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  • Summertime, time, time,
    Child, the living's easy.
    Fish are jumping out
    And the cotton, Lord,
    Cotton's high, Lord, so high.

    Your daddy's rich
    And your ma is so good-looking, baby.
    She's looking good now,
    Hush, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby,
    No, no, no, no, don't you cry.
    Don't you cry!

    One of these mornings
    You're gonna rise, rise up singing,
    You're gonna spread your wings,
    Child, and take, take to the sky,
    Lord, the sky.

    But until that morning
    Honey, n-n-nothing's going to harm you now,
    No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no
    No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no
    No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,
    Don't you cry,

    Lyrics from Janis Joplin's version of this great Gershwyn classic.

    With the dawning of summer on Saturday, I put together a "Summertime" playlist on spotify - (some things never change - 42 years ago I was making mix tapes; now it's themed spotify playlists), and been jamming to it all weekend. It was an especially inspired compilation. I started out with the obvious, some of my all-time favorite summer songs, with summer in the title or theme -

    "Summertime" by Janis Joplin, of course. You could stop right there and you'd have a great mix, as I could listen to that song for hours and never tire of it;

    the Who's version of "Summertime Blues", from "Live at Leeds" - no other version of that number comes even close to that version;
    "Hot Fun in the Summertime" by Sly and the Family Stone - say no more:

    "Summer in the City", Loving Spoonful:
    "Sunshine of Your Love", Cream - great iconic guitar riff;
    "Summer Rain" by Johnny Rivers ("And the juke box kept on playing Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", recalling the magical summer of '67);

    "Summer Breeze", Seals and Crofts;
    "Stoned Soul Picnic", both Laura Nyro's version and the Fifth Dimensions, both righteous numbers;
    "Under the Boardwalk", by the Spinners, always a favorite - it came out the same year I first experienced the ocean, 1964, Atlantic City was my first taste;

    "Heat Wave", both Martha Reeves and the Vandellas' version (that's some smoking rock n' soul for 1963!), and Linda Ronstadt's.

    A more recent effort that just screams summer time to me, "The Coast" by the Courtyard Hounds, two of the Dixie Chicks in a spinoff band - a great, joyful number about the magic of heading to the coast for a break from it all.
  • Then, I just started adding songs that reminded me of summers past, because that's when I remember listening to them. I know, some of these might not mean summer to you, but I have such rich summer memories associated with each, they just made the playlist rich with memories and just a good summertime feeling, such as -

    "Going In Circles", by the Friends of Distinction;

    "What Does It Take?", by Junior Walker and the Allstars;

    "All Along the Watchtower", all three versions that I love of that song, Jimi Hendrix's, of course, Dylan's original version from John Wesley Harding, and Dave Mason's, which stands on its own quite nicely, as well. (Little known fact - Mason actually produced, and helped Hendrix find the style he employed on his version of it);

    "Baby I Need Your Lovin'", both the Four Tops' version (far and away their best) and Johnny Rivers'; and many more, 75 songs in all.

    "Spill the Wine", Eric Burden and War, a song that just drips with a summer feeling, and attitude.
  • I was going all day today, between food pickups and grass-cutting, and my summer mix tunes carried me through the day with great summertime music, fond memories of summers past, and a jump to my step in the present's second day of summer. Through it all, present day realities did occupy my mind, as well - trying to help a friend, but running into the wall of my own limitations, having to accept that there's only so much I can do. That's never an easy acceptance, but you have to work it out and work through it to let go, and release the concern to the universe, knowing others can step in, and usually do. Knowing there's more I could be doing on a number of fronts, trying to find the balance and focus to be where I need to be, when I need to be there. It's never easy, but you have to make the effort - even when you're jamming on summer time!

    I am now thoroughly indocrinated in my summertime feeling, though, and am ready for more sunshine, the beach (just five days away from beginning of beach vacation week), gathering with my whole family (4 of 6 siblings, their kids, and their grandkids), and just "being".

    Let Janis take you there at;

    Here's to a great summer for everyone. Let's make it one to remember.
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