Friday, September 24, 2010


It’s officially autumn, and in anticipation of the day Jack Frost comes nipping at their noses, folks are squeezing out the last drops of summer in any way possible – last-minute canoeing excursions, barbecues, picnics, campouts, and of course, road trips. And no road trip longer than a couple of hours is complete without its own soundtrack.

There are road-ready songs like “Cruisin’” (Smokey Robinson); “Truckin'“ (Grateful Dead); “Running on Empty” (Jackson Browne); and the quintessential traveling trilogy, “Freebird” (Lynyrd Skynyrd), “Born to Run” (Bruce Springsteen) and “Born to Be Wild” (Steppenwolf.) While classics like these are worthy of any sojourner’s soundtrack, they’re also as obvious as a two-mile tailgater. So I dug deep into my music collection, which includes cassettes, 45’s and albums (you youngsters can email me for an explanation of those), to compile this list of 50 songs to get you tuned up for the road.

To stave off the phalanx of emails about songs I’ve overlooked (on second thought, phalanx away; maybe I’ll use ‘em in a column farther down the road – ha!), I’m sticking to tunes with titles referring specifically to surfaces paved for motor vehicle travel and/or the act of navigating said surfaces.

So, without further stalling (I slay me!), get your motors and your iPods runnin’ with this playlist:

1. “On the Road Again” (Willie Nelson)
2. “Hit the Road, Jack” (Ray Charles)
3. “Road Trippin'” (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
4. “The Road's My Middle Name” (Bonnie Raitt)
5. “Middle Of The Road” (Pretenders)
6. “Long and Winding Road” (The Beatles)
7. “The Road” (Jackson Browne)
8. “Holiday Road” (Lindsay Buckingham)
9. “King of the Road” (Roger Miller)
10. “Hit The Road & Go” (Johnny Cash)
11. “Hard Road to Travel” (Jimmy Cliff)
12. “There's a Rugged Road” (Shawn Colvin)
13. “Farther On Up The Road” (Bobby “Blue” Bland)
14. “Crossroads” (Eric Clapton)
15. “Road Back Home Again” (Cornershop)
16. “Road Buddy” (Dar Williams)
17. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” (John Denver)
18. “Open Road Song” (Eve 6)
19. “Road to Nowhere” (Talking Heads)
20. “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” (Lucinda Williams)
21. “Ease on Down the Road” (From “The Wiz,” Diana Ross and Michael Jackson)
22. “Refuge of the Roads” (Joni Mitchell)
23. “Highway Song” (Blackfoot)
24. “Everyday is a Winding Road” (Sheryl Crow)
25. “Living on the Open Road” (Delaney and Bonnie)
26. “Rockin' Down the Highway” (Doobie Brothers)
27. “Roll On Down the Highway” (Bachman-Turner Overdrive)
28. “Endless Highway” (The Band)
29. “Lost Highway” (Bon Jovi)
30. “Three County Highway” (Indigo Girls)
31. “Queen of the Highway” (The Doors)
32. “Down the Highway” (Bob Dylan)
33. “This Highway's Mine” (Steve Earle)
34. “Lord of the Highway” (Joe Ely)
35. “Highway Chile” (Jimi Hendrix)
36. “Highway Blues” (Lightnin' Hopkins)
37. “Life is a Highway” (Tom Cochrane)
38. “Blue Highway” (Billy Idol)
39. “Ghost Towns Along the Highway” (John Mellencamp)
40. “Freeway of Love” (Aretha Franklin)
41. “Drive My Car” (The Beatles)
42. “Shut Up and Drive” (Rihanna) - Also known as “What Dad Says to Mom When She Insists on Stopping to Ask for Directions.”
43. “I Can't Drive 55” (Sammy Hagar)
44. “I Drove All Night” (Roy Orbison)
45. “Drivin’ My Life Away” (Eddie Rabbitt)
46. “Driving in the U.S. of A.” (Guided By Voices)
47. “Driving” (PJ Harvey)
48. “Driver's Seat” (Sniff ‘n’ The Tears)
49. “Behind the Wheel” (Depeche Mode)
50. “Jesus, Take the Wheel” (Carrie Underwood) - Also known as “What Mom Says to Dad After Three Hours of Him Yelling, “What the #&@*? Get Over! You’re Gonna Miss the Exit!”

Friday, September 10, 2010



Last week, I finally succumbed to the shame of being an Official Grownup Person and owning not one, not two, but all four books in the “Twilight” sparkly-vampire series. Actually, my shame dates back to when I purchased the second book. See, after reading the first one out of curiosity about all the hoopla, it felt like I’d made a commitment and should follow through, and well, the library’s waiting list was too long and look, don’t judge me.

I tried unloading the books on Craigslist, but I couldn’t give the dang things away. Even leaving them in a basket full of kittens with a “Free to a good home” sign didn’t work, unless you define “success” as no kittens, a stolen basket, and a pile of books with, “Ha ha, nice try!” scrawled on the back of the sign.

Long story short, I donated the books to a library, where the teenage clerk chirped, “Oh, I hope your daughter loved these as much as I did!” OK, I’m exaggerating, but not by much. The “Twilight” series has taken a lot of flak – almost as much as anyone older than 17 who admits to having read them. Sure, it ain’t Shakespeare and Stephenie Meyer is no Anne Rice, but anything (within reason) that gets youngsters interested in reading is okay in my book (ha!). Sure, there are many young folks who still love to curl up with a good novel, but the reading habits of Generation Z (and at the least, the latter half of Y) have undeniably decreased as the use of electronic media has increased. What with texting and the MyBook and the FaceSpace, more young adults are fluent in QWERTY than in Kafka, whose seminal novella, “The Metamorphosis,” might be translated today as:

Gregor Samsa is WTF, theres a giant cockroach in my bed !!!1!!!1

Hey, I think I might be onto something! Perhaps translating time-honored classics into chatspeak and text-talk would make them more appealing to younger generations. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by this version of Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind”:

Scarlett O’Hara is OMG Rhett wut am i gonna do if u leave? :-(
Rhett Butler commented on Scarlett O'Hara's status: "whatevs, babe...i dont give a d@m."

Or Homer’s “The Odyssey”:

Odysseus is a fan of Dr. Scholl’s Blister Treatment.
commented on his own status: "Dude it feels like ive been walkin for TEN. FREAKING YEARS!!!!!"

And of course, the requisite freshman-year Shakespeare assignment:

Juliet is now friends with Friar Laurence.
Friar Laurence commented on Juliet's status: "Romeo's gonna be soooo surprised when he gets ur msg LOL!"
The Messenger is playin Farmville, so imma be a lil L8.
Romeo joined the group Poisin-Drinking Emo Boys.
Juliet is Romeo??? r u OK??? helloooo?
Juliet became a fan of Dames with Daggers.
Romeo and Juliet are no longer online.

Who knows? Maybe the suspense and desire to know the whole story would inspire kids to read the actual books!
Belinda M. Paschal likes this.