And Another Thing…


“Always something greener on the other side of that hill…”

…I was born a wrangler and a rambler and I guess I always will”

“Heard It In A Love Song” – The Marshall Tucker Band

No Depression columnist Grant Alden has a great post up on his site about America’s long-running romance with the open road and some of the great literature and music inspired by said romance. I can certainly speak to this in my own experience. Some of my favorite songs, movies, and books have centered around road trips (or life lived on the road). Alas, as Alden states, that romance may soon be coming to an end with gas prices at $4 per gallon and rising. If this is what kills cross-country travel, it would be a terrible shame. The road really is the best way to see our great land in all its variety and splendor.

Some of my happiest times have been spent on the road, loaded up with family or friends and a lot of Cd’s. I love the sights, sounds, and smells of the road and even the satisfaction of arriving at my destination. I can’t count the number of road trips I have been on and I have never regretted one of them. A few years ago my brother rode along with me when I drove cross-country for a move and it is one of my favorite memories. Another great road memory: tearing through western Maryland and Pennsylvania in the dead of night during a freak snowstorm with Diggity Dave on our way to Carl and Shayna’s wedding in Pittsburgh. Dave drove, I prayed (under my breath).

For me, no road trip is complete without a wide and varied selection of tunes, especially the all-important road songs.  I have listed some of my favorite road tunes below in no particular order, and I would love to hear what music you find essential to road trips. I don’t care what it is, just share what and why. I found that many of my favorites are by the same artists, so I have categorized them accordingly. Also, please note that what is listed is my favorite version of a song, not necessarily the original.

Steve Earle

  • “Guitar Town”
  • “Someday”
  • “I Ain’t Ever Satisfied “
  • “Nowhere Road”

The Allman Brothers Band

Pretty much their entire catalogue, but the ones that come to mind for our purposes here are:

  • “Ramblin’ Man”
  • “Midnight Rider”
  • “Seven Turns”

Reckless Kelly

  • “Desolation Angels”
  •  “Set Me Free”
  • “Vancouver”

“Desolation Angels” has one of my all time favorite opening lyrics:

I saw the same old streets for far too long
I put the rubber on the road
I left it all behind
And now paved with memories
Those streets are long since gone
Rubber on the road & the blood inside

And I’ve been around this land of opportunity
The road is hard and it don’t offer up immunity
I’ve rode this country hard, from sea to shining sea
I’ve shared a dance with Lady Liberty

Doesn’t that just make you want to gas up and head out?

 Chuck Berry

  • “The Promised Land”
  • “You Can’t Catch Me”
  • “Memphis, Tennessee”
  • “Little Queenie”
  • “No Particular Place to Go”

The Grateful Dead

  • “Truckin'”
  • “St. Stephen”
  • “Friend of the Devil”
  • “Alabama Getaway”

John Hiatt

  • “Memphis in the Meantime”
  • “Drive South”
  • “Slow Turning”
  • “Walk On”
  • “Dust Down a Country Road”
  • “Riding with the King”
  • “Tennessee Plates”
  • “Paper Thin”
  • “Child of the Wild Blue Yonder”
  • “Crossing Muddy Waters”

Bruce Hornsby

  •  “On the Western Skyline”
  • “The River Runs Low”
  • “The Valley Road”
  • “Across the River”

Last Train Home

  • “List of Sorrows”
  • “Heartache Express”
  • “My Sally”
  • “Never Been To Memphis”
  • “Louisiana”

Bob Dylan

  • “Blowin’ in the Wind”
  • “Highway 61 Revisited”
  • “Lilly, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts”
  • “Tangled Up in Blue”

Tom Waits

  • “Lookin’ for the Heart of Saturday Night”
  • “Heart Attack and Vine”
  • “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis”
  • “Ol’ 55”

Bruce Springsteen

  • “Thunder Road”
  • “Born to Run”
  • “Promised Land”
  • “The River”
  • “Cadillac Ranch”
  • “State Trooper”
  • “Darlington County”

Marshall Crenshaw

  • “There She Goes Again”
  • “Someplace Where Love Can’t Find Me”
  • “Whatever Way the Wind Blows”

Ryan Adams

  • “Answering Bell”
  • “Trains”
  • “The Sun Also Sets”

Blue Rodeo

  • “Lost Together”
  • “5 Days in May”
  • “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet”

Creedence Clearwater Revival

  • “Travellin’ Band”
  • “Long As I Can See the Light”
  • “Who’ll Stop the Rain”

Dave Alvin

  • “King of California”
  • “Long White Cadillac”
  • “Rio Grande”
  • “Everett Ruess”  

The rest will be random singles:

“There’ll Be No Next Time” – Louis Prima

“I Feel Fine Today” – Kevin Welch

“City of New Orleans” – Steve Goodman

“Operator” and “I Have A Name” – Jim Croce

“Pancho and Lefty” – Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson

“Roam” – B-52s

“Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore” and “Don’t Worry Baby” – Los Lobos

“So Long Baby Goodbye” – The Blasters

“Route 66” – Nat King Cole

“This Big City” – The Derailers

“Willin'” – Little Feat

“On the Road” – Lee Roy Parnell

“Turn the Page” – Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

“Mama Knows The Highway By Heart” – Hal Ketchum

“Green Grass and High Tides” – The Outlaws

“No Sleep Til Brooklyn” – The Beastie Boys

“Running on Empty” – Jackson Browne

“Solsbury Hill” – Peter Gabriel

“Come Early Morning” and “Tulsa Time” – Don WIlliams

“Moonlight Mile” – Rolling Stones

“King of the Road” – Roger Miller

“America” – Simon and Garfunkel

“Country Road” – James Taylor

“Laid A Highway” – Tift Merritt

Now – if you’ve made it this far, what are some of your favorite road songs and why? 


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11 Responses

  1. Andy says:

    Impressive list. I’d probably have to think about it all day just to come up with a top 10, but here’s a couple.
    Bob Seger — turn the page,
    Eagles – take it easy (and lots of others)
    Lynyrd Skynyrd — Freebird, Sweet Home Alabama (when we go that way)
    Willie Nelson — on the road again (actually any Willie Nelson is good for raodtrips, but this is the one Mom always insisted we listen to as we headed out)
    anything by CCR

  2. Andy says:

    Oops, just realized you already had “Turn the Page” in there.

  3. Carl says:

    I always have Moving Right Along by the Muppets on the list. Shayna just sighs when I play it, but then she ends up singing the Fozie bear parts. It’s usually by this point that Shayna takes the iPod out of my hands..

  4. Adam G. says:

    I don’t think I’d ever have enough time to pile a list like that. Pretty impressive.

    Glad to see Jackson Browne on your list. It’s the first one that came to mind as I started reading your post.

    I think we’ll still have road trips, just fewer and farther between.

  5. clayeals says:

    Good to see your list that includes “City of New Orleans” by Steve Goodman. He often doesn’t get his due. You might be interested in my 800-page biography, “Steve Goodman: Facing the Music.” The book delves deeply into the genesis of “City of New Orleans,” and Arlo Guthrie is a key source among my 1,050 interviewees and even contributed the foreword.

    You can find out more at my Internet site (below). Amazingly, the book’s first printing sold out in just eight months, all 5,000 copies, and a second printing of 5,000 is available now. The second printing includes hundreds of little updates and additions, including 30 more photos for a total of 575. It just won a 2008 IPPY (Independent Publishers Association) silver medal for biography: To order a second-printing copy, see the “online store” page of my site. Just trying to spread word about the book. Feel free to do the same!

    Clay Eals
    1728 California Ave. S.W. #301
    Seattle, WA 98116-1958

    (206) 935-7515
    (206) 484-8008

  6. Kelly says:

    Allmans – Jessica
    CCR – Sweet Hitchhiker
    Dead – Bertha, Mama Tried, Franklin’s Tower, The Race is On, many, many others
    Dylan – Tonight I’ll be Staying Here with you
    The Band – The Weight, Up on Cripple Creek, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
    Jackson Browne – The Load Out/Stay, You Love the Thunder
    Springsteen – Sherry Darling, Pink Cadillac

  7. odgie says:

    Thanks to everyone for chiming in!

    Andy – Good suggestions; and just because I have a song listed doesn’t mean that others can’t list it too.

    Carl – Your comment makes me think of Shayna impersonating Fozzie Bear…snicker

    Adam – Oddly, it didn’t take much time for me. This is just the kind of music I listen to. It’s also from my extensive road-tripping experience.

    Clay – Thanks for stopping by. I found Goodman’s page when I was writing this post. Interesting and sad story.

    Kelly – I can’t believe I forgot “Sweet Hitchiker”, “The Weight”, and “The Load Out”. D’oh!

  8. Jerri Harrington says:

    Mike, it seems like everyone here likes to actually listen to “road trip” music while on a road trip! When we first got married, almost 33 years ago, we loved harmonizing to hymns and Christmas music and actually got pulled over on a road trip through New Mexico on our way home to Canyon, Tex. for weaving in our little Renault while we were singing. (Yep, we were nerds!) When we told the cop we were just singing, he kind of smiled and shook his head and told us to be careful….. When our kids were little we listened to Disney movie tracks, Scott Wesley Brown and Accapella tapes, and sang hymns and Christmas songs. On our last road trip with our youngest boys when they were teens, up to Connecticut, the entire trip the boys were singing the “states song” every time there was a lull in the conversation. One of them would start, “ALA-bama, Alaska, Arizona….etc. Don was ready to tear out our vocal chords by the end of that trip! 🙂 Now Don and I listen to praise music, hymns, bluegrass music, opera and classical music…and sing along….sometimes country stations when we’re down south. We sang all the way to Ashville, NC and back Mother’s Day weekend. We’re still nerds….but I can sing along with Willie Nelson, Roger Miller and Nat King Cole. I almost know all the words to all of Nat King Cole’s hits. My mom was a fan.

  9. odgie says:

    Jerri – When I have travelled alone, I have always enjoyed Acapella’s “Hymns” collection. It can be a great devotional time. Thanks for kicking in.

  10. Dave Roland says:

    Great idea for a post, Odgie! And it always makes me laugh to remember that wild ride through the snowy Alleghenies. You’ve listed some fantastic stuff, so I’ll just endorse your entire list with the following additions:

    “Ain’t Comin’ Home” by Silvertide
    “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by the Temptations
    “All My Life” by Foo Fighters
    “Amarillo by Morning” by George Strait
    “American Girl” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
    “Carriage” by Counting Crows
    “Chelsea Dagger” by the Fratellis
    “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Run
    “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle
    “Dashboard Mary” by Podunk
    “Devil’s Right Hand” by Steve Earle
    “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash
    “Gimme Some Lovin'” by the Spencer Davis Group
    “Goodbye” by Steve Earle
    “Goodbye Sky Harbor” by Jimmy Eat World
    “Goodnight Elisabeth” by Counting Crows
    “Hallelujah I Love Her So” by Ray Charles
    “Helena” by Nickel Creek
    “High” by James Blunt
    “I’ve Got a Woman” by Ray Charles
    “I Am” by Train
    “I Am the Highway” by Audioslave
    “I Predict a Riot” by Kaiser Chiefs
    “I Shall Believe” by Sheryl Crow
    “If It Makes You Happy [Live]” by Sheryl Crow
    “Interstate Love Song” by Stone Temple Pilots
    “Is Yesterday Tomorrow Today?” by the Stereophonics
    “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West
    “Jump Around” by House of Paine
    “Laid” by James
    “Learn to Fly” by Foo Fighters
    “Leaving Las Vegas [Live]” by Sheryl Crow
    “Like a Stone” by Audioslave
    “Long Black Train [Instrumental]” from the Pickin’ on Josh Turner Tribute Album
    “Lost Cause” by Beck
    “Love is Different” by Caedmon’s Call
    “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” by Jeff Buckley
    “Lucky Man” by the Verve
    “Maybe Tomorrow” by the Stereophonics
    “Missing You” by John Waite
    “Mississippi” by Train
    “Nashville” by David Mead
    “The Old Apartment” by Barenaked Ladies
    “One” by U2
    “One of the Three” by James
    “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies
    “Out to Get You” by James
    “Paradise City” by Guns ‘n Roses
    “Pictures of You” by the Cure
    “Pink Moon” by Nick Drake
    “Radar Love” by Golden Earring
    “River of Tears” by Eric Clapton
    “Scar Tissue” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
    “Shoot the Moon” by Norah Jones
    “Sin Wagon” by the Dixie Chicks
    “Sometimes (Lester Piggot)” by James
    “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield
    “Stacked Actors” by Foo Fighters
    “Steve McQueen” by Sheryl Crow
    “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith
    “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones
    “This World” by Caedmon’s Call
    “Times Like These” by Foo Fighters
    “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Queen
    “When I’m Down” by Chris Cornell
    “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2
    “Windfall” by Son Volt
    “Wire” by the Nixons

  11. odgie says:


    What a list! Some of those are pleasant surprises, others made me smack my head and say, “How did I not think of that?!”

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