Second Annual “Songs of Summer”


One of the benefits of persisting with a blog for more than a year is you get to start riffing on “Second Annual” versions of this or that post. And being as how we have arrived at the summer solstice once again (when we need remind ourselves to rejoice in the light rather than lamenting, “Oh dear, now the days start to get shorter!”), I’ll keep the verbiage brief here and offer up another round of songs reflecting this most languid of seasons.

Poet Mary Oliver’s conclusion to her classic The Summer Day is put forth year-round as a stock-taking question, meant to challenge the passions that are perhaps dormant inside us: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/with your one wild and precious life?”

Worth pondering, but one part of the answer is easy, because this summer day and every day should include, if we know what is good and healthy and spiritually uplifting for us, an emphatic, “Definitely listen to some music!”



Yep, it was 48 years ago when this classic tore through summer radio and seemed to play about every 10 minutes on every radio station in the land. Maybe it had something to do with how tight the song and this group, The Lovin’ Spoonful, were. They give a nice straight-ahead accounting of themselves in this live rendition, in something from ye olden days called “black and white film.”



Lest anyone think we bask in pure ’60s nostalgia here, let’s tune into a contemporary master who has internalized ’60s soul and a whole lot else in this fun and frolicsome homage to lazy days…



And to close, the always inventive, endlessly interpretive Dianne Reeves, live in New Orleans, doing her predecessors Nina, Ella and Sarah proud with this jazzy-funky-meditative rendition of the George Gershwin classic from Porgy & Bess.




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