Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer sounds make sweet music (especially when the livin' is easy)

As much as I love each of the four seasons, it's the hottest - summertime - that most lights my fire. In North America, the sun shines brighter, the breezes blow balmier, and free spirits are freer about flaunting their (not always fit) figures from June through August (than in September through May).

Some say those lazy crazy hazy days of summer are undefined by the calendar, but rather surf in and out on the summer solstice and autumn equinox, respectively. What's compelling (to me) about that concept, is that it renders the first day of summer the longest day of the year. Yeaaaaah boyee!

However, others squeeze summer between pairs of unofficial season "stretch markers": either June and August or Memorial Day and Labor Day. The holiday-driven approach most floats my boat as it cuts the widest swath between summer's opening and closing ceremonies.

However you measure it, summer is a common pop culture subject. Is it any wonder, then, that The Beach Boys would become the best selling band in America (sez Good Morning America, NBC TV, June 21, 2007) or that the aria, "Summertime" (from George Gershwin's's 1935 opera, Porgy and Bess), would become one of the most popularly covered songs worldwide? [Listen to "Summertime" here.]

Other summer sounds and sensations make sweet music for the soul, too. Who can resist the joyous sounds of kids (from one to ninety-two) enjoying the outdoors...the mouthwatering scents of juicy treats roasting on an open fire (with the bright sun nipping at the chef's nose)...the bittersweet taste of ice-cold lemonade...the brain-freezing agony of an ice-cream headache...(how sweet it is!)... or the breathtaking rush from diving headlong underwater or into a summer fling?

That question's rhetorical when the livin' is easy. That's the case, for example, when one more closely associates "working up a black sweat" with the award-winning artist-known-again-as "Prince" singing cut four from his 3121 album [sample "Black Sweat" here] than, say, barge-totin', bale-liftin' Paul Robeson singing "Ol' Man River"[hear various versions here] or the late, great Sam Cooke singing "Chain Gang" [view the video].

Here are some tips for enjoying summer safely.###