Sunday, June 3, 2012

Summer Songs.

Welcome, friends, welcome!

A bit of work-related travel has kept me from stopping into this fine old establishment lately, and soon will take me away for a short while longer, but for now, I am so glad we can visit for a spell.

I am so happy to see you here, lounging about in the dim coolness of our little pub while the temperatures steadily climb outside... because even though the meteorologists say it's not officially due for another three weeks, there is no doubt that with Memorial Day just past, a new season has arrived for a hot, sunny, months-long visit.

Summer is upon us.

With a new season and a new month, the Skull & Pumpkin once again refreshes the ol' Hallowe'en jukebox with our usual flair for oddly appropriate musical diversion.

Let me offer for those S&P'brains who are relatively new to the ol' place a brief reminder that our jukebox (over there to the upper right) will always begin with the S&P's official theme song, Vince Guaraldi's The Great Pumpkin Waltz, and end with our official incidental music, the Anger-Higbie Quintet's wistful anthem to Autumn, Pumpkintime. These never change.

For the new additions, we begin with one of the catchiest, coolest pop treats I have ever heard and loved -- a sweet, sentimental and sexy little bit of funk called Summerfling, by the one and only kd lang!

First released on her 2000 album Invincible Summer, this version was taken from her Live By Request performance on A&E in 2001. It's about joyous days and nights with new, warm summer love, knowing all the while that such spark and flame is so fleeting. One of the most singable, hummable choruses in lang's long and unique repertoire.

Next up, another mote of S&P oddliness, a summery-swingin' bachelor-pad-era (1965) musical delight by Reg Tilsley's Orchestra called Red Bikini!

I know it's more pink than red but it was too good to pass up!

After such a groovy dance, I felt another 1965 touch of summery swing would fit perfectly.

From the same Vince Guaraldi who gave us our theme song, comes a tiny toe-tapper called Surfin' Snoopy!

Oddly, this song is featured briefly in A Charlie Brown Christmas, while Snoopy is decorating his doghouse for the "lights and display contest." Surfin' at Christmastime? Snoopy can do it all!

Then, because we're the Skull & Pumpkin and we know there's no celebrating any new month without a side of spooky, we give you a selection from John Harrison's chilling synthpad score for the 1982 horror anthology, Creepshow!

Something To Tide You Over is a classic tale of revenge from beyond the grave. That's Gaylen Ross and Ted Danson as the waterlogged undead lovers returning from the sea to wreak their revenge upon the spurned husband who killed them, played with perfectly smug villainy by the late, great Leslie Nielsen.

That smugness rapidly vanishes when he realizes what's about to happen to him. Better hold your breath, Leslie!

Then I thought I'd offer a somewhat obscure song from a somewhat obscure album which featured songs about childhood Junes and Julys in central California's rural wine valleys and beaches, written by Van Dyke Parks and sung by Parks' sometime collaborative genius, Brian Wilson.

From 1995's Orange Crate Art comes Summer In Monterey, a nostalgic remembrance of youthful joy and those endless teenaged summers when shorts and bare feet meant freedom, and the near-promise of a kiss from your crush was all it took to spend an entire summer waiting for the right moment...

And since we've now mentioned the musical genius of Brian Wilson, how can we possibly pretend to have assembled a Summery Song List if we haven't loaded up something from The Beach Boys?

All Summer Long is the infectiously happy 1965 classic about girls, cars, friends, and adventures in summertime fun, whenever and wherever it was found. You'll be singing All Summer Long all summer long, as you do your best to grab some sun-baked fun before summertime is through...

... all the while knowing with a secret smile in your Autumn-loving heart that when summertime is through, the best time of the year is coming soon. 

Even here at the beginning of Summer, we know Hallowe'en is just lying in wait along the shoreline of another season...

Happy June, and happy Summer, dear S&Pers.


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