You never know who you're going to meet on the internet and I came to know Peter Tibbles (bio here) via email over the past couple of years. His extensive knowledge of most genres of music and his excellent taste became apparent only gradually (Peter's not one to toot his horn) but once I understood, I knew he needed his own column at Time Goes By - or, better, that TGB needed his column - which appears here each Sunday. You can find previous Elder Music columns here.
I had so much fun doing the Route 66 post a few weeks ago in which I allowed the lyrics of one song about a journey to suggest other songs, I thought I’d do another song. There are several that could be used but the first one that came to mind is Promised Land.
Chuck Berry performing, of course.
I left my home in Norfolk, Virginia,
California on my mind.
Straddled that greyhound, rode him past Raleigh, On across Caroline.
This is Norfolk Virginia (sort of).
I couldn’t find any songs about that city, I’m sure any readers from there will come up with them and let me know. Nor any about Raleigh:
However, as Chuck seems to be dreaming about California, there’s an obvious one right away: The Mamas and the Papas' California Dreamin'.
Click to play: California Dreamin'
Stopped in Charlotte and bypassed Rock Hill,
And we never was a minute late.
We was ninety miles out of Atlanta by sundown,
Rollin’ cross the Georgia state.
I bypassed both Charlotte (below) and Rock Hill (under Charlotte) and rolled straight into Georgia with the Atlanta Rhythm Section performing Georgia Rhythm.
Click to play: Atlanta Rhythm Section - Georgia Rhythm
We had motor trouble it turned into a struggle,
Half way cross Alabam,
And that hound broke down and left us all stranded
In downtown Birmingham.
Here is Birmingham.
The mention of Alabam leads me directly to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama.
Click to play: Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama
Straight off, I bought me a through train ticket,
Ridin’ cross Mississippi clean
And I was on that midnight flyer out of Birmingham
Smoking into New Orleans.
Ah, New Orleans, an embarrassment of song riches, which of the thousands do I select? The obvious one is Walkin’ to New Orleans, although, in the song, Chuck is taking the train. Doesn’t matter.
Here’s Fats Domino.
Somebody help me get out of Louisiana
Just help me get to Houston town.
There’s people there who care a little bout me
And they wont let the poor boy down.
I immediately though of Rodney Crowell’s album, “The Houston Kid,” and the song from that called The Rock of My Soul. This is a dark song and not easy listening, but it’s a fine song from a great album.
Click to play: Rodney Crowell - The Rock of My Soul
Sure as you’re born, they bought me a silk suit,
Put luggage in my hands, And I woke up high over Albuquerque
On a jet to the promised land.
There are several songs with Albuquerque in their title, most notably one by Neil Young, but I’m not too keen on these, so I’ve decided to go with the most famous song that mentions the city and that is By the Time I Get to Phoenix, the Jimmy Webb version (well, he wrote it, that’s good enough for me).
Click to play: Jimmy Webb - By the Time I Get to Phoenix
Workin’ on a T-bone steak a la carte
Flying over to the golden state;
The pilot told me in thirteen minutes
We’d be headin’ in the terminal gate.
Swing low sweet chariot, come down easy
Taxi to the terminal zone;
Cut your engines, cool your wings,
And let me make it to the telephone.
Los Angeles give me Norfolk Virginia,
Tidewater four ten o nine
Tell the folks back home this is the promised land callin’
And the poor boys on the line
I really don’t think that the poor boy on the line is Elvis but it’ll do for me. Here’s Elvis performing Poor Boy.
Click to play: Elvis - Poor Boy