Why I Play “Summertime”

Doc Watson–God rest his soul–made me learn “Summertime.” His recording of it on Elementary Doc Watson has a solo that’s  catchy and haunting (a great combo, that). I was thinking about it one evening when I was playing guitar and just stumbled into copping the licks from memory. After that, I played around with the solo a lot, and I mean a  lot –especially in summer. Finally, one June, my wife Dorothy got me the sheet music for my birthday.

At that point I played no jazz, and it took several months of wrestling with the sheet music before I had the song down. Then it took Dorothy and me another couple months of playing it together (her on bass, me on guitar) before we got it tight. That happened just in time for us to include the song in a set we were doing for Custer Street Fair in Evanston, Illinois.

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Dorothy & I at Custer Street, with Alpha Stewart.

We were video recording that that set, and it ended up being the CD Live at Custer Street. The performance that afternoon at Custer Street was the first time we ever played the song in public. It came out OK, I think, considering.

Live At Custer Street

Clicking on the icon below will play you the song as  we did it that day.

About kentmcdanielwrites

Writer and musician.

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