Sunday Serenade: Shelter In The Sound Of Summer’s Poetry

April 23, 2023

And some songs, too, celebrating all kinds of shit that occurs during those deep-trench days of summer — here in California’s Central Valley, backs of necks get way-way-worse than dirty and gritty.
Yesterday the first time this season/year I went with just a t-shirt instead of a hoodie/sweatshirt while walking Leroy — a most definite indicator of the approach of summer. Spring might have already sprouted, but the parching days coming quickly ahead bear fruit as we’re supposed to be in the 90s by the end of next week.
In the eighties already!

This particular playlist has no meaning, other than being neat summer-related songs. And no order for anything. Other than enjoyment and maybe a throwback to a time long ago in a place well Before Time and away from the nowadays — too much shit to erupt and implode the gold-old summertime.

Setting the stage for the summer season, my most-favorite poet, Miss Emily Dickinson, and a “Summer Shower” — of course, in a non-climate-change scenario:

A drop fell on the apple tree,
Another on the roof;
A half a dozen kissed the eaves,
And made the gables laugh.

A few went out to help the brook,
That went to help the sea.
Myself conjectured, Were they pearls,
What necklaces could be!

The dust replaced in hoisted roads,
The birds jocoser sung;
The sunshine threw his hat away,
The orchards spangles hung.

The breezes brought dejected lutes,
And bathed them in the glee;
The East put out a single flag,
And signed the fete away.

And most certainly not an accurate forecast for my local area — hot-as-shit air will most certainly not make ‘the gables laugh.’ Unless there’s the onset of one’s mental facilities breaking down by heat-influenced vapers. Miss Emily summer-timed in a way different time.

So, the first song off our summer turntable today nails the hot ambiance:

One of my dream tunes as a high schooler, The Lovin’ Spoonful, and “Summer In The City” (1966) — appears more familiar:

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity?
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

Keeping the heat-infested pace in the fantasy, musical world of Bryon Adams’ 1984 flashback, “Summer of ’69” and a celebration of sad life after:

Oh, when I look back now
That summer seemed to last forever
And if I had the choice
Yeah, I’d always wanna be there
Those were the best days of my life

And going back far away, Johnny Rivers and, “Summer Rain” (1968):

Shades of Miss Emily in a certain summer long ago:

All summer long we were dancing in the sandEverybody just kept on playing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

Next, the wages of summer and girlfriends — Don Henley and “The Boys of Summer” (1984):

A heart-hurtful memory:

Out on the road today, I saw a DEADHEAD sticker on a Cadillac
A little voice inside my head said, “Don’t look back. You can never look back”
I thought I knew what love was
What did I know?
Those days are gone forever
I should just let them go but-

And to take it a little further down the memory/time hole, I use to interchange ‘Deadhead sticker‘ in that verse above with ‘Kennedy sticker,’ and the summer of the early 1960s flows further down the line.

As with this one painting a seasonal perch — Chicago and “Saturday in the Park” (1972):

Summer’s mood:

Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
People dancing, people laughing
A man selling ice cream
Singing Italian songs

Another Miss Emily situation is a kind of before times.

Further history going further backward — Sam Cooke and “Summertime”  (1958):

Eisenhower in the faintest remembrance of the life of Mr. Cooke during those days:

It’s summertime and the living is easy
Fish are jumping and the cotton is high
Your daddy’s rich and your mama’s good looking
Hush little baby
Don’t you cry
Don’t cry
Don’t cry
Don’t cry
Don’t cry
Don’t cry

Yeah, right — the living was indeed easy.
Anyhow, skip way ahead to a lighter time — Seals & Crofts and “Summer Breeze” (1972):

I saw Seals & Crofts in concert sometime in the mid-70s. ‘Summer Breeze‘ a sweet, cool summer-night poetry:

See the curtains hangin’ in the window
In the evening on a Friday night
A little light a-shinin’ through the window
Lets me know everything’s all right

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ though the jasmine in my mind

See the paper layin’ on the sidewalk
A little music from the house next door
So I walk on up to the doorstep
Through the screen and across the floor

Ending up with fun in the season — Sly & the Family Stone and “Hot Fun in the Summertime” (1969):

And, too, sock the shit out of summer:

I cloud nine when I want to
Out of school, yeah
County fair in the country sun
And everything is true
Ooh, yeah, yeah
Hot fun in the summertime
Hot fun in the summertime
Hot fun in the summertime
Hot fun in the summertime

And finally, the ultimate summer and school song — Alice Cooper and “School’s Out” (1972):

Summer break’s never been this right on:

No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks
Out for summer
Out ’til fall
We might not come back at all

School’s out forever
School’s out doe summer
School’s out with fever
School’s out completely

Summer breaks.

Bonus —  Weezer, and “Islands In The Sun” (2001):

In places where summer is year-round:

When you’re on a holiday
You can’t find the words to say
All the things that come to you
And I wanna feel it too

On an island in the sun
We’ll be playing and having fun
And it makes me feel so fine
I can’t control my brain

Yeah, that time ‘the gables laugh.’

Spring still, or not, yet here we are once again…

(Illustration out front: ‘Shelter in the Storm,” found here.)



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