Charleston enjoys a thriving population of gritty guitar-rock bands who specialize in the heavier, more metallic side of classic rock. Singer Ben Dante and guitarist Jack Hunter of local hard rock cover band Dante's Camaro gave us five essential metal standards any local bar band should know. And here they are. — T. Ballard Lesemann
Livin' on a Prayer — Bon Jovi
Jersey trash. God knows that shit plays down here.
Pour Some Sugar On Me — Def Leppard
This song immediately gets the ho train to the dance floor.
I Can't Drive 55 — Sammy Hagar
Sammy's like 65 now right? Does that mean they've revoked his license? Hope so.
Rock 'n' Roll All Night — Kiss
Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons don't even drink but have been foolin' everybody that they like to party for decades. Straight Edge with make-up.
Highway to Hell — AC/DC
No stop signs or speed limits. Hell seems pretty cool. When you play this song, North Charleston rednecks and flip-flop wearin' trust fund kids think its pretty cool too.
Whether you’re DJing a club in town or a 4 a.m. dance party in your kitchen, you’ve got to give the people what they want. No matter what kind of music you’re getting down with, there’s going to be a point where eyes start looking around: you’ve lost the groove. If you don’t act quick, your dance floor will be emptier than a school house on a Sunday. We suggest you dig a little deeper: go old-school funky.
You know the deal: tight snare and hi-hat work and fat-bottomed basslines. If these tracks don't get you out of a jam, don't call us. Clearly, it's not the kind of party we would attend anyway. — John Edward Royall
You Dropped a Bomb on Me — The Gap Band
Getup Offa That Thing — James Brown
Fantastic Voyage — Lakeside
Boogie on Reggae Woman — Stevie Wonder
Thank you (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again) — Sly & The Family Stone
Express Yourself — Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
Who Says a Funk Band Can't Play Rock 'n' Roll — Funkadelic
Give The People What They Want — The O'Jays
Genius of Love — Tom Tom Club
Life During Wartime — Talking Heads
Fug — Cymande
Better Change Your Mind — William Onyeabor
(Somebody Got ) Soul, Soul, Soul — The Wild Magnolias
Housequake — Prince
Fire on the Bayou — The Meters
Yes We Can Can — The Pointer Sisters
Groove Line — Earth, Wind & Fire
Charleston musician and blues enthusiast Gary Erwin, known in town under the stage name Shrimp City Slim, knows his stuff. As a former record store owner, longtime pianist, songwriter, bandleader, and festival organizer, Erwin is one of Charleston's loudest blues cheerleaders.
For blues players, it's not so much to know how to play a specific song, but how to play a specific groove, he says. At a jam, if I am the leader, I might for example just call a shuffle in G with stops. And the band should understand.
When asked to arrange the absolute must-know jam session songs for any blues-style musician's repertoire, here's what he put together. — T. Ballard Lesemann
Baby What You Want Me to Do — Jimmy Reed
Got My Mojo Workin' — Muddy Waters
Sweet Home Chicago — Robert Johnson
Let the Good Times Roll — Louis Jordan
Hoochie Coochie Man — Muddy Waters
Boom Boom — John Lee Hooker
That's Allright — Jimmy Rogers
Walking by Myself — Jimmy Rogers
I'm Tore Down — Freddy King (by way of Eric Clapton)
Before You Accuse Me — Bo Diddley (by way of Eric Clapton)
Statesboro Blues — Blind Willie McTell (by way of Allman Brothers)
One Way Out — Sonny Boy Williamson (by way of Allman Brothers)
... And the fearful and ubiquitous:
Red House — Jimi Hendrix
Give Me One Reason — Tracy Chapman
Love Me Like a Man — Chris Smither (by way of Bonnie Raitt)
This essential beach music and shag set is a useful dozen for any working band who might encounter belligerent and demanding shaggers during a gig (yes, even madras-clad, loafer-wearing shag enthusiasts can be obnoxious sometimes). Actually, with the right rhythmic touch, khaki-swagger, and tempo treatment, any band adventurous enough to try to rework something from the classic rock, soul, or pop world on-the-fly can turn just about anything into a shag song. However, learning at least a few of these will eventually come in super handy when gigging around the Lowcountry. — T. Ballard Lesemann
How Sweet It Is
(To Be Loved by You) — Marvin Gaye
Build Me Up Buttercup — The Foundations
Give Me Just a Little More Time — General Johnson
& The Chairman of the Board
Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy — The Tams
Sixty Minute Man — Billy Ward & The Dominoes
Under the Boardwalk — The Drifters
I Love Beach Music — The Embers
Baby, Let Me Bang Your Box — Doug Clark & The Hot Nuts
Carolina Girls — General Johnson & The Chairman of the Board
Girl Watcher — The O'Kaysions
Givin' It Up for Your Love — Delbert McClinton
Mother-In-Law — Ernie K-Doe
Musicians, experts, and veteran producers may argue over what officially qualifies as old-school hip-hop. Some place the cut-off date around 1984, others at the dawn of the '90s. Looking back, we think just about anything from around 20 years ago and beyond (especially in the early years of MTV's Yo, MTV Raps!) is fair game for absolute, must-know old-school rap hits. Listed here are some of the timeless hip-hop anthems that any live band should consider working into the repertoire — tracks that grab the attention anyone of old enough to remember. — T. Ballard Lesemann
Rapper's Delight — The Sugarhill Gang
The hand-clapping 1979 hit with the bassline from Chic's Good Times that helped kick it all off.
Girls — The Beastie Boys
Practically their version of Otis Day & The Knights' Shama-Lama Ding Dong.
Just a Friend — Biz Markie
The hilariously outta tune, piano-driven, funky love song from the goofy old-school beatboxer.
Insane in the Membrane — Cypress Hill
The L.A.-based combo put it bluntly in the call-and-response chorus on this doobie-tastic marijuana rally rap.
Me, Myself, and I — De La Soul
As funky and bouncy as any P-Funk standard, this one retains its magic 20 years after its release.
The Humpty Dance — Digital Underground
A killer beat and bassline smothered in cornball party vibes and a singalong chorus of Do the Humpty-Hump!
Human Beat Box — The Fat Boys
An early '80s synth-beat hit for the Boys (they originally released it when they were called the Disco 3). If anyone can pull off the beatbox style of Darren Buffy Robinson, it's an instant winner.
You Talk Too Much — Run-D.M.C.
A slow-pounding 1985 rap about the loudmouthed girlfriend.
Goin' Back to Cali — LL Cool J
The brassy and moody 1989 hit with a slow-rolling LL Cool J stylin' and profilin' in the sun.
Baby Got Back — Sir Mix-A-Lot
A thumping bassline and an irresistibly ridiculous mix of humor, and sex ... prefect for the dance floor.
Veteran Charleston radio personality Jim "The Critic" Voigt has rocked the local airwaves for years — not only with some of the coolest cuts from the alternative and punkish side of modern rock, but also with his vast knowledge of the most influential underground acts of the last three decades and the whole rock 'n' roll family tree.
The Critic first started working in radio 15 years ago after relocating to Charleston and landing a gig at the late 96 Wave. Since February 2008, he's hosted two three-hour specialty shows on The Bridge at 105.5 FM WCOO: The Critic's Hootenanny, which airs on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and The Critic's Choice, on Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon. The shows are probably the closest thing to smart college radio Charleston has ever had.
When asked to assemble the absolute must-know indie-rock songs for any working band's set-list, he put together 10 crowd-pleasing songs and 10 of the coolest obscure tunes for the aficionado.
Sweet Jane — Velvet Underground
I Wanna Be Your Dog — The Stooges
September Gurls — Big Star
Blitzkrieg Bop — The Ramones
Radio Free Europe — R.E.M.
Take the Skinheads Bowling — Camper Van Beethoven
Bastards of Young — The Replacements
Touch Me I'm Sick — Mudhoney
The Long Cut — Uncle Tupelo
Cut Your Hair — Pavement
Teenage Kicks — The Undertones
Chinese Rocks — Johnny Thunders
Starry Eyes — The Records
Left in the Dark — The Vertebrats
Girl Of My Dreams — Bram Tchaikovsky
Baby What's Wrong — The Cynics
Fisherman's Blues — The Waterboys
Judas Kiss — The Del Lords
Sooner Or Later — The Feelies
Skip Steps 1 & 3 — Superchunk
Reach Critic at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit 1055thebridge.com.