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Any Major American Road Trip – 7

August 24th, 2017 5 comments

So finally we are reaching an end to our seven-part musical American Road Trip which began in Boston and took us via New York and Philly down to South Carolina, through the Deep South and Texas into the west via Arizona, up the coast of California, turning right via Las Vegas through the Mid-West, and leaving us in Akron, Ohio when we last stopped.

In this mix we are staying briefly in Ohio, at the university town of Kent to pay tribute to the students shot dead there in 1970. We then move into blue-collar Pennsylvania, an area that is said to have swung things Trump’s way last November. It’s safe to say that the men singing about life in Pittsburgh and Youngstown would not recommend voting for Trump, nor for the enemies of the working and middle classes that are leeching off the institutionalised corruption in Washington.

From Pittsburgh our journey covers destinations which one might describe as unsung, except this mix is proof that they, in fact, are sung: places like Wheeling, Roanoke, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Myrtle Beach. Revisiting South Carolina and, briefly, Georgia, we come to Florida, ending up right at the tip of The Keys, at Key West — as you will see on the back cover.

By then, we’ll have covered 119 towns in 153 songs. I hope you enjoyed the trip. Next Europe?

 

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-trucked covers. PW in comments.

1. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Ohio (2004 – Kent, OH)
2. Bruce Springsteen – Youngstown (1995 – Youngstown, PA)
3. Pete Seeger – Pittsburgh Town (1957 – Pittsburgh, PA)
4. Billy Joel – The Ballad Of Billy The Kid (live) (1981 – Wheeling, WV)
5. Tim Rose – Roanoke (1969 – Roanoke, NC)
6. Chuck Berry – The Promised Land (1964 – Norfolk, VA)
7. Starbuck – Moonlight Feels Right (1976 – Chesapeake, VA)
8. Aimee Mann – Ghost World (2006 – Myrtle Beach, SC)
9. Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland – Yolanda (1974 – Charleston, SC)
10. Lovin’ Spoonful – Jug Band Music (1966 – Savannah, GA)
11. Josh Turner – Jacksonville (2003, Jacksonville, FL)
12. John Hiatt – The Tiki Bar Is Open (2001 – Daytona Beach, FL)
13. Jimmy Buffett – Ballad Of Skip Wiley (1995 – Orlando & St Augustine, FL)
14. The Jayhawks – Tampa To Tulsa (2003 – Tampa, FL)
15. Drive-By Truckers – The Flying Wallendas (2010 – Sarasota, FL)
16. Elvis Presley – Fort Lauderdale Chamber Of Commerce (1965 – Fort Lauderdale, FL)
17. Sarah Vaughan – Moon Over Miami (1960 – Miami, FL)
18. Keith Whitley – Miami, My Amy (1985 – Miami, FL)
19. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Miami (1986 – Miami, FL)
20. Bertie Higgins – Key Largo (1982 – Key Largo, FL)
21. Shel Silverstein – The Great Conch Train Robbery (1980 – Key West, FL)

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Any Major American Road Trip – 6

April 20th, 2017 6 comments

 

It is high time we move on from beautiful St Louis, where we have been stuck since September (!) and begin our penultimate stage in the American Road Trip by going to Memphis. And we manage to do so without hitching a lift from Marc Cohn, much as I like his song.

To many, Memphis means Elvis, but I’ll leave him on the sidelines, too (other than by lyrical reference in the opening track). And still I was left with a broad choice of songs about Memphis — I should make a mix of Memphis songs at some point —which is only right, since Memphis is central to so many musical genres. One day I want to go there in real life…

Most of the songs here speak for themselves and have my endorsement. One, however, requires an explanation by way of caveat: Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ I Care About Detroit was a civic exercise to calm racial tension a year after the 1967 riots and following the uprising that followed the murder of Martin Luther King (in the city where this mix kicks off).

Written by Jimmy Clark and Jack Combs — the former presumably was the Detroit soul singer; I have no idea who Combs was — the lyrics might as well have been written by Governor George Romney. Smokey was a bit of a stooge for agreeing to this exercise. Much as he declares his loyalty to his home city, Smokey soon joined Berry Gordy in upping sticks for sunny LA. The single had only one side — maybe the city was still waiting for Gil Scott-Heron’s song; maybe it was Gordy’s silent protest at the awfulness of the record.

One song here featured on the Right-Wing Pop for Bullshit Mountain mix I posted in happier times. The Pretender’s My City Was Gone, here to represent Akron, is not a right-wing song, of course. Quite the opposite. But it was hijacked, without permission, by the demagogue Rush Limbaugh (who, as it turns out, was not as harmless as those who tolerated his hate-filled propaganda claimed) for the theme of his radio show. In the end, Chrissie Hynde allowed its use because Limbaugh backed an animal rights cause. As I noted in the notes for the right-wing rock mix, Limbaugh has bragged about subverting the liberal Pretenders song, much like a misogynist who brags about having had sex with a woman he despises with the sole objective of defiling her.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes covers and a route-map (more detailed than the one above). PW in comments.
1. Bobby Charles with Delbert McClinton – Last Train To Memphis (2003 – Memphis, TN)
2. Nat ‘King’ Cole – Beale Street Blues (1963 – Memphis, TN)
3. Little Feat – Dixie Chicken (1973 – Memphis, TN)
4. Justin Townes Earle – Memphis In The Rain (2012 – Memphis, TN)
5. Johnny Cash & June Carter – Jackson (1967 – Jackson, TN)
6. Kris Kristofferson – To Beat The Devil (1970 – Nashville, TN)
7. Waylon Jennings – Nashville Bum (1966 – Nashville, TN)
8. Louis Armstrong & Bessie Smith – Nashville Women’s Blues (1925 – Nashville, TN)
9. The Andrews Sisters – Chattanooga Choo Choo (1942 – Chattanooga, TN)
10. Shel Silverstein – Boy Named Sue (1968 – Gatlinburg, TN)
11. The Louvin Brothers – Knoxville Girl (1956 – Knoxville, TN)
12. Leon Redbone – Big Bad Bill (1978 – Louisville, KY)
13. Aimee Mann – Ballantines (2007 – Lexington, KY)
14. Steve Carlisle – WKRP In Cincinnati (1978 – Cincinnati, OH)
15. Randy Newman – Dayton, Ohio 1903 (1978 – Dayton, OH)
16. Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – We Almost Lost Detroit (1977 – Detroit, MI)
17. The Kane Gang – Motortown (1987 – Detroit, MI)
18. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – I Care About Detroit (1968 – Detroit, MI)
19. Simon & Garfunkel – America (1968 – Saginaw, MI)
20. Sufjan Stevens – Flint (For The Unemployed And Underpaid) (2003 – Flint, MI)
21. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Prison Song (1974 – Ann Arbor, MI)
22. Ian Hunter – Cleveland Rocks (1979 – Cleveland, OH)
23. The Pretenders – My City Was Gone (1982 – Akron, OH)

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Any Major American Road Trip – 5

September 1st, 2016 11 comments

Any Major American Road Trip - Stage 5

As we embark on the fifth stage of our musical road trip through the USA we are leaving California behind us, and begin our journey back west in Las Vegas to end up in St Louis.

The Hall & Oates song gives a profession to the eponymous character of their hit Sara Smile; here Sara is an air stewardess who is “flying gambling fools to the holy land, Las Vegas”. So, unlike Elvis, they are not fans of Vegas, and clearly neither is Sheryl Crow who is leaving the city with its gaudy neon streets.

We’ll turn north to Salt Lake City and then go east. It has to be said, there is no superfluity of songs about the Mid-West, so we are travelling some mighty distances between tracks:  838km (514 miles) between Denver and Wichita; 678km (421 miles) between Vega and Salt Lake City; 629km (390 miles) between Salt Lake City and Laramie; 528km (328 miles) between St Cloud and Madison. In fact, the only distances between destinations under 100km (62 miles) were Chicago to Gary (50km or 32 miles), and Laramie to Cheyenne (82km or 51 miles).

Altogether, the route from Vegas to St Louis, with all its funny twists and turns, comes to 4708km, or 2925 miles — more than the distance from Iceland to Istanbul. That’s 4708km of good, or at least interesting, music. One diversion I made at the request of my old friend Whiteray from the Echoes in the Wind blog, who suggested I visit St Cloud in Minnesota with Trisha Yearwood, who is much more wholesome than the subject of the song about Whiteray’s hometown.

Map - Stage 5

 

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes covers and a route-map (more detailed than the one above). PW in comments.

1. Elvis Presley – Viva Las Vegas (1963 – Las Vegas, NV)
2. Hall & Oates – Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song) (1974  – Las Vegas, NV)
3. Sheryl Crow – Leaving Las Vegas (1994 – Las Vegas, NV)
4. Peggy Lee – I Lost My Sugar (In Salt Lake City) (1961 – Salt Lake City, UT)
5. Jimmy Young – The Man From Laramie (1955 – Laramie, WY)
6. George Strait – I Can Still Make Cheyenne (1996 – Cheyenne, WY)
7. Willie Nelson – Denver (1975 – Denver, CO)
8. Warren Zevon – Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead (1991 – Denver, CO)
9. Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman (1968 – Wichita, KS)
10. Phil Ochs – Kansas City Bomber (1972 – Kansas City, MO)
11. Counting Crows – Omaha (live) (2006 – Omaha, NE)
12. Jeffrey Foucault – Des Moines (2015 – Des Moines, IA)
13. Growly-voiced singer – Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis (1978 – Minneapolis, MN)
14. Trisha Yearwood – On A Bus To St. Cloud (1995 – St Cloud, MN)
15. George Thorogood and The Destroyers – Madison Blues (1977 – Madison, WI)
16. Al Jarreau – Milwaukee (1976 – Milwaukee, WI)
17. The Doobie Brothers – Chicago (1971 – Chicago, IL)
18. The Blues Brothers – Sweet Home Chicago (1980  – Chicago, IL)
19. Frank Sinatra – Chicago (1957 – Chicago, IL)
20. The Jesters – Night Train From Chicago (1950s  – Chicago, IL)
21. The Jacksons – 2300 Jackson Street (1989 – Gary, IN)
22. WC Handy – St Louis Blues (1923 – St Louis, MO)
23. Steely Dan – East St Louis Toodle-oo (1974 – St Louis, MO)

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Any Major American Road Trip – 4

September 1st, 2016 1 comment

Any Major American Road Trip - Stage 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.

Map - Stage 4

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)

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Any Major American Road Trip – 3

June 9th, 2016 4 comments

Any Major American Road Trip - Stage 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.

Any Major American Road Trip 3 - map

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)

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Any Major American Road Trip – 2

April 14th, 2016 8 comments

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.

Any Major American Road Trip - Stage 2 map

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)

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Any Major American Road Trip – 1

February 25th, 2016 5 comments

Any Major American Road Trip - Stage 1

A few years ago I began a series of posts that followed the itinerary of an American road trip through songs about cities and towns along the way. When it reached New York, the series fizzled out. But now I’m embarking on another road trip.

The idea will be to travel from the East Coast to the West Coast and back east. The journey begins in Boston and will end in Miami. The itinerary will be zig-zagging a bit, but it must be at least notionally plausible. So the Mississippi town of Jackson, which Johnny Cash and June Carter sang about so memorably, will not feature because it is out of our way.

We’ll spend a little extra time in New York: one song about New York City generally, and one for each borough (Dylan’s song covers Staten Island; Queens is covered by the Ramones song).

The songs that represent the towns on our way should ideally be set in those localities, but on occasion that rule may be bent, as it is at the end of this mix, when Keith Whitley puns on the name Charlotte in North Carolina.

Highland Falls, NY might be the smallest town on our tour; it’s a village of just under 4,000 people. The town is included on strength of one of Billy Joel’s finest songs bearing its name. The song doesn’t really refer to Highland Falls — Billy Joel has said it is about manic depression and a relationship falling apart. But Joel was living there at the time, and named the song after his domicile. In this mix I might also have located Billy Joel in Martha’s Vineyard, MA (The Downeaster Alexa), Cold Spring Harbor, NY (Everybody Loves You Now), Oyster Bay, Long Island (Billy The Kid), Hackensack, NJ (Movin’ Out), the New Jersey Palisades (Miami 2017), Allentown or Bethlehem, PA (Allentown), the Pennsylvania Turnpike (You’re My Home) — and, of course, many times in New York City.

Bruce Springsteen might have taken us to Fairview, NJ (Darkness On The Edge Of Town), Atlantic City, Baltimore or, though a bit off course, Kingstown MD (both Hungry Heart), besides many places in NYC. In the end the obvious choice was Asbury Park.

Any Major American Road Trip 1 - map

In the first stage, we leave from Boston with a song that features the city’s name in the title and first verse, but isn’t really about Boston but places all over the USA. Sung by Joan Baez (whose version is lovelier than Dave Loggins’), it seems like a good way to set out on our American road trip.

And, yes, the contradiction between the songs for Washington DC and Arlington is deliberate — the latter hints at a mentality I am uncomfortable with, but which is nevertheless part of what I suppose is the American experience.

So, here we go, with a mix times to fit on as standard CD-R. Covers included; PW same as always.

1. Joan Baez – Please Come To Boston (live 1976, Boston, MA)
2. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Woodstock (1970, Woodstock, NY)
3. Over The Rhine – Poughkeepsie (1996, Poughkeepsie, NY)
4. Billy Joel – Summer, Highland Falls (1976, Highland Falls, NY)
5. Bob Dylan – Hard Times In New York Town (1961, Staten Island, NY)
6. Black 47 – Our Lady Of The Bronx (1992, Bronx, NYC)
7. Neil Diamond – Brooklyn Roads (1968, Brooklyn, NYC)
8. Prefab Sprout – Hey Manhattan! (1988, Manhattan, NYC)
9. Ramones – Rockaway Beach (1977, Queens, NYC)
10. Odyssey – Native New Yorker (1977, New York City)
11. Bruce Springsteen – 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) (live 1980, Asbury Park, NJ)
12. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Fall In Philadelphia (1972, Philadelphia, PA)
13. Gram Parsons – Streets Of Baltimore (1973, Baltimore, MA)
14. Parliament – Chocolate City (1975, Washington, DC)
15. Trace Adkins – Arlington (2005, Arlington, VA)
16. Mat Kearney – (Young Love) Virginia Is For Lovers (2011, Richmond, VA)
17. Sonic Youth – Chapel Hill (1992, Chapel Hill, NC)
18. Townes Van Zandt – Greensboro Woman (1972, Greensboro, NC)
19. Keith Whitley – Charlotte’s In North Carolina (released 1994, Charlotte, NC)

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Any Major Roads Vol. 2

January 14th, 2016 9 comments

Any Major Road Vol.2

Let’s go for a drive again with songs about cars and being on the road. The first Any Major Roads mix was very popular. This time around I’ve been a bit less purist about the song having to do with actual driving; here the artists can also talk about their cars or trucks. Though I cannot vouch that this is really case with Patrick Gammon’s rather metaphorical Yo’ Chevy.

I have also waived my rule about not repeating artists: as indicated last time, there are just too many Springsteen songs about cars and girls (and look which Prefab Sprout I did not choose). And how did you like the beta-version of Thunder Road on the first mix?

One song here is about a real-life incident: George Jones’ car crash in 2003 in Tennessee. Jones was talking on his cellphone when he crashed into a concrete bridge railing (luckily not into another car). He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, which aggravated his serious injuries. So the Drive-By Truckers song is a valid public safety announcement. Talking (never mind texting) on the phone while driving is dangerous, also to other roads users. In terms of shitty driving behaviour, it ranks only just below driving while drunk.

The next Any Major Roads will comprise nominations from readers; quite a few were offered in the comments of Volume 1. If you have any nominations, please list them in your comments.

I made this mix at the same time as I was planning a musical road-trip around the US, which will kick off in Boston in a few weeks’ time.

As always, this mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-serviced covers. PW in comments.

1. Canned Heat – On The Road Again (1968)
2. Allman Brothers Band – Brothers Of The Road (1981)
3. Carole King – Main Street Saturday Night (1978)
4. Steely Dan – Midnite Cruiser (1972)
5. Patrick Gammon – Yo’ Chevy (1979)
6. Prefab Sprout – Faron Young (1985)
7. James Taylor – Traffic Jam (1977)
8. NRBQ – Ridin’ In My Car (1978)
9. Dar Williams – Road Buddy (1997)
10. Son Volt – Highways And Cigarettes (2007)
11. Steve Earle – N.Y.C. (1997)
12. Bon Jovi – Fast Cars (2009)
13. Joe Walsh – Life’s Been Good (1978)
14. Bruce Springsteen – Stolen Car (1980)
15. Drive-By Truckers – George Jones Talkin’ Cell Phone Blues (2009)
16. George Jones – The One I Loved Back Then (Corvette Song) (1985)
17. Johnny Cash – I’ve Been Everywhere (1996)
18. Elvis Presley – Long Black Limousine (1969)
19. Ronnie and the Daytonas – Little GTO (1964)
20. The Beach Boys – Little Deuce Coupe (1963)
21. Jan & Dean – Dead Man’s Curve (1964)

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More Mixed CD-Rs

Categories: American Road Trip, Mix CD-Rs Tags:

American Road Trip: New York Mix Vol. 4

October 21st, 2010 6 comments

It has been a while since the last New York City mix. Depending on how well this one goes down, I think I might have another in me. The photo that illustrates this post comes from a beautiful series of colour photos of New York in the 1940s from the Charles W Cushman collection.

TRACKLISTING
1. Conor Oberst – NYC – Gone, Gone (2008)
2. Lou Reed – NYC Man (1996)
3. Steely Dan – Daddy Don’t Live In That New York City No More (1975)
4. Chicago – Saturday In The Park (1972)
5. Candi Staton – Nights On Broadway (1977)
6. Bob & Earl – Harlem Shuffle (1963)
7. Brecker Brothers – East River (1978)
8. Billy Joel – Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) (1981)
9. A-ha – Manhattan Skyline (1987)
10. Dar Williams – The Hudson (2005)
11. The Avett Brothers – Famous Flower Of Manhattan (2006)
12. The Statler Brothers – New York City (1970)
13. Steeleye Span feat. Peter Sellers – New York Girls (1975)
14. Belle & Sebastian – Piazza, New York Catcher (2003)
15. The Moldy Peaches – NYC’s Like a Graveyard (1997)
16. Fountains Of Wayne – Red Dragon Tattoo (1999)
17. Thomas Dybdahl – One Day You’ll Dance For Me, New York City (2004)
18. Suzanne Vega – Ludlow Street (2007)
19. Art Garfunkel – A Heart In New York (1981)
20. Horace Silver – Summer In Central Park (1973)
21. Sammy Davis Jr. – New York’s My Home (1956)
22. Bette Davis – Turn Me Loose On Broadway (1952)

GET IT
or HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE

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NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 1
NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 2
NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 3 – New York in Black & White

Categories: American Road Trip, New York City Tags:

American Road Trip: New York Mix Vol. 2

October 9th, 2009 3 comments

It seems that the first New York City mix was well received, so here’s another one. There will be at least one more (or two, depending on how popular this one turns out to be), next time going retro in black and white — like all the great New York photos.

NY_plane* * *

TRACKLISTING
1. Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Jules Munchin – New York, New York (excerpt) (1949)
NYC hook: It’s our three sailor friends’ first time in New York, and having just arrived on shore leave (happily in New York, not in LA where they might have gone on to beat up Mexicans), they already presume it to be “a helluva town” because “the Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down”. Additionally, “the people ride in a hole in the ground” (as they do in many other cities, so big deal, chums).

2. Frank Sinatra & Tony Bennett – New York New York (1994)
NYC hook: Let’s face it, our boy from Hoboken was a promiscuous man when it came to American cities. Chicago? His kind of town! L.A.? It’s a lady he can’t say goodbye to. Las Vegas? He made it! And New York? Well, more of a challenge than a love affair; it seems. By the way, the song needs no fucking high-kicks, party goers.

3. Theme – Seinfeld (1989)
NYC hook: Would Seinfeld have worked had it been set anywhere else? Nah!

4. Klaatu – Sub-Rosa Subway (1976)
NYC hook: The song that caused speculation about a clandestine Beatles reunion. Alas, it was just a bunch of Canadians with a funny name singing about Alfred Beach, the man who built America’s first subway in New York, based on the London Underground. (More on Beach)

5. NRBQ – Boys In The City (1972)
NYC hook: You might leave New York for the country, but you’ll still sing about “the trees in the Park”.

6. Harry Nilsson – I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City (1969)
NYC hook: New York as the new Jerusalem instead of its usual role as a fetid Babylon. So Harry makes his pilgrimage to the city permanent, leaving all his sorrows behind. Same year, he soundtracked Hoffman and Voight’s exit from bad, bad NYC.

7. Mason Jennings – New York City (2002)
NYC hook: Jennings is in love in and with New York City.

8. Kevin Devine – Brooklyn Boy (2006)
NYC hook: The eponymous lad is doing coke on his birthday, prompting Kev — rarely a herald of rampant cheer — to launch into an apocalypso.

9. Ian Hunter – Central Park N West (1981)
NYC hook: Hunter obviously hates living in stinky, crime-ridden, burning New York City. Except he doesn’t: “You’ve got to be crazy to live in the city, and New York city’s the best.”

10. Donavan Frankenreiter – Spanish Harlem Incident (2007)
NYC hook: A rather decent cover of Dylan’s 1964 song about having steamy, casual interracial sex.

11. Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street (1972)
NYC hook: 110th Street is the street that divides Harlem and Manhattan. Bob is not painting a pretty picture of what lies at the other side of Manhattan: pimps and hookers, pushers and junkies jostling on the streets of “the capital of every ghetto town”.

12. Billy Joel – New York State Of Mind (1976)
NYC hook: The New Yorker might leave the city for Miami Beach or for Hollywood, but if they are anything like Bronx-born, Long Island-raised Billiam, they’ll miss the New York Times and Daily News (but not the Post, it seems) so much, they’ll feel compelled to return.

13. Ella Fitzgerald – Manhattan (1956)
NYC hook: On his wonderful radio show, Bob Dylan described the Rodgers & Hart song as a love letter to New York City. Who knew that Zimmerman had a way with words? Ella is full of giddy tenderness as she provides us with a partial road map of the city. Are pushcarts still gliding gently on Mott Street?

14. Hem – Great Houses Of New York (live) (2006)
NYC hook: Native New Yorkers Hem don’t need to mention the city in a song that incorporates its name in the title to prove that it’s set there. It suffices to refer to NYC’s winter climate as a metaphor for a dying relationship, a recurring theme in Hem’s beautiful songs..

15. The Mamas & The Papas – Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) (1968)
NYC hook: The Mamas and the Papas lived in New York before moving to Hawaii and then to California. It seems fair to say that they didn’t dig New York — “every thing there was dark and dirty “ — and this is their fuck-you note to the city. Most likely, the Daily News won’t be enough to lure them back.

16. Odyssey – Native New Yorker (1977)
NYC hook: Two decades before Thingymajig Bradshaw in Sex And The City made her, erm, acute observations about the politics of sex, Odyssey had it already figured out: “No one opens the door for a native New Yorker.” So, like, take charge of your life yourself, girl!

17. Elkow Bones & The Racketeers – A Night In New York (1983)
NYC hook: A sadly ignored club gem whose horns sounds like New York traffic to me. Delicious.

18. Nicole with Timmy Thomas – New York Eyes (1985)
NYC hook: What in the name of all that’s ophthalmological are these New York Eyes that have short-lived soul starlet Nicole attracted to ’70s soulster Timmy Thomas (who I presume provides the groovy keyboard here)? Whatever they are, reciprocally gazing at Nicole’s NY eyes, they make Timmy feel good inside.

19. Beastie Boys – An Open Letter To NYC (2005)
NYC hook: And it’s another love letter: “Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten, from the Battery to the top of Manhattan. Asian, Middle-Eastern and Latin, black, white — New York you make it happen.”

20. LL Cool J feat. Leshaun Williams – Doin’ It (1995)
NYC hook: Six people are credited with writing this droll ode to physical intimacy. None of them have sought to distance themselves from this lyrical gem which surely provides all the required evidence to support the notion that ladies really can’t help themselves but love Cool James. Mr Toddrattles off the specials on today’s hum menu: “It’s the first time together and I’m feeling kinda horny, conventional methods of makin’ love kinda bore me. I wanna knock your block off, get my rocks off, blow your socks off, make sure your G-spot’s soft” (you get hard G-spots? And, more importantly, how do you get away rhyming “off” with “soft”?). With Cool James, sex is a matter of territorial chauvinism, not unlike the so-called World Series. He points out that he represents Queens, whose residents may well jostle for prime bedside seats, the better to cheer on their local stud muffin. Cool James’ hopefully softly G-spotted friend was raised “out Brooklyn”, where she learnt to yearn for a “Big Daddy” who might “pull my hair and spank me from the back” and finish off with some “candy rain”. Just as the contender from Queens might, if his dick is as big as his braggadocio.

21. Ben Folds – Rock This Bitch (NYC version) (2004)
NYC hook: Some “motherfucker in Chicago” once shouted out “rock this bitch” at a Ben Folds gig, giving rise to a tradition whereby Folds (evidently reluctantly) improvises a new “Rock This Bitch” version on the spot. As he did in this recording from the 2004 Summerstage concert. “R.O.C.K. with your C.O.C.K. out, in N.Y.C.”

GET IT!
or HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE
.

More New York songs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Beach#Subway