June 22, 2008

palm The temps are pushing to a near-record high of 114. The relative humidity is a whopping 2%. The pool temerature is 94 with a bullet. The pretty flowers planted in the pots outside on the patio in May are slowing turning from green to a golden, crispy brown. Open the slider door and you know how a tray of beer-battered fish sticks feel like when they’re slid into the oven.

Welcome to late June in the Valley Of the Sun!

The weekends here are meant for relaxation and staying close to – but not out in – the blistering heat. Sure, there’s time set aside for church on Saturday afternoons, but that’s an absolute necessity – I need this time to be soul-quiet and away from the obligations of work and the steady push to rid ourselves of credit card debt through our Total Money Makeover. Amidst the beauty of God’s creation, there should always be time set aside to worship and give thanks in the Lord’s Presence in a spirit of humility and gratitude for all of the blessings we often take so much for granted.

Once noontime comes, boat drinks are on the menu – today, a Pusser’s Painkiller #2 for me, a Volcano Blast (Bacardi Light Rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine topped with Cruzan Black Strap Rum) for Tracey. “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” is the mantra of the day.

I feel bad for the flowers shriveling away in those pots outside. I’m thinking a trip to Hi’s Silk Flowers to replace them with artificial palm trees is in order in the next few days. With the Tiki Bar so close by I think they’d look fantastic and set the appropriate tone…

On the stereo, a five-hour mix of surf music – both classic and modern retro – is pulsating. Our mix features a lot of classic and modern music by The Sandals (their “Spirit Of Surf” CD is one of my all-time faves), Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, The Beach Boys, and one of my favorite all-time classic surf CDs – Gary Usher and The Super Stocks’ “Surf Route 101”. As I mentioned the other day in this post on Jan & Dean’s “Surf City”, Usher’s music hearkens back to those heady, optimistic years of the early ’60s when anything seemed possible: a young, dynamic JFK was President, Vietnam and Dylan’s cynicism and questioning of authority, while looming on the horizon, was still a few years away, and if you mentioned the “British Invasion” to someone, they’d think you were talking about the War of 1812. Elliot Kendall, in this tribute to Gary Usher, writes how Usher’s work on “Surf Route 101” was an accurate reflection of his surroundings during those times:

At the time of Usher’s writing, the beaches were packed with surfers and pleasure seekers who were living the California dream. The music in this album, both vocal and instrumental, reflects the mood and the lifestyles of those times. Prepare yourself for an exciting adventure and get the convertible ready; you’re taking the scenic route.

And what a scenic route for the mind it is! In “Surf Route 101”, Usher’s lyrics – like those in “Surf City” – are what the surf culture of the early ’60s was all about: sun, sand, surf, waves, honeys, and – more than anything else – freedom:

If you gotta date tomorrow, well you’re better doing the breaking (Surf route 101)
It’s early in the morning, now we’re going, gonna make it (Surf route 101)
Better get rooting if you wanna have some fun
Woodies are moving up the surf route 101

Load up your wagon and bring along some news (Surf route 101)
And head up for 101, the surfer’s route (Surf route 101)
Got blondes, brunettes, and redheads, too
There’s two for me and there’s one for you

Up and down the coast where you know it’s not disturbed (Surf route 101)
They come from miles around when the surf is breaking good (Surf route 101)
High in the mountains and the deserts too
Cherry little woodies, and they’re driving deuce coupes too

At the break of dawn we’ll be on our way (Surf route 101)
Gonna hit a different spot ‘cos there’s been a game (Surf route 101)
From Baja to Rincon, your favorite beach
On surf route 101 they’re so easy to reach…

Surf route 101
Surf route 101
Surf route 101

Was a lot of it narcissistic bull$hit? Like the so-called “Summer Of Love” several years hence, probably. But there’s no escaping the spirit of freedom and optimism contained in that wonderful genre called “surf music”. Long live Fender guitars and twin-Reverb amps!

And on an afternoon where the shade and a fully-functional A/C unit is an absolute requirement, the tunes wash over you like a perfect wave and go down as slow and easy as that boat drink in your hand. On the turf and listening to surf, life seems very good indeed…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:18 | Comments (2)
2 Comments »
  1. Dude, tell us the bands you have in your mix! Summer is here in Spain and I want to have a surf party for my friends!

    Comment by Tony — June 28, 2008 @ 9:53 pm


  2. […] Anyone following this space knows how my surf music craze of the last couple of months has been tinged with a little of the sacred in its celebration of God’s creation. Turns out I’m not the only one who sees this connect, as this vacation Bible school program seems to be following The Great White Shank’s lead: Yo, dude! Think Beach Boys meet Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. […]

    Pingback by GoodBoys Nation - Archives » And You Thought I Was Crazy — August 8, 2008 @ 8:34 am


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