Thursday, December 25, 2008

Summer In December

As we march ahead into what looks like will be a very cold winter, I thought that perhaps we all needed a little Summer Fun to keep keep warm and remind us all that better times are coming. So, my Christmas present to you is a little summer music in December. But before I get to the tuneage, I would like to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Good Kwanzaa and Happy Festivus (for the rest of us).  I hope Santa Claus is good to you all.   

Jan & Dean - Ride The Wild Surf
I tried to limit the number of bonafide chart hits for this post but there were a few I just couldn't resist sneaking in. What a great record!   
The Barracudas - Surfers Are Back
For my money, The Barracudas early material, where they tried to inject the fun punkiness of The Ramones with a West Coast Beach Boys vibe and came up with something totally new (yet familiar at the same time), was always their best.  
Blue Cheer - Summertime Blues
Not exactly 'summer' music, in fact I'm pretty sure it was snowing on that day back in March of 1968 when I bought the single at Woolworth's, this is still my favorite version of "...Blues"  with all of the excesses that make people either love or hate it. 
Bruce Springstone - Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Summer means baseball, right? Forget about the fact that this is a Bruce Springsteen parody (and here too, people either love him or hate him - although I'm kind of in the middle but that's another story) and you've got a near perfect version of this perennial baseball classic.
Al Green - Summertime
According to Google and  Summertime Web, "Summertime" has been covered by over 2100 different artists. Now that's what I call a classic! For this post I was torn between Billy Stewart and Al Green and then decided to go with the non-hit version.
The Dictators - California Sun
They may be singing about "California Sun" but whatever the Dictators do always ends up sounding more like the sidewalks of New York City than anything else. 
Freddy Cannon - June, July And August
"JJ&A" was originally the flip side of "Palisades Park" (another great summer record) but over the years this has come to be recognized as one of Freddy's best rockers by his many fanatical admirers.
Sloppy Seconds - V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N. (In the Summer Sun)
I was thinking of posting the original by Connie Francis but when I came across SS's punked-up version I knew this was the one.
Larry & the Loafers - Let's Go To the Beach
Like many 60's garage fanatics I first heard this on the fabulous "What A Way to Die" comp. This track is taken from that LP and may need to be cranked up a bit. Another proven dancefloor filler. 
The Lovin' Spoonful - Summer In The City
Despite the fact that it's been played to death on oldies radio, to me this sounds as fresh after hearing it over 1000 times as it did when it first came out in the summer of '66.  
Pat Boone - Beach Girl
Back in the early 60's, in the wake of the Beach Boys popularity everyone was getting in on the surf music craze and Mr. Clean Cut was no exception. And he does a pretty good job of it too, probably helped along by producer Terry Melcher who was behind so many surf/hot rod hits back in the day.
Peter Paul & Mary - Right Field
I can totally relate to this tale about a clutzy kid who couldn't play to save his life but loved the game anyway. The only difference between me and our hero is that I never made that amazing catch that saved the game. This song still gives me goosebumps whenever I hear that final chorus.
Blondie - In The Sun [Original Single Version]
Surf's Up! This 45 was one of my first exposures to anything resembling Punk. Truth be told, after their first album I never really liked Blondie all that much but this single remains a classic.  
The Rip Chords - One Piece Topless Bathing Suit
Here's another track featuring Terry Melcher. Although The Rip Chords are mainly known as one hit wonders for "Hey Little Cobra", they did record 2 albums back in the day both of which are quite listenable and available from Sundazed Records.  
The Soup Dragons - Hang Ten
Although they veered off in other directions, the first few singles and debut LP by The Soup Dragons were punk/pop masterpieces. Here is a live version of one of the best songs from their heyday.  
The Undertones - Here Comes The Summer
Speaking of punk/pop masterpieces, this song should need no introduction to anyone. Their early singles and first 2 albums remain the standards by which many other bands have been judged. 
Bittervetch - Keep Surfin'
Besides the fact that, according to the Garage Compilation database, these guys hail from Dayton, Ohio I don't know much more about them. Although, listening to this song I think I now know from where William Hung got his delightfully nasal vocal style. And I mean that in a good way. Honest. 
Jackie & The Cedrics - Banzai Diamond Head
I don't know how often they play together anymore but back in the early-mid 90s Japan's Jackie & The Cedrics were among the most exciting live bands on the scene along with Untamed Youth. Their forte was surfy Rock and Roll and "BDH" was pretty typical of their sound although they also featured vocals on many of their songs.


Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

Hope you had a fine Christmas yankeeboy, an online friend in washington told me they have had the highest snow fall in 50 years,
Here in Brisbane its Christmas as usual 30 deg cel, hot humid, thunderstorms washing out Christmas carols, grass growing like its bent on world domination.
So your music selection fits well here
ciao bob

Nazz Nomad said...

Me likey the Barracuda's