The Songs of Summer #96: ‘Better Luck in the Summertime’ by Robert Parker
We’re officially in the home stretch…just about a week of summer songs left. Depending on your viewpoint, that’s a good thing or a bad thing. A thought hit me yesterday, as I watched the gloomy rain fall, and that thought was this: ‘I’m ready for autumn.’ That’s always a big deal in the summer, that point in late August or early September, when the dread of the coming change in the seasons gives way to a little, just a little, anticipation for cooler days. But we’ve still got just a few songs left to deal with.
The neverending media coverage reminds me that we’re exactly 10 years out from the disaster, natural and manmade, of Hurricane Katrina that so ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. The hurricane’s destruction, and the bungled efforts in its wake, are a case study in how a government should not deal with a massive natural disaster.
It was a shame watching so much of New Orleans damaged and destroyed during the hurricane, and even more upsetting to see the effect that a lack of disaster planning and rescue had on the people of that great city.
Even though I’ve never been there, I have a special place in my heart for New Orleans, as all lovers of music and American culture should, for its role in the development of so many great American musical genres..but especially jazz and R&B.
Saxophonist and singer Robert Parker (not the noted wine critic) is just one of a countless number of great musicians who have hailed from New Orleans. Growing up backing legends like Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, and many others, he released a string of solo R&B singles starting in the late 1950s. He was much more popular in England that the States, and toured there regularly throughout the 1960’s. Parker had his biggest hit in 1966 with ‘Barefootin’.’
Anyway, this is all just a long roundabout way of introducing today’s song, ‘Better Luck in the summertime,’ a cut that actually dates from the 1970’s, but sounds like it could’ve been recorded decades earlier. A song with a nice easygoing, kinda-sorta reggae beat about a dude trying to get over a lost romance. This song’s for the people of New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast, and their amazing resiliency.
Enjoy. I’m off to the lakeshore for a quick getaway before what’s left of this summer gets away from me.