Any Major American Road Trip – 3
The third leg of our musical road trip through the USA takes us from Texas via New Mexico and Arizona to California, including an extended stop in Los Angeles.
The rules for this journey — which is taking us from the East Coast to the West Coast and back east, beginning in Boston and ending in Miami — demand that the itinerary must be at least notionally plausible. But some zig-zagging is allowed. This is unavoidable in the early part of this leg.
Having left Lubbock, TX in our rear view mirror in last leg, we start off in Amarillo (I knew the way and decided to go with the original of the great George Strait hit, which you can find on the Any Major Morning Vol. 2 mix). We head west via the small town of Tucumcari, mentioned by Little Feat, to Santa Fe and Albuquerque where, after a fast food meal at Los Pollos Hermanos, we must make a decision.
See, I want to go to El Paso (for the dramatic Marty Robbins song), which means a four-hour drive south, but I also want to see the Grand Canyon, a six-hour drive west. So we’ll make a massive detour: first we go to El Paso and from there we take the nine-hour drive via Winslow to the Grand Canyon (I could have had a song about the Grand Canyon but don’t want to include landmarks. So Winslow, pop. 9,479, gets its song).
From there we’ll go to Phoenix and make another detour to Tucson, which allows me to include the rooftop concert version of The Beatles’ Get Back, which sets up our departure from Arizona for some California grass, much as Jo-Jo did in the song.
Six hours later we arrive in San Diego. And our Californian journey isn’t the most sensible either. Instead of the two-hour drive along the coast to LA, we turn inland, simply because there are few good songs about Carlsbad, none about Irvine and not much about Anaheim either. So we go twice the distance via Palm Springs (from where we can take an imaginary excursion to the Joshua Tree National Park), San Bernardino and Pasadena to enter LA from the north.
Our LA songs cover some of the essential areas — Hollywood, Beverley Hills, Laurel Canyon, Watts & Compton — as well as Randy Newman’s cynical view of the city and the racism encountered there by black people who came from the south in Dorothy Morrison’s song (written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill). Also included is Echo Park, which is said to be LA’s nicest neighbourhood.
We then turn to the coast to make our way north, beginning in Santa Monica and Malibu before hitting Ventura Highway. The America song isn’t actually set on the Ventura Highway; the idea of driving on that road is notional, pretty much like this road trip.
Notional or not, the bulk of the fourth leg will keep us in California. I expect there’ll be another three parts to the series after that.
As always: CD-R length, cover, PW in comments.
1. Terry Stafford – Amarillo By Morning (1973 – Amarillo, TX)
2. Little Feat – Willin’ (1972 – Tucumcari, NM)
3. Arthur Crudup – Mean Old Santa Fe (1950 – Santa Fe, NM)
4. Neil Young – Albuquerque (1975 – Albuquerque, NM)
5. Marty Robbins – El Paso (1959 – El Paso, TX)
6. Eagles – Take It Easy (1972 – Winslow, AZ)
7. Gorillaz feat. Bobby Womack – Bobby In Phoenix (2010 – Phoenix, AZ)
8. The Beatles – Get Back (live) (1969 – Tucson, AZ)
9. Ralph McTell – San Diego Serenade (1976 – San Diego, AZ)
10. Slim Gaillard & His Flat Foot Floogie Boys – Palm Springs Jump (1942 – Palm Springs, CA)
11. Christie – San Bernadino (1970 – San Bernardino, CA)
12. Bee Gees – Marley Purt Drive (1969 – Pasadena, CA)
13. Randy Newman – I Love LA (1983 – Los Angeles, CA)
14. Dorothy Morrison – Black California (1970, Los Angeles, CA)
15. 2Pac feat. Dr Dre – California Love (1995, Los Angeles, CA)
16. Weezer – Beverley Hills (2005 – Los Angeles, CA)
17. Joseph Arthur – Echo Park (2002 – Los Angeles, CA)
18. Tim Rose – Goin’ Down In Hollywood (1972 – Los Angeles, CA)
19. The Mamas & The Papas – Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) (1968 – Los Angeles, CA)
20. The Beach Boys – Santa Ana Winds (1980 – Los Angeles, CA)
21. The Sweet – Santa Monica Sunshine (1972 – Santa Monica, CA)
22. Hole – Malibu (1998 – Malibu, CA)
23. America – Ventura Highway (1974 – Ventura, CA)
Bonus track: Bill Withers – City Of The Angels (1976)