Songs for the Shim Sham

Everything about the swinging music we love to DJ

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Coorgraphy details in "T'aint what you do"

#31 Post by SavoyVet » Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:23 pm

There seams to be some discuz about the obtimal coorgraphy of a shim-shim to the original Lunceford tune.

The complications is due the direct start on the first chorus without any intro phrase followed by two "sandwich" phrases before the next chorus.

I have seen two solutions
1) start the shim-sham straight from first note. Pause the stroll after the first chorus and make something different on the 2 sandwhich phrases (2 x 4 x 8 beats). Accomplished the shim shim when the second chorus starts. All the Tackie Annies will be come up on the B-phases.
2) start the shim-shim on the second A-phrase and use the first sandwich phrase for the half-breaks. Do something different on the final sandwich phrase and finish the shim sham as in 1) above. The first series of tackie annies will not come up on the B-phrase but the next will.

Personally, I prefer 1) It demands however a very fast "dancefloor" or DJ can repeat the first few seconds until people are ready.

I have a version with Ella and Chick Webb with a 8 beat intro. However I am a great fan of Sy Olivers orchestration with the Lunceford band.

Any suggestions? How do you fix it at your lindy scenes?


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#32 Post by Jerry_Jelinek » Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:33 pm

Speaking of Shim-Sham, a sad note for all:

April 10, 2004
Leonard Reed, 97, Tap Dancer Known for Shim Sham Shimmy, Dies

COVINA, Calif., April 9 (AP) Leonard Reed, a tap dance pioneer who was
co-creator of the famous Shim Sham Shimmy dance routine, died here on Monday. He
was 97.

The cause was heart failure, his family said.

Mr. Reed, with his dance partner, Willie Bryant, invented the shimmy routine
as a flashy finale to their dance act in the late 1920's.

In their book "Jazz Dance," Marshall Winslow Stearns and Jean Stearns
describe it as "a one-chorus routine to a 32-bar tune, with eight bars each,"
consisting of the double shuffle, crossover, an up-and-back shuffle and then another
move, characterized as "falling off a log."

Mr. Reed was born in Lightning Creek, Okla., on Jan. 7, 1907. He was of
black, white and Choctaw descent. His mother died of pneumonia when he was 2, and
he never knew his father.

Reared by relatives and other guardians in Kansas City, Mo., he won contests
dancing the Charleston and performed the dance at carnivals during the
summers. He attended Cornell University but dropped out to pursue a dance career.

Mr. Reed paired with Bryant in a vaudeville act they called "Brains as Well
as Feet."

"Dancing has been my only love," he said in an interview with The Fort Worth
Star-Telegram. "But I didn't let dancing stop me from doing other things. I
had the ability to be multitalented."

Mr. Reed produced shows at the Cotton Club in Chicago and was master of
ceremonies for 20 years at the Apollo Theater in New York. When he was not dancing,
he was a songwriter, bandleader and comedian.

In the 1960's, Mr. Reed began producing for record companies and helped start
the career of the singer Dinah Washington.

He once said his long, active life could be credited to "women, golf and show
business," but not necessarily in that order.

In 2000 Mr. Reed received a lifetime achievement award from the American
Music Awards. Two years later he received an honorary doctor of performing arts
degree from Oklahoma City University.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara; a daughter; a granddaughter; and two

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#33 Post by Bob the Builder » Thu Sep 22, 2005 6:36 pm

So a while back I started suggest so very different songs to do the Shim Sham too. I believe I was the first to use The Muppet's "Happy Feet".

We also had a lot of fun doing it to "Harlem Congo". It's what you call a supper fast Shim sham. It's a lot of fun.

I've seen some French dancers to the "Dean Collins" Shim Sham to what was meant to be a Glen Gray song. However, the list song is not on any Glen Gray song on any Music Data Base. Does anyone have any idea what it was?

Brian :D

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#34 Post by Naomi » Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:02 am

I am gonna have to try the Muppets "Happy Feet." What a great idea!

A few months ago, Manu played the theme song from the Jeffersons at the 9:20, and we did a great shim sham to it. Now if only I could find a recording of it...

Movin' on Up [Theme from The Jeffersons] Lyrics

Well we're movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Fish don't fry in the kitchen;
Beans don't burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin',
Just to get up that hill.
Now we're up in the big leagues,
Gettin' our turn at bat.
As long as we live, it's you and me baby,
There ain't nothin wrong with that.

Well we're movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

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#35 Post by lipi » Fri Sep 23, 2005 3:22 pm

movin' on up! awesome. of would have to be on a thursday i don't make it up to the city.

i have an a cappella version (talisman on "after silence"). amazon carries the cd, but no sound clips. if you ever make it down to swing central or steppin' out you can have a listen, naomi. or maybe i'll actually make it up to lindy in the park one of these weeks.


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Sy Oliver's T'aint what you do - real crazy

#36 Post by swing-o-logy » Sun Sep 25, 2005 4:42 pm

Every Swing DJ, who likes to play T'aint what you do from Lunceford, should try the Sy Oliver-Version from the late 40's. It's a bit harder, than Lunceford's, has a very strong beat and misses those bloody drum-rolls at the end, that bring a lot of minor experienced dancers to stumble.
Also good is the Billy May-version, but it sounds to our ears so clean!
As I know, it's available in the chronological classics-series! -Soooooo soool! - Also there exists a Lunceford live-version, ecorded in the 30's for the saturday swing club. - Real gone, it's live, a bit faster and there are two complete choruses more(!) - Fancy to see all the dancers with a big questionmark above their heads!

For te whole Louisianna area we try to collect, so listen
Our actual swing-inn-online-radio-show "Darkness on the delta"

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#37 Post by Racetrack » Fri Oct 07, 2005 11:17 am

Here in Madison "Jeep Jockey Jump" is the currently favored Shim Sham number (Bill Elliott version, but the original was amazingly enough done by Glenn Miller - AF Band, I believe). Great uptempo tune which works well.

Personally, I think "C Jam Blues" works well too for a slower tempo. If you wait to come in until the second verse the breaks fall in just the right places.

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#38 Post by julius » Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:39 pm

Err, Shim Sham is choreographed to a 32 bar, AABA song. C Jam Blues is a 12 bar blues. I don't really see how this would ever work?!

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#39 Post by Toon Town Dave » Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:19 pm

Much like a windshield wiper? :?

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#40 Post by kawaiifvb » Fri Oct 07, 2005 2:13 pm

At our weekly wednesday dance last week, we attempted to shim sham to the disney version of the Mambo No. 5 by Lou Bega.

Bad Idea.


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#41 Post by SirScratchAlot » Fri Oct 14, 2005 5:26 am

turkey in the straw...hehehe
\\\"Jazz Musicians have dance in them, and Jazz dancers have music in them, or Jazz doesn''''t happen.\\\" Sidney Bechet


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#42 Post by Pocail » Sat Oct 15, 2005 11:30 am

I always try to do a Shimsham challenge by playing a non shimsham song and they do it. They love it and it makes everyone laugh.

Exemple of some of the songs I played:

The Bunny Hop
Phenomenom :By the Muppets
Daddy Cool:By Boney M
Yeah: By Usher

If you make it a challenge, they will do it on anything!


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#43 Post by lipi » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:19 pm

my monthly gig is in two weeks, and this time the organisers would like to do a speed shim sham contest. so...i'd like to find four or five good songs 200-380 bpm that would work. i have some ideas, and the thread had a few more, but if you have a particular favourite speedy shim sham, speak up!

it's relatively easy to find songs that have the required 4*(3+1) structure, but i'd like songs a) where the structure is plain to hear for all (the tempos will be challenge enough) and b) that have a four bar intro or so that gets dancers ready.

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#44 Post by anton » Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:18 am

Lorenzo1950 wrote:Does anyone have the swing version of Turkey in the Straw?
I have a version by Tiny Hill and His Hilltoppers which is actually decent.

It's fun responding to questions that are 5 years old .. 8)

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#45 Post by penguin » Fri Jul 11, 2008 6:34 am

I've often thought that the Cab Calloway version of Boog It! might work. I've never actually sat down (or danced it, as the case may be) and tried to see if it does.

What do you folks think?