Billy Stewart: Cross My Heart
From 7″ (Chess, 1968). Also on The Best Of.
Cupid: Cupid Shuffle
From Time For a Change (Atlantic, 2007)
Biz Markie/Pharcyde: Passin’ Biz By (O-Dub’s Blend)
As I mentioned a few weeks back, I had the privilege of traveling out to Charleston SC to DJ a wedding by a couple I had never met but who were fans of the site. (Thanks again KF!)
Really fun evening, especially since the groom’s father is a guitarist who has had his own band for years now and every so often, would come up to say, “we play this song!” and he was talking about tunes by the Delfonics, Intruders and Billy Stewart. Totally awesome. (He, for example, plays “Cross My Heart”, a fantastic Stewart tune that tends to get overlooked in favor of his bigger hits but Just Blaze knows the real).
The challenge with DJing any wedding (and technically this was more like the rehearsal dinner but same diff) is trying to triangulate music choices for multiple generations of listeners. There are a few artists who are able to transcend those differences – Michael Jackson for example – but it’s definitely a tricky science.
At one point, when mostly just 20 somethings were on the floor (picture of it, above), one of them came up to me and tried to convince me, “you have to play ‘Cupid Shuffle’, all the old folks will dance to that!” Here’s the thing: I previously had no frickin’ clue what “Cupid Shuffle” was. Never, ever had heard of it. But thanks to a wifi connection and Amazon.com, a few minutes later, I had it loaded and ready to go. Ms. 20-Something was partially right: it did get people on the dancefloor, but mostly other 20-somethings. Cross-generationally, it didn’t quite spark things off.
What does strike me is that line dancing just doesn’t seem that big out West; I can’t name a single line dancing tune I’ve heard at a party or club out there in years. But when I mentioned “Cupid Shuffle” on Facebook, I had folks saying, “oh yeah – if you’re at a Black party in Chicago, everyone knows it” but of course, I was spinning to an all-White party in Charleston so clearly, “Cupid Shuffle” has gone cross-regional/racial.
One anecdote: outside of the venue, a friend of mine ran into an older Irish woman who worked/lived nearby and she asked “what kind of music are they playing inside?” and when told it was soul/R&B, she apparently gave the gas face and said, “you mean there Black people inside?” But when it was explained, “well, no, it’s pretty much a White wedding party,” she just looked confused, as if she couldn’t reconcile a party full of White folks enjoying Black music.
In any case, the one song that really did seem to go over the best? Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” (a no-brainer but it’s always gratifying to see) which I had blended up with the acappella for the Pharcyde’s “Passin Me By” (I could have found a way to incorporate “the engine/engine/number 9” chant from “The Choice Is Yours” and scored a “Golden Era Hat Track.”
Seriously? Nobody beats the Biz when it comes to turning a party out.