The Red-Headed Stepchild of Swing

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wheresmygravy
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The Red-Headed Stepchild of Swing

#1 Post by wheresmygravy » Mon Jan 12, 2004 3:10 pm

Okay, here's a hand grenade for the group. Being from Texas, I have always had an affinity for Western Swing. Bob Wills, Asleep at the Wheel, etc. are all bands I love.

But anytime I play a Western Swing song (rarely) most people break out in Country and Western Dancing, since here people know how to C&W Dance. I can't seem to get them to hear the 'Swing' in the music.

If you want to check out examples, for those who have no idea what Western Swing is. Look for Bob Wills (Tiffany Transcriptions Vol 1; 'Jumpin at the Woodside') or Asleep at the Wheel (20 Greatest Hits; 'One o'clock Jump').

Also for those who like Stephanie Grapelli, Check out fiddlist Vassar Clements. On his 'Once in a While' album he has a version of Perdido that is quite tasty. But he has some great Rags and Stomps on his albums.

I'm not saying I would want to do a whole night of it, we will just go Lindy Bomb a C&W Bar for that, but I think a song or two is great.

Any Input? <ducks>

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SpuzBal
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#2 Post by SpuzBal » Mon Jan 12, 2004 3:21 pm

I just bought my first Bob Wills CD ("The Essential Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys," I think) on Saturday, coincidentally enough. It's pretty cool. I dig the slide guitars.
"In my opinion, out of the ten great guitarists in the world, Django is five of them!" - Rex Stewart

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dana
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#3 Post by dana » Mon Jan 12, 2004 3:40 pm

I've played some AATW for (swing) dancers here in Calgary and they've all swung to it, but they probably don't know that much country dancing. I'm sure if I played it for country or WCS dancers (WCS in Calgary tends to be country WCS, not funky glitter WCS) they'd do country dances to it. I guess that's how to prevent dance confusion - play whatever you want, just ensure that your dancers only know one style of dance :)

"Country swing isn't dead - it's Asleep at the Wheel!"

d.

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#4 Post by KevinSchaper » Mon Jan 12, 2004 4:14 pm

Bob Wills is cool. I have Vol. 2 of Tiffany Transcripts..

My favorite modern western swing is Dave Stuckey and the Rhythm Gang.. I LOVE the piano.. the guy's name is T Jarod Bonta, and he's apparently from austin, and has also recorded with Wayne Hancock..

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#5 Post by Yakov » Mon Jan 12, 2004 5:39 pm

i have the western swing proper box, and it's pretty sweet, but i haven't figured out the lindyability yet of it

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Lawrence
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#6 Post by Lawrence » Tue Jan 13, 2004 11:38 pm

I would put this in "Swinging music" forum because it is still about swing music. :-) Great topic.

I've tried putting a "Texan" country flair into my sets every once in a while, and have a few compilation CDs made for just such a "call." I have a GREAT Jimmy Rogers tribute CD by Steve Forbert (that I played at the past two Austin Exchanges) that I really enjoy playing and dancing to. Twang aside, it's straight-forward, relaxed Jump Blues/Swing forms: even the riffs and call-and-responses are true to form.

However, I feel your pain, Jerry. Even here in Austin, so many Lindy Hoppers have this bad image of country music and cringe at the least bit of twang: even if it is more "Western Swing" than "Country," the least bit of twang kills it for some.

I also fight an opposite problem down here than everyone breaking out into two-step: many Austinites also have this somewhat hypocritical chip on their shoulder that they are too "sophisticated" for country music, even though they are not "too sophisticated" to boast that Austin is the home of Willie Nelson and Janis Joplin. :lol: Thus, they groan and sit down on principle. :roll: Too often, I find that I (the transplanted Yankee) am the only one hootin and a hollarin' at the music!! :D

It's a shame, because they do miss out on some great, fun music! I've even spoken with some of the most advanced dancers (including Jeramie, perhaps the best dancer in Austin) and had to convince them that there was a swing rhythm and even swing (term of art) forms underneath the twang.
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Platypus
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#7 Post by Platypus » Wed Jan 14, 2004 7:03 am

Let me add a Houston amen. The DJs who have braved spinning Bob Wills have gotten mixed responses. Honestly, aside from honoring the bimonthly request for Lyle Lovett (our hometown boy), I haven't played any country swing.

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#8 Post by wheresmygravy » Wed Jan 14, 2004 10:34 am

That does it. I think next time I DJ. I am gonna throw in the version of 'Night Train' from Vassar Clements from his 'Bottom Line Encore Collection'. It's actually is a more bluegrass style that western swing.

I read in the liner notes of one of his CD that there is supposed to be a released album with Vassar and Stephane Grapelli together, call"Together At Last" but I don't see it at allmusic.

Continue the good fight.......

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#9 Post by Nate Dogg » Wed Jan 14, 2004 1:06 pm

Lawrence wrote:I would put this in "Swinging music" forum because it is still about swing music. :-) Great topic.

I've tried putting a "Texan" country flair into my sets every once in a while, and have a few compilation CDs made for just such a "call." I have a GREAT Jimmy Rogers tribute CD by Steve Forbert (that I played at the past two Austin Exchanges) that I really enjoy playing and dancing to. Twang aside, it's straight-forward, relaxed Jump Blues/Swing forms: even the riffs and call-and-responses are true to form.

However, I feel your pain, Jerry. Even here in Austin, so many Lindy Hoppers have this bad image of country music and cringe at the least bit of twang: even if it is more "Western Swing" than "Country," the least bit of twang kills it for some.

I also fight an opposite problem down here than everyone breaking out into two-step: many Austinites also have this somewhat hypocritical chip on their shoulder that they are too "sophisticated" for country music, even though they are not "too sophisticated" to boast that Austin is the home of Willie Nelson and Janis Joplin. :lol: Thus, they groan and sit down on principle. :roll: Too often, I find that I (the transplanted Yankee) am the only one hootin and a hollarin' at the music!! :D

It's a shame, because they do miss out on some great, fun music! I've even spoken with some of the most advanced dancers (including Jeramie, perhaps the best dancer in Austin) and had to convince them that there was a swing rhythm and even swing (term of art) forms underneath the twang.
Not counting Lyle Lovett songs.

I am one of the dancers who will break into two step, triple two step, or country polka if a country song comes on. On any given night, there are hundreds more people dancing country in Austin than swing. In the bigger Texas cities, the gap is probably over a thousand.

You know Lindy hoppers, they will try to lindy to everything, no matter what. Not saying that I don't do that sometimes, but since I do have a background doing two step, it is fun to bring it out every now and then.

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#10 Post by julius » Wed Jan 14, 2004 2:50 pm

It seems to me that if you have to sit dancers down and convince them that they want to dance to music they don't like, you might as well use classic swing instead of western swing.

But that's just me.

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gatorgal
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#11 Post by gatorgal » Wed Jan 14, 2004 3:48 pm

julius wrote:It seems to me that if you have to sit dancers down and convince them that they want to dance to music they don't like, you might as well use classic swing instead of western swing.

But that's just me.
Yeah, but if classic swing is outside of their comfort zone too, then you're essentially doing the same thing. :)

Not saying that it is, but from the original post it seems that "western swing" may be out of the comfort zone of many of the dancers and that's where the resistance is coming in. And anytime you play something the crowd "isn't used to" you're gonna get some resistance. :)

I think it's cool that they're trying to add a bit of regional flavor to their dances. If one of the many jobs of a DJ is to introduce dancers to "new" music, then wouldn't this count? Especially if the artists are from that area?

Comments...

Tina 8)

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#12 Post by julius » Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:22 pm

gatorgal wrote: Yeah, but if classic swing is outside of their comfort zone too, then you're essentially doing the same thing. :)
Uhh, yeah, that was kind of my point. I was commenting on the irony of devoting energy to convincing dancers of the merits of western swing as opposed to, oh, I dunno, stuff played in the ballrooms where lindy hop developed.

What can I say? the forum has been boring.

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#13 Post by Nate Dogg » Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:27 pm

gatorgal wrote:
julius wrote:It seems to me that if you have to sit dancers down and convince them that they want to dance to music they don't like, you might as well use classic swing instead of western swing.

But that's just me.
Yeah, but if classic swing is outside of their comfort zone too, then you're essentially doing the same thing. :)

Not saying that it is, but from the original post it seems that "western swing" may be out of the comfort zone of many of the dancers and that's where the resistance is coming in. And anytime you play something the crowd "isn't used to" you're gonna get some resistance. :)

I think it's cool that they're trying to add a bit of regional flavor to their dances. If one of the many jobs of a DJ is to introduce dancers to "new" music, then wouldn't this count? Especially if the artists are from that area?

Comments...

Tina 8)
Locally, I think that music with country and western sound is not considered mainstream music for DJed swing/lindy hop dances, it is novelty music. As DJs we could probably slip more of it, but playing it would mean a large percentage of our core dancers would not be into it. Which I feel is ok for one song, but not much more than that.

The same situation exists for WCS songs, sub 100 BPM songs suitable for blues dancing, and fast songs that make you want to Bal.* You can only play so much of that stuff before people get annoyed and think the DJ is pushing agenda music and ignoring them in the process.

I have noticed that some of the local country/country swing artists get more love from the dancers in a live setting than they do at DJed events (examples include Hot Club of Cowtown, Asleep at the Wheel, Two Tons of Steel).

* The Bal comment tends to be true in Austin. However, it is not necessarily in other towns. Some towns are just the opposite. So, save the flame response.
Last edited by Nate Dogg on Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#14 Post by Platypus » Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:28 pm

Go back to the post that mentions the plethora of country music here. We got the new country stations, the classic country stations, and I wouldn't be surprised if we had a Christian country station on the radio. I would bet that our locals are often looking for a "country free" zone.....but, I will tell ya what. I will post a thread on my local forum and see what responses I get.

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#15 Post by gatorgal » Wed Jan 14, 2004 8:20 pm

julius wrote:
gatorgal wrote: Yeah, but if classic swing is outside of their comfort zone too, then you're essentially doing the same thing. :)
Uhh, yeah, that was kind of my point. I was commenting on the irony of devoting energy to convincing dancers of the merits of western swing as opposed to, oh, I dunno, stuff played in the ballrooms where lindy hop developed.

What can I say? the forum has been boring.
Ahh... irony. We don't get much of that in South Florida. :)

In all seriousness... I'm giving the folks the benefit of the doubt that they're trying to introduce all kinds of music to their dancers... whether it's "classic" or "groove" or "western" or whatever. Variety is the spice of life they say.

Tina 8)

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