JAIMIE VERNON – SUMMERTIME MUSE, Part 1

 

Vernon_Penny_Lane

This week I felt the true effects of summer’s immutable power. My eyelids got sunburnt.

tammy_faye_bakkerI work outside daily – walking 10,000 to 12,000 steps (or about 8 kms) – in an asphalt parking lot on the top of a hill with very few trees to protect me (i.e. there are NONE). I wear a hat. I have eyewear. But the heat, the sunshine and the glare have given me an eyelid flambé. Ever had your eyeballs peel? You end up with the eye shadow Art Deco of the late Tammy Faye Bakker.

The upside is sugar-free Vitamins C and D. They can crush Seasonal Affective Disorder dead with long enough exposure. And because I’m working with automobiles all day long we’ve got a stereo music free-for-all. Mind you, finding something ‘summery’ on today’s radio stations is a tough one – especially when the job requires that you not sit in the car for more than 2 minutes at a time. Or you can’t. A black Dodge Challenger with a black leather interior gets up to 42C inside on a 30C day.

Challengers

Last summer I did the same job at a different location. It required me going in at 8AM on a Sunday to inspect, inventory and stage vehicles for railway loading on Monday. I usually had 150 to 175 cars to prep and shuffle around by myself. It was a 5 hour job. How does one kill the boredom of being alone in a giant parking lot? You orchestrate a vehicular symphony.

SpeakerThe cars were lined up in rows of nine – sometimes they’d get up to 32 rows wide. They’d be separated out by travel destination and re-aligned into groups of 14…a mere thirty or forty metres away in a new set of load lines. I needed something to listen to while I did the shuffling.

So I rolled down the windows on the lead car in every line. 32 cars up front. I rolled down the windows on the last car in every line. 32 cars in the back. I cranked the Harman-Kardon stereos to full in all 64 cars until I could hear the music anywhere I stood in the yard. I’d created a faux rock show and my monitors were on four wheels. It was a Bugs Bunny symphony come to life.

Hearing AC/DC’s “Thunderstuck” coming out of those vehicles at 4,000,000 Watts was a moment of exhilaration. It makes you want to drive the cars REALLY fast. I never did – though I had every opportunity to do so. What I wished then and still do now is that I could have programmed the music coming out of the cars. It would have been summer music. Not “Hot Fun In the Summertime” or “Summer In the City” type stuff – but music that became huge the minute school was out and we finally got to take our coats off and put the bathing suits on.

Here, fine readers, is Part 1 of my summertime K-Tel dream tune playlist starting at my first ever summer:

From the summer of 1964. THE BEATLES “I Should Have Known Better”. The flip side to “A Hard Day’s Night”.

From the summer of 1965. HERMAN’S HERMITS “I’m Henry The VII, I Am”. Goofy fun. Possibly one of the first pop sing-a-long songs

From the summer of 1966. THE CYRKLE “Red Rubber Ball”. Written by Mr. Edie Brickell – Paul Simon.

Lords of London

From the summer of 1967. LORDS OF LONDON “Cornflakes And Ice Cream”. A group of teenagers with the first Number One by a Canadian act on CHUM.

From the summer of 1968. THE RASCALS “People Got To Be Free”. A protest song with a hook a mile wide.

From the summer of 1969. DESMOND DEKKER “Israelites”. The song that Lennon identified as the progenitor of Britain’s burgeoning reggae movement.

From the summer of 1970. MASHMAKHAN “As The Years Go By”. Featured future April Wine drummer Jerry Mercer.

From the summer of 1971. STAMPEDERS “Sweet City Woman”. Their only hit stateside.

Alone_Again_single

From the summer of 1972. GILBERT O’SULLIVAN “Alone Again (Naturally)”.  A musical suicide note sing-a-long!

From the summer of 1973. THREE DOG NIGHT “Shambala”. The more popular version of the Daniel Moore song knocked BW Stevenson’s lesser known version off the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart.

From the summer of 1974. PAUL McCARTNEY & WINGS “Band On the Run”. MACCA!

KC-and-the-sunshine-band

From the summer of 1975. KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND “Get Down Tonight”. Proving that white men can Funk, but you just can’t dress them up.

From the summer of 1976. DOROTHY MOORE “Misty Blue”. Written for Brenda Lee (which she never recorded), the song was a country standard for many years until Joe Simon gave it a soul arrangement which Moore replicates here.

Send your CDs for review to this NEW address: Jaimie Vernon, 4003 Ellesmere Road, Toronto, ON M1C 1J3 CANADA

=JV=

Jaimie’s column appears every Saturday.

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonJaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 35 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 17 of those years. He is also the author of the Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and a collection of his most popular ‘Don’t Believe A Word I Say’ columns called ‘Life’s A Canadian…BLOG’ both of which are available at Amazon.com orhttp://www.bullseyecanada.com

2 Responses to “JAIMIE VERNON – SUMMERTIME MUSE, Part 1”

  1. mslobro Says:

    🙂

  2. Great column as always Jaimie – the lining up the cars experience is as exciting an art installation as I have ever heard of. You are definitely a genius!

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