By the time you read this, the brief summer spasm of high temps and no rain may be over. But as I drove to a deck party the other night, the Who’s Woodstock set started on XM Deep Tracks.
Instinctively, I rolled down the windows and grabbed the volume knob.
I arrived home and decided to pick the 10 best tunes for jogging this impulse:
1. Draw the Line, Aerosmith – The sound of a diesel truck releasing its brakes kicks it off; listening to this song while driving is a speeding ticket itching to happen.
2. How Many More Times, Led Zeppelin – This one stays at normal volume until Robert Plant utters, “oh Rosie, OK” and boom – there go the speakers.
3. Lonely Ol’ Night, John Mellencamp – Rough and rugged, like the Paul Newman movie that inspired it. The drums/bass/guitar triplet at the bridge is pure rock n roll.
4. Ain’t Living Long Like This, Rodney Crowell – All you country haters out there with your dreamy emo and finger-breaking jazz, wouldn’t get out of Rodney’s roadhouse alive.
5. Full Cleveland, Greg Copeland – Me and about five other people know about this, the best song from the most underrated record ever made, “Revenge Will Come”
6. I Need to Know, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – This is Petty’s second LP, which Rhapsody lists as an EP – the songs are so fast, its’ 35 minutes seem like 15.
7. God Save the Queen, Sex Pistols – There were better punk bands around when this came out, but none slapped as hard or snarled so convincingly – even if it was an act.
8. Slip Kid, The Who – It took an all night sleep deprivation session to convince Pete Townshend to play the peace and love Woodstock festival; two years later, he wrote this.
9. Rocks Off, Rolling Stones – Most Stones fans call Exile the Stones’ best; track one is pure raunch: Jagger’s moan, Keith’s nasty riff, and Charlie keeping the train on track.
10. Caravan, Van Morrison – Let’s be clear – I mean the version from “The Last Waltz,” so powerful that even Robbie Robertson appeared stunned, and he’d already rehearsed it.
Honestly, there are few things more exhilarating than combining high-octane rock and roll with the open road. The cost of gas can rise to 10 dollars a gallon, and that won’t change.
The kick of a good live band runs a close second, and to that end, I offer these possibilities:
Thursday: Eliza Gilkyson, Boccelli’s – This singer-songwriter proudly proclaims that she’s got “miles on her tires,” and a mature musical outlook to match. An Austin native raised on music (her father, a songwriter, wrote “Bare Necessities” for Disney, and her brother played in the punk band X), she has a sweet, soulful voice – a softer Lucinda Williams.
Friday: Cornish Fair, Cornish – 2009 marks 60 years of cotton candy, stomach churning carnival rides, prize pigs and plenty of talent, particularly musical. This year’s fair opens with Joe Tyler, who has a classic Beatles/Stones bent, local rockers No Sudden Moves, and traditional country due Maria Rose and Danny Elswick. Running through Sunday, other performers include Larry Dougher (blues) and Bow Junction (bluegrass).
Saturday: The Groove, Sunapee Harbor – Carey Lee Rush is a long-time contributor to the local music scene, a founding member of Last Kid Picked and a part of many bands over the years. He’s really psyched about his latest combo, which specializes in funk along the lines of Cold Blood and Little Feat. I’m told they do a killer version of Bonnie Raitt’s “Fool’s Game”. This show happens at Flanders Stage, located on the water by the Anchorage restaurant.
Sunday: Claremont Soup Kitchen Benefit Jam, Moose Lodge – In difficult economic times, an organization like this one, which helps feed the less fortunate in our own midst, is more important than ever. The second annual event starts at 1 in the afternoon, and features Tinderbox, Saylyn, and Roadhouse. Call: 543-0556 or go to the kitchen for tickets.
Monday: Best of Open Mike, Digby’s – Terry Ray Gould is just as ubiquitous as Pete Merrigan these days, playing Farmer’s Markets, cafes (farewell, Green Acres!) and open mikes like this one, which features a prize at the end of the night and a friendly vibe.
Wednesday: Johnny Bishop Duo, Salt hill Pub – Harmonica wizard Bishop made one of my favorite local albums of last year, Johnny B & the Goodes “Have Mercy” – a disk chock-a-block full of honest blues. Johnny has a lot of friends on the local scene, so a surprise guest or two at tonight’s gig shouldn’t come as a … well, surprise.
Email me your top Roll ‘Em Down, Crank It Up tunes.