School’s almost out and the weather keeps getting nicer, the sun brighter, what better way then to celebrate with a summertime mix. This time around, Mixtape Monday truly is a mixtape, the playlist is meant to be listened to in track order and I hope you enjoy. Here’s looking forward to Summer ’10.
1. Rhyme for the Summertime- G. Love
This is off his eponymous debut, where G. Love and his band-mates created a grooving and dirty production that featured the summer classics “Cold Beverages” and “Baby’s Got Sauce”. Rhyme for the Summertime is a change of pace, a stream of consciousness vocal anchored by a sweet bass-line and great hi-hat work by Jeffery “Houseman” Clemens. Organic and sun-drenched, this is a perfect opener.
2. Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley- Robert Palmer
This ain’t your mothers Robert Palmer, dressed to the nines and seducing women with his 80’s smash “Addicted to Love”. No this is a much grittier, much funkier Robert Palmer from the 70’s when he had both Little Feat and The Meters as backing bands at his disposal. “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley” featured the Meters pulling off quite the bass grove and a great harmonica solo.
3. Love Train- The O’Jays
The most unfortunate thing about this song is its now more known as the Coors theme song, rather than the peace to the world good feeling anthem it is, but on the bright side, it’s certainly brought the song more exposure, and what a optimistic chord progression.
4. Oh Atlanta- Little Feat
Taking from their Double LP Waiting for Columbus, this cut finds the band at their peak with all members contributing inspiring performances, great keyboard work, great slide guitar, great vocals, it’s a shame that Little Feat isn’t a more recognizable name.
5. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out- Bruce Springsteen
From the fantastic horn intro to the bellowing vocal bridges, this song is a perfect example of great production and structure and features one of Bruce’s finer vocal performances.
6. Lively Up Yourself- Bob Marley
I was so taken with this live performance, off his Babylon by Bus LP that I wrote my college essay about it, no joke. The band is in magnificent form, Bob’s vocals at his most inspired, and the crowd response is phenomenal. The recording is taken from a live concert in Paris, and you can almost see yourself walking along the river while listening to this song.
7. Born to Run- Bruce Springsteen
There never will be a greater escapism, summer driving, coming to terms with growing out of youth anthem. The lyrics are so full of imagery the song plays out like a movie.
8. Ride- G. Love
The snare fill brings this song into focus with a great warm groove. G. Love’s signature style is in top form on this song, great guitar work and rhythmic groove and great production values. G. Love has to be one of the best summer musicians and his arranging skills are sorely underrated.
9. Think I Wanna Die- Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Aside from their quite ironic band name, SSLYBY proves to be a quite creative and well polished band, great vocals and lyrics and a upbeat chord progression paves the way for this song.
10. Easy Skankin’- Bob Marley
One of Bob Marley’s most memorable songs, and he’s got quite a few, the production values are once again immaculate, the atmosphere perfect and just an all around great melody.
11. Ain’t That Right- G. Love
Forget “Cold Beverages” this is G. Love’s ultimate summer song, warm guitar and great rhythmic groove once again and a chord progression right out of Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay, great special effects too, from the chorus’s deep harmonies to the backwards guitar fills and his flow is perfect.
12. Hungry Heart- Bruce Springsteen
Off his The River LP, Hungry Heart finds Bruce sounding his youngest in years, his delivery hovering at the high end of his vocal range (and slightly sped up). Hungry Heart carries one of those instantly recognizable melodies with great piano and organ interplay between Danny Federici and Roy Bittan and anthemic lyrics with the title taken from Lord Tennyson’s Ulysses.
13. Best of My Love- The Emotions
Sounds like Earth Wind and Fire? Well thats because they wrote it, chord progression and arrangement aside, the song flourishes in The Emotions hands, with great vocals coming to the fore anchored by the tight locked bass drum piano rhythm, just a great feel good driving with the windows down song.
14. Wouldn’t It Be Nice- The Beach Boys
Simply one of the penultimate summer songs ever recorded with one of the greatest arrangements and lyrics the Beach Boys ever put on record.
15. Everyday- Vetiver
Great warm acoustic strumming anchors the beginning of the song with a warmly delivered vocal singing sweetly romantic lyrics. This song always reminds me of a George Harrison vocal and lead guitar with John Lennon chords and Paul McCartney type bass line and arrangement, simply perfect.
16. Baby’s Got Sauce- G. Love
Perfect for those really really hot summer days, with a slow funky groove and a quirkly melody line.
17. Too Young to Burn- Sonny and the Sunsets
Yet another great acoustic song with a great hook, perfect for those sunny days on the beach where you feel like a little kid.
18. Baby- Devendra Banhart
Great guitar arrangement and vocal performance, warmly recorded and bouncy in a sunny kind of way, perfect for those days you’re rolling around in the field with the one you love.
19. Fine Time- Robert Palmer
The sun is setting on the beach, a campfire slowly burning, almost at embers now and its still warm enough to feel the sun on your skin, all this and more, thats what you feel from this song. Great mellow organ work and rhythmic guitar and percussion backing.
20. Helpless (Neil Young Cover)- Buffy Sainte-Marie
Nightfall, imagine Janis Joplin with the help of The Band’s inimitable sound covering this Neil Young take and you’ll get a taste of what this song sounds like.