Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Summer CD, 2009

I’ve written about our summer cds before. It’s our most durable and original family tradition. (By original, I only humbly mean that it doesn’t come from my side or my husband’s; it’s ours; something that evolved internally.) Every summer, about 2 weeks into our stay upstate, we make a mix of the 20 songs that define the summer; then, we listen to the mix, dance to it, learn it, for the rest of our stay so that we fix the summer’s best memories to music that all four of us come to love. We have five such mixes now and they are in heavy rotation in our house & my mother-in-law’s house all year long.

Having so many means, too, that we have a kind of formula for them. There is usually a song in each of the following categories: summer in the city, even though we spend our Julys in the country (2009: “Benny’s Dispatch” from In the Heights); Spanish (2009: “Sunrise,” also from In the Heights—and a song about learning Spanish and “La Espera”); another song, not in English (2009: “Jai Ho”); songs that reflect the year’s events (2009 has lots of Obama songs, a Michael Jackson song); a song from the Boilermaker (2009: “Get up,” because the funk band was playing that as my husband climbed the race’s hardest hill); some folk; something lounge-y (2009: “Politan”); one (and only one) children’s song (2009: “Little Black Bull” in honor of Pete Seeger’s 90th and because my older girl loves that song).

We had a great time at the Rock the River concert on the 4th of July again so, as with last year, we have songs by performers we saw there. In 2008, it was Amber Rubarth & Joe Purdy. For 2009, Garrison Star, Jay Nash, the Low Stars (Chris Seefried played the show again this year), and also, amazingly, Blue Oyster Cult! It turns out that Joe Bouchard of BOC is from the tiny town of Clayton, NY where we stay all summer. He came and played the show, doing an amazing version of “Don’t Fear the Reaper” with Chris Seefried. How could we resist?

I could tell you more about why each song ended up on the list, but such nattering on grows dull quickly. I will say that the Low Stars cd is beloved of all of us and it was tough to pick which song until “Mexico” came on the car stereo one evening after dinner out. As the men sing, in lovely Crosby-Stills-Nash-Young-esque harmonies their sweet crazy song about “Ma-ma-ma-Mexico / Ma-ma-maria / ma-ma-ma-maybe I / get down do see ya” the toddler started singing along. That combination, of a song about falling in love on a drunken vacation, sung by a 3 year-old, still wee enough that her favorite sound is “ma-ma,” clinched the choice. “Mexico” it is.

Here’s the full list. It’s what we’re listening to now.

Anyway Jay Nash
Sunrise Mandy Gonzalez, Christopher Jackson, & Company
Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours Stevie Wonder
City Of Blinding Lights U2
Hey, Girl Garrison Starr
Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine, Pt. 1 James Brown
Benny's Dispatch Christopher Jackson & Mandy Gonzalez
Politan Nellie McKay
The Waves Princeton
Jai Ho A. R. Rahman, Sukhvinder Singh, Tanvi Shah & Mahalaxmi Iyer
Nightingale Norah Jones
ABC Jackson 5
Wonderwall Oasis
The Little Black Bull Pete Seeger
Samson Regina Spektor
Shake Your Booty KC & The Sunshine Band
Mexico Low Stars
(Don't Fear) The Reaper Blue Öyster Cult
La Espera Pistolera
We're Going to Be Friends The White Stripes

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