Any Major Roads Vol. 1
Here’s the first of what I think will be two mixes on the subject of driving. Not “driving songs” – no Bon Jovi, no Bohemian Rhapsody – but songs about people in cars, or who are planning to be in one, or being on the long road. Having said that, I have test-driven this mix in my car, and found it a most agreeable companion on (mostly congested) roads.
The king of car songs is, of course, Bruce Springsteen. I could have chosen so many; just coming to mind as I write are Racing In The Streets, Born To Run, Sherry Darling, Cadillac Ranch, Wreck On A Highway, Stolen Car, Working On The Highway… If you have perused the tracklisting before reading this, as I would, you might either be troubled by the absence of Thunder Road, or delighted by my lack obviousness. The song is, in fact, included by way of prototype.
Before the song was Thunder Road and Bruce planned to take Mary out of this town of losers (the same Mary whom he gets pregnant in The River?), it was called Wings for Wheels, and the girl was Angelina. The recording here is, I think, the only one of Wings for Wheels, put down live in February 1975 at The Main Point in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Just over six months later, Springsteen recorded Thunder Road for the Born To Run album.
Also coming from a bootleg is Simon & Garfunkel’s America, in which the featured motor vehicle is a Greyhound bus. The recording is from the duo’s 1968 concert at the Hollywood Bowl. It is one of the best bootlegs I’ve heard, in terms of sound and performance. Well worth tracking down.
Rocket 88 is regarded by some as “the first rock & roll record”, as if such a thing exists (though Sam Philips, who recorded it, made that pronouncement, and who am I to argue with him?). The recording will usually be attributed to Ike Turner, and the credited performer tends to be forgotten. Jackie Brenston was Ike’s saxophonist, and his Delta Cats were really Turner’s Kings of Rhythm. Branston got the writing credit, though it was written by 19-year-old Ike. On the saxophone is Raymond Hill, who’d later father the future Tina Turner’s first child.
As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-combusted covers, PW in comments (where you are invited to leave a note).
1. Doobie Brothers – Rockin’ Down The Highway (1972)
2. War – Low Rider (1975)
3. Golden Earring – Radar Love (1973)
4. Tom Robinson Band – 2-4-6-8 Motorway (1977)
5. It’s Immaterial – Driving Away Form Home (Jim’s Tune) (1986)
6. Gabe Dixon Band – Five More Hours (2005)
7. Wilco – Passenger Side (1995)
8. Stephen Duffy & The Lilac Time – Driving Somewhere (2007)
9. John Prine – Automobile (1979)
10. Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band – Wings For Wheels (1975)
11. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Hollywood Nights (1978)
12. Edgar Winter Group – Free Ride (1972)
13. Eagles – Take It Easy (1972)
14. Little Feat – Truck Stop Girl (1970)
15. Martha Reeves – Dixie Highway (1974)
16. Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Hello Sunday! Hello Road! (1977)
17. Simon & Garfunkel – America (live) (1968)
18. Dionne Warwick – Do You Know The Way To San José (1968)
19. Lovin’ Spoonful – On The Road Again (1965)
20. Lee Dorsey – My Old Car (1967)
21. Chuck Berry – No Particular Place To Go (1964)
22. Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats – Rocket 88 (1951)
23. The King Cole Trio – (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 (1946)