Friday Mix-Up, Dance Party Edition

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by Ricardo Gutierrez


"People don't dance no mo' "

Goodie Mob, y'all were so right. There was a time when dancing was very cool in hip-hop, even rappers were dancing and most had their own dance with a song to match. Then people got too cool or too hard or too something. I fell in line. Playing the wall at parties because it was cooler than letting loose. I left the dancing to the b-boys.

Now that I'm a bit older, into more music, and less prone to caring about embarrassing myself (though not necessarily less prone to actually embarrassing myself) I'll step out on the floor if the music calls me, especially after a few drinks.

Last week I was in a cab going down the West Side Highway. When passing by the area just below SoHo and above TriBeCa I got to thinking about the Paradise Garage. I've never been there because I born in '77 and I missed the chance. Regret only sets in now that I'm old enough to have appreciated it.

I've read a bit about it and it sounds incredible. My man Herb went there. He describes it as this spot with an awesome sound system (for him to say that is a big deal) where all colors of folk of all sexual persuasions went to dance. I've read the place didn't serve alcohol (though I'm sure there was some steady drug use) so people only had one reason to go there, dance.

Some of my excitement over the place may be the result of nostlagia over something I never knew to begin with, in the way that things from before your time take on a level of being über-cool. It may not have been as great as I imagine it was. But I think there is something beautiful about the whole idea, especialy when you throw in a DJ, Larry Levan, who is said to have played all types of music to get people to dance. I would've loved to hear him spin. If I ever get a chance to own a place somewhere or even have a regular night somewhere, that's the type of music experience I'd want to provide. It's the only thing that would hold my interest.

All of that said, this mix is based on having all of that in the back of my head, as most of my mixes here have been. This is in no way a direct homage to Larry; while I have heard some of his songs, I never heard him spin, so I could never do him justice. It's just that when I go out I don't need to hear the hits. I don't need to even hear songs or artists I've heard before. I just want to hear music that makes we want to get up off the wall.

I'm told that the no dancing thing is a NYC thing, because people here think they are too cool to dance. I'm not very traveled, so I can't comment on that. Sad as it may be, I sort of believe it. I know there must be exceptions to that. The closest I came to experiencing an exception was at Santos Party House about a month ago. It was a disco night, a mostly gay crowd and everyone was dancing and having a good time. If only that could be the norm here and not the exception because I've been to too many parties where people just stand around and talk, where the music is too hip and precious to risk looking uncool to.

I threw in "Just Like Honey" as a cool down song, just in case you got the heart rate up dancing to "Follow Me".

Tracklisting:

Walking On Sunshine - Eddy Grant
Chant No. 1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On) - Spandau Ballet
Your Sweetness Is My Weakness - Barry White
Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You) - A Flock Of Seagulls
Dangerous Type - The Cars
Air - Talking Heads
Beach Song - Dappled Cities
Tinindo Trincando - Os Novos Baianos
Follow Me - Aly Us
Just Like Honey - The Jesus And Mary Chain







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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.

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