One extremely hot day, a few days of rain, but over all . . . aside from the threat of Covid:19 and another virus front moving in, it’s been a glorious summer.
Several years ago my wife and I took our grand twins to Half-Price Books by the Tacoma Mall. All four of us bought books. In addition I scored with a CD of Ian Dury and The Blockheads, a punk rock group from the U.K. I loved the song “Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick.” When we all got in our car I popped the CD into the player on the dash and was soon captured by the opening song (new to me) “Reasons to be Cheerful – Part Three.”
Punk Rock is a bit of a misnomer with “Reasons to be Cheerful.” The music is more fusion than confusion . . . okay there still is confusion with woodblocks, police whistles, and great Saxophone work. There’s a blend of punk, rock, jazz, reggae, and opera. Part way into the song it launches into “Summertime” from the rarely seen anymore musical production of “Porgy and Bess.” Every Youtube version of “Reasons to be Cheerful” has another song in the interlude, rarely found anymore. Fortunately, I still have the CD and play it almost every time it surfaces amid my chaotic piles of papers, DVDs, CDs, and thumbdrives. Every version I’ve seen on Youtube runs about 5:05, while on my CD the song runs for over eight minutes.
Reasons to Be Cheerful, Pt. 3
Ian Dury, The Blockheads
Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly
Good golly, Miss Molly and boats
Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet
Jump back in the alley and nanny goats
As we drove away from Half-Price Books I asked the kids, “Don’t you just love the music?” They shook their heads in twin unison – no.
Reasons to be Cheerful by Ian Dury and The Blockheads
“Porgy and Bess is an English-language opera by American composer George Gershwin, with a libretto written by author DuBose Heyward and lyricist Ira Gershwin. It was adapted from Dorothy Heyward and DuBose Heyward’s play Porgy, itself an adaptation of DuBose Heyward’s 1925 novel of the same name.” – Wikipedia
Summertime featuring Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
And the living is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy’s rich
And your mama’s good lookin’
So hush little baby now
don’t you cry
One of these mornin’s
You’re gonna rise up singin’
Then you’ll spread your wings
And take to the sky
But til that mornin’
Ain’t nothin’ can harm you
With your daddy
And your mammy
– George Gershwin and Dubose Heyward, Porgy and Bess
Summertime is a little more languid than Reasons, and the lyrics offer a comparison of hyperness and fast paced allusions against slow paced illusions. Reasons begins with a verbal assault by Ian Dury’s “Why don’t you get back into bed,” while Summertime offers a calmer suggestion of “rise up singin’.” Somehow, together they work for me.
I’ll take both and enjoy each all summer’s days long.