Lammas, Nancy & Lee and Summer Wine

Well, I had really promised myself that I would no longer tie myself down to a schedule of time-sensitive posts but I can’t ignore the fact that today is Lammas, one of the four Celtic fire festivals held to celebrate significant dates in the agricultural calendar. It was only last year at the time of the autumnal equinox that I discovered The Wheel Of The Year and I’ve made a point of writing a post on each of the dates as they occur – Today, the 1st of August, completes the annual cycle.

Lammas, meaning “loaf mass” is a festival celebrating the first harvests and is represented by those first loaves baked from the new year’s crops. Mr WIAA did pick up a nice crusty loaf from the supermarket this morning, but better than that, he also picked up a few punnets of strawberries and cherries which are ripe for being harvested at this time of year. The featured song to accompany this post therefore has to be this one:

Summer Wine by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood:

I don’t know how it’s happened, but it was not until I wrote about Nancy Sinatra earlier on this year (link here) that I discovered all the wonderful duets she recorded with Lee Hazlewood. It was Lee who wrote Summer Wine in 1966 but it was not a hit until he recorded it with Nancy the following year. I have always had a bit of a girl crush on Nancy, perhaps because that was the era of those highly unrealistic looking dolls we all “had to have” in the sixties, and Nancy certainly was doll-like.

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My girl crush!

As for Lee Hazlewood, he had a really distinctive baritone voice which I absolutely adore and his collaborations with Nancy Sinatra, as well as his solo output in the late ’60s and early ’70s, contributed to a sound often described as cowboy psychedelia. Check out that line, “Take off your silver spurs and help me pass the time“.

It has been a feature of these landmark dates in nature’s calendar for me to say that we are going to have a little soirée for friends and neighbours – Sadly today has been really wet so not suitable for doing anything outdoorsy, and to be honest, this date kind of crept up on me as it wasn’t one I was previously familiar with at all. There is apparently a bank holiday next Monday but today is a boring old work day so other than enjoying some of the bread and strawberries purchased earlier on today, it’ll be a quiet night in for us.

Highly relevant however is the symbolism of today’s date as only yesterday I handed in my notice at work and will no longer be bread-winner. Mr WIAA’s quota of summer wine will be curtailed, but he is ok with that (he says!). Yes, I discovered the wonderful world of blogging and like Chandler Bing, can no longer get my head round the relentless processing of sometimes meaningless numbers, in order to produce the WENUS reports (but you probably need to be a Friends fan to get that one!).

So, “What’s it all about?” – Sometimes we have to do something a little bit scary just to find the impetus to explore new avenues. Actually it’s more than “a little bit scary” and on the hour, every hour, I want to tell them I’ve changed my mind BUT I will then hurtle toward retirement without ever having put myself in the position of trying new things. It’s now or never (as Elvis sang).

As for Summer Wine – Sounds like a bit of a euphemism to me but when I offer some to Mr WIAA tonight it will most definitely be the kind that comes in a bottle. He can leave his silver spurs at the door thank you very much, as I’m going to be far too busy planning for the future.

Happy Lammas!

Summer Wine Lyrics
(Song by Lee Hazlewood) 

Strawberries cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things

I walked in town on silver spurs that jingled to
A song that I had only sang to just a few
She saw my silver spurs and said lets pass some time
And I will give to you summer wine
Ohh-oh-oh summer wine

Strawberries cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things
Take off your silver spurs and help me pass the time
And I will give to you summer wine
Ohhh-oh summer wine

My eyes grew heavy and my lips they could not speak
I tried to get up but I couldn’t find my feet
She reassured me with an unfamiliar line
And then she gave to me more summer wine
Mmm-mm summer wine

Strawberries cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things
Take off your silver spurs and help me pass the time
And I will give to you summer wine
Mmm-mm summer wine

When I woke up the sun was shining in my eyes
My silver spurs were gone my head felt twice its size
She took my silver spurs a dollar and a dime
And left me cravin’ for more summer wine
Ohh-oh-oh summer wine

Strawberries cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things
Take off your silver spurs and help me pass the time
And I will give to you summer wine
Mmm-mm summer wine

Shiny Boots, Nancy Sinatra and Sugar Town

Well, I’ve wanted to feature this song in the blog for a while, and today seems to be the day for a variety of reasons – Yes it’s a shoo-shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo, shoo-in (all will become clear).

Last month, as we had moved into 2017, I decided to look back at the first chart listing from 50 years ago which seems to have become, in the course of writing this blog, my favourite year to revisit. Back then the song that jumped out at me was Sitting In The Park by Georgie Fame, so I decided to write about it. Looking at the same 1967 chart a month on, the song that jumped out at me this time was indeed Sugar Town by Nancy Sinatra. I have written about Nancy before as she still tops my personally ranked list of “Favourite Ever Bond Themes”, with You Only Live Twice but I wasn’t really familiar with Sugar Town until recently. As sometimes happens with the music of 1967, I am smitten.

sugar-town-nancy-sinatra-dvd-cover-art

The second reason for today’s pick is that I have been curious of late as to how my blogging buddies got started so I’ve gone back to have a look at their very first posts, some from quite a few years ago. Lo and behold, over at Charity Chic Music, one of CC’s first picks in 2012 was Sugar Town by Nancy Sinatra whilst C (no relation) at Sun-Dried Sparrows also wrote about Nancy in her second ever post (as an accompaniment to showcasing a very shiny new pair of boots!). A lot of synchronicity going on at the moment in our little corner of the blogosphere, first with posts about songs from the world of psychedelic rock and now it seems with Nancy Sinatra!

Sugar Town by Nancy Sinatra:

Of course most people will remember Nancy for her 1966 hit record These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ and although I could only have been about five at the time, one of my very first memories is of watching Nancy and her troop of “go-go dancers” perform this song on television. It was catchy indeed and was definitely one of the songs even my mum and dad could be caught singing along to whilst doing the housework or a bit of DIY.

You rarely saw Nancy without her boots and they kind of became her signature item of clothing. Like Kylie, she was very petite and doll-like, but with the help of Lee Hazelwood did well to carve out a successful career for herself despite being the daughter of the icon that was Frank. As for me, all through Junior School I coveted those white shiny boots but of course I never did get a pair – It was always a pair of sensible, fur-lined (it was Scotland after all), leather boots carefully fitted by those expert foot-measurers at the Clarks or Start-rite shop.

As I mentioned above, there have been quite a few posts regarding the world of psychedelic rock of late and I myself wrote about White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane last week. It was one of the first songs to get past the radio censors with its “Alice In Wonderland-esque” lyrics. Sugar Town also was an LSD song if ever there was one and Lee Hazelwood, the songwriter, freely admitted it. The song was directed at a young audience but was outwardly innocent enough to receive radio play.

So, “What’s It All About?” – I never did get a pair of white shiny boots and somehow I don’t think now that I ever will. I did buy a pair of very bright red ones recently however and people at work, who have never spoken to me before, have stopped to admire them – A great conversation starter and now that I think of it, perhaps how to get ahead in the modern day workplace.

Nancy it seems knew exactly what she was doing!

Sugar Town Lyrics
(Song by Lee Hazelwood)

I got some troubles, but they won’t last
I’m gonna lay right down here in the grass
And pretty soon all my troubles will pass
‘Cause I’m in shoo-shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo-shoo
Shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo Sugar Town

I never had a dog that liked me some
Never had a friend or wanted one
So I just lay back and laugh at the sun
‘Cause I’m in shoo-shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo-shoo
Shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo Sugar Town

Yesterday it rained in Tennessee
I heard it also rained in Tallahassee
But not a drop fell on little old me
‘Cause I was in shoo-shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo-shoo
Shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo Sugar Town

If I had a million dollars or ten
I’d give to ya, world, and then
You’d go away and let me spend
My life in shoo-shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo-shoo
Shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo Sugar Town

Postscript:

Anyone who visited this post earlier today may have noticed that the music clip I first included was not indeed by Nancy Sinatra but one that I found in my library by another artist. It turns out that darling daughter once got a CD from the Lush soap people which included Sugar Town by the Fresh Handmade Collective, a group of singers and musicians put together to create promotional CDs for the company. Quite different lyrics and Southend-on-Sea substituted for Tennessee. Still a sweet version though and well worth a listen.

Sugar Town by the Fresh Handmade Collective: