I have driven across continental US twice – once without any sound system and once with only a working radio in the car. No one, perhaps, can understand the horror that is radio broadcasts in Kansas.
Here are some songs that I wish I was listening to…
- Magnetic Fields: Long Vermont Roads. Actually, one can pick any song of this brilliant album, The Charm of the Highway Strip, which is all about road songs, but I am partial to this one.
- Grant Lee-Phillips: See America. The guy is hit and miss but I like the idea of hopping into a cab and telling the driver to drive across America.
- Robert Johnson: Roadside Travellin’ Blues. The legend of meeting the Devil on the Crossroads begins.
- Holly Golightly: Walk a Mile. I love her unlovable voice. And she wants you to walk a mile in her platform, polka-dotted shoes. How can you not like that!?
- David Byrne: Don’t Fence Me In. Old Cole Porter that David Byrne turns into some rollickin’ country anthem. Great car singalong (with a chorus for the back-seat wallas).
- Talking Heads: Road to Nowhere. I√≠m feelin√≠ okay this mornin√≠ / And you know / We√≠re on the road to paradise / Here we go, here we go. Road to the White House!
- Lucinda Williams: Jackson. I like frequent stops.
- Proclaimers: I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). A song that actually played a role in the courtship of Mrs. Sepoy. She made me walk 500 miles. Heartless wench.
- Air: Universal Traveler. Universal or Universoul? What the hell are these trip-hopping frenchmen saying? Nice blips nonetheless.
- Roger Miller: King of the Road. Will it surprise anyone if I say this song captures, absolutely brilliantly, how I wanted to live my life at the age of 16? Third boxcar, midnight train / Destination…Bangor, Maine / Old worn out clothes and shoes / I don’t pay no union dues / I smoke old stogies I have found / Short, but not too big around / I’m a man of means by no means King of the road . I had never heard this song, nor read Kerouac, but I used to sneak out of the house and board empty train compartments at night.