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Any Major American Road Trip – 6

April 20th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to 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)


Previously on American Road Trip

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  1. halfhearteddude
    April 20th, 2017 at 07:29 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. rekkids
    April 20th, 2017 at 19:27 | #2

    Thank You !

  3. J. Loslo
    April 25th, 2017 at 03:19 | #3


    All time best Memphis song (IMHO): Power to the People, by Mud Boy and the Neutrons, featuring the greatly missed Jim Dickinson:


  4. halfhearteddude
    April 25th, 2017 at 05:37 | #4

    Maybe a Any Major Memphis compilation is a good idea.

  5. Maria
    May 2nd, 2017 at 02:24 | #5

    I always thought “Jackson” was referring to the Jackson, MS

  6. halfhearteddude
    May 2nd, 2017 at 08:01 | #6

    It could be any Jackson, but this from Wikipedia makes Jackson, TN the more plausible location, aty least from Cash’s perspective:

    There has been much speculation regarding which Jackson the song is about; but, according to [co-writer] Wheeler, “Actually, I didn’t have a specific Jackson in mind. I just liked the sharp consonant sound, as opposed to soft-sounding words like Nashville.”[3] Though Wheeler had no particular Jackson in mind when writing the song, subsequent recordings have narrowed attributions to Jackson, Tennessee: The previous source also quotes Charlie Daniels as having recorded “Jackson” with these lines, “I ain’t talking ’bout Jackson, Mississippi. I’m talking ’bout Jackson, Tennessee”.[3] And, Johnny Cash is quoted in the video from the same source: “Well, I was gonna take her down to see Carl Perkins in Jackson.”[3] Carl Perkins lived in Jackson, Tennessee.[4]

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