Summer is in full swing. The temperatures are soaring. Pretty much typical for this time of year where I live. It is time to get cool, man.
This time of year has its own special sound track. When my ears want a mix of Latin, Cowboy, and some R&B music to fit into the withering heat and cool it down a bit. In that vein, may I present The Epic Summer Sound Track:
1. Jazz Samba, Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd. Depicted above. Just looking at the album cover tells you all you need to know. It does not get any cooler than this. Not one but two cuts of Destifinado make this re-mastered CD a must have for any summer sound track.
2. Astrud Gilberto's Finest Hour. The silky "original" [meaning first heard by me] version of The Girl From Ipanema is worth the cost alone, but Corcorado [Quite Night Quiet Stars], So Nice and everything else on this compilation will smooth out any sort of summer day. Or night.
3. Buena Vista Social Club. Just because. When the heat is melting, sometimes the only thing to do is to make it hotter.
4. BWB, Groovin'. This fantastic modern jazz album by a talented trio led by Rick Braun adds some kick to any summer day. Like the lime in a Cuba Libre. The silky title track must be in every summer play list. Add "Ruby Ruby" and a smoking hot cover of "Lets Do It Again" with Dee Dee Bridgewater and you have one great album that will take you through any broiling day. Or week.
5. Cowboy Songs, Michael Murphy. When it gets hot and dusty outside, there is nothing better than some classic American cowboy music. Not country music, mind you. The Original. Cowboy music. Listening to "Spanish Is The Lovin Tongue", "Streets of Laredo" and other perfectly performed gems of this unique genre makes you thankful you don't earn a living on the range in summer and they conjure up just the right mood for being in the hammock at least.
6. Best of The West, Buck "The Big Man" Helton. Re-read what I wrote for Cowboy Songs. Then put it in the context of a fellow with a great voice that makes a living singing and reading poetry at cowboy festivals. His versions of "Cattle Call" and "El Paso" are spot on and put you right in the shade of a mesquite tree with a shot of Tequila. To the extent that a mesquite makes any shade, that is. This album isn't easy to find, but you'll be glad you got a copy when you do.
7. Dreamer, Eliane Elias. Talk about your perfect summer voices. Covers of "Call Me" [the Petula Clark hit, not the movie sound track cut from American Gigolo...for goodness sake trust me, will you?], as well as perfectly styled tunes like "So Nice" and "Dreamer" will move your mind from where ever you are to the coast of Brazil. Or, after listening to the album a dozen times in a row, you can listen to something else and just stare at the cover. It works for me.
8. Frances Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Because, even in summer, you can sometimes slip into the Wee Small Hours and need just the sort of songs to take care of you. They are all here. The Girl From Ipanema, Quiet Night Quiet Stars, Once I Loved. Just make sure you really need it before you open this bottle, pally.
9. Once Upon A Time In Mexico. Because sometimes the only answer to the summer heat is to take it to gonzo level. All the way. The clips of Johnny Depp from the movie embedded in this album are worth the price. Come to think of it, get the DVD of the movie too. It's summer, after all. Take a chance.
Thomas Burke’s Limehouse Nights, 1916
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