Summer (The First Time) by Bobby Goldsboro (United Artists, 1973)

There are a few things that hit me when I hear this song. One, I can’t believe this was a Top 10 country hit. Two, that Bobby Goldsboro ever did a record that was this interesting. The arrangement with its simple 12 string chord strums and bongo rhythms give it a lite tropical feel while the 7 note piano lick repeating, and one note string holds give it a dramatic tension. It’s at once an uneasy feeling as well as a sensual one. No doubt this song was inspired by the 1971 film, Summer of 42. But the way Bobby sings it, you’d think he was that 17-year-old talking about his one night of passion.

The story is of a young kid on the hottest day of the summer [110 in the shade? Are they hanging out in Death Valley?] when this 17-year-old catches the eye of a 31-year old woman, chillin in her gown on front her porch with a mint julep. Something told him she was good to go or maybe he was curious as to why she was wearing a gown when it was 2000 degrees out. Either way he goes up to talk to her wherein she lets him know, ‘Yeah, this is gonna happen. But it’s too hot here so let’s walk down to the water where it’s only 105 in the shade, if you can find shade.’ Anyway they get busy, fall asleep and he sees ‘the sun rise as a man.’

Then of course his parents who were worried sick that little Bobby didn’t come home that night find him on the beach buck naked with some older lady both covered in sticky sand. She gets arrested and does 5-10 years and Bobby thinks about it 10 years later and writes a song about it.

All kidding aside this is a very cinematic song and I actually find it hard to perfectly describe how this song feels so I’ll let the video do the talking. [Yes can you believe it? There’s a real video to this song!]