Song Lyric Sunday – California Sun

This week we are dipping our toes in the Pacific, playing a little beach volleyball, and surfing of course! It is Surf Rock week. When I saw the subject I knew there would be a number of people choosing the same songs. Jim has more details on his blog. Check out his post for more details.

When I think of Surf Rock my mind goes to the instrumental hits like “Wipe Out”, but since the lyrics consist of only one word, I knew I had to move on, but I am still posting the song here. 🤭

I finally settled on the song “California Sun” written by Henry Glover and recorded by rhythm and blues artist Joe Jones who was best known for his recording “You Talk Too Much”. It was reissued by the label in 1969 when it made #89 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

The most recognizable cover of this song was done by The Rivieras (named after a Buick Riviera) in 1964. It peaked at #5 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

The song was covered by a number of people including Annette Funicello, the Crickets, Frankie Avalon, The Ramones, and a host of others.



Song Lyric Sunday – Hot Rod Lincoln

This week’s genre is Rockabilly. Rockabilly has it roots in my neck of the woods – a combination or country and early rock-and-roll. As with most anything these days, you can find many different definitions of the same subject. I will defer to Jim as he always gives of a good definition of each challenge. Check out his post for more details. The best way I know to define rockabilly is by listening to the music!

This week I decided to go with a fun ‘answer song’ (which by the way Jim might be a good topic if you have not already used it). An answer song is defined as a song that ‘answers’ a previous song generally recorded by a different artist.

“Hot Rod Lincoln” was written and recorded by rockabilly singer/songwriter Charley Ryan in 1955. It was in answer to the song “Hot Rod Race” released in 1950 by Arkie Shibley. “Hot Rod Race” was said to have given birth to all the hot rod songs that would follow.

”Hot Rod Race” is a song about a hot rod race up US. Route 99 (now I5) to Los Angeles, and through the Grapevine canyon. I found a video on YouTube of the old U.S. Route 99 which gives you an idea of the route as it might have been in the song. Skip it if you are not interested. You will need to view on YouTube. The original race that Chaley Ryan drove was actually up the Spiral Highway in Lewiston, Idaho. He changed the road referenced in the song to match the road in “Hot Rod Race”.

Back to the song. The original was released in 1955 and was released again under a different label in 1959. Here’s the original rockabilly version by Charley Ryan and the Livingston Brothers.

The song was released by country singer Johnny Bond in 1960. This is often considered the favorite version of the song by many. The lyrics were changed somewhat from the original including modifying the engine size from a V12 to a V8. It reached #26 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Another version of the song was released by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen in 1971. This would be the most ‘chart successful’ version of the song reaching #9 on Billboard’s Hot 100. You can find it along with the lyrics on YouTube.

Asleep at the Wheel also covered the song in 1988. Their version is one of my favorites.

The 50s and 60s and even the early 70s were the time of young men and their cars! Every guy I knew tinkered with cars, knew how to drive the, fix them, and soup them up (did you know the term ‘souped up’ came from a narcotic injection (soup) given to race horses to make them run faster.) The things you learn on Song Lyric Sunday.

I found a great article about these hot rod songs that I thoroughly enjoyed. If you are a fan of the history I recommend it.

Hot-Rod Songs of the Northwest


Song Lyric Sunday – Polk Salad Annie

This week’s genre is Swamp Rock. As soon as I saw this I knew what song I would choose. Check out Jim’s post for more details on this week’s SLS topic.

“Polk Salad Annie” was written and sung by Louisiana born Tony Joe White, nicknamed “Swamp Fox”. The song was recorded in Nashville in 1968 and released the following year. It reached #8 on Billlboard’s Hot 100. It reached #10 in Canada.

The song is about a poor southern woman who gathers the leaves from pokeweed for cooking. Pokeweed is a toxic plant, but is often eaten in many southern cultures. The song title refers to polk salad, but in actuality the name is polk sallet, meaning a warm salad.

According to an interview given to Songfacts, when Tony Joe White toured in the 60s, many people thought the reference to Polk Salad was marijuana and would often leave bags of marijuana in his tent or dressing room.

More after the lyrics:

Polk Salad Annie
Lyrics from

If some of ya’ll never been down south too much
I’m gonna tell you a little bit about this
So that you’ll understand what I’m talkin’ about

Down there we have a plant that grows out in the woods
And in the fields looks somethin’ like a turnip green
And everybody calls it polk salad, polk salad

Used to know a girl lived down there
And she’d go out in the evenings and pick her a mess of it
Carry it home and cook it for supper
‘Cause that’s about all they had to eat, but they did all right

Down in Louisiana, where the alligators grow so mean
There lived a girl that I swear to the world
Made the alligators look tame
Polk salad Annie, polk salad Annie
Everybody said it was a shame
‘Cause her momma was a workin’ on the chain gang
(A mean vicious woman)

Everyday for supper time, she’d go down by the truck patch
And pick her a mess of polk salad, and carry it home in a tow sack
Polk salad Annie, the gators got your granny
Everybody says it was a shame
‘Cause her momma was a workin’ on the chain gang
(A wretched, spiteful, straight-razor totin’ woman
Lord have Mercy, take a mess of it)

Her daddy was lazy and no count, claimed he had a bad back
All her brothers were fit for was stealin’ watermelons out of my truck patch
Polk salad Annie, the gators got your granny
Everybody said it was a shame
‘Cause her momma was a workin’ on the chain gang
(Sock a little polk salad to me, you know I need me a mess of it)

This is an actual dish still eaten in southern Appalachia and most likely in Louisiana as well. Pokeweed leaves are gathered in the spring when there are less toxins.  As the plant matures and berries form, it becomes extremely poisonous. The leaves are parboiled, drained, parboiled and drained again, and parboiled a third time before eating to release the toxins from the plant. They are often scrambled with eggs, served with pinto beans, or eaten as a warm sauteed green, often with vinegar.

Poke Sallett is a ‘transition’ or ‘survival’ vegetable. It is an early spring vegetable prized after long winters of little or no vegetables. It is still foraged today and has become a prized dish in many upscale restaurants.

Elvis started performing this song in concert in 1970. It was recorded as part of his live album On Stage and was released as a single in 1973.

I am also including Elvis’ version which I feel is a poor imitation of the original recording.


Song Lyric Sunday – Jam Up and Jelly Tight

Just a few steps over from last week’s topic of Sunshine Pop lies Bubblegum Pop. Jim has a good explanation of just exactly what this genre entails so check it out here.

“Jam Up and Jelly Tight” was written by Tommy Roe and Freddy Weller. They both co-wrote another of Tommy Roe’s hits “Dizzy”.

“Jam Up and Jelly Tight” was released in November 1969 and by 1970 it had reached its peak position of #8 on Billboard’s Top 100 chart. It would be Tommy Roe’s fourth record to reach gold status.

Tommy Roe was one of the classic bubblegum artists of the era. He had 10 top-10 singles with “Jam Up and Jelly Tight” being the last top-10 hit for Roe.

While this song is not as well known as some of Roe’s other recordings it does have a catchy beat and definitely appealed to young listeners at the time.

Quite a few bubblegum songs contained sexual innuendos in their lyrics and this song is no different. For some reason, parents did not rise up against this otherwise sugary sweet music.

So what the heck does Roe mean by the phrase “Jam Up and Jelly Tight”? Here’s the response taken from an interview on his website

“With “Jam Up and Jelly Tight,” I got the idea from an expression my father used to say when I was growing up. It was a popular phrase, like “Groovy” or “Outasite.” He’d see a pretty girl walking down the street, and he’d say, “Son, that gal’s Jam Up and Jelly Tight” (laughs).

You know, Southerners are famous for their anecdotes and expressions, and “Jam Up and Jelly Tight” was one of those Southern expressions (laughs). It comes from the old days, when they would can jams and jellies in the South. When they finished, they would say, “Everything’s jam up and jelly tight.” They’d put it in the pantry, and that’s where that saying is from.”

Video with lyrics included:


Song Lyric Sunday – Come on Down to My Boat

Sunshine Pop is the name of the game this week suggested by John Holton. I have been listening to Sunshine Pop playlists on Spotify to get in the right headspace. I always like to pick a song that I recall fondly or a new song that strikes a chord.

Today, sit around the record player with my brother and I and listen to our 45 of Every Mother’s Son.

Every Mother’s Son was formed by members who had been part of the folk music scene in Greenwich Village in the mid 60s. Brothers Larry and Dennis Larden decided they were better suited to finding success as a rock band. They teamed up with organist Bruce Milner, Schuyler Larson on bass guitar, and Christopher Augustine on drums. Every Mother’s Son was born.

“Come on Down to My Boat” was written by Wes Farrell and Jerry Goldstein. It had been released the year prior by the Rare Breed as “Come and Take a Ride in My Boat”.

This was the only Too 40 hit by Every Mother’s Son. Lyrics are here.


Song Lyric Sunday is hosted every Sunday by Jim Adams. If you would like to join in the fun, check out his blog for the rules and to take in all the other music posted by other bloggers.