… one of those days for taking a walk outside

“Life is not linear, it’s organic,” affirms education revisionist Sir Kenneth Robinson and although it was linear thinking that made me think of this song on a balmy autumn Sunday (after listening to one of Robinson’s popular TED talks), its actual genesis is about as meanderingly organic as you can get … much as this posting.

In the early years of the last century a new genre of dance music that blended military marches, African rhythms, and field hollers (among other influences) with spirituals and syncopated jazz took hold in the red light district of Memphis. The musicians were of the medicine show/street corner variety and their home-crafted instruments regularly featured: banjos made with metal pie-plates and discarded guitar necks, washboards, stovepipe or washtub basses, guitars fashioned from flattened gourds, spoons, comb and tissue kazoos, and the stoneware “instruments” that gave the genre its name, Jug band music.

Roundly recorded in the early 1920s, many a future Jazz and Swing great began in a Jug band, including: Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Jack Teagarden, and Glen Miller.

Although it fell out of favor during the Depression, new life was blown into the genre during the Folk era of the mid-to-late ’50s at the same time that a strikingly similar resurgence, minus the jug, took place in Britain. There it was called Skiffle and many a future rock star cobbled together his own instrument and joined a Skiffle band: Van Morrison, Mick Jagger, Roger Daltrey, Ronnie Wood, Jimmy Page, Robin Trower, David Gilmour, and Graham Nash.

Back in the States, the Jug band resurgence hit its peak in the early ’60s, with the Rooftop Singers’ Number 1 hit, Walk Right In, and, yes, many a well-known act would evolve from its homespun origins: The Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish, The Mommas and the Papas, and after she married Geoff Muldaur of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, Maria Muldaur of the Even Jug Band.

This song, so well suited for a balmy Sunday morning, was one of many written by Maria’s former Even Jug bandmate, John Sebastian, after he’d formed the Lovin’ Spoonful in 1964. Released on the group’s second album of the same name, it reached Number 2 on the Billboard Charts in 1966.

It is very much an organic chain of events that, later that year, led to the first track of the second side of the most famous ex-Skiffle band of them all’s seminal album, Revolver … (This) was our favourite record of theirs,” says Paul McCartney about the Lovin’ Spoonful song.  “Good Day Sunshine was me trying to write something similar to Daydream.” 

Daydream

What a day for a daydream

What a day for a day dreamin’ boy.

And I’m lost in a daydream

Dreamin’ ’bout my bundle of joy.

And even if time ain’t really on my side

It’s one of those days for taking a walk outside

I’m blowing the day to take a walk in the sun

And fall on my face on somebody’s new-mown lawn

I’ve been having a sweet dream

I’ve been dreaming since I woke up today.

It’s starring me and my sweet thing

‘Cause she’s the one makes me feel this way.

And even if time is passing me by a lot

I couldn’t care less about the dues you say I got.

Tomorrow I’ll pay the dues for dropping my load

A pie in the face for being a sleepy bo-joe.

And you can be sure that if you’re feeling right

A daydream will last long into the night.

Tomorrow at breakfast you may prick up your ears

Or you may be daydreaming for a thousand years.

 What a day for a daydream

Custom made for a daydreaming boy.

And I’m lost in a daydream

Dreaming ’bout my bundle of joy.

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