Roadrunner & Other Drivin’ Tunes

Roadrunner & Other Drivin' Tunes (Front)

An old acquaintance just asked for road trip music recommendations, and I thought I had posted this when I made the mix for a CD mix club I participated in 7-8 years ago. I guess I didn’t, so here it is! Some of the MP3s are included with PDF cover art and liner notes if you click on the first image. Or you can stream it all on Spotify below. Enjoy!

The weekend I started working on my mix, the mother of a colleague at work passed away. A musician who played piano and organ at various south side Catholic churches, she was born to musicians who were accompanists at the Roseland movie theater. Oh, and she also had seventeen (17!) children. The Tribune obituary said,”Sometimes, the stress got to her, and Mrs. Ward would leave after her husband returned home from work.” “She never told us where she went,” said her son Tom. “She’d just drive.”

No freakin’ doubt! I could imagine her barreling down the highway with the radio cranked up, road raging, flippin’ the bird at slower drivers, just blowing off steam. As a good Catholic church singer and mother, perhaps not. Who knows, however, as she never let her family witness this personal time. As a music lover, there’s little doubt that the radio would have been a part of her driving time. Music and driving are essentially linked in the American cultural fabric, much more so than places like Europe, where everything isn’t so dang far away. I just hope she had some decent tunes to drive to.

Roadrunner & Other Drivin' Tunes (Back)

Today’s radio is a hit and miss affair, mostly miss, and stuffed up the wazoo with commercials, unless you have XM. My road trips are infrequent, rarely more than a couple a year. With gas prices the way they are, and environmental concerns, driving for fun is no longer an option for mere entertainment. However sometimes you have to get from here to there, and you need a soundtrack. For my last trip to a June wedding in Iowa, I put together a seven volume mix. It’s hard to make just one perfect CD for a roadtrip, and with over ten hours round trip, you need more. I did remember a mix tape I made when I got my first car after college being nearly perfect. I actually found it! On listening to it again, it was far from perfect. I called it “Roadrunner & Other Drivin’ Tunes,” but forgot to include “Roadrunner”! It also had songs from bands like Bone Club (great local Minneapolis band) that didn’t quite fit, and Hendrix’s overly long, sluggish blues jam, “Voodoo Chile.”


I tried to boil down 7 volumes to one, but I couldn’t do it. So I ended up with a double CD mix. The first is songs about driving and travelling. Disc 2 is songs that simply sound good while driving. My preference is for sprawling epics with dramatic crescendos, or sometimes just rhythmically hypnotic ones that chug along. Be careful with those selections if you are getting sleepy. Hopefully this arrives in time for one of your summer road trips. If not, they should work just as well for train rides or running. Please don’t wear headphones if you bike. There’s a few songs about death in the mix, but I don’t want anyone dying while listening to it! This mix is made specifically for driving or crappy boombox speakers. Meaning, I matched the levels of the quiet songs to the most compressed, loud mixes such as The Who and The Stooges. So the dynamics should be pretty consistent, and work well in a car with road and wind noise. A good alternative for biking is a backpack with built in speakers.

There were plenty of great songs left over for a part 3 (and 4 and 5 and 6).

Possibilities for Vol. 3
Kraftwerk – Autobahn 74
Queen – It’s Late 77
The Buzzcocks – Moving Away From The Pulsebeat 77
Christopher Cross – Ride Like The Wind 79
Stiff Little Fingers – Johnny Was 79
AC/DC – Highway To Hell 79
X – The World’s A Mess It’s In My Kiss 80
The Feelies – The Boy With Perpetual Nervousness 80
The Feelies – Moscow Nights 80
The Feelies – Loveless Love 80
Talking Heads – Listening Wind 80
X – The Hungry Wolf 82
The Bongos – In The Congo 82
Stan Ridgeway – Drive, She Said 85
The Ramones – Chasing The Night 84
The Woodentops – Get It On 86
The Jesus & Mary Chain – Who Do You Love 86
Eleventh Dream Day – Tenth Leaving Train 88
L7 – Til The Wheels Fall Off 90
Swervedriver – Son Of Mustang Ford 91
Swervedriver – Last Train To Satansville 93
The Breeders – Drivin’ On 93
Spoon – 30 Gallon Tank 98
Queens Of The Stone Age – Regular John 98
Eels – Woman Driving, Man Sleeping 01
Eleni Mandell – Don’t Lose My Trail 02
Black Heart Procession – A Sign On The Road 02
Queens Of The Stone Age – You Thin I Aint Worth A Dollar 02
Queens Of The Stone Age – God Is In The Radio 02
Sonic Youth – Rain On Tin 02
Sleater-Kinney – Let’s Call It Love 05
Dick Dale & His Del-Tones – Hot Rod Racer 63
The Who – Leaving Here 65
The Rolling Stones – Route 66
Them – Mystic Eyes 65
Small Faces – Runaway 65
The Animals – See See Rider 66
Willie Mitchell – That Driving Beat 67
The Velvet Underground – All Tomorrows Parties 67
The Velvet Underground – Heroin 67
The Velvet Underground – European Son 67
Jimi Hendrix – Crosstown Traffic 68
Van Morrison – Madam George 68
The Velvet Underground – Sister Ray 68
Rolling Stones – Midnight Rambler 69
Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter 69
Can – Mother Sky 69
Alice Cooper – Black Juju 70
Alice Cooper – Under My Wheels 70
Velvet Underground – Rock ‘n’ Roll 70
The Stooges – Dirt 70
The Doors – L.A. Woman 71
The Doors – Riders On The Storm 71
Deep Purple – Speed King 71
The Temptations – Papa Was A Rolling Stone 72
Modern Lovers – Old World 72
Neu! – Hallogallo 72
Can – Spoon 72
Patti Smith – Gloria 75
Patti Smith – Land 75
Bruce Springsteen – Backstreets 75
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run 75
Curtis Mayfield – Junkie Chase 72

This entry was posted in Features, Rants, Reposts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.