Discussion in 'Country and Western' started by vegas4x4, Mar 30, 2007.
Calling people on "Black Velvet" made me do some research. This is from wikipedia, and it is listed as not having a reference, so, take it for what it's worth.
The song is a written story about Elvis Presley. The words "black velvet" are a multi-faceted reference that can be applied to Elvis in numerous ways. (1) The "Velvet Elvis" phenomenon of his likeness frequently being painted on black velvet. (2) The soulful and smooth "black" baritone sound of Elvis' voice and the many African American recording artists and singers he emulated to create his special brand of rock n' roll. (3) Black Velvet was also the brand name of the hair dye Elvis used to give his normally light brown hair its distinctive black sheen.
Black Velvet is described as a "new religion that'll bring you to your knees," a possible reference to the near-religious fervor with which Elvis was regarded by many fans early in his career. The chorus tells of "Black velvet and that little boy's smile/Black velvet with that slow, Southern style", a reference to Elvis' trademark lopsided grin and Southern heritage. The end of the first verse claims that "The boy could sing, knew how to move, everything/Always wanting more, he'd leave you longing for [black velvet]", a reference to Elvis' singing, distinctive movements on stage, and charisma.
While the first verse discusses the beginning of Elvis' life - "Mama's dancing with baby on her shoulder" - the second talks about the height of his career - "Mama's baby is in the heart of every schoolgirl; Love Me Tender leaves 'em crying in the aisles". The bridge references his death - "In a flash he was gone, it happened so soon, what could you do?"
It all sounds VERY plausible. I could never figure out what the song was about.
And just for the record, Elvis started as a country act. Bill Black and Scotty Moore had been playing in a Western Swing band. "Blue Moon of Kentucky" outsold "That's Alright (Mama)", although you wouldn't know it based on what most folks write.
The minority of material that was Rhythm and Blues gets all the attention. Sun output, yes, less than half was R&B, and Elvis hadn't hit it big yet and most fans were "country" folks.
When RCA bought Elvis's contract, he was put in the country music "division".
And heck, what's country anyhow?
As with so much music, country has evolved. I has received from as well as given to other genres. So much of it has crossed over into pop and rock...
Yeah. I thought it was pretty funny. And wasn't it for a truck or van called Montana?
That's true, especially a lot of today's country music has a rock/pop influence...which is probably why I like it now when I never really used to. It's not just twangy **** anymore, lol. BTW, don't get me wrong guys, Black Velvet is an awesome WC song, I just don't consider it "country" and it's typically classified as like a rock ballad as far as I'm aware. A song I would put in the same classification is "Chains" by Tina Arena...that's another awesome WCS song too, but both are fairly slow and sultry, so if you're looking for something more upbeat you can move to, those wouldn't be it.
Yeah, that's a very cool thing about today's country music...
Ever listen to "Black Coffee" by Bonnie Rattit?.....(I never remember her last name-I know this isn't the spelling) I love that song for WCS.
What's that song that just came on?
16 Tons? Wooh.
Wonder if anyone's trying to dance WCS to it.
Just a few couples out there. Someone just grabbed one of my favorites.
Wait. That gal's pretty good at West Coast, and she's just talking to some guy.
Hey, there (as I bump her hip)...
That worked out pretty good.
Mr DJ, where'd you get that song?
Yeah, LeAnn Rimes? Cool.
And while I'm at it...
George Strait - Here for a Good Time
I just gotta stir things up a bit and suggest that there are very few good CW songs for WCS but a lot of songs from other genre that are better.
My choices for CW WCS:
Eat at Joes by Suzy Boggus (A CW Foxtrot?)
Ruby Mae by Indigo Swing
She Just Wants to Dance by Keb'Mo'
Bring it on Home by Kenny Neal
Cause I Love You by Mike Morgan
Stray Cat Strut by Peggy Polk
Memphis Women and Chicken by T Graham Brown
Lets Walk by Austin De Lone
Juicy by Better than Ezra
Fly By by Blues
It Don't Matter by Donovan Frank
Home USA by Fats Domino
Dangerious by Kardinal Offishall
Ringin True by Mark Sterling
Boom Sh-Boom by Martin Sexton
Fireflies by Owl City
Boom Boom Boom by Rare Blend
Dynamite by Taio Cruz
I don't chuck. We do WCS a lot where I dance. And the tunes are almost all country (at least they play them on the radio as country, but then that's another thread)
I think that people teach to certain songs, and people gravitate to those sounds because they associate it with West Coast Swing.
Like I tell potential partners, and others, the song isn't West Coast Swing, but we can dance West Coast Swing to it. Where I dance, I've had people tell me you can't do West Coast to slow blues songs.
I agree on both points. WCS may have had close ties to country swing but today it is quite diverse and seems to be continually evolving. Several years ago an instructor told me that there were three styles; Ballroom, CW, and WCS. The later two being most closely related.
What I see is the influence of younger people spreading thru WCS, which explains the pop music. And why not? If we can P2S to cha-cha why can't we WCS to POP?
WCS seems to go thru phases regarding the tempo of music, today it seems slower than five years go. Also WCS seems to work better with music that has emphasis on the even beats, which seems to be scarce in CW music.
In my limited travels I notice some trends; CW WCS tempo seem to be fast which makes the Lady run up and down the slot, OK for me as a lead but tiring for the Lady. I also encounter coaster steps used for anchor steps which is an indicator of when and from whom they learned WCS. At some venues the dancers are more interpretive of the music.
In some venues Lady hijacking is common, in others they don't; so like other dances there seems to be regional differences.
My offer of the playlist was to offer a wider variety of WCS music that could expand horizons.
Steve: I have a son in Tigard and we'll try to stop by Bushwhackers on our trip north in early April. I'll keep in touch.
Cool! Just remember, I never said our WCSers are world class or anything. They just dance it a lot!
I think most gals don't stay close enough for a good connection, so I always tell 'em tinytiny steps when the music is fast.
Then too, Skippy Blair doesn't like the run run run first set of triples. With her stuff, the gal turns 180 on 2, then usually does back together back while the guy does forward together forward. Run run run takes you farther away, but that's what is taught a lot, and maybe mostly.
I actually saw a youtube video (ballroom associated) that used a coaster in WCS.
That said, "anchoring" is a fairly sophisticated concept, I think. Just like doing a good "Sugar Push".
By all means let me know when you might be a BWs.
I know you've done a lot of research on WCS and this link to Wiki has some info on the coaster step as an anchor, and the change to current anchor. Plus lot of references.
Can't see the link because you are too new to be able to post links, but if you mean the wiki articles on Coaster Step and Anchor Step...
Click on the "View History" tabs of the articles to see how's been working on the them.
Many people teach the run run run as the first triple for the woman.
Skippy teaches either back together back, or back together forward as the first triple as part of the patterns.
Back together forward (what many people would call a "Coaster", but what Haile called a "Twinkle"; her Coaster was "back together Place") is used on patterns where the man puts his hand on the woman's back on 3. Whips are one such pattern.
While the woman is doing either back together back, or back together forward, the man is doing the "natural opposite."
I will never forget Skippy telling me that I looked fine from the waist up, but below the waist I looked like a 90 year old man. (That was at the first Intensive I took with her two years ago.)
Back in Portland, I clearly saw what she meant - just doing step step step step step step for counts 3-6.
I ran across (well, no surprise there since I was looking for something like this!) this yesterday.
the country shuffle
If you don't want to watch/listen to the whole thing, take a look at the songs that have this "groove": “Boot Scootin’ Boggie” and "Take It Back". Both of these songs are popular for West Coast where I dance.
Initially, he plays it rather fast, but around 3:00 he plays it nice and slow.
Skippy Blair's "rolling count" of &a1&a2 etc, fits really well here.
Shuffle can be thought of as a slow form of swing.
Note, too, that this percussion was well known enough that it was used by DJ Fontana in and Elvis song in early 1956. And that is according to Fontana himself in the dvd Elvis Presley the classic albums.
What do you think about this one?
That's Tennesse Ernie Ford in 1953. The players are Cliffie Stone's Orchestra including steel guitarist Speedy West, and guitarist Jimmy Bryant. Cliffe Stone hosted the Hometown Jamboree in Los Angeles (various locations) during the very late 40s and through the 50s.
Speedy West's steel guitar blows me away. Wish there was something like it in the current music. Anyhow, if you want to learn more about Speedy...
Heard this one last night.
This Ole Boy by Craig morgan. I like it.
I actually didn't even listen to country music until I started dancing two-step a couple months ago, but I really like the UCWDC's competition music list on their website. There are about 100 WCS songs on there at the moment. I danced to a bunch of them this weekend and they all seemed to work pretty well.
This could go lots of places, but....
You have to go all the way to abut 5:00 minutes in to hear him play "quadruple compound meter," which has the same count that Skippy Blair uses as a more advanced count for West Coast Swing 1&a2&a3&a4 "with a shuffle or swing."
If your music doesn't have a "shuffle or swing feel," I guess you would dance the triples with a straighter division of the steps - "quadruple simple."
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