Two bits of personal trivia. 1) I have never, in the 15 years I’ve been a DJ, DJed a wedding. The reasons are partly logistical (I don’t own speakers, lights or an amp), mostly personal (I’ve heard enough groom/bride-zilla stories to want to steer clear). In fact, at my own wedding, we didn’t even have music, something that surprised many of my friends but seriously, it never occurred to me (note: our wedding was a potluck in a friend’s backyard so “low-key” would be an understatement).
This all changed last Saturday night when I agreed to DJ a friend-of-a-friend’s wedding in Los Angeles. It was a very, very nice affair, held at the Skirball Center, not too far up the 405 from where I live. In some ways, it was a little conventional: the requested playlist included such wedding favorites as “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night and Young MC’s “Bust a Move” and I even had some ABBA ready to go (though never did around to playing it). I also got to drop in a few songs of my own choosing though I tried not to wild out too far – this wasn’t a Boogaloo gig after all.
It did get me to thinking about wedding songs and brought me back to this older post. People should definitely check out the comments for dozens of great wedding song suggestions.
Pamoja: Ooh Baby
From 7″ (Keiper, 1970)
Bettye Swann: Make Me Yours
From 7″ (Money, 1967). Also on S/T.
For me, I was reminded by how great “Ooh Baby” by Pamoja is (so I re-upped it) and I also thought about this special, wedding 7″ that my friend and former DJ partner Vinnie Esparza created for his wedding a couple years back: “Make Me Yours” by Bettye Swann, one of the absolute gems from this Louisana soulstress (and a #1 R&B hit back in ’67). I love the idea of a custom 45…makes me wish I had thought of that for my own wedding but oh well, maybe for the 10th anniversary.
John Coltrane: Body and Soul
From Body and Soul (Atlantic, 1960). Also on Coltrane’s Sound.
From Saturday’s wedding, I’m including one of the songs I played during dinner (yes, O-Dub does dinner jazz), “Body and Soul” by John Coltrane, featuring the majestic McCoy Tyner on piano, dropping an opening riff for the ages. I didn’t realize this, but when “Body and Soul” originally appeared as a song in the musical Three’s a Crowd in 1930, it was treated as too suggestive and banned from radio for a year. This is a beautiful rendition, like most of Coltrane’s ballads from his Atlantic and Impulse years. The song just moves you.
Alton Ellis: I’m Still In Love With You
From Sings Rock and Soul (Coxsone, 1967). Also on I’m Still In Love With You.
Lastly, one song I didn’t play but would love to at someone’s wedding (apparently, I’m now for hire; holler): “I’m Still In Love With You,” by Alton Ellis. This is NOT a cover of the Al Green song but rather, an original (I believe) by the prolific Jamaican innovator of rocksteady. Beautiful, beautiful tune and a classic riddim once Althea and Donna got their hands on it.