Summer Classics: Cars and Music

No summer road trip is complete without a great car. I think back to my teenage days and my first love: a red 1972 Cadillac Coop De-Ville. It was by far one of my proudest moments when I earned enough to purchase my very own set of wheels. Much like the open road, it signified potential, opportunity and freedom.

And while classic cars aren’t great on the carbon foot print- not to mention your travel budget-there is just nothing like the feel of the road flying by, in a classic car, wind in your hair while taking in some “oldies yet goodies” while the miles fly by. Here are seven songs that go well with a ride in an old-fashioned
luxury gas-guzzler. All are different genres and yet they seem to go well with those great, gaudy, chrome-laden land-yachts of yesteryear. So climb in, fire it up, drop it into drive, and watch those signs fly by.

1. Big Long Buick, Big Joe & the Dynaflows
Here we go again. A guy walks into a car dealership with a pocketful of money and the firm conviction that if he gets a great big car, he’ll immediately become more appealing to women. Big Joe Maher and The Dynaflows have been a mainstay on the D.C. club circuit for years, and they give this song a nice, T-Bone Walker-style shuffle groove.

2. Take it Easy, Eagles, Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975
From “Take it Easy” to “Take it to the Limit,” this is a perfect set for a summer road trip. This is one of the top bestselling pop albums of all time, for good reason.

3. Little Red Corvette, Prince
Prince cruises dangerous curves much too fast, turning heads with that oh-so-sexy intro, killer chorus and a bass line that pops like thighs off plastic upholstery on a sticky summer day.

4. Rocket 88, Ike Turner, Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats
Someone should write a book about this classic recording. For one thing, there was no such band as “Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats.” The band that entered producer Sam Phillips’ studio in 1951 to record this song was Ike Turner and His Kings of Rhythm; Jackie Brenston was one of Turner’s sax players and the lead singer on “Rocket 88.” For some reason, when Phillips sent the song to Chess Records, he decided to give Brenston top billing and made the name up, a move that caused trouble and influenced the history of rock ‘n’ roll. When the song started selling, Brenston took some of Turner’s band members and hit the road, so Ike took another path that eventually led to Tina. And Phillips took the money he made from recording the song and started Sun Records— where, one day, a kid named Elvis walked in and asked if he could record a song for his mom.

5. Mercury Blues, Alan Jackson
Originally recorded in 1949, Mercury Blues was also recorded by Steve Miller, David Lindley, and Roy Rogers & Norton Buffalo, among others. In 1992, Alan Jackson turned “Mercury Blues” into a chart-topping country hit.

6. U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile, by Sonny Landreth
Slide guitarist and vocalist Sonny Landreth has lived in the heart of Louisiana’s zydeco country for most of his life, and the U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile was actually his car for some of that time. According to Landreth, it was an inherited ‘82 Oldsmobile 98 that he and his friends used as a means of gliding from one zydeco club to another on hot Louisiana nights.

7. Everyday is a Winding Road, Sheryl Crow-Greatest Hits
Sheryl Crow’s collection kicks off with “All I Wanna Do” and “Soak Up the Sun,” two all time summer classics. The rest of the album is great, too… but you might find yourself hitting the repeat play button several times before you get there.