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One blast of winter's enough; bring on the tropics

Just one taste of traditional Minnesota winter weather and I’m ready for a trip to the tropics – at least a mind excursion.

You’re welcome to come along.

See if any of these songs get you in the mood for a Latin dance or two – with a full orchestra, preferably outdoors, near the ocean and some swaying palms and, of course, under the stars and a full moon.

And to complete the fantasy, scores of elegant couples dressed in swanky clothes – something like this Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman snippet from “Casablanca” as they elegantly dance to “Perfidia” (complete with what we know today as a disco ball).

It’s such a great song to set the tropical mood that we ought check out a couple of full versions — Linda Ronstadt’s, with Spanish introduction and plenty of horns, and the Ventures’ rock hit.

I don’t think we’ll re-create all of my tropical fantasy, but I’ll take what we can get — including a wide array of Latin-tinged mood music and dance beats: a beguine, some mambos, the bossa nova, the cha-cha and many more variations.

We can’t go wrong starting with Diana Krall and her version of “Let’s Face the Music and Dance.”

Then we’ll pick up the pace with “Mambo King” Perez Prado’s two chart-toppers “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” and “Patricia.”

And two other nice dance numbers:

• Bobby Rydell’s “Sway.”

• Henry Mancini’s “My Friend Andamo,” from the “Mr. Lucky” TV score.

Then two melancholy songs:

• Sheryl Crow’s version of Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine,” from the biopic “DeLovely.”

• And Caterina Valente’s sad “The Breeze and I.”

We’ll transition with some jazzy bossa nova: Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd's “Desafinado” and Ella Fitzgerald’s vocal version, “Desafinado (Slightly Out of Tune).”

And a little more Ella never hurt anyone – so here she is on Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll.” Switcheroonie!

There’s always room for one of the most upbeat songs ever: “Frenesi” — instrumentally by Artie Shaw and vocally by the wonderful Eydie Gorme.

I’m going to sneak in one Far East tropics song before returning to the West: Frankie Laine’s “Rose Rose I Love You,” with some evocative lyrics:

All my life I shall remember Oriental music
and you in my arms
Perfumed flowers in your tresses
Lotus-scented breezes and swaying palms …

Time to heat it up again with three warm movie songs:

“Heat Wave” – no, not the Martha and the Vandellas hit. This one — Marilyn Monroe’s film version from “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”

Steam Heat,” and a tango, “Hernando’s Hideaway,” both from “The Pajama Game.”

As we near the end of our tropical voyage, I wanted to change pace with a slightly lower-brow number but one I really like: Perry Como’s comic, clever “Papa Loves Mambo.”

Hot, hotter, hottest
We’ll wrap up by sending the tropical musical temperatures a bit higher:

Hot: Sade’s “Smooth Operator.”

Hotter: Buster Poindexter’s “Hot Hot Hot.”

Hottest: And one slow dance — the fabulous John Barry’s “smoky” main theme from the 1981 film “Body Heat.”

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Comments (1)

Might I suggest "Rio" by my favorite ex-Monkee, Mike Nesmith. Enjoy in moderation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tpkxKZS4fc