Friday's Summer Song: The Last Jam

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by Oliver Wang

The days already feel shorter. Just my imagination I suppose; the calendar says summer's still around for another month but the page flip to August is, at best, the beginning of the end (even though, I'd argue, summer starts to end the moment it begins).

Some DJs like to keep the party popping until security hits the flood lights. Personally, my favorite DJ nights and nights DJing involve taking the last 15-30 minutes to pull out the slow jam crate and wind things down, rewarding the hardcore stragglers with something to soak in before they're ushered onto the streets.

For whatever reason, it's almost impossible to go wrong with including at least one reggae song in that last set. Something about the gravity of a good riddim seduces people into closing their eyes and nodding their heads while couples use the opportunity to get in one last grind. Every few weeks, I have a new favorite discovery and right now, this track is in heavy rotation.

Carlton and the Shoes: Never Give Your Heart Away
From Love Me Forever (Studio One, 196?)

I'm assuming that's the great Leroy Sibbles on bass, strumming out a monster of a riddim, and though many reggae soul songs of this variety are covers, this seems to be an original composition, containing one of the better lines I've heard in a cautionary love song: "never give your heart away/until you know that someone/won't burn your heart/to cinders." ("Cinders" is not an easy word to pull off in a song, seriously, try it).

If you really want to leave the night with people crying in their Jameson glasses, drop this instead. If you prefer to leave folks with happier feelings about summer's end, this might work better.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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