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

There are a few things that struck me when I hear this song. One, I can’t believe this was a Top 10 country hit. Two was the fact that Bobby Goldsboro ever recorded a song that was this interesting. The arrangement, with its simple 12 string chord strums and bongo rhythms, give it a lite tropical feel while the seven-note repetitive piano lick 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’ wonder if he was that 17-year-old talking about his one night of passion.

The story tells 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 the 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 neighbor lady, both covered in sticky sand. She gets arrested and does 5-10 years. Bobby thinks about it ten years later alone in his room and writes a song about it. I personally was reacquainted with the song during a Lost 45s broadcast back in 2000. Thank you, Barry Scott!

All kidding aside, this is a very cinematic song, and I have difficulty in describing the right feel of the song, so I’ll let the video do the talking. [Yes, can you believe it? There’s a real video to this song!]