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My South: R is for Road Trip

July 22nd, 2014 · 1 Comment

I came across an old post (written four-plus years ago, so only old in a relative sense) in which I had constructed a musical playlist to mirror a trip through the South. I couldn’t even recall writing it. Perhaps that’s why I used the word ‘old.’

It followed an imagined road trip out of the Carolinas into Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and then westward through Louisiana. Everyone has their own idea about where the borders of their true South lie. My South extends along a horizon from Louisiana eastward to South Carolina, stepping north into Tennessee and the corner of Arkansas. Florida, however, is not part of My South; it exists in its own cultural universe – a friendly neighbor, but not part of the “collective” (maybe for its own good).

That original playlist – called “Do The South” – has here received a few 2014 revisions, but remains largely as it was. There are songs by Southerners and by non-Southerners; songs describing specific places and events; songs that communicate a mood evoked by the region; songs about Southern people, food, attitudes, music (of course), history and stereotypes. There is no reference to Forrest Gump…well, maybe one (can you find it?). And all the songs follow a route you could take behind the wheel of your trusty rusty Ford pick-em-up truck.

I’ve separated the playlist into three parts. Consider the breaks between sections as overnight stops at a vintage Southern motel. Enjoy yourself and have a safe trip!

R_Blue Ridge Mountains_RESIZED

Road Trip (Part One):

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  1. “Put Me on the Trail to Carolina” (1960) – The Louvin Brothers
  2. “Blue Ridge Mountains” (2008) – Fleet Foxes
  3. “At a Dixie Roadside Diner” (1940) – Duke Ellington
  4. “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South” (1959) – Billie Holiday
  5. “Georgia on My Mind” (1930) – Hoagy Carmichael
  6. “Back to Georgia” (1972) – Loggins & Messina
  7. “Love Shack” (1989) – The B-52’s
  8. “The Southern Thing” (2002) – Drive-By Truckers
  9. “Oh Atlanta” (1974) – Little Feat
  10. “Alabama Rain” (1973) – Jim Croce
  11. “Hey Mr. Cotton Picker” (1953) – Tennessee Ernie Ford
  12. “I Heard the Voice of a Porkchop” (1928) – Jim Jackson
  13. “Fried Okra” (1968) – The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
  14. “Gulf Coast Highway” (1988) – Nanci Griffith
  15. “Shrimp Boats” (1951) – Jo Stafford
  16. “Angel from Montgomery” (1974) – Bonnie Raitt
  17. “Birmingham Sunday” (1964) – Joan Baez
  18. “Birmingham” (2003) – Patty Larkin
  19. “Sparrows Over Birmingham” (2003) – Josh Rouse
  20. “Alabama High-Test” (2008) – Old Crow Medicine Show

R_Motel_Gadsden Alabama_RESIZED

Road Trip (Part Two):

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  1. “Tennessee” (1992) – Arrested Development
  2. “Tennessee Border No. 2″ (1963) – Homer & Jethro
  3. “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” (1949) – Red Foley
  4. “Coat of Many Colors” (1971) – Dolly Parton
  5. “Lebanon, Tennessee” (1995) – Ron Sexsmith
  6. “5000 Country Music Songs” (2008) – Ry Cooder
  7. “Nashville” (2004) – David Mead
  8. “That’s How I Got to Memphis” (1993) – Ben Vaughn
  9. “Memphis, Tennessee” (1963) – The Beatles
  10. “Memphis, Tennessee” (2008) – Mason Jennings
  11. “Elvis Presley Blues” (2001) – Gillian Welch
  12. “MLK” (1984) – U2
  13. “Hot Barbecue” (1966) – Jack McDuff
  14. “Down in Mississippi” (2007) – Mavis Staples
  15. “Back to Tupelo” (2004) – Mark Knopfler
  16. “Tupelo County Jail” (1958) – Webb Pierce
  17. “Handcuffed to a Fence in Mississippi” (2001) – Jim White

R_Motel_West Point Mississippi_RESIZED

Road Trip (Part Three):

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  1. “Oxford” (1993) – Alejandro Escovedo
  2. “Cotton Fields” (1963) – Odetta
  3. “Talkin’ Casey Jones” (1966) – Mississippi John Hurt
  4. “Jackson” (2002) – Hem
  5. “Roll On, Mississippi, Roll On” (1931) – The Boswell Sisters
  6. “Dixie Lily” (1974) – Elton John
  7. “Walkin’ to New Orleans” (1960) – Fats Domino
  8. “Down to New Orleans” (1985) – Mason Ruffner
  9. “I Put a Spell on You” (1956) – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
  10. “Take Me to the Mardi Gras” (1973) – Paul Simon
  11. “When the Saints Go Marching In” (1987) – Tuts Washington
  12. “City of New Orleans” (1972) – Arlo Guthrie
  13. “Bus to Baton Rouge” (2001) – Lucinda Williams
  14. “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight” (1978) – Emmylou Harris
  15. “The Last Mile of the Way” (1964) – The Soul Stirrers

R_Motel_Alexandria Louisiana_Ransville_RESIZED

Tags: Fred FM · music · My South: A to Z · postcards

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Chris // Aug 11, 2014 at 7:40 AM

    Oh my! Just reading the lists of songs takes me down memory lane. There are quite a few I’ve never heard before too, so thanks for those.
    Stunning photo of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I visited them back around 1990, but I was never lucky enough to see them actually looking blue like this.

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