Summer hits its the halfway mark this week, so we’ve got awhile longer to deal with the heat and humidity.
While you’re sitting on your front porch or stoop, chillin in your backyard with a glass of lemonade, or sitting in front of a table top fan trying to stay cool, here’s some old school jams to keep you company.
Ramsey Lewis “Sun Goddess”
The legendary jazz pianist teamed up with Earth Wind & Fire’s frontman, Maurice White, who was also his former drummer, for this classic bit of jazz-funk from 1974.
Rotary Connection “I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun”
Rotary Connection were a Chicago based psychedelic soul group that featured a young lady by the name of Minnie Riperton as a vocalist. The group’s final album, 1970’s Hey Love, featured this soul classic which reached a whole new generation of listeners thanks to a cover by Masters At Work’s Nuyorican Soul project in the mid ’90s.
Sugarhill Gang “Hot Hot Summer Day”
Everyone knows “Rappers Delight,” but few really know this gem from their second album, 1982’s 8th Wonder.
Sly & The Family Stone “Hot Fun In The Summertime”
Released not long after their now legendary performance at the original Woodstock festival in 1969, Sly & The Family Stone accurately captured the sound of the carefree summer of love in this staple of summertime listening.
Heatwave “Send Out For Sunshine”
This British funk outfit may be better known for songs like “Boogie Nights” and “Always And Forever,” but this jam from their Central Heating album is just as good as those. This is a perfect song for you if you’re stressed out, got a pocket full of lint, and wanna have some fun.
Roy Ayers Ubiquity “Everybody Loves The Sunshine”
Every time I listen to this song, in my head I immediately see fire hydrants spraying water on kids playing on the street, kids playing hopscotch, double dutch and skelly on the sidewalk, and the someone’s grandma sitting on an empty milk crate on her stoop.
The Commodores “High On Sunshine”
Before Lionel Richie became a total cornball artist (I still got love for you though, Lionel!), he and the Commodores were an unstoppable group of musicians who could do a jam like “Fancy Dancer” one moment and a tender sappy ballad like “Still” the next. “High On Sunshine” is one of those feel good songs that you just don’t hear enough of anymore.
Bob Marley & The Wailers “Sun Is Shining”
From the island of Jamaica comes one of my favorite summer songs. Put this on your iPod, go outside early one morning just after the sun rises, and stand in its rays. It’ll change your outlook for the day.
The Isley Brothers “Summer Breeze”
This is grown folks music, for real. The Isleys turned Seals & Croft’s soft-rock tune into a bonafide soul classic. Peep Ernie Isley’s great guitar work on that solo and try not to break out your air guitar.
Kool & The Gang “Summer Madness”
I’ve had an internal debate about this song for years. Kool & The Gang released two versions of this song, one done in the studio, and a longer live version. Both of them are absolutely essential, but I can’t for the life of me decide which one is the better one. Ultimately, I decided to go with the studio version as it’s quite a bit more laidback and mellow, which is what summer should be like. This song is the quintessential summer song and even found its way into hip-hop’s official song of the summer, Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s “Summertime.”
Catch DJ Brainchild spinning at venues around New York City or subscribe to his “Gordon Gartrell Radio” podcast hosted by Phonte of Little Brother!