IвЂ™m sitting on the waterfront, a loading dock, in Seattle, listening to the band weвЂ™re playing with tonight вЂ“ Ships. IвЂ™ve eaten shrimp twice today, once in tacos, once in pho вЂ“ a delicious Vietnamese soup. Soup. Shrimp. Seattle. Ships. Oh, yeah, thereвЂ™s a sign across Shilshole Ave that reads вЂњSalmon Bay Sand & Gravel.вЂќ Seriously. Sand? Salmon? A sign? It all looks a lot like water, and waves, and west. A summertime sea-stew for the occasion, perhaps?вЂ¦
SAILING THE SEAS OF SUMMER
1. L.A. Rain - The Mynabirds 2. Surf Seven Seas - The New Rags 3. Stranded - The Walkmen 4. Summertime Blues - The Who 5. Tamacun - Rodrigo y Gabriela 6. Cool Yourself - Thao & the Get Down Stay Down 7. When We Swam - Thao & the Get Down Stay Down 8. Susie at the Seashore - These United States 9. Summer Days - Bob Dylan 10. That Lucky Old Sun - Willie Nelson
No better way to start a journey than getting lost, yeah? вЂњI got lost today / out on the 101 / the exits came and they went away / but I kept driving onвЂќ
There is, to consider, first and foremost, the long, proud tradition of the summer surf song, from Dick Dale and the Beach Boys to Weezer and Surfer Blood. Some musicians sound like they're just piggybacking вЂ“ others, you can really feel theyвЂ™ve got the water on their brains and the sand in their trunks. When the New RagsвЂ™ belt out вЂњwe just arrived / in this surfing town / everything is ali-yyiiive!вЂќ I believe em. And I wanna be there, too.
This is the long late end of that first night out into the sea and summertimeвЂ¦ вЂњand IвЂ™m stranded / and IвЂ™m starry-eyed / oh, why, wonвЂ™t she wash out of meвЂќ вЂ¦an epic staggering (inebriated?) late-night drunken waltz down the beach, right fist flung defiantly into the clouds coming in off the water as your left fist clutches something, anything.
A summertime staple for everyone from Olivia Newton-John to T. Rex, Cheech Marin to Alan Jackson, IвЂ™ll probably err a little more towards Roger, Pete, John, and KeithвЂ™s version of this one, theatrical boss-impersonations and all. If this isnвЂ™t a song about navigating the choppy waters of teenage life in America (and presumably anywhere else in the world, though personally IвЂ™ve never been a teenager anywhere else in the world) вЂ“ well, I donвЂ™t know what is.
ItвЂ™s just virtuosic. I mean, what else do you really need to say about Rodrigo y Gabriela? So much about summer is decidedly not virtuosic. Leans a little more towards the hazy and the lazy and the sun-burnt and wind-fried and beer-battered. R&GвЂ™ll knock ya back up into yr right mind quicker than a Mississippi River cliff-diving cannonball. And they donвЂ™t sting nearly so much.
Another beautiful brilliant slap in the face, perfect cold water. We toured with Thao this summer, and every night was just exactly like this.
We also toured with Mirah вЂ“ she and Thao put a super(mega/awesome)group together, called The Most of All. I only have two Mirah albums where I am right now, sadly, and though every song is brilliant, none right here have to do with summer or the sea. Another Thao tune, then, as a stand-in? Just too TOO many perfect summer lyrics in this oneвЂ¦ вЂњWhen we swam our love to pieces / We washed up on messy beaches / You cleaned dry, I would not drift yet / I should drink salt water to forgetвЂќ
Full disclosure: this is my band. I actually wouldвЂ™ve likely forgot about this song completely, but IвЂ™ve been working on this video series lately, my bandmate TomвЂ™s вЂњThe Bicycle Diaries,вЂќ and it brought ole Susie back to mindвЂ¦
(EditorвЂ™s note: This terrific song was not available on our song providing service so we substituted the referenced Bicycle Diaries episode which has the song playing in the background and features the handsome and charming J Tom Hnatow giving a guided tour of Bridgeport, Connecticut.)
Put 515 words in a song, some are bound to sink, someвЂ™ll surely swim. Of the latter, the ones clattering round my brain long after Love & Theft has reached its end would have to include: вЂњShe says, вЂYou canвЂ™t repeat the past.вЂ™ I say, вЂYou canвЂ™t? What do you mean, you canвЂ™t? Of course you can.вЂ™ вЂ¦and, most certainlyвЂ¦ вЂњYes, IвЂ™m leaving in the morning just as soon as the dark clouds lift / Gonna break the roof inвЂ”set fire to the place as a parting giftвЂќ You just canвЂ™t get away with that kind of beautiful smart-assery вЂ“ unless youвЂ™re old, and Bob Dylan. Well, OK, maybe you can. But itвЂ™s better if yr old. And Bob Dylan.
(EditorвЂ™s note: One of the many things that Bob Dylan and Jesse Elliott have in common is the fact that not all of their songs can be found on our music providing service, so we replaced вЂњSummer DaysвЂќ with a performance of a Dylan classic that looks as if it may have been filmed at a concert that the editor and Mr. Elliott attended together, although we werenвЂ™t sitting close enough to tell if BobвЂ™s face was covered in sunscreen to that extent.)
Bring it home, Willie. вЂњShow me that river / take me across / Wash all my troubles awayвЂќвЂ¦ Just like sitting on the dock in Seattle, dreaming of summers gone and summers to come. The sea, the back and forth, the ebb and flow, the life and death, is never easy, but I wouldnвЂ™t trade it all for anything else.
a play list for your week
2. Surf Seven Seas - The New Rags 3. Stranded - The Walkmen 4. Summertime Blues - The Who 5. Tamacun - Rodrigo y Gabriela 6. Cool Yourself - Thao & the Get Down Stay Down 7. When We Swam - Thao & the Get Down Stay Down 8. Susie at the Seashore - These United States 9. Summer Days - Bob Dylan 10. That Lucky Old Sun - Willie Nelson
3. Stranded - The Walkmen 4. Summertime Blues - The Who 5. Tamacun - Rodrigo y Gabriela 6. Cool Yourself - Thao & the Get Down Stay Down 7. When We Swam - Thao & the Get Down Stay Down 8. Susie at the Seashore - These United States 9. Summer Days - Bob Dylan 10. That Lucky Old Sun - Willie Nelson
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