I hate the goddamn summertime.

It's nice to be able to breathe again which I usually can't do for most of late April and pretty much all of May, but otherwise, the summertime just plain sucks. That said, I decided to dwell on the season for this month's installment of Mike's Mix tape.

Within a minute of deciding that I wanted to make this particular mix, I realized that there were two different ways to approach it. I could make it personal, as in the kind of mix that only I would be able to understand, and include songs like "Maxwell Murder" from Rancid's third album. The song has nothing to do with summer to the average person, but it does to me. I remember clearly, that August afternoon when I listened to the album for the first time while sitting on the steel steps that led from my parents' apartment building to a CVS parking lot. The song will always remind me of summer. I could also include "Sugar Magnolia" by the Grateful Dead and "Blue Sky" by the Allman Brothers Band . . . two more songs that say summer to me, but may not to everyone.

The other option, which I ended up going with, was to make a mix of songs that were quite clearly about the summertime i.e. songs that had summer in their titles. This seemed like it would be more interesting to the rest of you than the previous route. What's interesting to me is that a lot of the songs that I ended up going with, really don't say summer to me at all.
Anyway, the end result is a pretty interesting mash-up of tunes you may have never heard at all and almost definitely have never heard strung together like this. Here we go&.

I opened the mix with a minute and a half of standup comedy by the great Bill Hicks. The opening track of Bill's album Flying Saucer Tour Vol. 1 pretty much sums up my feelings about the summer, and seemed like a great way to start: "Ahh, it's summertime. Summertime blues, that's what I got. You know why? I don't like the fucking summertime! I think it sucks. Hot. Sticky. Sucks. Okay? People love the summertime because people are . . . SHEEP!"
Thanks Bill.

Up next, after that intro, I pretty much had to go with "Summertime Blues". There are tons of versions of the song to choose from, but I narrowed it down to two. The choices were a live, bootleg version by The Rolling Stones, or a really cool version by a relatively unknown group called The Outsiders. I'm told they're from Cleveland and had a solitary hit way back when. As it turned out, the Stones showed up later in the mix, so I went with The Outsiders' "Summertime Blues."

Yo La Tengo

For the third and fourth tracks, I went with a pair that represent the beginning of the season. First up is a track from Iggy Pop called "Here Comes Summer." After a song called "Here Comes Summer" what else could I put next other than "Summer" by Yo La Tengo.

Following Yo La Tengo is an instrumental track by Mike Gordon and Leo Kottke called "June." This is the first of the four songs throughout the mix which cover the four months that make up the summer.

"Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful is next. Remember that opening scene in Die Hard With A Vengeance when this song plays as a New York City building explodes? I went to college across the street from that building, and I used to like walking by while listening to this song. It was good for a morbid chuckle all year, but even better when it was 10,000 degrees out.

The next tune is Civ's "Boring Summer" which I put next to "Summer in the City" for no good reason other than the way it also makes me think of college because I used to go see the band in a small club around the corner from campus. It's less of a stretch in my head.
Following Civ, is the Rollins Band (I saw Henry around the corner from school as well, now that I think about it) doing "Summer Nights" and then the Greenland Whalefishers wake us up and bring us further through the season with "July Morning."


The next two songs cover a topic that can easily make or break a summer for the young or the young at heart. First up is the Rolling Stones with "Summer Romance" and then comes Pavement with "Summer Babe (Winter Version)."

Now if you're following the timescape (that's not a real word but it should be) of this mix, you know we're a few songs past July. It seems like a good moment to drop in Van Morrison's "High Summer" and then move straight in to August with Funkadelic's "Friday Night August 14th." And you gotta follow that with "Hot Fun In The Summertime" and "Long Hot Summer Night" because it's absolutely essential that George Clinton, Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix be played back to back to back whenever possible . . . it just clicks.

Cooling things down (and it doesn't get much cooler than this guy) is Frank Sinatra with "Summer Wind." That takes us right into the end of the season and both Jessie Malin's "Indian Summer" and Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends."

Closing out the disc is a unique one-two punch. First comes a long live bootleg version of Bob Dylan's "Summer Days" which features the line "the summer days and the summer nights are gone." The album which this song originally appeared on (Love and Theft) also features a song dedicated to the delta blues singer Charly Patton. The final song of my mix is Patton himself singing "Some Summer Day."

So that's it. This month's collection of cool songs to take you from June through September. I'll leave you now with another quote from the Bill Hicks rant that starts the whole thing off. Keep cool . . .

"The beach . . . what's the fucking deal with that? It's where dirt meets water, end of fascination. I got a bathtub and an imagination, I'm staying indoors this summer. That way I can listen to music I like!"

Mike's Mix Tape: July 2005
Bill Hicks from the album Flying Saucer Tour Vol.1 (Note: I edited this track down from three minutes to a minute and a half for both content and timing)
  Summertime Blues
The Outsiders from the compilation album Back From The Grave Vol. 1
  Here Comes Summer
Iggy Pop from the album Skull Ring
Yo La Tengo from the album Prisoners of Love
Mike Gordon and Leo Kottke from the album Clone
  Summer in the City
The Lovin' Spoonful from the album The Best of the Lovin' Spoonful
  Boring Summer
Civ from the album Set your Goals
  Summer Nights
The Rollins Band from the album Yellow Blues
  July Morning
Greenland Whalefishers from the compilation album Shite and Onions Vol. 1
  Summer Romance
The Rolling Stones from the album Emotional Rescue
  Summer Babe (Winter Version)
Pavement from the album Slanted and Enchanted
  High Summer
Van Morrison from the album Back On Top
  Friday Night August 14th
Funkadelic from the album Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow
  Hot Fun in the Summertime
Sly and the Family Stone from the album Sly and the Family Stone's Greatest Hits
  Long Hot Summer Night
The Jimi Hendrix Experience from the album Electric Ladyland
  Summer Wind
Frank Sinatra from the album My Way: The Best of Frank Sinatra
  Indian Summer
Jessie Malin from the album The Heat
  Wake Me Up When September Ends
Green Day from the album American Idiot
  Summer Days
Bob Dylan from the bootleg album Live Theft
  Some Summer Day
Charly Patton from the album King of the Delta Blues

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