Aside from Father's Day, Flag Day and the first day of summer, June might not seem to offer any holidays worth celebrating. Au contraire!
Every month is filled with holidays and observances that don't end up on official calendars, and June is no exception. This week's Take Five celebrates Chocolate Pudding Day, Smile Power Day, Gingerbread Day, National Fishing and Boating Week and Dairy Month with a few jazz notes.
Listen to five celebratory songs below.
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- Song: Gingerbread Boy
- from On the Trail
Gingerbread Day (June 5). Gingerbread is prime Christmastime snacking, but the treat gets its own special day in June. This is the original version of tenor saxman Jimmy Heath's spiced-up blues tune, "Gingerbread Boy." Heath is in fine form along with guitarist Kenny Burrell and brother Albert "Tootie" Heath on drums.
When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You)
- Song: When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You)
- from Voice in Time: 1939-1952
Smile Power Day (June 15). Frank Sinatra made many smile, and this happy-go-lucky tune spreads the word that smiling is contagious. "When You're Smiling" was recorded during Sinatra's comeback after suffering vocal-cord hemorrhage from years of hard use. Getting a career back into the swing of things was certainly something to smile about.
- Song: I'm Gonna Go Fishin'
- from Free Spirits
National Fishing and Boating Week (June 6-14). Celebrate the days of summer fishing with a song that is more about fishing for good men who don't cheat on their woman, not trout or bass. Peggy Lee and Duke Ellington teamed up to write this fun tune. Chris Connor's version is direct in message and tone, but her voice is still warm. The drumming of Dave Bailey drives the quick tempo, while trumpets of Clark Terry and Joe Newman accent the more forceful lyrics.
- Song: Tasty Pudding
- from Good Time Blues: The Ultimate Tenor Sax Collection
Chocolate Pudding Day (June 26). Who would have thought that chocolate pudding deserves its own holiday? We don't know if chocolate pudding was on the mind of Al Cohn when he penned this tune, but when his friend Zoot Sims played it, the sound was as mellow and smooth as the celebrated treat.
Louis Armstrong with May Alix
- Song: Big Butter and Egg Man
- from The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings [Columbia/Legacy]
Dairy Month (all June-long). Ice cream gets its own holiday in July, so we feature butter for the June Dairy celebration. "Big Butter and Egg Man" is a U.S. slang term that officially means, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "a wealthy, unsophisticated man who spends money freely." The term supposedly originated from a nickname given to a Midwestern dairy man, fitting that description, who traveled East with cash in hand to spend at clubs and bars.