It turns out my friend Roy is a BIG fan of Not So Kwyet. The former Torontonian, turned backwoods Ontario resident, is the voice of a small hamlet, near Algonquin Park, called Hybla. He runs a local news source called Hybla Today, which is both sassy and informative. Roy and the locals are in the thick of the hell that is bug season. Luckily it is also campfire season, which keeps spirits high, gay and the bugs away…. kinda. In talking with Roy, he thought it would be neat to do a playlist dedicated to pesky bugs and roarin’ campfires. I, Dr Dan, have compiled what I believe to be 10 great tracks for this occasion.
Sometimes it’s nice to ease into a playlist, rather than going full throttle out of the gate. What better way to start than with Bobbie Gentry! She was born in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, which means she knows a thing or two about pesky flying creatures. Beyond being the queen of Southern Gothic music, she also sang a song about bugs with Scottish folk singer Donovan. Our first song #1 comes from her seminal album Ode To Billie Joe from 1967.
Bobbie Gentry & Donovan – Bugs (live from the BBC)
I may not know anything about this next musician but J.L. Smith does offer up some sound advice; dancing… like a mosquito… which probably gets rid of mosquitos and black flies? Anyway, our second song is a fun soul dancer track from 1968.
J.L. Smith – Did You Do The Mosquito
So dancing like a mosquito didn’t help with the flies? How about we try another bug based dance craze with The Itchy Scratch. Although scientifically not tested, doing this dance may also reduce itchiness. This 45 was the only release by Doo Wop/Soul group Little Becky Cook & The Rag Mops, which was recorded in 1965.
Little Becky Cook & The Rag Mops – The Itchy Scratch
Our fourth song comes from Prince Buster, one of the most influential ska/rocksteady/reggae musicians ever. In his song Spider and Fly he was well aware that things don’t usually end well for the fly. So think of Prince Buster and leave your 8 legged friends alone, wherever you come across them! This comes from an early Prince Buster 45 from 1963.
Prince Buster – Spider And Fly
Our last song about bugs comes from a Not So Kwyet favourite… The Du-Rites. This band is composed of MC, turned drummer, J-Zone and Tom Tom Club guitarist Pablo Martin. J-zone describes the Du-Rites style as “when you eat a big plate of fried chicken and wipe your mouth with the grease and write a love letter on the napkin”. It’s an instrumental but I’m sure you can just imagine humans and bugs-alike having no control over groovin’ to this jam. This comes from the album J-Zone And Pablo Martin Are The Du-Rites from 2016.
The Du-Rites – Bug Juice
There is no better way to get the fire started than with this Motown rarity from Gino Parks. This is perfect for those situations when the sparks aren’t just coming from the fire, but a special someone. In the words of Gino Parks “feel that fire!”. It’s best if we categorize this under Campfire Songs For…Wait…. who is that?
Gino Parks – Fire
Let’s not forget to give thanks to the shining fires in the sky. Here is an empowering track from the always groovy Earth Wind & Fire. Be sure to remember that the stars in the sky do set the mood for a campfire but, in the end, baby you’re the star! This track is off the album That’s The Way Of The World from 1975.
Earth, Wind & Fire – Shining Star
I know campfires are wildly fun but getting burned is not so fun. So here is my public safety announcement with a cover of the Rolling Stones Play With Fire by Mick Farren. If you do get burned, don’t run the burn under water as that will only cause more damage. Place it in a basin of cold water to help remove the heat. This track, from 1977, comes from the amazing D.I.Y label Ork in New York City.
Mick Farren – Play With Fire
I know that Roy has a cute dog named Charlie. So here is an appropriate song, for the kid in all of us, for when we find ourselves alone at the campfire with our favourite four legged companion. This song comes from Harry Nilsson, the man who The Beatles said was their favourite American musician in 1968. This is off the wonderful album The Point! from 1970.
Harry Nilsson – The Town/Me and My Arrow
Last but not least is the most campfire-y campfire song I could imagine. Thankfully the Brooklyn rockers Grizzly Bear did make a song that isn’t as much of a stretch as the rest in this playlist. I am more than happy to post a Grizzly Bear song because my hero Questlove is also a big fan. This song is from the 2004 release Horn of Plenty.
Grizzly Bear – Campfire
Well, there you have it. Hopefully you enjoyed these tracks and are ready to enjoy the fire no matter how many bites you get. Now for a bit of shameless self promotion: