I’ve made mixes that I might disavow under pressure. I’ve definitely made mixes where I wish I could go back and revise it (in fact, I’ve done that). But with this, “the wedding mix,” I really feel like I nailed it. That’s not a statement of ego (well, maybe a little) as much of an expression of satisfaction in feeling like I created something that I can’t improve on. It’s great “as is.”
The backstory: I was commissioned to make this mix for a couple (Elizabeth and Jeff) whose wedding I DJed.1 They wanted to press up CDs as a wedding favor and they gave me a want list of different songs and I was allowed to fill in the rest. Their requests made for a useful starting point, creating a basic set of posts upon which I could build everything else.
The concept was simple: put together an hour or so of love songs. They didn’t have to be ballads (which meant I had a range of tempos to play with) and they didn’t have to be necessarily old or new or confined to a single genre, though obviously, soul/funk factored in heavily. The real challenge wasn’t so much in choosing which songs to use but rather, lay in what sequence to put them in. My favorite parts of this mix come with the organic shift from one song that seems perfectly matched to flow into another.
Hope you all enjoy it as much as I still do.
If I’m going to be really honest, the only thing I might change with the song would’ve been this: the first track. Thinking back now, the main reason why I used “Your Love” by The Styles of Bobby Day was because I had just gotten it in and thought it was a great 7″. It is a great 7″ – love how it’s a ballad with a funky breakbeat – but I just don’t think it has the right kind of “first song” impact. C’est la vie.
I have no regrets using Stevie Wonder’s ” Hey Love,” however. If this isn’t my absolutely favorite Wonder song, it’s at least in the top 3 and it’s one of those tunes that I never, ever tired of hearing. Blending it in with De La Soul’s “Bitties In the BK Lounge” may have been a bit off-concept but honestly…I always wanted to put that blend on. So there.
Do I need to really explain why I put on Linda Lyndell’s “What a Man”? Or following that with Freddie Scott’s “Got What I Need”? The Biz Markie/Pharcyde blend of “Just a Friend Passin’ Me By” was something I whipped together on a whim a few years back and it seemed apropos to drop that in too. From there, I came in with “Between the Sheets” by the Isley Bros. (though I realize, now, I could have used Biggie as a bridge, oh well).
From there, things take a left-turn into “Be My Lady” by the Dynamic Tints (Twinight in the hizzouse); I put this mix together around the time that Numero dropped that massive Twinight anthology so I had this song on the brain. The Brothers of Soul’s “A Lifetime” was my intro to the band, a longtime favorite, and it felt great to finally slip it into a mix somewhere. My decision to use “I Choose You” by Willie Hutch was influenced by DJ Phatrick’s wedding, where I heard them play this and it seemed like a great fit for a wedding mix. Teddy Pendergrass’s great “Love TKO” seemed to blend nicely out of that and why not go from there into Ahmad’s “Back In The Day”? The Love Unlimited’s “If You Want Me” is a slept-on Barry White-produced track (though Ras Kass knew what was up) and I feel like I hit a good groove here by stringing both Carl Carlton’s “This Feeling’s Rated X-Tra” and Eddie Kendrick’s “If You Let Me from it.
Another left-field track follows: Marcia Aitken’s cover of Alton Ellis’s “I’m Still In Love With You and I’m not sure what made me think to work in Lauryn Hill’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” (might have been my client’s request). The segue into Bobby Caldwell’s “Open Your Eyes” is a bit forced but as many a DJ has learned, that song blends beautifully with Common’s “The Light.” Latryx’s “Lady Don’t Tek No” was a client request, as was Mayer Hawthorne’s cover of The Festivals’ “You Got The Makings of a Lover.” The arrangement on that song made me think of Theron and Darrell’s rare-as-hen’s-teeth b-side cut, “I Was Made To Love Her” (if I had a spare $800, I’d cop one for sure).
Pamoja’s “Ooh Baby” isn’t a cover of Smokey and the Miracles but a fantastic, sweet soul/crossover track in its own right. Right about here, the mix hits perhaps my favorite point since Ruby Andrews’s “You Made a Believer” drops in perfectly out of Pamoja and I felt the same way about slipping in the Prince of Ballard’s excellent remix of Bobby Reed’s “The Time Is Right For Love.”
Coming out of those three is The Summits’ “It Takes Two” (a Wash. D.C. cut if I recall) and then I dip back to the early ’90s with Zhane’s “Hey Mr. DJ” before blending that with its sample source: Michael Wycoff’s “Looking Up to You.” Don Julian and the Larks’ cover Al Wilson’s “Show and Tell” after that, followed by a stone-cold classic: Doris Troy’s “Just One Look.” Joe Bataan (covering Smokey) croons in after, with his rendition of “More Love,” followed by Wee’s slinky “I Luv You” and then Michael Jackson’s classic “Rock With You.”
From here, the mix drops into the slow jam closing set, beginning with Tammi Terrell’s previously unreleased “All I Do Is Think About You,” followed by a client request: Penny and the Quarters’ “You and Me.” I’ve always loved Margie Joseph’s cover of “Let’s Stay Together,” and staying in that theme, I also dropped in the Emotions’ cover of the Charmels’ “As Long As I Have You.” Everything comes to a close on Bettye Swann’s “Make Me Yours,” a client request that was 110% the perfect song to close with.
- This is why I’ve kept this mix under wraps for the last few years; felt like enough time has finally passed for me to share it. But, since it was originally a commission, I don’t plan on every selling it or offering it in any format besides what’s here. The couple gave me a handful of CDs for myself and I gave those to a few select friends and that’s it. ↩