Our playlist for sunny days.
There are good things about drinking in the sun, and then there’s the way you feel the next morning. This list covers both ends of that spectrum and provides the perfect soundtrack to accompany a summer evening.
1. One mint julep – Ray Charles
An effortlessly swinging R’n’B classic that will have you walking with a lazy swagger to your local bar – whether to order a mint julep is your call. There are so many versions of this but we’d go for the Ray Charles classic – not least for his faultless organ playing. Bada bing bada boom.
2. Whiskey girl – Gillian Welch
Beautifully recorded, the sparse instrumentation perfectly accompanies Welch’s voice as she croons the story of two lovers loading up for “a weekend in the underworld”. Seductive and soporific.
3. Lilac wine – Nina Simone
Taken from Wild is the wind – a compilation of out-takes and studio sessions stronger than most artists’ best efforts – this is the earliest studio recording of Lilac wine, a swooning meditation on drinking, mood swings and love. A huge influence on Jeff Buckley who covered it beautifully on Grace.
4. King Kunta – Kendrick Lamar
P-funk, G-funk – this is pure musical brilliance. Flawlessly constructed, tight bass, loose playing, fierce vocals, three drinks in and this comes on? You’ll be strutting your stuff like you own the place.
5. Kansas City – Joya Landis
Covered by everyone from Fats Domino to Willie Nelson, this joyous, scratchy Trojan Records recording is our favourite. We know very little about Joya Landis but when she sings:
I’m gonna be standing on the corner /12th Street and Vine
With my Kansas City baby and a jug of Kansas City wine
We know we want to be there too.
6. Rudie can’t fail -The Clash
The Clash at their best, mixing reggae and punk in an exuberant, brass-driven social commentary on not working for the man. Drinking brew for breakfast has never sounded more fun.
7. Jerk Ribs – Kelis
Shuffling funk and soaring horns accompany Kelis’ distinctive vocals epitomising summer city nights when it’s too hot to sleep and the bar down the street is still open.
8. Avalon – Roxy Music
Impossibly glamorous. Lush, elegant crooning from a man in an Antony Price white suit and a collapsed quiff has never sounded better. Make ours a large glass of Chateaux Margaux.
9. I hope that I don’t fall in love with you – Tom Waits
The sonic equivalent of an Edward Hopper painting. Taken from Waits’ debut, Closing Time, this is both melancholic and moving. The perfect distillation of late nights, empty glasses and missed opportunities.
10. Drinking in LA – Bran Van 3000
“What the hell am I doing drinking in LA at 26.” This slacker-ish, trippy ode to drinking epitomises that time in the evening when you are starting to sober up and reflect on what you’ve done with your life up to that point. The only solution is to pour yourself another drink and enjoy the music.