Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Take Me Home, Country Roads

The CD player in our car is broken. I have no idea what happened to it, but we can’t even get the CDs out of it. Bummer.

As a result, I have two in-the-car listening choices: the radio, which isn’t always a popular choice with the passengers, or cassette tapes. Our last car had no CD player (we’re movin’ up in the world, slowly but surely, so maybe the next car will have satellite radio...) and the cassettes were "car tapes" and therefore just got thrown in when we switched cars. We haven’t really listened to them in the last five years. In fact, I’m not even sure what’s on most of them, since a lot of them are tapes we made, but failed to label.

It’s funny how music takes you back. For example, I don’t think I could hear Air Supply or Marty Robbins (not that I’ve ever actually heard Marty Robbins in any other context, come to think of it) without mentally reliving the two-day-long drives between our house in Oklahoma and my grandma’s house in LA. Yes, my parents were crazy.  And hearing "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel always reminds me of being in Leicester Square with my best friends from high school.

My current favorite tape in the car, when I can get away with making my own music choices, is the tape I made while on Study Abroad in London. Those songs were as much a part of that experience as the actual learning that took place. U2’s “The Sweetest Thing” is first and foremost, but then there’s “This Kiss”, “Summer in the City”, and “I Say a Little Prayer for You” from the soundtrack to the film “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” Ah, those were the days. If I just closed my eyes (which I shouldn’t do, because I’m driving), I’d be back in the Centre, having a crazy good time with some of the best people I’ll ever know. And That Video will be on every. single. time I walk into the dining room.

I hope one day, when my kids are older, they’ll hear Levon Helm singing “I Got Me a Woman” and they’ll be instantly transported to their childhood, dancing with their daddy in the kitchen while mom looks on and laughs.

Where does music take you?

P.S. I will never be able to hear “Country Roads” without remembering a trip to Germany with my high school speech & debate team where we were panicked by what at first sounded like a riot in the streets, but what turned out to be a group of Germans, who may or may not have been sober, singing their heart out to John Denver’s greatest hits.


  1. I think I had That Video almost memorized by the time we left.

    And what about The Beautiful South? Ahhh, memories.

    What song did we rock out to after everyone else left and went to the dance?

    I need to find MY mixed tape now!

  2. Was that in Dusseldorf? I have a vague memory of wandering the streets there...
    My Boxer memories are from earlier speech and debate trips in NM where it was ever present in the bus.

  3. We have "car tapes", too. Mostly stuff left over from high school and college. Violent Femmes and the Pogues always take me back to high school and road trips to Little Rock or Hot Springs (Arkansas was SO exciting, let me tell you) with my friends. I had a roommate in college that would always lip sync with me to Bohemian Rhapsody and Alanis Morisette. And when Ches and I were first married, my favorite song was "Let's Go Back to Bed" by Jewel. Because I'm not a morning person and would rather be sleeping. Really. Ches and I travelled a lot the first 4 or 5 years we were married, so we listened to a lot of CDs in the car. No Doubt (my choice) and Bon Jovi (his choice) and a lot of jazz. We were awesome. :)

    Anytime I hear any of this music, I'm immediately transported back in time. I get all excited and turn the radio up and sing along. Then I realize Violent Femmes isn't exactly the stuff my kids should be listening to, so I switch to our They Might Be Giants CD. :D

  4. I think all of the songs on that tape were in my college music collection as well. I became a Peter Brineholt fan in college and nothing takes me back like any of his songs.


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