Any Major American Road Trip – 4
On the fourth stage of our musical road trip through the USA we are staying in California. Parts of the state have a strong country influence because it was in the inland portions of California that many of the southern Dust Bowl refugees from Steinbeck’s Grapes Of Wrath (the greatest novel ever written, in my non-expert opinion) settled. Bakersfield is the place that produced Merle Haggard and Gram Parsons and, though he was a Texan, Buck Owens.
But our journey begins on the coast where the living and the loving is good, places like Big Sur and Santa Cruz and Monterey. The latter was home to the second true rock festival (as opposed to a rock revue), organised in 1967 by the Mamas & the Papas with Lou Adler. Eric Burdon & The Animals, who performed, sing about it here. A week earlier the lesser known Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival was held on Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, also in California.
Another performer at Monterey was Otis Redding, who, with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, pretty much stole the show (and if you see his performance of I’ve Been Loving You, you’ll see why). Otis, who was from the South, loved the California scene, and stuck around. He wrote his most famous song about it, Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay. The place where he wrote it, Sausalito, is featured here.
From Sausalito, about half an hour’s drive in easy traffic From San Francisco (crossing the Golden Gate Bridge) we drive another hour to Santa Rosa. I was going to let the Nitty Gritty Band honour the place; in the event I settled for a more unexpected choice: a pre-fame b-side from 1972 by the group we’d come to know as ABBA. Then we drive another hour north to Ukiah, to see if we can get the fresh, clean smell of the pines which The Doobie Brothers are promising us.
At Ukiah we find ourselves at a crossroad: Do we go north to Oregon and then Seattle, or do we turn south-east to make it to Vegas? There’s more music Vegas way, so that’s where we’ll go, via inland California with its capital Sacramento, making a little detour to Folsom prison. We’ll go to Lodi (apparently pronounced low-die) , which Credence Clearwater Revival sang about on the b-side to Bad Moon Rising. The song made the farming town of 60,000 a byword for boredom. Lodi has capitalised on that by hosting “Stuck in Lodi” events.
We end the fourth leg of our road trip in Bakersfield, which gets, due it being the capital of Californian country, two songs — though only one of them is country.
The centrepoint is, of course, San Francisco. I expect to get accusatory looks for giving New Orleans only two songs and Frisco five. Well, folks, that’s the nature of travel: On the leg including The Big Easy I had little time to linger. In San Francisco I have plenty of time because I need to be in Vegas only by the next mix.
In this leg we’ll have traveled 1,000km or 620m miles. It’s another music-less 1,400km or 870 miles to Las Vegas, where the fifth leg will begin.
The next leg will see us travelling close to 5000km or 3000 miles, taking us from Las Vegas via several detours to St Louis. Along the way we’ll encounter more great music.
As always, CD-R length, covers, PW in comments.
1. The Thrills – Big Sur (2003 – Big Sur)
2. Eric Burdon & The Animals – Monterey (1967 – Monterey)
3. Kris Kristofferson – Me and Bobby McGee (1970 – Salinas)
4. Robert Earl Keen – I’m Comin Home (1994 – Santa Cruz)
5. Dionne Warwick – Do You Know The Way To San José (1968 – San José)
6. Otis Redding – Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay (1968 – San Francisco)
7. Bobby Womack – I Left My Heart In San Francisco (1969 – San Francisco)
8. O.C. Smith – San Francisco Is A Lonely Town (live) (1969 – San Francisco)
9. Counting Crows – Richard Manuel Is Dead (live, 2006 – San Francisco)
10. Chris Isaak – San Francisco Days (1993 – San Francisco)
11. Conor Oberst – Sausalito (2008 – Sausalito)
12. Van Morrison – Snow In San Anselmo (1973 — San Anselmo/San Rafael)
13. Johnny Cash – San Quentin (live, 1969 – San Quentin)
14. Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid – Santa Rosa (1972 – Santa Rosa)
15. The Doobie Brothers – Ukiah (1973 – Ukiah)
16. Middle Of The Road – Sacramento (A Wonderful Town) (1972 – Sacramento)
17. Conway Twitty – Folsom Prison Blues (1968 – Folsom)
18. Credence Clearwater Revival – Lodi (1969 – Lodi)
19. Beck – Modesto (1994 – Modesto)
20. Merle Haggard – One Row At A Time (1971 – Fresno)
21. Buck Owens – Streets Of Bakersfield (1973 – Bakersfield)
22. Social Distortion – Bakersfield (2011 – Bakersfield)