Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Down Home Blues - Sunday Late Night
Underlined artists/bands are New Orleans local

-Gimme A Pigfoot - Laverne Baker
-I Got A Woman - Ray Charles
-I Love Your Lovin' Ways - Nina Simone
-I Just Want to Make Love to You - Etta James
-Trouble in Mind - Loose Marbles
-Springtime Blues - Billy Boy Arnold
-If I Can't Sell It, I'll Keep Sittin' On It - Ruth Brown
-Backwater Blues - Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns
-Jelly Bean Blues - Tuba Skinny
-I'll Be Your Sweet Black Angel - Saffire - the Uppity Blues Women
-Another Man Done Gone - Irma Thomas
-Spoonful - Howlin' Wolf
-Black Night - John Lee Hooker
-Muddy Water Blues (acoustic) - Paul Rodgers


Down Home Blues - Saturday Late Night
Again, New Orleans local bands/artists are underlined.

-Nobody's Blues but Mine - Tuba Skinny
-Dark Sunshine - Dr Michael White
-Lucky Devil - Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns
-Gimme A Penny - Big Mama Thornton
-She Moves Me - Paul Rodgers
-Let's Burn Down the Cornfield - Etta James
-Sittin' & Cryin' the Blues - Willie Dixon & Memphis Slim
-Short Dressed Woman - Lafayette Leake
-Sugar Blues - Preservation Hall Jazz Band
-Backlash Blues - Nina Simone
-Lonely Avenue - Ray Charles
-Tombstone Blues - Ronnie Magri & His New Orleans Jazz Band
-Petite Fleur - Sidney Bechet
-Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans - Lavay Smith

Saturday, July 16, 2011


It's been a while since I've posted here, since my DJing took a back seat to life and changes. I just moved to New Orleans in search of more design and architecture opportunities, and have been taking advantage of the prevalence of this city's amazing jazz musicians. This weekend is the San Francisco Down Home Blues Festival, and quite possibly my last event for a while as I start focusing more on my professional life for a while. However, music is not going to leave my life, and so while you might not see as many setlists posted here, I'll try to switch focus more towards finding great artists and songs to enjoy. Hopefully my blog will expand from just blues to include jazz, and will no longer be as restricted to just dance music.

Having said that - here's my first set this weekend. I've been wanting to feature local artists, so all the underlined tunes are New Orleans bands. Enjoy!

Down Home Blues - Friday Night
-High Heeled Sneakers - Tommy Tucker
-You Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had - Muddy Waters
-Sweet Home Chicago - Taj Mahal
-I Ain't Got Nuthin But the Blues - Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns
-Black and Blue - Kermit Ruffins
-Witching Hour Blues - Glenn Crytzer and His Syncopators
-Creole Love Call - Baby Soda Jazz Band
-Weary Eyed Blues - Tuba Skinny
-Delta Bound - New Orleans Racket Makers
-Down Home Blues - Satan and Adam
-Driving Wheel - Etta James
-Rock Me Baby - Hubert Sumlin
-Blues for Mama - Nina Simone
-My Daddy Rocks Me - Cyclowns (feat. Meschiya Lake)

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Blues Cafe
Splitting sets with the lovely and glamorous Devona Cartier. Got some new music recently, so I enjoyed branching out more.

-Rock Me Baby - Etta James
-C.C. Rider - Esther Phillips
-She Moves Me - Paul Rodgers
-Down in the Swamp - Tab Benoit
-Lord, Don't Move the Mountain - Angela Strehli
-Come Home Blues - Jennifer Nettles Band
-In the Mood for Memphis - Reni Simon
-Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down - Eric Bibb, Rory Block, Maria Muldaur
-Don't You Feel My Leg - Maria Muldaur
-I'll Be Your Sweet Black Angel - Saffire - the Uppity Blues Women
-Love Me Like A Man - Bonnie Raitt

-Springtime Blues - Billy Boy Arnold
-My Handy Man Ain't Handy No More - Alberta Hunter
-Short Dressed Woman - Lafayette Leake
-Sugar Blues - Preservation Hall Jazz Band

-Love Me or Leave Me - The Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartett
-Deep in the Delta - Brother Yusef
-High Heeled Sneakers - Tommy Tucker
-Sanctified Blues - Satan and Adam
-Converted - Nathan James & Ben Hernandez
-You Don't Have to Go - Pinetop Perkins
-Driving Wheel - Etta James
-Blues Tears - Sam Taylor
-Red Mud - Chris Thomas King
-Dark Sunshine - Dr. Michael White
-Blooz First Thaingh' Dis Moanin' - Wycliffe Gordon

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Blues Union
This was one of my favorite sets in a while - mainly because I was pushing myself not to use the same music I always do, so I spent a lot more time than usual prepping. I'd like to make that more of a habit - it gives my sets more versatility. Another thing I enjoyed was the fact that I was actively engaged in DJing this set the whole way through - I didn't talk to people or dance. I think that makes a really big difference. It's easy to lose track of the floor, especially when you're dancing. Also - found a new Nina song which I love!

-Shoes of Another Man - Brother Yusef
-You Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had - Muddy Waters
-Springtime Blues - Billy Boy Arnold
-A Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues - Diane Hoffman
-Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans - Lavay Smith
-Creole Love Call - The Baby Soda Jazz Band
-At the Jazz Band Ball - Kevin Clark
-I Just Want To Make Love To You - Etta James
-I Love Your Lovin' Ways - Nina Simone
-Blues In The Night - Ledisi
-Wade In The Wather - Carrie Smith
-Trouble In Mind - Aretha Franklin
-Son of a Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield
-Something's Gotta Hold On Me - Etta James


Jamie's Going Away House Party
I DJ'd a set for Jamie's house party. It was really fun - I got to play stuff I never get to DJ. I'm looking forward to broadening my music and playing for different types of venues ... branching out more into funk, soul, hip hop and R&B. We'll see ...

-Remember the Name - Fort Minor
-Cornbread Fish and Collard Greens - Anthony Hamilton
-Cold Turkey - Anthony David
-Brown Skin - India Arie
-Every Planet We Reach is Dead - Gorillaz
-Neptune's Jewels - Mystic
-Painkillers/What It's Like - Everlast
-Hypnosis Theme - Wax Tailor
-Teardrop - Massive Attack
-When the Lights Go Out - The Black Keys
-Bump Bump Bump - B2K feat. P.Diddy
-Big Pimpin'/Papercut - Linkin Park & Jay-Z
-Mercy On Me - Christina Aguilera

Friday, January 7, 2011


Blues Union: BFX Edition

I had a phenomenal time at the dance - there were so many great dancers from all over the country, and the energy was really high. I felt like I could take the dancefloor anywhere and everyone would be right on board.

-I Just Want to Make Love to You - Etta James
-Lord, Don't Move the Mountain - Angela Strehli
-Another Man Done Gone - Irma Thomas
-Saving All My Love - Miss Tess
-Last Call - Ronnie Magri & His New Orleans Jazz Band
-Backwater Blues - Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns
-Creole Love Call - The Baby Soda Jazz Band
-Burning Fire - Otis Spann's South Side Band
-Blacklash Blues - Nina Simone
-Night Time is the Right Time - Ray Charles
-Blues in the Night - Ledisi
-My Handy Man Ain't Handy No More - Alberta Hunter
-Sittin' & Crying' the Blues - Willie Dixon & Memphis Slim
-Paris, Texas - Greg Slapczynski
-Muddy Water Blues - Paul Rodgers
-Red Mud - Chris Thomas King
-Tin Roof Blues - Lake Village Ramblers Jazz Band

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Editing Music

I always feel bad about editing music ... it seems like cheating somehow, or lying. Or like I'm butchering a work of art. But I'm getting over that, and here are the reasons why:

1. Jazz and blues are adaptive art forms. They are not meant to sound the same every time you play them. Therefore changing a recorded track does not seem like sacrilege.

2. My job as a DJ is to provide danceable and accessible music. I edit tracks in order to make them so, especially if the song is one I really want to share, but has a section that makes it hard to dance to. I also edit songs to remove overly offensive/taboo material. This does not happen often, as there are few things I choose to censor.

3. I only edit songs that can be edited. Read: a song is successfully edited if a casual listener or someone who does not already know the song cannot tell where the break is. Having said that, here's a challenge. This song has a section cut (36 seconds, to be exact). I challenge you to give me the timestamp of the break, without listening to the original:

*I realize retrospectively that my player doesn't have a timer on it. If you care enough, find a stopwatch. Or count phrases or 8-counts in. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

From a self-admitted traditionalist

Here is a response prompted directly by Justin Riley's thoughts, and indirectly by BFX being just around the corner. I have to admit, to me the dance scene is a fascinating anthropological bubble of a society, and this split between "fusion" and "traditional blues" is an interesting manifestation of a divergence of culture. Here are my two cents (I suggest you read Justin's note first):

You talk of traditional blues dancers doing historical reenactments, that it's virtually a Ren Fair. Though trad dancing does borrow much more heavily from a vintage aesthetic, the culture has indeed changed with the times. So has the dancing. And the type of blues music which is played. When I DJ, I DJ almost entirely blues music, but I make a point of playing a lot of contemporary (and local artists). Yes, it's still blues, and often because of that (or the specific style, such as New Orleans jazz or delta blues) can have an older feel to it - but the context is contemporary, and that makes a difference. Blues music is not a dead art we are reviving - it is a living, breathing art form with a rich history.

Another assumption I am inclined to disagree with: "In the 1920s, no one was looking at how they were dancing in the 1840s, or trying to dance to music created 80 years ago." What about argentine tango? What about ballet? Hell, what about the waltz - one of the oldest partnered social dances. And what do you know - it's still being danced today. Does that make it invalid? We identify a past age by the new things it brought into a culture, not by the ties it chose to keep to the past. When blues and swing first started appearing (in back rooms and jook joints), the majority of people were still doing other, more traditional dances.

You talk about an ongoing cultural, creative and artistic movement within a larger context (I assume you mean of this society, and potentially globally). That's awesome. I'm all for it. I realize I'm a minority who is more stuck in the past than I have any right to be. I can't help it - the music I grew up with, identify with and that moves me to my core happens to be blues. And jazz. It's where my heart is. But I feel like I'm an anomaly, and I'm grateful that there are enough anomalies out there for me to be able to indulge in that. At the same time, I'm glad there is progress, movement, new ideas and new inspirations, because indirectly (or directly) I will be inspired by that energy.

The statement that strikes me as most false is that we lack an all-american dance form. Lindy hop and blues dancing, born out of jazz, are the essence of the all-american dance. Jazz historian Frank Tirro says: "jazz is an American phenomenon. It was born here in the United Sates, and it has not renounced its citizenship. It was first performed by black Americans newly released from bondage who expressed their God-given talents and their beliefs about freedom, identity, and art through their music. Jazz is still a profound manifestation of freedom, talent, achievement and identity." Born out of this uniquely American music was a uniquely American form of movement, inherently tied to a culture that carried influences from many places, but melded them into something recognizable different - something in my opinion truly American.

There are complaints of elitism and exclusionism in the trad blues dance scene ... and I can't fault anyone for complaining. I think a lot of dancers take themselves way too seriously, and get personally offended when someone disagrees with them or their preferences. It's dancing, people. It's supposed to be fun, and create community. But on the flip side, don't get offended if an event decides to go for a certain type of aesthetic, and your music request was denied. Do your research, let your money and attendance speak for you. If you don't like the music played at an event, don't attend it.

We seem to agree that terminology is an issue. What you are talking about is, in my eyes, no longer blues dancing. But fusion is a misnomber too. I'm intrigued to see what people will come up with. I also have a feeling that it will grow organically ... most movements do, shaped by people's preferences. So in some ways, it doesn't make much sense to dictate too strong a path if you're only one person - people will make it into what they need it to be, which is great.

Here's where I'm at right now: neither traditional nor forward-moving dancers rooted in blues are "wrong." It's just a question of where their preferences lie. Arguing that seems silly, and counterproductive. In the end, we all just love to dance. It seems like there is a separation of a culture happening, a diversifying, if you will. That's not a bad thing. What we all need to realize is that one form or style of dance does not invalidate the other - both can exist. It's also possible to enjoy both. Though I am a traditionalist at heart (jazz and blues music is what speaks to me and makes me want to move), the creative forward motion of taking our culture in a new direction is healthy and energizing, and I can still draw inspiration from that. It just so happens that I am happier returning to the roots. Personal preference.

Thoughts? Opinions? Clarifications? Corrections?