Any Major American Road Trip – 2
We are now starting the second leg of our road trip: a musical journey that takes us from the East Coast to the West Coast and back east, beginning in Boston and ending in Miami. The itinerary may be zig-zagging a bit, but the rules are that it must be at least notionally plausible.
The first leg took us from Boston via New York State south to North Carolina, leaving us in Charlotte. We now make our way to Atlanta with a song by the blues great Freddie King.
After visiting Birmingham (a city still famous for all the wrong reasons) we stop over, by way of a detour, in Tuscaloosa. The town is not mentioned by name in the Steely Dan song, but it is home to the University of Alabama, whose American football team is the Crimson Tide, “the name for the winners in the world” that stands in contrast to the name for losers which the Dan are proposing: Deacon Blues. (Tuscaloosa does get a name-check in the Randy Newman song though).
Musically significant cities get more than one song, and here it is New Orleans getting some extra love with songs by two of the Big Easy’s favourite sons: Fats Domino and Dr John. From there we go to Baton Rouge — a city I associate more with Kennedy O’Toole’s great novel The Confederacy of Dunces than with music — in a Tom Petty song.
After a trip to Lafayette, we leave Louisiana for Texas, where we will stay for the rest of this leg. Texas is pretty big, but still I was surprised to find so many songs there. Most of the titles are self-evident, though not all. Patty Loveless’ The Night’s Too Long is set in Beaumont, but not for long, for the waitress of the song wants to get out. Ben Kweller in his song refers to Dallas, but it seems he got out of there already (I might have gone with Kweller to the hideously named Commerce, Tx, if I wanted to go there. But I did not.).
On the other hand, Lee Hazlewood is going back to Houston, while Waylon Jennings is proposing to go to Luckenbach with himself and Willie and the boys, and George Hamilton IV wishes to return to Abilene, the town with the prettiest name in this mix. And the closing song is called Texas In My Rear View Mirror, a song about getting out of Lubbock, whose only, but not unsubstantial, claim to fame is being Buddy Holly’s home town. But, Lubbock fans, take heart: Mac Davis does not really mean it when he says he wants escape Texas.
There is an obvious bonus track here: All My Ex’s Live In Texas, sung here not by George Strait, who is already representing Fort Worth (the Texan city which became famous due to the frequent references of Clayton visiting it in the TV soap Dallas) but in the original version by Whitey Shafer.
The final song might promise that we’re leaving Texas in our rear view mirror, but the third leg of our road trip will begin still in Texas, and we will return one more time after doing New Mexico before we travel via Arizona to California.
As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R (without the bonus track) and includes home-pardnered covers. PW in comments.
1. Freddie King – I’m On My Way To Atlanta (1962 – Atlanta, GA)
2. Randy Newman – Birmingham (1973, Birmingham – AL)
3. Steely Dan – Deacon Blues (1977 – Tuscaloosa, AL)
4. John Prine – Angel From Montgomery (1971 – Montgomery, AL)
5. Mickey Newbury – Mobile Blue (1973 – Mobile, AL)
6. Jesse Winchester – Biloxi (1970 – Biloxi, MS)
7. Fats Domino – I’m Walking To New Orleans (1960 – New Orleans, LA)
8. Dr. John & Chris Barber – Big Bass Drum (On A Mardi Gras Day) (1990 – New Orleans, LA)
9. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Louisiana Rain (1979 – Baton Rouge, LA)
10. Lucinda Williams – Lafayette (1980 – Lafayette, LA)
11. Patty Loveless – The Night’s Too Long (1990 – Beaumont, TX)
12. Lee Hazlewood – Houston (1967 – Houston, TX)
13. Glen Campbell – Galveston (1969 – Galveston, TX)
14. Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys – New San Antonio Rose (1940 – San Antonio, TX)
15. Waylon Jennings – Luckenbach, Texas (Back To The Basics Of Love) (1977 – Luckenbach, TX)
16. Stevie Ray Vaughan – Texas Flood (1983 – Austin, TX)
17. Ben Kweller – Falling (2002 – Dallas, TX)
18. George Strait – Does Forth Worth Ever Cross Your Mind (1984 – Dallas/Fort Worth, TX)
19. George Hamilton IV – Abilene (1963 – Abilene, TX)
20. Mac Davis – Texas In My Rear View Mirror (1980 – Lubbock, TX)
Bonus: Whitey Shafer – All My Ex’s Live In Texas (1987 – Abilene, Galveston, Texarkana, TX)