Midsummer rhythms

As the thunder rumbles overhead on a sultry, steamy Wisconsin afternoon, I think back to what we often did on this kind of a summer day back in the mid-’70s, when we were growing up in the suburbs of Wausau, Wisconsin.

Everyone ate lunch and dinner at home, so most of the action took place in the afternoon. The routine was much the same, day after day. Eat lunch, hop on your bike and take off. We lived out beyond where the sidewalks ended, so I had to ride along the highway for a mile or so before getting into the subdivisions.

I’d make the rounds of my friends’ houses. We’d hook up and head out. We hung out at the pool where our friend Herb worked. The ladies loved Herb, so it was good to be his pal. We also hung out at the other pool in town, the one where plenty of good-looking girls worked. My brother married one.

When pool break time came at 3 p.m., we’d head to the Stop-N-Go and hang out there for a while, seeing who came by. Our pal Marty lived around the corner from the Stop-N-Go, and we’d convene there for late-afternoon TV — “Match Game” followed by ancient Three Stooges or Flash Gordon shorts. And then home for dinner.

Of course, there are songs I associate with those days. This is one.

“Music,” John Miles, from “Rebel,” 1976.

Our local FM rock station usually was blasting from the speakers at the pools, so we’d sit there, checking out girls and listening to tunes. I vividly remember sitting in the bleachers outside the Rothschild pool in the early summer of 1976 and hearing this remarkable cut.

It careens back and forth from a huge, elegant orchestral sound to straight-up, guitar- and horn-driven rock, with Miles’ falsetto going right over the top. There was nothing else like it on the radio at the time. It certainly sounded out of place at the pool, which may be why I so vividly remember it after all these years.

Some years later, I bought this album solely for this cut. I found there’s more to “Rebel” than “Music.” Maybe we’ll get back to it another day.


Filed under July 2008, Sounds

3 responses to “Midsummer rhythms

  1. Flaregun

    “Music” is my second favorite vocal by Miles, my first is “The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether” by The Alan Parsons Project from Tales of Mystery and Imagination. I remember using the Music reprise as a filler on a lot of mix tapes back in the day because it was only about one minute long. Thanks

  2. Opus

    my favorite cut was “high fly”. it was a staple of my high school band back in the mid 70s. yes, we had keys and a girl singer…

  3. Shark

    I still have a copy of a 1980 John Miles album with a minor hit called “Do It All Again.” We played it during the summer of 1980 on WXXQ-FM in Freeport, Illinois.

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