Saturday, 7 June 2014

Bobby Goldsboro 'Summer (The First Time)'

Chart Peak: 9

Bobby was once part of a group called The Webbs - they were best known for backing Roy Orbison. His other main success was 'Honey', which was a multi-million seller around the world. 'Summer' made No. 9 in Britain in 1973
No question that this is a summer song, then - it doesn't just have the word in the title, it's specifically set on the "last day of June" so I was tempted to put of listening to it for another 23 days but I have to get it over with somehow.
Although 'Summer' does lack the unfortunate racial overtones of 'Dreadlock Holiday' it does combine several of the least appealing qualities in pop music, somehow managing to meld both the cloying sentimentality of 'Honey' with a leery sexuality, as it details a teenage protagonist losing his virginity to an older woman (only 31 though, presumably it would have been too brave to put her into her forties) and finding room for a series of rhymes so dreadful I'm half-convinced he was doing it on purpose: "demon/steamin'", "swelter/melt her" and of course "julep/two lips". Goldsboro would have been 32 when this came out, which somehow seems to lend the whole thing a slightly unsavoury air - I think partly because of the rather heroic and romanticised way he looks back on this; had he sounded a bit more awkward or embarassed about these events he might just about have got away with it, although his monotonous vocal is hardly appealing in any case. Without him the backing track might just about serve as background music to a TV documentary about an NHS scandal or something.

If you do want to hear a song about this subject matter, I'd suggest 'Apr├ęs Ski' by Cinerama, which is in the third person for a start. Otherwise, I'd just jump to Side Two.

Available on: Top of the Pops: 1973

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