Song of the Day

Some Velvet Morning by Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood (1967)

“Flowers growing on a hill, dragonflies and daffodils,
Learn from us very much, look at us but do not touch,
Phaedra is my name.”

I know it’s the end of January and we still have a long way to go until summer, but you can’t fault me for thinking about it.  I live in upstate New York where winter lasts from Thanksgiving until Memorial Day.  It was 6 degrees this morning.  A person tends to get loopy and have visions of beaches and palm trees and backyard barbecues.  Ahh yes, the all-American tradition…the backyard barbecue.  I could do it everyday if it were possible.  I guess it’s possible if I want to leave my grill out on the back deck in the snow and fire up a couple steaks while my nuts crawl up into my abdomen to find warmth, but that’s what an oven broiler is for.  Not for my nuts, for the steaks.

I can’t barbecue without music.  It’s like fishing without drinking, it’s just not right.  Seriously, does anyone actually go fishing for the sole enjoyment of catching fish?  No, of course not.  They go for the sole enjoyment of being away from their significant other and catching a buzz.  Come on, everyone knows that.  Along the same lines, no one should barbecue without music.  The basic barbecue checklist should be as follows: 1. A grill; 2. Something to grill; 3. Tongs; 4. A portable Bluetooth speaker connected to a phone or tablet with an appropriate grilling playlist queued up and ready to play.  That’s it.  That’s all you need.  I’m not even including a cool beverage.  I can live without that, but I can’t live without my radio.

I spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to find the right songs for a good barbecue playlist, whether it’s at my house or someone else’s.  It’s a true baller move if you make a playlist for someone else’s barbecue.  The hosts absolutely love that.  Now, the key is variety in the song selection.  Variety is the spice of life and grilling.  No one ever mentions that.  I like to shoehorn in a couple curveballs to see if people are paying attention.  Last summer, I threw this doozy, “Some Velvet Morning”, into a late August party.  Most people didn’t catch it, but the ones who did looked at me like “What the fuck is this?”  Mission accomplished.  I relish in the awkwardness.  I live for the confused and confounded looks on my nieces’ faces as they stopped for a second, scrunched their faces at Nancy and Lee talking about Phaedra, then ran off to chase the dog without stepping in her shit.

If there was ever a song that screamed “1967!!!”, it’s this one.  1967 is such an interesting year in music.  It’s hard to think of another year whose music is so instantly identifiable with that specific year.  You know instantly that a song like “Incense and Peppermints” or “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” or “Ruby Tuesday” are from 1967.  There’s something about music recorded that year.  Who knows why.  Maybe it was the LSD, maybe it was the increased use of the studio as its own instrument, maybe it was both.  Who cares, the songs are fun to listen to.  And the more obscure songs from 1967 make for awkward, yet great additions to any barbecue, cocktail party, bar mitzvah, graduation, or baptism.

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