Crate Digger: VIKKI CARR So Nice (Summer Samba)
Vikki Carr – So Nice (Summer Samba) (1967 Liberty)
The sunshine is out, the sangria is on the patio table and I for one am a real sucker for a bit of samba. Even one as gentle and smooth as this one. Today’s dig is an overlooked B Side by a doyenne of American easy Listening Vikki Carr.
When I was starting out to listen to music there was a lot of easy listening music out there. It was a moniker you saw on many a Key-Tel or Ronco advert for an easily licensed and inevitably quickly put-together compilation record. Invariably titled ‘Love is’ or ‘Blue Moods’ would be filled with artists such as Andy Williams, Tony Bennet, and Vikki Carr.
Vikki Carr is true Tex-Mex, born in El Paso to Mexican parents in 1941 her real name is Florencia Bisenta de Casillas-Martínez Cardona. Now I’m sure even in Spanish-speaking lands that are way too long to fit on the front of a seven-inch record! However, the American Recording industry in the 1960s didn’t want any ethnic performers if they could help it so a bit of blonde hair dye later and a quick name change and ‘voila!’ Florencia is, magically, the all American Vikki Carr.
Now you don’t see easy listening as a label anymore. Tunes that I would have frankly laughed at 40 years ago have been assimilated into many different scenes and cherished instead of ridiculed. So Nice (Summer Samba) could very easily be one of them, especially the Bossa/Samba/Lounge crowd. There are many, many versions of this song, male and female vocalists, some grittier, some smooth, some more Latin. It’s definite pick your favorite time and this is mine.
Released as the B side to the frankly nauseating ‘It Must Be Him’ it is a very gentle meander through a young girl’s longings to meet someone who will ‘Samba through life with me’. A popular notion to many in the late sixties. Not everyone was smoking pot, protesting, and burning their bras (although all three of these pastimes are very worthy!) It is the type of track that was aimed at a more conservative crowd and maybe a bit older than the guys and gals that were digging that Woodstock Vibe in 1967, but it still has its place there in history. Remember Richard Nixon was on the rise to power in 1967 and the young republican out there may well have had Vikki Carr in their record collection. They probably assumed she was White American and not Mexican in heritage though, which is ironic.
Today Samba and Bossa still resonate down the years, they didn’t get wiped away totally in the easy listening purges of the 1990s If you listen to The Cardigans first album ‘Life’ then this was the type of source material they would have been listening to to in the creation of that piece of perfect 90s pop. This is probably where I first got the bug, so it can’t all be bad, can it?
VIKKI CARR So Nice
Vikki Carr photos via YouTube
Written/Composed by M. Valle, P. Valle, N. Gimble
Produced by Dave Pell
“For the last six decades, Vikki Carr has been one of the world’s foremost classic entertainers. She has released over 60 best‑selling recordings, won three Grammy Awards, and honored with a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Her remarkable voice and talent have brought audiences to tears and to their feet. Covering a variety of genres, from her first love of jazz to mainstream pop and country, her pioneering crossover into Latin American music solidified her international stardom.” – bio