Last week I was asked to come to an informal pub music DJ night at McClachlan’s Bar in Canonmills. “Bring some records, we’ll give anyone a 40 minute set, it’s this Friday”. Every record shop person kind of likes this idea. Finally a chance to showcase your finest tunes and impeccable taste. Gain a bit of respekt and kudos and so on. Still a terrifying prospect for the novice.
Reluctantly jumping at the chance, I pulled out some fine 45s on Thursday night. Let me see…. for a 40 minute set, say 2 minutes per song to be on the safe side, that makes 20 records, and what if they don’t like Duelling Banjos? Can I save the day with Falco? Amadeus? Amadeus? Argh? Madeus?
Bugger, I’d better bring some serious afficionado music too. Interesting covers of classic tunes. Where are the soul records?! Ah but then, it’s a proper pub. Should I bring some Rod Stewart and Dire Straits?
In the end I brought 55 records -probably 3 hours of music as a safety net and comfort blanket. Bring them up with some high tempo tunes. Impress them with some obscurities. Throw in the odd soul ballad, plateau at a steady bass groove and seamlessly hit them either with some punkiness or 60s guitar bands.* Throw in Magic Bus by The Who and now we’re rocking!
The Who is this guy?:
I needn’t have worried so much. It was a real mix of people from those older folks who just wanted to go to the pub and had no idea about the event and also the younger musos who brought a lot of good cheer Friday night youth to the pub as well as an eclectic selection of music.
Laura and Dave were on before me. Soul, Rockabilly Elvis, Batman and some Nancy and Lee. Very Nice.
By the time my set came I was pretty lubricated and after being shown how to work the setup, fired my carefully chosen babies off with a little bit of tweaking along the way.
The time flew in, I never managed to play the set I’d planned. No Dueling Banjos, Magic Bus or Falco. Not even the M.A.R.R.S. Pump up the Volume as a screw you guys I’m going home safety. But, all was well recieved (most of the crowd continued talking to one another without asking for change for the jukebox, so that is some kind of success). The barman even asked for the tunes to be turned up. Phew!
Next up, Scott played some Cilla Black and Tony Christie. Some great sounds by bad artists. Brilliant thinking and what it’s all about. There is nothing like confessing your guilty pleasures and finding out that others secretly love that stuff too. Be brave people! Get out to the next extravaganza with a box full of your favourites. Ridicule is nothing to be scared of.
It made me wish I’d played some Jim Reeves. He’ll Have To Go!
Anyone? Are you with my on this? Please! Anyone??!
*The 1st VoxBox setlist: 1. John Kongos, He’s Gonna Step on You Again; 2. Bobby Byrd, I Know You Got Soul; 3. Johnny Nash, You Got Soul; 4. Rufus Thomas, Turn Your Damper Down; 5.The Isley Brothers, Black Berries Pt 1; 6. Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, I Had It Made; 7. James Brown, Just Won’t Do Right 8. Ken Boothe, Hallelujah 9.De La Soul, The Magic Number 10. Slim Harpo, Scratch My Back, 11. Ricky Nelson, Summertime 12. Nightshift (Neil Gammack) Don’t Rush The Good Things 13. PiL, This Is Not A Love Song (didn’t play -too slippy) 14. Deee-Lite, Groove Is In The Heart