(Editor’s Note: Our latest summer songs post is from Josh Bea, aka DJ B.Cause, one of the Bay Area’s finest behind the wheels o’ steel. Josh is what I call a “shadow collector” – his crates run deep and his taste is exquisite but he’s almost one of the most down to earth and humble dudes you’ll meet. Apart from working part-time at the Groove Merchant, aka the best record store ever, he churns out some of the best mixtapes I know of, including the recently plugged-here-on-Soul-Sides, Soul Boulders (cop that!). His summer songs post includes many tracks I had never heard before…but of course, now desperately want. Seriously – the music here is fantastic. –O.W.)
It’s pretty tough to define what a summer song means to me, and even more difficult is the task of choosing a small handful of songs that transcend accurately that feeling of adventure, youth, heat, nightlife, outdoors, love and the occasional deep pain of loss. Instead I’ve decided to pick the first few seemingly appropriate jams that pop up out of the nearest stack of worn lp piles, those of which seem to grow in the spring months of vinyl aquisition through flea markets and garage sales.
The Coasters: Love Potion # 9
From The Coasters On Broadway (King 196?)
I’ve loved this tune since I was a kid, so when I stumbled across this dynamic version about a decade ago I was more than thrilled. The song title reminds me (for some odd reason) of the sweet nocturnal smell of blooming jasmine, something I remember vividly from running around after dark as a teen in Los Angeles where the blossoms are abundant. About a year ago I DJed an evening wedding reception in a barn near Modesto, CA…one of those cool wedding parties that actually ends up being genuinely fun. The music was quite good rather than the usual reception jukebox flip-flop: getting riddled with endless requests for 80’s pop music despite the fact that they initially hired you to play funk, jazz and soul. Here were some really good and open-minded folks having the time of their lives. At the peak moment of the celebration this tune played feverishly while everbody including myself smiled, shouted, laughed and danced…the moon was bright, the air warm, and you could just make out the faint smell of jasmine in the valley night.
Quicksilver Messenger Service: Fire Brothers
From S/T (Capitol 196?)
Recent re-discovery on the mystical mountain-man volcano worship tip. This track pretty much speaks for itself, smoldering but folky flange.
Sydney Barnes: Summer Sunshine
From Foot Stompin’ Music (Parachute 1978)
This is a perfect steppers-style soul tune for the occasion, everything from the title and lyrics to the somewhat mystical & modern feel of the arrangements scream ‘summer mix tape’! Love it.
Wrinkers Experience: Fuel For Love
Strangers: Love Rock
From EMI Super Hits (EMI Nigeria 197?)
Two great tunes from an excellent early 70’s Nigerian EMI lp that I listened to one too many times and ended up having to purchase despite a dwindling pocketbook. It was hard to choose just two tracks from this record, if I had the time I would have posted them all.
Bonus round 45: Was about to wrap this post up when I noticed this forgotten lil’ ditty poking out of one of my 45 bins, and with a a title like that it just had to be included.
The Reflections: She’s My Summer Breeze
From 7″ (Capitol, 1975)
Honorable mention but out of time & space:
Ray Charles: America The Beautiful
Ted Hawkins: What Do You Want From The Liquor Store?
E-40: Hope I Don’t Go Back