In the words of KC & the Sunshine Band - "That's the way... I Like it"!   It sure beats sitting out a really great song.   Here's two songs with the same name, but totally different and beautiful songs. 

 

Rumba - "You had me from Hello" - Bon Jovi - "Bon Jovi" is fronted by lead singer Jon Bon Jovi, who have had in the last 23 years have made 13 albums and sold over 120 million units.  While most of their music is Rock, this ballad is genuine Top 40 from 2002.  It starts quiet with guitar, organ and vocals and like a great symphonic piece builds, then cools back down again, and ends the same way it started.  Total dance time 3:49, and it ends beautifully with a "dippable" ending.

 

Night Club 2-step - "You had me from Hello" - Kenny Chesney - If you're a country fan, you'll absolutely love this beautiful ballad.  If you're not a country fan, you're likely to love it anyways!  This song has the same length as the Bon Jovi song 3:48, and also had a great "dippable" ending.

 


Sept 7 2008

 

Rumba - "Annie Lennox - No more I Love You's" - The song in the video starts a little differently than the radio version.  This song was written in 1980 by Joseph Hughes and David Freeman, but never went anywhere.   Annie re-recorded it in 1995 as you hear it.  If you're new to Rumba you may want to slow dance this as it's on the slower side for a Rumba, and needs graceful arms, feet working the floor and great Cuban motion to look good at this speed!   But at 4:51, this beautiful, brilliantly arranged, and soulful song, highlighting Annie's tremendous voice will certainly make for great dancing. 

 


Oct 20 2008

 

Rumba  -  Backstreet Boys—”I want it that way”  -  Say what you want about boy bands, but lots of it has impeccable production, super big hits and like this one makes for great dancing!   This is 3:35 of beautiful soulful music.  Songs like this make music played at Ballrooms seem so lackluster simply because all of them are lifeless recreations of the original music and I don’t find them inspiring to dance to.  Starting with a simple guitar riff, then vocals, the band kicks in at 30 seconds.  The song quietens at 2:06 with just keyboards & vocals, then at 2:25 the band kicks back in and rather than keeping perfect tempo like ballroom music does, this song slows at the end giving you opportunity to end with a nice dip or close sway.

 


Dec 20 2008

 

As a rule I don’t play remakes of great songs unless the “new” song is remarkably better.  Most of the time the original is the best version, and the remake is a lame copy note for note, instrument for instrument.  Diehard ballroom dancers may quibble about it not being exactly 30 bpm, but I find 30 slow, and this one at 33 is for me, just ducky.  Sure, at my dances I could slow the song down 10%, but I won’t, we need to use our skills to dance to real world music which is where the very best music is.  Why would you want a plain vanilla cone when you can have a banana split with creamy rich chocolate and other goodies! 

 

Waltz  -  Seal  -  If you don’t know me by now  -  Starting with a simple piano intro, then strings and vocal.  There is so many goodies here, musical accent with silent breaks at 27, 1:41 2:04 enhance your rise & fall so much, beautiful harmonies, cute harmony emphasis at 2:07, soulful repeats at 2:22 leading to a fabulous chord change, and 3:15 a off beat “da, da, da” section.   So much to love about this song.

 


Jan 24, 2009

 

When you consider that composers such as Robert Schumann wouldn’t even consider leaving their house until they’d gotten a new composition out of their head and onto paper, it makes you wonder how artists today can do great things early on and then produce nothing later in life.  Classical composers wrote everything from start to finish for every instrument, Madonna writes her own songs, but her producers make them sparkle, and at age 50 she’s still going strong, but where’s great material from the likes of Paul McCartney? 

Rumba – Burton Cummings – “Dream” – Burton turned 61 Dec 31, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear this beautiful new song off his new album “Above the Ground”.  It’s 3:45 long, and although he’s a great piano player, you don’t even hear it on this mix.  Just a simple bass, guitar, drums, his voice and backup singers.  Don’t Rumba?   Slowdance!


Mar 10 2009

 

Probably anyone who knows Latin music or dances knows of the Buena Vista Social Club, as they’ve released tons of songs over the years, but here’s something you probably didn’t know.  The Buena Vista Social Club was a members club in Havana, Cuba that held dances and musical activities, becoming a popular location for musicians to meet and play during the 1940s, so that various recordings are actually done by different musicians – like a brand label that encapsulates Cuba’s “musical Golden Age” between the 1930’s and 1950’s.  The success of he three most popular artists who made the “Buena Vista Social Club” recordings during the 1990’s was short lived as they died between 2003 & 2005 at ages 78, 84 and 95.  In 2007 under the Buena Vista Social Club banner an album Rythms del Mundo was released.  Proceeds from this album go to EPA – Artists Project Earth which uses the money for natural disaster victims and climate change awareness.  This is an album that features redo’s of songs from U2, Coldplay, Dido, Sting, Jack Johnson, Roberta Flack, Maroon 5 & others.  This covers the gambit of Salsa, Merenge, a few Rumbas, and Cha Cha.  The album can be purchased Here

 

Cha Cha Buena Vista Social Club – “Clocks –Listen to Coldplays original version and you’ll find its pretty fast.  This redone incredible version starts off with the piano hook that the song is so famous for, then re-invented in Cha Cha form, then the band kicks in with a perfect Cha Cha tempo, beautiful horns and percussion with vocals from Coldplays members.  All the images you see are not real (even the opening piano visuals), rather they are old Cuban images that leave you nostalgic to immediately want to book a plane to Cuba!  If you went to my Feb 28 dance last week you’ve heard this song already, and you’ll hear it again at my next dance along with other great new tunes! 

 


Mar 29 2009

 

Night Club 2-step – Ewan McGregor & Nicole Kidman – “Come what May!” – Note that the version in this Youtube video is not quite as good as the version I use, but pretty close.  Not many people may know Nicole Kidman sings, and this is one of two beautiful songs of hers I absolutely love.  This one’s from the movie Moulin Rouge.

 


Apr 20 2009

Corn cob country has for many people given Country Music a really bad name, but country’s come a long ways since those days.  Country lyrics while they often sharing the pain of broken love, never give in to the hate of a certain part of today’s music.  Many of the lyrics are just so darned cute, and often tell great stories.

Country Cha Cha  -  Jake Owen – “Yee Haw”  -  This could also be a faster WCS, but at a place like Boone County, they’d only be doing a “Triple 2” to it, and some of you might want to do a Triple Rhythm Jive!.  If you’ve got a complex Country 2-step, this would be a great learning tune.  I love everything about this song, his great southern drawl which makes it so authentic, but it’s 2:54 time may leave you wishing for more!

 


July 5 2009

The DJ’s essential Michael Jackson dance music

 

Don’t stop till you get enough – Street Hustle

Rock with You – Street Hustle

Bad – West Coast Swing

Way you make me Feel – Triple Rhythm Jive

Man in the Mirror – Rumba

I Just Can’t Stop loving you – Rumba

Leave Me Alone – Triple Rhythm Jive

Beat it – West Coast Swing

Billy Jean – Cha Cha / West Coast Swing

Ben – Night Club 2-step

 


Aug 17 2009

 

Rumba – Seal - “Love’s Devine” - Ignore the 10 second sports drink at the start, it’s just this website.   Seal has a fabulous voice, and this is a beautiful tune. 

This is a song I’d love to see choreographed because it’s just so well orchestrated and the first 1:20 some dancers may want to simply close dance (although if you can hear the tempo it’s all Rumba), but after that it’s a splendid Rumba.  Ignoring the thunderstorm beginning and fade out, this song becomes a solid 4:00 dance.   But check out the musical change at 2:16 you could also choose to Salsa, especially at the horn part at 2:50 which extends to 3:15 which then becomes a quieter section for 30 seconds. 

 


August 26 2009

Last year we were at an event in Vancouver with a group of dancers, and one couple asked us about our dance, saying we were too far away for them, and asked if we played any nice Night Club 2-step!   Turns out that the place where they like to dance plays the same five favorite NC 2-steps each night.  Shame, because I know of 150-200 brilliant NC 2-steps every DJ should have, and this is one of them!

Night Club 2-step – Cristian Castro - “Angel” - Not sure what this video is about, and the sound isn’t all that great in this video, but this is one exceptional song!  The actual song ends with a young girl singing solo slightly off key.   That I’ve cut off for dance purposes and this then becomes a fabulous 4:15 of romantic dancing you’ll only hear at my dances!


Nov 1 2009

 

Here’s a great song that hails from a Disney movie “Hunchback of Notre Dame”

 

Night Club 2-step - All4One - “Someday”  -  The movie opened in 1996 and I just discovered this gem.  It’s one of those really interesting Night Club 2-steps that has a triple rhythm throughout..  OK, some may mistake this for a Viennese Waltz and certainly you could do that because it is 56 bpm, but it’s not regal enough for a great Viennese and everything else says NC 2-step!  Listen to these guys and you think Backstreet Boys or Boyz II Men, but these guys are more R&B with great voices.  Listening to the lyrics you might think these guys are a Christian group, but they aren’t, but they do write their own music, something many of these “boy bands” don’t.   This is a beautifully recorded & orchestrated 4:16 of a masterfully sung piece of music.  It has a quiet part at 1:17, but the beat never falters, and it’s one of those great tunes you love right away.   While it’s 4:16, it has an opportunity for a dip at 3:40 coming out at 3:46 to a final ending/dip at 4:00

 


Dec 27, 2009

 

Rumba - Kenny Lattimore - “And I Love Her”  -  Kenny’s a 42 year old R&B artist who’s had a number of radio hits, and this is his re-do of a great Beatles song.   If you click on the link you’ll notice the video is full of pictures of his wife Chante Moore who is another R&B artist also.

 

Night Club 2-step - Kenny Lattimore - “For You  -  Getting married?   Looking for a candidate for your first dance?   Maybe this will work!   While it’s not one of the most beautiful NC 2-steps I’ve ever heard, it’s still better than many. 

 


Mar 14 2010

 

Have you seen this Acura ad?  While some Argentine Tango enthusiasts might prefer standard AT music, the song here is way more hip and the full song has two versions, one that you hear in the ad with no voice, and one with female vocals.  Clary Smits told me at Sea-To-Sky last October that he and Lori like the newer style Tango music, so maybe they’d like this one!

Argentine Tango -  Bajofondo Tango club & Julieta Venegas – “Pa' bailar – seems a little fast, but I played it at my last dance and it went over real well.


Mar 21 2010

 

Here’s a fabulous Night Club 2-step I’ve played many times, and it has a nice story.  This song was written by country songwriters Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin who originally intended it as a fast Bluegrass number, but found it much more powerful played at a slower speed.  Bonnie Rait (in the “old” days was a hard core blues artist who plays exceptional slide guitar) recorded it in 1991.  Like Celine Dion’s recording of the famous Titanic song it was recorded in one take.   Later she said “because it was so sad, I just couldn’t recapture the emotion”   She was asked to do it again and she simply said “You know, that ain’t going to happen”, yet she plays it in every concert now.  In it was voted #8 of the 100 greatest songs of all times, and has been re-recorded by at least a dozen well known artists, but Bonnie’s version is still my favorite.   So given how popular Night Club 2-step is, why don’t you ever hear it played at any other dances?

 

Night Club 2-step – Bonnie Rait – “I can’t make you love me” -  An interesting side note is the beautiful piano styling was done by legendary Bruce Hornsby.   As Night Club 2-steps go this is on the slower side.   If you find this YouTube version tinny, that’s just a bad download, the actual song is gorgeous.   When you have a song this great it’s also nice to know it lasts a full 5:33, enough time to get all of your favorite moves in!

 


Aug 3 2011

 

Waltz – Petra Berger – “When He Calls My Name” – Someone told me once they preferred waltzes that had a drum beat that had a definite Boom Tick Tick.   For me though, if a dance medium is so locked into a particular style of orchestration I get bored quickly which is why I find a lot of old style Argentine Tango and Bachata just too stylized for my tastes.  Too much AT music sounds like it’s dated to the 50’s and recorded on someone’s boom box.  This song in contrast is beautifully recorded with emotional peaks that should be easy for waltz dancers to follow.  Some dancers might prefer a waltz that’s 32-35 bpm and on a waltz that’s 29 bpm there is every tendency to want to speed up especially for American Social dancers!    This song is 3:50, maybe long for some people who don’t have a lot of waltz moves but it’s such a regal song you won’t want to sit down early!   About 3:15 the song seems like it’s come to an end but just keep dancing as the song will come back in exactly on time for you!

 

You can dance to this song at Dancing for Deserts, my dances, and now Olga’s Dance for Fun!

 


Sept 5 2011

 

This song is so beautiful it’s scary!

 

Rumba or Slow Night Club 2-step – “Sarah McLachlan – I Love You” Canadian singer, Grammy award winner, founder of the Lillith Fair (concert with only female artists), 43 years old, Vancouver resident, this song comes from 2000.   Unconventional haunting bass line that’s just perfect for this song, the rest of the song just speaks for itself!   Yes I’ll be playing this at my dances!

 


Oct 24 2011

This is sappy, but I came across this article on MSN titled – “Married couple of 72 years dies holding hands”.  “Till death do us part', was a marriage vow that Iowa couple Norma, 90, and Gordon Yeager, 94, took seriously.   On October 12 after a trip into town ended in an accident with another car, the Yeagers were rushed to the intensive care unit of a hospital near Marshalltown. "They brought them in the same room in intensive care and put them together -- and they were holding hands in ICU. They were not really responsive," said their son Dennis Yeager in an interview with Des Moines' KCCI news station.

And then something unusual happened. Although Gordon passed away at 3.38pm, his heart monitor still registered a heartbeat. Puzzled because their father had stopped breathing, Dennis and his sister Donna Sheets were told by the nurse that because the couple was holding hands, their mother's heart was actually beating through their father's body. About an hour later – still clutching each other hands – Norma passed away as well

So here’s a beautiful Night Club 2-step to match this story!   Written by Rivers Rutherfor/Sam & Annie Tate, it was made a big hit by Gretchen Wilson in 2010,

 


Nov 21 2011

When I started my dances there were only two “Ballroom” Line dances you could hear played around town – The Mambo Line dance and the Samba line dance.   Line dances are very popular as we experienced years ago attending a number of local Pilipino dances!   Why?   Because not many of the men got up to dance!   Line dancing has been around and while many associated it with Country because of movies like Urban Cowboy, it really has it’s roots in folk dances notably from the Balkan countries.  Locally, Robyn Picard has choreographed a number of line dances to help ballroom dancers with their technique, but forget that they’re just plain fun, and now are being used in school programs, much to her surprise.  She has a Triple Rhythm Line dance, Rumba Line dance, Cha Cha line dance and Merenge Line Dance.  You can learn them and view them HERE.  Bill McKinnon added a Waltz line dance that’s really fun, and dance friend Jim has us dancing a Bachata line dance.  We caught a couple of cute new line dances at Maggies one Friday.  At my dances I don’t want to play more than 3 or 4 line dances per night because my focus is more on couples dancing.  Candace Zanini has had ballroom dances where she does a lot of line dances because she has a lot of single ladies at some of her morning lessons.

The two line dances you’ll hear anywhere are of course the Mambo line dance and this is the music I use because it’s so much fun – “DJ Bobo – Chihuahua”.  For the Samba line dance I play Will Smith – “Getting’ Jiggy wit it

Other than my New Years dance (do you have your tickets yet?), my Christmas dance is this Saturday.  I spent years listening to all the original classics growing up, so for my Christmas dances if I’m going to play Christmas music it has to be fabulous dance music, so here’s a little gem from Michael Buble I’ll be playing this Saturday – it’s a regulation speed Foxtrot – Michael Buble – Santa Claus is Coming To Town”.  


Dec 17 2011

 

Great songs I can’t live without

 

Randy Travis – “Would I” – Pretty well ignore the video, no one’s doing any 2-step dancing.   The speed is perfect, the tune pure Country, but this and the next are absolutely in my top 20 Country 2-steps!

 

Randy Travis – “Forever and Ever, Amen” – This is a little on the mushy side, but a little faster Country 2-step than the last one.  The actual song starts at 50 seconds.

 

Ozark Mountain Daredevils – “If you want to get to Heaven” – I listened to this in the 70’s (1974) and it’s still a jewel for me. It’s a slower East Coast Swing, great West Coast Swing, non-standard Cha Cha.  Definitely the sort of song I’d play at my dances after 10:00pm!  Like much of ZZ Top, it’s Southern Rock at it’s finest.


Jan 31 2012

 

Here’s a great Valentines song – “Daniel Bedingfield – If You’re Not The One”.   From 2002, it’s one of those great songs you’d Night Club 2-step to or if you don’t know NC 2-step, maybe a Rumba

 

Here’s a fabulous Rumba I heard at Bill McKinnon’s dance in December which I finally found and played at my New Years dance – “Song From A Secret Garden”.  No vocals an instrumental with a gorgeous melody and beautiful chord changes and 4:32 long.

 


Feb 13 2012

 

A few of my favorite Whitney Houston dance songs:

-          All The Man That I Need – Night Club 2-step

-          Didn’t We Have It All – Night Club 2-step

-          Greatest Love Of All – Night Club 2-step

-          How Will I Know – Cha Cha / WCS

-          I Look To You – Slow NC 2-step / Rumba – My all time favorite

-          Hold Me In Your Arms – NC 2-step (duet with Teddy Pendergrass)

 


Feb 20 2012

 

Night Club 2-step Chirstina Perri – Jar Of Hearts”.  I played this at my last dance.   It’s a beautiful song written by Christina Perri about a real life love interest who wanted to rekindle a broken relationship.   It was featured on So You Think You Can Dance even before she had a record deal.  Later it was used on an episode of Glee and “Switched at Birth” a TV series.   Chirstina plays piano.   Here’s another great song.  

Slow Viennese - Christina Perri – A Thousand Years”   I’ve read the “The Twilight Saga” series of vampire books and this song is used in the movie of the fourth book “Breaking Dawn”.   It’s a beautiful slow Viennese @ 47 bpm – Viennese can be as fast as 60 bpm.


Mar 20 2012

 

Night Club 2-step Chirstina Perri – Jar Of Hearts”.  I played this at my last dance.   It’s a beautiful song written by Christina Perri about a real life love interest who wanted to rekindle a broken relationship.   It was featured on So You Think You Can Dance even before she had a record deal.  Later it was used on an episode of Glee and “Switched at Birth” a TV series.   Chirstina plays piano.   Here’s another great song.  

Slow Viennese - Christina Perri – A Thousand Years”   I’ve read the “The Twilight Saga” series of vampire books and this song is used in the movie of the fourth book “Breaking Dawn”.   It’s a beautiful slow Viennese @ 47 bpm – Viennese can be as fast as 60 bpm.

 


Apr 27 2012

 

Second in a Dec 20, 2010 email I sent out a link to Il Divo’s breathtaking song – Adagio.  While you can Night Club 2-step to this, there are tempo and volume changes that make it challenging.  I came across the song that inspired their version.  While Il Divo’s version was from a live concert in 2008, the original dates to 2000 and is from a Belgian/Italian singer who also has Canadian citizenship when she became a Montreal citizen in 1990 – Lara Fabian.  I have often played her fabulous Rumba - Quedate.  Her amazing version of Adagio is a fabulous Night Club 2-step!   It has an incredible instrumental arrangement, and as the song progresses through its 4:29 length it builds in intensity reminding you of the most powerful songs of Celine Dion, Christine Aguilera and Mariah Carey. 

 

But you need to see this heart warming version - a story about a boy who lives in a place with no paved roads, a father in a wheelchair and an adoring mother and who gets his chance on X-Factor Ukraine in 2010.   The instrumentation is almost identical to Ms Fabians.  If you understand Ukrainian you’ll have an advantage, but the music, his voice, speaks for itself and the rest is just intense!

 


May 1 2012

 

Paul McCartney – is not a name that comes to mind when you think about ballroom music, but then again who would of thought Rod Stewart would go on to record 5 albums of standards going back to the 1930’s  Pauls album is called “Kisses On The Bottom” (a line from one of the songs).  It features Diana Krall, Eric Clapton & Stevie Wonder on different songs.  

-          A Night Club 2-step – My Valentine – written while on his honeymoon with his new wife.

-          Foxtrot - Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive – 33 bpm (Diana Krall vocals & piano

-          Foxtrot - I'm Gonna Sit Right Down  - 32 bpm

-          Foxtrot – It’s Only a Paper Moon – 30 bpm

-          Foxtrot – My Very Good Friend the Milkman – 30 bpm

Foxtrot tempo’s should be 30-34 – many of Rod Stewarts tempos are too slow for comfort.

 


May 8 2012

 

If you’re an avid “Family Guy” fan you know who Seth McFarlane is – if not he’s the creator (also American Dad & The Cleveland Show).   He also sings and has recorded an album of standards just like Rod Steward and Paul McCartney have!  Here’s some great Foxtrots from his only album “Music is Better Than Words”:

“Seth MacFarlane – You’re the Cream In My Coffee” 34 bpm

“Seth MacFarlane – You And I” 31 bpm

Seth MacFarlane – It’s Anybody’s Spring” 31 bpm

“Seth MacFarlane – It’s Nine O’Clock” 34 bpm

 

Having Seth covering these old tunes almost makes Foxtrot cool! 

 


May 14 2012

 

WCS – “Eyes for you” – Daryl Hall – Smooth like a good WCS can be at 5:25 with a nice play breaks from 2:52 – 3:17 and 3:43 – 3:51.  This is a live performance recorded at Daryl’s house and as a testament to how good old guys can be the performance and harmonies are flawless. 

 

WCS “I can’t go for that” – Daryl Hall & Cee Lo Green – This is what Daryl does at his house – have fun with music friends – You know Cee Lo Green from the TV show “The Voice”.  Here’s they’re re-doing an old Hall & Oates hit.

 

WCS – “Bright Lights Bigger City – Cee Lo Green – Some dancers I know think this is the greatest WCS ever written!

 


May 2012

 

Here's some great Cross Step Waltz tunes

-          Clint Black – When I Said I Do (34)

-          Celeine Dion – When I Need You (36)

-          Eddie Lavert - Gerald Levert - In My Songs (35)

-          Amelia Lowe – 18 - Absolutely adorable character out of the 40’s

-          Bree Hafen – 29 with 2 kids – a must watch especially her little daughter at the end

-          Jarell Rochelle – 22 - touching, mom is going blind, he wants to compete while his mom can still see

-          Hampton Williams – 21 – Wow, “created something no one has seen before”

-          Engelbert Humperdinck - The Last Waltz (36) – Oldie

-          Hedley- For The Nights I Can't Remember (36)

-          Kim Mitchell – All We Are (40) – Rock waltz from a tasteful Canadian artist.   This is as fast as CSW should go.

-          Lady Antebellum - Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You (37) – There are 2 versions of this song, I like this one better

-          Leo Sayer - When I Need You (37) – from 1977

-          Rawlins Cross - The Wedding Gift (37) – Starts quiet then builds about half way through.

-          Ray Parker Jr – Let me go (39) – Remember Ray Parker who penned the Ghostbusters song?

-          Reba McEntire - Till You Love Me (38) – a good ol’ country waltz

-          Sara Evans - I Learned That From You (37) – So sad and beautiful

  -          Seal – Secret (43) – A little fast – for an advanced dancer, but wow, what a song

-          The Eagles - I Love To Watch A Woman Dance (38) – a beautiful song written for the Eagles on their 2007 album Long Road out of Eden

-          The Rankin Family - One Day I Walk (34) – written by Canadian Bruce Cockburn in 1971 during his Christian period as a song that gives a glimpse of heaven to come.  It was recorded by The Rankin Family in 1998.  Don’t let the poor quality of this video fool you!  This live version is somewhat similar to the CD version which is truly gorgeous.

 

Bonus Song Heartland – I Loved Her First (46) – This is pretty fast for Cross Step Waltz, but it’s a great Father-Daughter 1st dance wedding song!

 

Argentine Tango – (thanks Shirley & Colin/Bobbi & Patricia Lusic) – When we take lessons from Carlos Loyola he stresses proper technique and the lady reaching back – not just stepping back.  Well here’s a cute Nouveaux Tango song with a cute video and dancing! 

 


June 4 - Remember Leonard Cohen?  He has a son Adam Cohen who’s written a couple of nice songs we can dance to.

 

-          Adam Cohen - Cry Ophelia  -  Very pretty Rumba

-          Adam Cohen – What Other Guy – Night Club 2-step, ladies will probably love the lyrics especially if your name is Ann!

 


Jun 19 2012

 

WCS – “Eyes for you” – Daryl Hall – Smooth like a good WCS can be at 5:25 with a nice play breaks from 2:52 – 3:17 and 3:43 – 3:51.  This is a live performance recorded at Daryl’s house and as a testament to how good old guys can be the performance and harmonies are flawless. 

 

WCS “I can’t go for that” – Daryl Hall & Cee Lo Green – This is what Daryl does at his house – have fun with music friends – You know Cee Lo Green from the TV show “The Voice”.  Here’s they’re re-doing an old Hall & Oates hit.

 

WCS – “Bright Lights Bigger City – Cee Lo Green – Some dancers I know think this is the greatest WCS ever written!

 


July 16 2012

 

Cha Cha - Sam Cook - Everybody Loves to ‘Cha Cha Cha! - I was 5 when this Cha Cha came out but I bet back in 1958 this was THE song to Cha Cha to!

 

West Coast Swing The Guess Who – Shakin’ All Over - This song was originally recorded by Johnny Kidd & the Pirates and was a big hit in 1960 only in the UK.   In 1965 Chad and the Expressions recorded it but their label changed their name to “Guess Who?” trying to imply that it might be an act from Britain, perhaps even the Beatles.  It ended up a big hit in North America and launched a great career for them.  This song has it all – a great tune, breaks, things to mime, I have now doubt the WCS crowd in the 60’s loved this song.   The next year Burton Cummings joined the band, Chad Allen left and the band we know as Guess Who went on to make Canadian history.

 


July 23 2012

 

Triple Rhythm Jive – Daniel Powter – Cupid “you’re a yes in a world of no’s, you’re a Beatles to my Stones”, “they don’t make a pill that can give me the thrill when you look at me” cute words, wonderful happy song, simply awesome song for a Triple Step. 

 

Cha Cha / West Coast Swing – Matt Nanthanson – Modern Love – I like dancing Cha Cha to this because it’s got a chippy rhythm, but still a great WCS, some might even like to Triple Step to it!  It’s got some nice breaks at 1:12, 2:00 and 2:04 that work well for any of these dances.

 

Are you a child of the 60’s, can remember the 60’s and like your music a little different?  How about this Night Club 2-step from Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb.   I don’t know if I’d ever play it at my dances, it’d have to be shortened as it’s over 6 minutes long, but what a beautiful song!  

 


Aug 6 2012

 

Street Hustle – Barry White – Loves Theme If you want a great practice Street Hustle this instrumental song is epic!

Street Hustle – Barry White – Can’t Get Enough Of You Babe – from the opening notes you know his rich bass voice is something really special. This song defines the disco culture and a staple for Street Hustle dancers. Of course it’s also a great WCS.

Night Club 2-step Cunnie Williams – Life Goes On – Is Cunnie the new Barry White? This song is simply georgous and about as fast a NC 2 step as you might want to dance to, so it’s not a good song if you’re new to this dance.

 


Aug 13 2012

 

Last week I gave you a Barry White and a Cunnie Williams song and compared Cunnie to Barry White. Well, this is one of the songs I couldn’t find anywhere last week, but it showed up this week. The song can be considered spiritual, but whether religious or not you’ll love this song! The part that sounds like Barry White is the first 55 seconds which you really can’t dance to which is why I used it as the first song of the night at Cascades two weeks ago. The rest of the 4 ½ minutes is simply a gorgeous song about being “ready to meet his maker when he calls him”.

Night Club 2-Step – “Cunnie Williams – Go When He Calls Me” – Cunnie does a little musical trick at 3:23 which is to change the key of the song UP, just like going UP to heaven at which point the choir joins in! Wow, simply heavenly Night club 2-Step!

 


Aug 27 2012

 

Night Club 2-step “Air Supply – Goodbye” – From their 1993 album “The Vanishing Race” is a great ballad I just came across.

 

Cross Step Waltz – “Elton John & Bonnie Raitt – Love Letters” – This is about as fast as this song should be danced!   If you missed Bonnies concert in Vancouver last week, she’s a red headed, slide guitar player, 62 year old blues/pop singer.  But more interesting, Cross Step Waltz is an old waltz format that’s having a resurgence and this song has been recorded by over 30 artists because it made its debut in the 1945 move “Love Letters”!

 


Sep 3 2012

 

Country 2-step – “The Black Keys – Lonely Boy” – this is a Country 2-step that’s not a Country 2-step!  The tempo is excellent, the drumming sounds like Johnny Cash & The Tractors.   If you ever saw the Johnny Cash movie a potential producer asks Johnny what type of drumming his guy is doing, Johnny answers “it’s the sound of a freight train”!  It had a sound at the time that made Mr Cash’s sound unique. 

 

“Michael Jackson – P.T.Y. (Pretty Young Thing)” – I found this a song from Glee and thought “sounds like Michael Jackson”, and indeed it is.  It’s a song I’d forgotten from the fabulous Thriller album (1982).   It’s one of those songs that’s WCS, Triple Step, peppy Cha Cha or Street Hustle!   And as a testament to an incredible recording it still sounds current.