First, let me define. Treasure tracks are those ones you cannot find anywhere in the mainstream CD collections, they sound good, they sound different. It sounds like ’29 Lomuto but you can’t put your finger in it. On the other hand, tracks everyone knows, well, that doesn’t need definition, those are the ones whose chords you mutter on your way home after a milonga.
All Djs love treasure tracks. It’s sort of in their blood. When you DJ tango (I mean when you DJ, not when you decide to play music to a crowd), you have to spend hundreds of hours per year listening to tango. It is beyond fun (although it is fun), it is painstaking work. You have to know your ingredients, how they mix and how they come together. So it is very exciting when you get a rare Japanese CD or a second hand CD from a collector in Buenos Aires and listen to all these tracks no-one else owns!
It is at this point that things can go very wrong. Sometime the eagerness to show off these treasure tracks gets on the way of the main reason why you are DJing in the first place. To play for the dancers. Shoving in four 1928 Canaro tracks that nobody knows will do nothing but wonders to your ego. And ego is bad on a DJ.
Tango is difficult. You have to look after yourself and your partner, possibly in a busy milonga and possibly dancing behind someone you don’t know… This is already too much uncertainty and 4 unknown tangos won’t make it any better or easier!
So, the way how I see it is like this. You have a treasure track that you want to play, the Canaro version of Primavera 1929 (very rare and a joy of track). Instead of playing it with other 3 tracks that no-one has ever heard of, think of lining it up with 3 known tracks. Even put it in the middle so that dancers have “warmed up” to each other and the dancefloor. And leave a well known track for the end, you want to end up in a high, with a sense of completion.
Bring on those treasure tracks but drop by drop not all at once! The smiles at the end of the tanda will thank you!