Saturday, May 16, 2009

MUSIC: The OlderMusicGeek Guide To Road Trip Music - Part One: CD's

This from me, NOT some material reprinted from somewhere else.

I had a Twitter friend, Emma, asked for road trip music. Well, after giving it some thought, I realized I had a bit much for a letter, but a lot of stuff for my blog!

Blog entries like this are, by their very nature, very subjective. And unless the blogger has an ego as big as the sun, one has to realize that there's NOT going to be someone who follows your suggestion religiously and makes a playlist according to your exact specifications!

All this can be, is a way for you, the reader, to come up with YOUR OWN playlist/cd/whatever - and be suggestions to POSSIBLY include on your own playlist.

Okay, with that all said, it's time to determine what should be included on a road trip music collection.

#1 - Should be for the most part uptempo. You want music that will keep you awake on the road. A few slow ones are okay to change the pace around and add variety, but generally, you want uptempo songs of whatever genre you listen to.

#2 - It usually helps, though not necessarily, if the song have a "flow" to their sound! By "flow", I mean the song should be move easily. You should seem to be able to almost slide through the song.

#3 - It also help if the songs are "sing-along-able"! The more you can sing along with them, the better you'll feel and the more awake you'll feel too. And if you don't like singing along with music, then get over yourself and enjoy life!

#4 - It would also be nice, but again not necessary, if the song has something to do with roads, vehicles, driving and traveling.

The simplest and easiest way to start your road trip collection is look at your favorite cd's and see which of these fit into any of those three categories! If you rate your music on your mp3 player, your job is even easier. Check out the cd's with a lot of 5 star songs - or if that's not enough, check out the ones with 4 stars too!

Don't worry if you think I'm going to leave you hanging! I'm not! I have some suggestions!

1. Swagger, Drunken Lullabies, Within A Mile Of Home, and Float - Flogging Molly
If you're into Celtic music and/or punk, this is Flogging Molly's 4 studio cd's will energize you! The two times I went all a Flogging Molly kick and listen to all 4 cd's in one setting, I felt exhausted at the end, cus the music is THAT energetic!

2. No Thanks! The 70s Punk Rebellion - various artists
This is a wonderful 4-cd 100-song collection of the punk, new wave and alternative music that came out in the mid and late 70s! Talk about energy! This will work just as good as caffeine! If you're downloading it until a mp3 player, I would recommend adding "Anarchy In The U.K." and/or "God Save The Queen" by Sex Pistols, since The Sex Pistols refused to allow any of their music on this collection, the twats!

3. Me First And The Gimme Gimmes
If you're into punk, this is a great band to have on your playlist. They play all these different covers from different genres, but they do them in a punk rock fashion. And since all they do is covers, you'll know most of the songs and probably know a lot of the lyrics, and therefore can even sing along with it, which to me, is a great plus when you're on the road, and especially when you're trying to stay awake!

If you don't want or need too much punk, then you could just go with their compilation cd, Have Another Ball. If you're into 70s pop, I suggest their first album, Have A Ball And for 60s pop, Blow In The Wind. If you like musicals, then you'll want Are A Drag. For contemporary R&B songs, try Take A Break. And for country tunes, Love Their Country. Me, personally, I'd put ALL their cd's on the playlist!

4. Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen
What can I say? I'm a 80s child! And this has what you need for the road. Some heavy beat dance music and some "flow-y" mellow stuff.

5. Riverdance - Bill Whelan / Lord Of The Dance - Ronan Hardiman
These are soundtracks to two great Celtic dance shows! I will admit that some of the songs on the cd's are pretty mellow and you can go without. But some... they just get your heart a-pumping and make you want to do some wild tap-dancing yourself!

6. Saturday Night Fever - various artists (but mostly The Bee Gees)
I'll admit it! I was one of those "disco sucks" people. I listened to classic rock before punk rock, so disco seemed the anti-thesis to my music!

But as I've aged, I've come to realize that there is nothing wrong is funky R&B-influenced soul-influenced dance music!

And this cd has a lot of the disco greats on it like "Disco Inferno". What a great fun dance song! Besides that, you know a lot of the words, so it's another great sing-a-long cd!

7. Visage - Visage
I can't not say enough much I love this cd. When I heard it back in 1980, it was different than anything I had heard, and was quite different than a lot of stuff out there.

This cd, to me, epotomized The New Romance movement. Another great dance cd that flows along and zooms you down the highway!

8. Grease - movie soundtrack
What can I say? It's a musical everyone knows! It's fun! It has high "song-a-long-ability"! Just what you need on a long road trip.

9. Deep Forest - Deep Forest
If you're into world music, electronica and traditional African music, you should definitely consider Deep Forest's debut cd! Two french dj's took a bunch of recordings of traditional African chants recorded by the U.N. and turned them into dancable, grooving tunes!

10. A Motown collection
It doesn't really matter which one you get, but get one of those "Best of Motown" or "Motown Classics" or whatever Motown cd's! These songs have great flow and great sing-along-ability! And who doesn't like Motown?

11. A Stax collection
If you never heard of the Stax record label, it doesn't matter, cus you'll know the music. Most of the soul hits that weren't Motown were from Stax! Just get a collection of their best material, and you'll be going, "Oh, yeah, I know this song..." Again, great flow and sing-along-ability!

12. Saturday Morning Cartoons' Greatest Hits - various artists
If you like 90s alternative and 60s Saturday morning cartoons, then this is the cd for you! Some guy in the 90s got all these alternative acts to cover theme songs from 60s Saturday morning cartoons! This covers uptempo, flow and sing-along-ability! How can you lose?

13. A Ramones compilation
There are a bunch of compilations cd's! Some examples are Ramones Mania, Hey Ho Let's Go!: The Anthology, The Best of The Ramones (aka Best of the Chrysalis Years, and Ramones Greatest Hits. So just depends on what exactly you want. But add one of those to your playlist and you'll have something that works as good as caffeine for keeping you awake!

14. A Clash compilation
Well, there's the 2-cd Essential Clash, the 2-cd Story Of The Clash, Volume 1, and The Singles. Any one of these will give plenty of great uptempo punk rock!

15. George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Move It On Over, and More George Thorogood & The Destroyers - George Thorogood & The Destroyers
The first three cd's by a fun, if poppy, blues rocker. These early cd's were full of energy and joy and will keep you going on the road.

16. A collection of 80s hair bands
We all laugh and mock this stuff, but secretly we find this outrageousness fun and enjoyable! I don't think this collection can be complete if it doesn't "Cum On Feel The Noize" by Quiet Riot and "We're Not Gonna To Take It" by Twisted Sister!

17. Great Gonzos!: The Best Of Ted Nugent - Ted Nugent
There are other Ted Nugent compilation cd's, but this is the best! It has all his older stuff. Unfortunately, it doesn't have "Great White Buffalo", so you'll have to download that song separately!

18. A Kiss Compilation and Kiss Alive II - Kiss
I couldn't begin to tell you how many Kiss compilations cd's are out there. I recommend one that is only one cd, because you don't need more than that really! And then the live cd's to show how the songs are meant to be heard! Again, this should cover the uptempo and sing-along-ability part of your playlist!

19. A collection of dance music
Some people will say I'm crazy for saying this, but you can't have too much dance music on a road trip music collection! So put on a cd collection of what dance music you're into - disco, soul, funk, techno, electronica, trance! Or even one cd of each type!

20. A collection of big band/swing music
It was the dance music of the 40s. It's fun, it flows, and a lot of it is uptempo! And it's more than likely a nice change of pace from the rest of your music! But any collection you do get should have the following 4 songs - "In The Mood" by Glenn Miller, "Sing, Sing, Sing" by Benny Goodman, "Take The 'A' Train" by Duke Ellington and "Begin The Beguine" by Artie Shaw!

21. A cajun/zydeco collection
Do yourself a favor, and put some Louisiana flavor into your life! There is nothing on this planet quite like the sound of cajun and zydeco, so find a best of cajun collection with some Beau Jocque and Buckwheat Zydeco on it and add to your road trip collection!

And if you find yourself liking it, go for a Beau Jocque collection and Buckwheat Zydeco collection!

>22. A rockabilly collection
If you can't get into that twangy guitar that propels this great mix of country and African-American traditional music, then I don't know what to tell you! But if you can, then you know why you should have some in your road trip music!

>23. A bluegrass collection
Though the ballads of bluegrass can drag on and make you sleepy, the more uptempo stuff can juice you right up with some fast and splendid banjo picking and wild fiddling! If you can find a collection with the faster stuff, add it! But if not, then skip it!

24. Hayseed Dixie
This is a bluegrass band that does a lot of covers of classic rock stuff. In fact, they have one cd that only does Kiss songs and another full of AC/DC songs! So if you want some bluegrass playing tunes you know well, this is a great band to have! Again, it will that sing-along-ability aspect going for it!

25. Judy Garland
What can I say? No singer can belt them out like Judy Garland can! So download one of her best of cd's - there's been tons of them made!

Okay, finally, some people like mellow music. So here's a few selections that I think still fulfill at least the flow part of road trip music.

1. Oxygene, Equinoxe, Les Chants Magnetiques/Magnetic Fields, and Zoolook - Jean-Michel Jarre
This is some incredible jazzy, instrumental synthesizer pop music from the 70s. And it has an incredible flow to it. The Zoolook is a bit weird and experimental, but I think it's his best cd!

2. Everything Is Wrong - Moby
This is what I considered the best cd by electronic music pop artist, Moby. Once you listen, you'll recognize a lot of it, because Moby prostituted the rights out to get some exposure for the cd! So a lot of these songs have been on a lot of commercials!

3. The Harder They Come (Deluxe Edition) - various artist (but mostly Jimmy Cliff)/movie soundtrack
This is a reggae soundtrack to a movie of the same name plus the biggest reggae songs from that era. With that reggae groove, you can just slide down the road.

4. Legend - Bob Marley
This is a fun collection of Bob Marley's tune. And you can't go wrong with Bob Marley. Plus, you'll know a bunch of these tunes! You can go with some other collections if you want. There's a ton of them!

5. A collection of classical music for the average listener
There's the soundtrack of 2001, Classical Music For People Who Hate Classical Music, The Very Best of Classical Music for Your Life, Best of the Millennium: Top 40 Classical Hits, among others. Pick one that suits you!

Well, as I said, at the top, you should just think of this list as a suggestion. I'm NOT trying to make this out to be the definitive list for road trip music. So I just hopes this list helps you think what works for you, so YOU can make a list that works for YOU!

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This is a fairly good sampling of some of the music I listen to. It's missing a few genres I like - such as cajun. I'll work on that later. But it does contain most of my favorite artists. I tried to steer away from the better known songs to give you a better idea of what kind of music the artists play, but I was limited by the songs the website - Project Playlist - had available. But if you want to get an idea of what I listen to, just hit the play or arrow button. - OlderMusicGeek

The internet station that does the best of playing my music is Last.fm. Here's my station if you're interested.

This website, OlderMusicGeek Radio on Pandora.com, does a fairly decent job of playing what I like, although they do occasionally play stuff I don't care for, but overall they're pretty good.