Through the swing dance world we have traveled quite considerably, no matter where we teach or DJ the most commonest question I get asked is:
· What are some good shag songs we can practice too when we get home
It’s a double meaning question to me and one I can never fully answer, what is a Shag song? There are no shag songs; they are just up-tempo “swing songs”, R&B songs or rock n roll songs from a music genre. The term Swing song is another double loaded question but I will save that for another day.
Back in the thirties, forties and fifties people did not tend to concentrate on one form of dance, they danced a number of dances which gave them the ability to dance to a mixture of tempo’s.
If you have never heard Peter Loggins Historical lectures on the History of jazz and swing dance, then you should do, as it’s a real treat to listen too. Peter has that rare ability to talk and engages you for hours, his enthusiasm and knowledge knows no bounds,
paste the following links into your browser and treat yourself to the history of Jazz/Jass/Music/Artists, give your self a good couple of hours to listen too:
In regard to songs you can practice too, that’s a different question. I tend not to search for songs of a certain tempo to play to the ability of the class, but kind of cheat by either slowing them down if the class needs it or speeding the tempo up if need be.
There is a lot of good software around for you to enable to do this at home.
For Microsoft based products Audacity or virtual DJ free, for apple eddjing is a good product. That way you can practice swing dancing to your favorite songs at a manageable pace.
In regards to a tune/song, the worlds your oyster, these are a few I ‘m listening to today, if you ask me tomorrow you will get a different set, depending on time and mood.
They are a mixture of new and old artists, so download their songs legitimately on whatever platform you use, be it Band camp/ITunes/Spotify, keep the musicians employed, keep music live:
· Jack I'm Mellow – The Carolina Reapers - https://www.carolinareapersswing.com/
· Always got a home – California Feetwarmers - https://www.californiafeetwarmers.com/
· Washboard Swing – Washboard Sam
· Etcetera – Jackie Wilson
· Dark eyes – Jonathan Stout - https://jonathanstout.bandcamp.com/
· I found a new baby – Janet Klein & her Parlor boys - https://janetklein.bandcamp.com/album/whoopee-hey-hey-2010-release
· My blue heaven – Mona’s Hot Four - https://monashotfour.bandcamp.com/
· Stealin apples – Roy Eldridge
· Til broad daylight – Buster Smith
· She’s about a mover – Douglas Quintet
· My first – Ben Hewitt (first version unissued 1959)