The bit of the website where someone of sonic sophistication supplies a selection of serious dance-floor stompers.
YOUR DJ 2-NITE!
Andrew Collins, writer and broadcaster
“I rarely DJ any more outside of family gatherings, but could. When I sold my entire vinyl collection for practical reasons in 2005, I held on to my 7” singles, which, miraculously, fit into a flight case that’s too heavy to comfortably carry, and a selection of cherished Eighties 12”s that fit into a flight case that’s easy to carry. Between the two containers, I could do you a pretty sound Seventies/Eighties/Nineties disco night. Or, with my laptop, something for the kids, but never mind them.” – Andrew Collins, May 2016
“Never Stop (Discotheque)” – Echo & The Bunnymen (1983)
“From the opening string section, past the explosive snare, into the elegantly balanced mix of four-piece rock group with studio enhancement, this near-five-minute monument to its own overblown self-belief is not their best-known tune but it thrums with elbow-twitching possibility.”
“Hit The North Part 2” – The Fall (1987)
“‘Those big, big, big wide streets/Those useless MPs’. Not to be confused with ‘Hit The North Part 1’, which is merely magnificent. The Fall at their meatiest, beatiest, biggest and bounciest.”
“Shack Up” – A Certain Ratio (1980)
“The funkiest white people outside of Average White Band, A Certain Ratio’s most iconic tune might be a cover, but nobody’s heard the 1975 original and in any case it lacks the dour, Mancunian angularity. When I was a sixth-former at a Northampton disco I might only dance once all evening, to this or Pigbag, if the DJ was wearing a coat.”
“Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)” – Frank Wilson (1965)
“I owe my appreciation of northern soul to my first 6 Music producer, who is actually called Frank Wilson. I’ve spotted a northern English slant to my selections so far, so it’s only fair that we slot in something black and proud from Detroit that found its feet on the dance floors of Manchester, Wigan and Stoke-on-Trent.”
“Heart Of Glass” – Blondie (1979)
“A single I bought with pocket money at the time, and despite its resonant popularity down the ages, and 1.3 million copies sold in this country alone, it cannot be overplayed, and Clem Burke’s drums – analogue but as finely tuned as anything coming out of a machine – need to be released onto a modern floor. Fades out too early while Burke is still showing off.”
“Uncertain Smile” – The The (1981)
“Fades in, so watch out for that, but once Andy Duncan’s metronomic beat kicks in and Matt Johnson starts crooning about depression and loss and atrophy, you won’t want it to end after its six minutes are up – and nobody expected to be dancing to an elongated Jools Holland boogie-woogie workout!”
“I Believe In Miracles” – The Jackson Sisters (1973)
“Like a northern-soul rarity, this unsuccessful disco fireworks display from a girl group that had nothing to do with The Jacksons enjoyed play here in the rare-groove era in the Eighties. Will remind parents of the Pearl and Dean theme.”
“Free Satpal Ram (Russell Simmins Mix)” – Asian Dub Foundation (1998) (included on Time Freeze 1995/2007: The Best Of Asian Dub Foundation, 2007)
“With a galvanised rhythm to break heads and win hearts and minds, the righteous fury of this all-time classic protest song was never more pronounced than in this remix oddly credited on the Time Freeze compilation LP to ‘Russell Simmins’, whoever he is.”
“Fire Up The Shoesaw (Original Album Mix)” – Lionrock (1996)
“The work of DJ/producer/philosopher Justin Robertson by another name, this Norman Cook-like rebuild mixes splashing water, ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin’’, random American pronouncements (‘What is rock’n’roll?’ ‘Where d’you learn how to shake that booty?’ ‘One of America’s great pranksters’) via an intricate jazz drum fill that I wish I could credit to someone, into an audacious blast of John Barry, which I can.”
“Girls” – Beastie Boys (from LP Licensed To Ill) (1986)
“A personal landmark from when I was a student and manned the decks at Chelsea School of Art and environs. I will never forget emptying the dance floor with Siouxsie And The Banshees’ cover of ‘The Passenger’ save for two desultory Goths and realising that I had to do something to refill it. I’d just bought the first Beastie Boys album on the strength of NME telling me to, and tried this two-minute sexist novelty (‘Girls to do the dishes’); et voila, floor repopulated by the first London B-boys I’d ever clapped eyes on, followed by everybody else. I think I just played tracks from this album until closing time.”
Andrew Collins is a scriptwriter, journalist, broadcaster and author who has presented music shows on Radio 1, Radio 2 and 6 Music, having written about music for NME, Select, Vox, Q, Word, The Times and The Guardian over the years. He currently hosts a dedicated two-hour movie music show, Saturday Night At The Movies, 5-7pm every Saturday on Classic FM.
Andrew’s blog, Circles Of Life: The 143 Best Songs In The World (circlesoflife143.wordpress.com) aims to publish an essay for each of Andrew’s 143 favourite songs of all time (but no more than one entry per artist). He has currently written 114, with 29 to go. It’s all very exciting.
He also writes about TV on his blog Telly Addict (tellyaddict.wordpress.com).