Greg Kot, rock critic In the dead of winter, my thoughts turn to warmth, sunshine and a few great vacations I took with my wife and a few good friends to the Pacific Coast of Mexico. I put on the following homemade party mix, and on the coldest of January days Im back on the beach, sipping a margarita, digging my toes in the sand and wiping the lotion off my brow: 1. "Rock Your Baby,"George McCrae: Float away on that hypnotic guitar and falsetto voice. 2. "The Israelites,"Desmond Dekker: Sway and pump your fist with your cousins from Jamaica. 3. "Don't Leave Me This Way," Thelma Houston: A rave-up at high noon. 4. "History Repeating," Propellerheads: Shirley Bassey vocals sound good even without James Bond. 5. "Dreaming of You," the Coral: Lift-a-Negra Modelo sing-along. 6. "Dy-na-mit-tee," Ms. Dynamite: Girrrl power, U.K. style. 7. "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby," Dinah Washington remix by Rae and Christian: Brassy R&B meets house. 8. "Brimful of Asha," Cornershop: Asian sitars sound good in the midday sun. 9. "Cornman," Kinky: Mexican rockers make the accordion cool again. 10. "Good Times," Chic: One of the great bass lines of all time. 11. "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life," In Deep: Same bass line, different song. 12. "Shame Shame Shame," Shirley and Company: Proto-disco celebration. 13. "Chain of Fools," Aretha Franklin: Love the way 'Retha's "Chain, chain, chain" echoes Shirleys "Shame, shame, shame." 14. "Who's Making Love," Johnnie Taylor: In the land of temptation, a song about the consequences of giving in to temptation. Plus, you can dance to it. 15. "Jimmy Mack," Martha and the Vandellas: Put down that margarita and clap hands. 16. "Tighten Up," Archie Bell and the Drells: Youll need to dive into the surf after dancing to this one. 17. "Family Affair," Mary J. Blige: The slinkiest groove the queen of hip-hop soul ever laid down. 18. "It's Your Thing," Isley Brothers: Yes, it is. 19. "Last Good Day of the Year," Costeau: The '90s version of "The Girl from Ipanema." 20. "Deep Red Bells," Neko Case: A voice that's the perfect soundtrack for a Pacific Ocean sunset.
Illustration by David Cowles