Whats the Best Swing Music to Buy?
by Cindy Gardner
Thats a tough question. There are so many styles of music that are good for swing dancing!
First of all, stick with the style of music that you like. That might sound obvious, but the guy standing next to you at the dance might recommend his favorite jazz artist, and youre really a rockabilly-baby at heart. Go for your favorite style. Good swing dancing CDs exist in just about every style of swing music.
Before you shop, determine your budget. Do you keep the purse strings pretty tight? If so you probably want just a few CDs, and youll want to do your research first to make sure that you get lots of value for your purchases.
Its pretty standard and reasonable to find pricing at about $1 per tune; for example, $15 for a CD with 15 tunes. If there are 10 tracks and theyre charging $15, its chintzy. If there are 20 tracks and theyre charging $12, snap it up! Then you need to think about how many of those tunes will be danceable.
Lets get some perspective. When bands produce CDs, theyre doing it for themselves, not the dancers. You may really like dancing to a particular band, but keep in mind that their CD may have a mix of ultra-fast, ultra-slow, Latin and other non-swing-danceable tunes. Try to find out the music styles and tempos of the songs on a CD from others who own it. Generally speaking, Im pretty happy if at least half of the tunes are danceable. Im ecstatic if over 75% of the CD is danceable, and Im disappointed if there are only a few tunes that I can use.
If you like the artist a lot, you might not care that much of the CD isnt danceable. Youll probably spend many happy hours listening to it. But remember that when you buy it, so you dont get ticked off later because its not so danceable!
There are a number of resources for music. Locally, the Electric Fetus is great. Theyll have just about everything. And what they dont have they will happily order for you.
For the budget-conscious, check out the used CD shops like CD Warehouse or Cheapo. Their pricing is low, low, low! And since their product is used, the CDs have already been opened, so you can listen to them before deciding if you want to buy.
Finally, here are a few starter CDs that I will happily recommend to new dancers who need something to get going:
Jumpin Uptown, the Senders - The Senders are a popular local jump blues band, playing covers from the late 40s to late 50s. This disc has about 20 tracks, most of which are danceable! And there are a nice variety of tempos for practicing. You can get this CD directly from the band, or check out the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis (www.efetus.com).
Frankie Mannings Really Swingin Big Band Favorites, Compilation - This CD features great original big band music from the 30s and 40s, hand-picked by Frankie Manning, so you know its great for dancing! The wide range of tempos is great for practicing. Youll find it on www.savoystyle.com.
Best of Swing, Compilation - Lots of value for the dollar with this one and the music is great. Its hot traditional big band, by the best artists of the swing era. Go to www.tcswing.com, then click on the CD Reviews heading and scroll down to find the CD listed under Click on Artist. That will give you Terrys review, and ways to buy it from Amazon, either new or used.
Swing Dance Special, Compilation - This one is a jump blues collection thats mostly danceable. Produced by 1999 Collectables Records, you can get it at: www.oldies.com.
Have fun shopping for your music! q
Find more music ideas on our website: www.tcswing.com under the CD Reviews section!
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