A few years ago I did a “Seven Songs for Autumn” mini-compilation (on the Music To Eat Mixcloud page). Here’s another mini-comp – Seven Songs for Summer (Off the Beaten Path Edition) – so called because they’re somewhat obscure songs. Summery, but not The Beach Boys (well, mostly not), not Jimmy Buffett, not Bob Marley, etc. Willfully eschewing the obvious. Yeah, that sounds sorta music-snobby, I know. But you can find the obvious summer songs anywhere. It’s uploaded to the Music to Eat Mixcloud page. Go on and have a listen, and bring your cold glass of lemonade along, too.
1. Heartbreaker’s Beach Party / Gator on the Lawn (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers): Well, this technically makes it eight songs, but both of the Petty songs are shorter than 2 minutes and were joke b-side tracks when they were first released in the eighties, so I’m sneaking them in as one song. They kind of go together in my mind. “HB’s Beach Party” was done for a great, but forgotten Tom Petty documentary of the same title directed by Cameron Crowe before Crowe had fully made the transition from writer to filmmaker. Petty’s said that “Gator on the Lawn” was inspired by an incident where his friend Marty Jourard, former guitarist for The Motels and one-time Gainesville, FL resident, lost his dog to an alligator…
2. Blue Canoe (Blue Mountain): Hot, lazy days in the country.
3. Dragon Flies (The Reivers): I lived in Tucson, AZ one summer a long time ago and this album (Pop Beloved) was my companion under the desert sun. It was too dry for dragonflies, but they were in my dreams.
4. Undo (The Church): “Summer seaside town in motion/ Holiday girl down by the ocean” Great chorus in this lost track by The Church – an extra on an old CD single. Goes on a bit too long, but it’s saved by the energy and that catchy chorus.
5. Man Overboard (Steve Hackett): Warm, tropical, atmospheric and cinematic, like a sea journey in a golden orange Peter Pan sunset. It’s a soothing melody…but there’s that darker line “You pushed a man overboard in the middle of a storm-tossed sea”, delivered in the same calm way as the rest of the lyrics, so matter of factly you might miss it.
6. Hello Caroline No It’s Me (Swan Dive with Aquavelvet): Two of the most iconic summer songs – The Beach Boys’ “Caroline No” and Todd Rundgren’s “Hello It’s Me” merged together brilliantly into one song. Very clever how they tag on the closing line “Sometimes I thought that it wasn’t so bad”, which was from the original lesser known 1968 version of “Hello It’s Me” when Rundgren was with Nazz.
7. Make It Through the Summer (The Autumn Defense): An end of summer song, sung by the appropriately named Autumn Defense. “Your three long months are going so fast.”