Road Trip [2014] and Road Trip: A New Journey [2015]

Hope you had as many road trips as you wanted this Summer.  I myself had more than a few, including several solo two hour scenic fun runs down to Patagonia, in close proximity to Mexico, netting me a Border Patrol checkpoint stop each way, as well as a seven hour jaunt up to Sin City and the requisite seven hour drive back to The Hideaway.  Even while out in Missouri for an unscheduled visit, I picked a rental car up from one airport and dropped it off at another airport 72 hours and hundreds of miles later.  And then I drove back to that original airport, a three hour round trip from the family homestead, four more times picking up and dropping off assorted family members over the course of two weeks. Topped it all off with a 1200 mile, two day journey with Siri navigating and my Mom riding shotgun the whole way.  Point is, I made A LOT of road trips this Summer, putting a lot of miles on five different vehicles, including the Blueberry. 
On all but three of those trips I listened to music, either one of my cached Spotify playlists or Classic American Top 40 countdowns from the 70s and 80s with Casey Kasem streaming on the iheartradio app.  I was fortunate that each vehicle had a USB input or charger and easy to operate sound systems.  Y'all know I like me some Road Trip and Driving playlists and I have more than a couple dozen ready to go at any given time.  Today, we're auditioning the two newest candidates for caching, Road Trip and Road Trip: A New Journey.  Both are bargain-priced UK import 3CD albums with 60 tracks each, ranging from the Sixties up through the 2000s.  For our review purposes, I have created a separate playlist for each disc. Once you've buckled, we can began our test drive.
Road Trip begins with a less than obvious choice in Iggy Pop's cover of "Real Wild Child (Wild One)" from 1986 then settles into a nice eight song classic rock streak beginning with Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" and ending with Free's "All Right Now". The next song was unfamiliar to me (Nazareth's "My White Bicycle") and broke up the nice groove that had been established.  "Ace Of Spades" is a driving tune if there ever was one but the desired groove never returned for the remainder of the disc though highlights included the unexpected return of Nazareth with a song I adore ("Hair Of The Dog" aka "S.O.B.") and the two songs that close out the disc: "Spirit of the Sky" and the written for the road "Jessica" from the Allman Brothers Band in 1973.

The second disc from Road Trip begins all over the place musically (The Undertones segues into Grandmaster Flash to open the disc) before settling into a decent four song Eighties synth-pop groove which awkwardly transitions into a seven song, all girl sequence that is inconsistent on several levels.  My favorite of the synth-pop block is "Shout" from Tears for Fears and I have a fondness for Cher's music that was teased with "I Found Someone."  After the ladies comes an odd five song spurt to finish up the disc beginning with The Temptations everlasting "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" and concluding with Ritchie Valens updating of a Mexican folk song.

Of course disc three of Road Trip opens better than the first two with the awesome and obvious road song "On The Road Again" from Canned Heat and Rare Earth's equally road-worthy "I Just Want To Celebrate" kicking off an all Sixties block of four songs.  From the Sixties we jump ahead to the late Nineties for another block of four tracks featuring Stereophonics, Catatonia, Cast and Space before jumping into the next century with Jane's Addiction and some juicy Gossip.  At this point, Frankie Goes To Hollywood return (they are on Disc One) with "Two Tribes" and an all too brief Eighties respite before The Wildhearts come in, guns blazing.  After a couple more high energy blitz rock tracks, The Farm shows up to cool things down just a bit with "All Together Now", another favorite I haven't heard in too long.  If I had my druthers, the disc would have ended on that high note but sadly it trudges on for four more tracks, closing with The Cars and their electro ballad "Drive."  Am I the only one who thinks that despite the title, the song is just not driving music?

The triple disc Road Trip is at least a disc, maybe two, over the limit from being an engaging tight set of driving tunes. Next!
Road Trip: A New Journey kicks things off right with My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa! M-m-m-"My Sharona" and the righteous driving tunes just keep coming with only one detour - Kiss's weak-sauce cover of Argent's "God Gave Rock'n'Roll To You II" - before coming to an end once again with "Jessica" which, despite its roots on the back roads of the American South, is apparently the national driving song over in the UK. (It's the theme song for TV show Top Gear.)  This disc is just phenomenal, a true representation of a somewhat cheesy (in a good way) random mix of driving tunes.  Blows the doors off every disc on the first Road Trip.
Disc Dos surprises with a mellow "Walking In Memphis" then accelerates into "Every Day Is A Winding Road" before the supercharger kicks in for St. Julian Cope's "World Shut Your Mouth."  Followed by a two song disco breather before snapping back into the groove with the Brothers Bellamy. Then a two song lull broken by John Farnham's magnificent "You're The Voice".  Then the first of three songs not available on Spotify.  Before a good run with Swing Out Sister, Erasure, Simple Minds, Wilson Phillips and Amii Stewart.  Not as good as the first disc of the set but still better than most others.

Eight of the first nine songs on the third disc of Road Trip: A New Journey are from the Sixties.   Track 10 is "Walking On Sunshine" and six of the following seven tracks, including a three song reggae block, must have missed the American charts though they are pleasant enough.  The final three songs on the disc are good just not way-to-wrap-up-the-disc good, ya know?  Disc three comes in third compared to the first two discs.
After starting out so promisingly, Road Trip: A New Journey runs out of gas somewhere during the second disc of the set. Take the good stuff from this one and mix it with the good stuff from Road Trip and you probably got yourself a super-solid double disc set.  Imma take a 10-100; grab me a Code Red and a Payday and we'll be good to go for the next 200 miles when I'll need to take another 10-100.  We can listen to those American sign language books on tape if you're tired of the tunes...

1 comment:

  1. Sirius XM had their Roadtrip Radio station on the first part of the summer (for the week prior to 4th of July). We listened to that all the way down and back from Nashville. A very nice mix. It was so popular they have brought it back again for the rest of the summer and even bumped it from the 140's where it was down to prime real estate at channel 14. Good stuff. Nice mix of rock, pop and even some country thrown in.