Friday, so slow views-day.
Sooner or later every long-term blog-artist is reduced to this one: songs with a common meme or — if you’re really unlucky and can’t click elsewhere quick enough — a common theme.
- Dolly empathetically came Down from Dover —
- The Bangles were Going Down to Liverpool (with, in this case, a justifiably-unconvinced Mr Nimoy);
- The Drive-By Truckers, all coked up, were bound Greenville to Baton Rouge;
- Lee Ann Womack, having made it A Little Past Little Rock, was in her two-bed waterfront flat reflecting on the million-miles and half-a-day trip from Montgomery to Memphis. We can pass over that one (though anything by and with Womack is worth the earing), to recall it was a more political distance for Martin Luther King.
There are many, many more.
Malcolm is not looking for the standard songs-with-placenames shtick here: it the A to B (and preferably via C, D, E …) that’s keeping him checking. And, of course, someone tried to get there before him and spoils the fun.
Yet, there’s a bit more to be said about these “distance songs”.
First they should be something better than a list of names, which rules out, for this purpose anyway, I’ve Been Everywhere, Man — originally Australian, more widely recognised in the Hank Snow US-specific effort. It also takes off the list stuff like Dave Loggins’s excellent (especially the Joan Baez rendering) Please Come to Boston — although it states a westward migration (Boston, Denver, L.A.), that isn’t entirely explained. Aw, shucks: let’s have it anyway:
Into the drossy zone
One that always has Malcolm a bit leery is C.W.McCall’s Convoy. Yes, yes: he knows he should scorn it (especially the “PG-variant” variant, which makes no geographical sense whatsoever), but Sam Peckinpah made a decent fist of it:
Bobbie Troup’s seminal Route 66 qualifies as a prime example of what Malcolm has in mind, because it does take us logically from place-to-place.
What intrigues is the YouTube vid is from 1964. So, who is following whom? Did Troup learn to swing it from the Matt King Cole classic? Or did Cole get it from an earlier Troup (who was, after all, no mean practioner)?
Well, Malcolm is opting out on that — because he reckons there should be a separate posting on railways journeys, and the all-out Number One is on steel wheels. More, anon. And he’s not sure whether Highway 61 Revisited qualifies. At which point despair sets in: how to do proper justice to Highway 61, Roosevelt Sykes, Mississippi Fred McDowell and all. The problem is that US61 is not the entirety of “Highway 61”: that is more metaphorical than cartographical for the whole migration from the Deep South.
But for a walking journey (although she got on this airplane just to fly) Emmylou is the pace-maker, with the elegy to Gram Parsons, going Boulder to Birmingham: