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And guess who sighs his lullabies through nights that never end?

June 3, 2009

Alright, so the technical start of summer is still a few days away yet, but let’s face it, the weather’s getting warmer, the leaves are on the trees, weddings are upon us, kids are getting out of school and weekend trips are being planned all over the place. It’s summertime, folks.

And as always, this blog has another fabulously fantastic mix to soundtrack the season. Songs to make you groove, songs to make you smile, songs that sound good in the background with friends and drinks and songs to put you in a generally sunny state of mind (well, except “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” I guess…) — they’re all here.

And for the first time, there’s no need to go to SaveFile. You can download both parts of the mix right off this site, so that’s pretty cool, eh?

Get on wiffit!

summer3

summer is a mixtape. vol. III
The official “Ain’t Superstitious, But These Things I’ve Seen…” 2009 summer mix.

Download Part 1 (tracks 1 – 10)
Download Part 2 (tracks 11 – 20)

01. Primal Scream – Loaded
The first time I heard this was on a compilation that came with “Loaded” magazine called Disco Machine Gun. I had no idea who Primal Scream was, but this track kicked things off. It was a hot summer’s day, I had my girlfriend in the car and the groove was just perfect. In the UK, this song was one of the defining moments of the 1990s. Over here, it’s barely known. Criminal. This song is seven minutes of pure musical heaven, and I’m completely obsessed with Primal Scream now. So much so that I actually think the song this was remixed from – “I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have” – is miles better, but this is a bit more joyous.

02. The Jackson 5 – ABC
Perhaps little Michael Jackson’s finest moment with his brothers. The rhythm section on this track is so fat it threatens to audibly bust out of your sound system, and the vocal play between Michael and Jermaine is impeccable. Even the “Sit down, girl…” bit – cheesy as it is – is guaranteed to make even the squarest dude on the beach mimic it. Maybe it’s counterintuitive to put an educational-type song on a mix meant for summer vacation, but this is the kind of schooling I’d argue we all still need.

03. Blondfire – My Someday
The title cut from Blondfire’s last album sounds like a product of 1986, but it was actually released last year and even with the dearth of synthesized instrumentation (which I get very wary about), this is still sunny and all kinds of wonderful. People should attack each day with that “this could be my someday” belief. I know it’s impossible to do it every day – once in awhile bills are due and someone somewhere’s pissing you right off, but as the old adage goes, you never know. Anything can happen.

04. Mungo Jerry – In the Summertime
I grew up never paying much attention to this song. It would come on oldies radio every now and again and it always just seemed like a novelty song to me. Of course, I only recently found out that this isn’t some obscure American soul artist, but actually a British band of hippies that put this out as a single. Which I guess makes it even more of a novelty…  Nevertheless, in the context of a summer mix, I suppose it’s about as appropriate as sticking “Heat Wave” or something on (which the ASBTTIS faithful will know I did on the first summer mix). You got a nice day, a drink in your hand and this song’s on in the background, you know, life’s not so bad.

05. Oasis – Who Feels Love?
I loved this song from the moment I heard it on Oasis’ now-considered-tremendously-unimportant 2000 album, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, and now even Oasis fans don’t rate this one very highly, but I still think the groove here is fabulous. Noel lays down a McCartney-esque bassline and layers Liam’s sneer with some fabulous harmonies. If there is a lack of general sentimentality for it, I’d blame the live performances from the era (particularly Wembley) where Liam got more than a little off the track to bitch about his divorce to Patsy Kensit and devolved the chorus into “Who Deals Drugs,” but I think if you go back to the album, things still sound pretty fabulous.

06. The Lovin’ Spoonful – Daydream
I love me some Lovin’ Spoonful. So many of their songs are perfect summer affairs, but “Daydream” just has such a fantastically lazy grace that it might arguably even be better summer-equipped than something like “Summer in the City.” Plus it mentions a new-mowed lawn, which wins extra summer points for me. Nothing like the smell of fresh cut grass to both make me happy and grimace about terribly trying summer jobs of years past.

07. Astrud Gilberto – The Face I Love
The Brazilian songstress has a stacked catalogue that’s about as synonymous with summer as tans and mosquito bites. This gorgeously breezy cut is culled from her 1967 album Beach Samba, which unfortunately came at the beginning of her commercial decline. Granted, it’s no “Girl From Ipanema,” but really, what is? The thing about downward slides by artists is that while maybe the majority of work ends up kind of uninspiring, there are still a few fabulous cuts to be found. Case in point.

08. Crowded House – Weather With You
From Tim Finn’s short-lived stint in his younger brother Neil’s band, “Weather With You” might be the best thing about Woodface (which had a lot more going for it than critics ever let on), and is also a prerequisite singalong for any Neil Finn-related live appearance. My family always blamed whoever was visiting in an instance of inclement weather, and maybe that’s why I appreciate what Finn brothers are doing here. But then again, maybe they’re celebrating the fact that someone brings nice weather with them? It’s kind of unclear. But I like the duality of it.

09. Bob Marley – Is This Love
Cliché as it may be to put Bob Marley on a summer mix, I’ll point out that at least I didn’t choose “Jamming.” Besides, this song, from 1978’s Kaya, has always been my favorite of Bob’s. I could never afford a bed bigger than a twin sized one throughout the whole of college, which I often was understandably frustrated about. But listening to this song always made me feel justified about it. Morrissey once alluded a double bed as a dream of poor lovers, but Marley said love should transcend bed size. Come to think of it, that might be the best thing he ever said.

10. Steely Dan – Blues Beach
As per the previous two summer mixes, this would not be complete without a latter day Steely Dan song. Listening to Donald and Walter this century has been really interesting, because the music’s become exponentially breezier, but the pair of them have only grown older, increasingly jaded and even more prone to dole out smartass barbs. “We could rent a paranymphic glider, my hypothetical friend,” anyone? At any rate, the vocal merry-go-round between Fagen and his female backups that concludes the song is particularly fantastic.

11. George Harrison – If Not For You
Only the Quiet Beatle could make Bob Dylan sound this sunny and this wistful. And whatever you want to say about Phil Spector, he helped craft this sound. I’m not saying it justifies him shooting a woman or any of those wigs, but … he helped craft this sound.

12. Ronnie Wood – I Can’t Stand the Rain
There are certain songs out there that just don’t seem to merit covering, and I would think Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand the Rain” is one of them. Yet, everyone wants to do it and so many people fall (understandably) miles short. I guess it makes it all the funnier that a guy who can only barely sing himself is the guy behind probably the best cover of this song ever. The organ also helps tremendously.

13. Cliff Edwards & the Wonderland Jazz Band – June Night
You might not recognize the name, but you’ll recognize the voice as that of Jiminy Cricket’s. Cliff Edwards’ story is kind of a sad one – he battled an alcohol addiction and would hang around Disney’s studio and offices waiting for someone to offer work, but he was great on the uke and seemed to carry a natural charm at least in his voice. Disney commissioned Edwards (under his pseudonym of Ukulele Ike) for a children’s album in 1956 called Ukulele Ike Sings Again and this short little number is just one example of the simple greatness that lies within.

14. Old 97’s – Barrier Reef
The 97’s 1997 album Too Far To Care is arguably one of the greatest summer barbecue/drinking albums of all time. It’s got the alt-country energy that several of the bands of the time were tripping over themselves to attain and with a young Rhett Miller’s unashamedly smug lyrics washed over a bit of honky rock madness, the whole album is kind of a big happy middle finger to whatever bug is up your butt. There’s been some great one liners and couplets about sex throughout the history of rock and roll songs, but “My heart wasn’t in it, not for one single minute – I went through the motions with her, her on top and me on liquor” effortlessly swaggers its way to sitting amongst the best. You gotta love it.

15. Allen Toussaint & Chet Atkins – Southern Nights
Just one of several well-known songs that Allen penned and other artists found fame with (in this case, Glen f*cking Campbell), Allen’s reading of the song has always been a lot more soulful, but this version from the 1994 compilation Rhythm, Country & Blues, is far and away the best. It gives Allen room to deliver a sly and funky reading and guitar great Chet Atkins to pepper the whole affair with some fine country-tinged picking.

16. Hugh Masekala – Grazing in the Grass
My father’s a big fan of the Friends of Distinction’s 1969 vocal cover of this song, but I think the original instrumental from Masekala in 1968 is unbeatable. Sometimes you don’t need words to capture a good feeling – as “Loaded” already illustrated. This, too, is the sound of pure fantasticity on a summer day.

17. Delta Spirit – Trashcan
I was only recently turned on to this band, and the energy and goodwill this one song exudes was enough to sell me. It’s bound to get some part of your body moving. The English major in me appreciates the fact that he notes he didn’t get the well spoken gene, and then proceeds to inform us that he can “barely hardly wait” for his love to arrive. Not that not acknowledging the redundancy in a roundabout way would have detracted from the song. I’m just saying it’s nice of him to point it out.

18. Billy Bragg & Wilco – California Stars
I’m more of a Bragg fan than a Wilco fan, so listening to the Mermaid Avenue albums always sets off personal conflicts in me when I find myself thinking Bragg came up short on a song and Wilco really nailed one. I know their own egos kind of staved off the possibility of another album ever materializing, but credit where credit is due, and Tweedy’s reading of Woody Guthrie’s stargazing ode is another example of what it sounds like to be completely besotted with someone.

19. The Stills – Being Here
I don’t love the Stills, but I like them a hell of a lot. I think there’s a lot of angst in their personalities, and I think there’s a creative imbalance between Dave and Tim that leaves some of their songs sounding like they’re missing something. But when they can buckle down and focus their energy, they can produce some of the most expansive sounding rock and roll to come from anywhere, much less French Canada. The chorus of this song is a big, f*cking sunny field on a perfect day. I just wish their albums would have more than one or two of these songs.

20. Lyle Lovett – Summer Wind
A fabulous songwriter himself, Lovett’s established himself as an extraordinary cover artist in Hollywood, lending his voice to interpretations of classics ranging from “Blue Skies” to “Chicago” to “What I’d Say” for various Hollywood pictures. His reading of “Summer Wind” was used in 1999’s let’s-try-to-make-another-cool-Kevin-Costner-baseball-vehicle, “For the Love of the Game.” This was really the best thing about the movie. And it’s a nice closing to the mix, wouldn’t you agree?

Enjoy the weather, folks.

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3 comments

  1. […] forget to download Paul’s summertime collection, Summertime Is A Mix Tape, Vol. III, featuring the likes of Cliff Edwards, Astrud Gilberto, and more (modern) […]


  2. I found so many songs that I fell hopelessly in love in last year’s summer mixtape that I snapped this year’s right up. I love even more in this year’s! So far, Lyle Lovett’s is my favorite, but that will change day to day, I’m sure.


  3. […] song is on the third edition of the summer is a mixtape mix over at Ain’t Superstitious But, and I am in love with it. I have played it endless countless times, and that’s because […]



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