Sunday Selection


This is the first instalment of my new look weekly selection of tunes for a Sunday.

When I was listening to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes the other week I got to thinking why do so many songs reference individual American states?

There just isn’t the same emotion about UK counties; could you imagine a song called Midnight Train to Gloucestershire or  Sweet Home Anglesey!

Me neither, so I thought I’d attempt to put together a playlist over the coming weeks of songs about individual states in the USA.

I hope you enjoy my selection and would love to hear your suggestions for alternatives or indeed your comments if any of the states mentioned hold particular memories for you.

Starting with the North West I wonder what it’s like When It’s Springtime In Alaska (Forty Below)

Before we head on to mainland America I’d best not forget the pacific islands off the west coast and what better tune than those Californian Beach Boys and Hawaii.

Let’s start our mainland journey with The Train From Washington, but I accept this is probably not referring to the state but the city in D.C. but humour me please as the alternative was Kenny Rogers, unless you’ve got a better suggestion!

As we head on down the coast we’re ‘bang on’ with Portland, Oregon. We won’t stop off for a coffee before we move on to the sunshine state, where there’s so many to choose from: Led Zep, RHCP, The Beach Boys again or even Phantom Planet.

Let’s have something different, from “everyone’s” favourite guitarist and my favourite vocalist, they’ve been there and now Slash and Myles Kennedy are Back From Cali.

We can either head inland across the desert to Nevada or south east to Arizona; well I’ve never been to Arizona so let’s drop in on the Followill’s who also seem to be a long way from their home state.

Can’t avoid Nevada so we’ll head north up to the bright lights of Vegas and then on to my Private Idaho.

We’ll rest a while in the next state and enjoy the wide open spaces and Wild Montana Skies before we head south next week.




38 thoughts on “Sunday Selection

  1. Ta, liab, I really like the last two. Not least because they both support some very enjoyable major seventh noodling.

    I presume you’ve got Tennessee chalked in… 😉

    • Couple of weeks before we reach Tennessee but yes I’ve got some alternatives for that state. Thanks for dropping by and taking a listen.

      I’ve posted tracks from Codeine Velvet Club before and there’s quite a positive response to them. The duo comprises Jon Lawler, aka Jon Fratelli and the female half is Lou Hickey, who has a lovely voice and released her solo album earlier this month.

  2. Mister President, Mister Immigration Man,
    Let me in, sweetie, to your fair land.
    I’m Tampa bound and Memphis too,
    Short Fat Fanny is on the loose.
    Dig that sound on the radio,
    Then slip it right across into Buffalo.
    Dick and Pat in ole D.C.,
    Well they’re gonna hold some shit for me.
    Ying yang, you’re my thing,
    Oh, now, baby, won’t you hear me sing.
    Flip Flop, fit to drop,
    Come on baby, won’t you let it rock?
    Oh, yeah!
    From San Jose down to Santa Fe,
    Kiss me quick, baby, won’tcha make my day.
    Down to New Orleans with the Dixie Dean,
    ‘Cross to Dallas, Texas with the Butter Queen.
    Rip this joint, gonna rip yours too,
    Some brand new steps and some weight to lose.
    Gonna roll this joint, gonna get down low,
    Round and round and round we’ll go.
    Wham, Bham, Birmingham, Alabama don’t give a damn.
    Little Rock fit to drop.
    Ah, let it rock.

  3. Surprised no one gave you alternatives for California, Leavey, there are some rich pickings there. Let alone for LA, SF, etc. Off the top of my head picks (I’ll keep it just to the overall state to make it easy) are Joni Mitchell – California, LL Cool J – Going Back to Cali, and Dre / 2Pac – California Love. (Which is obviously a redo of Ronnie Hudson – West Coast Poplock).

  4. I didn’t want to presume but yes The Boss was a bit of a giveaway.

    The Gaslight Anthem are from NJ, New Brunswick to be exact.

    I read an article recently that stated there had been quite a bit of redevelopment and investment along the coast following “Sandy”.

    • Closest I’ve got to NJ is seeing it across the Hudson River, been to Boston though, twice, great city much calmer than NYC though I’m sure both are very different if you live there as opposed to viewing them through a tourist’s eyes.

      • yeah, very different. No glitz in Boston. When i graduated from URHigh, the thing in my field at the time (business) was to head to Boston and Rte 128. I looked at the rents in Boston and in NYC – they weren’t that different, and NYC was better for the arts, so that’s where i headed.

        I’m not in Boston proper – i’m in a town called Somerville on the border of the People’s Republic of Cambridge – but it’s 2 miles outside of Boston proper, relatively easy commute, but is a nice place to come home to afer farting around in Bosto and Cambridge. By all accounts, it was a royal shithole of a town up until a decade or so ago, but they really fixed it up since then. Used to be heavily working class Irish, but it’s been hipsterized for better or worse. It’s really lovely though, has more artists per capita than any US city outside of NYC and more writers than Manhattan. However, my housemate and i must be the oldest people here, majority age group is 30’s. But upside is also not a lot of families with kids.

        Mass has some of the same serious economic problems as many of the northeast / mid – Atlantic blue states and California (and they lost a House rep from population loss) , but they have a buffer here the other states don’t have – the massive cluster of first rate universities which means that there will always be money, fresh blood, financial sector, and tech start ups here that can carry the rest of a relatively small state.

        If you ever come back here (i remember you said your family visits stateside), please get in touch.

      • dunno, i think you may be a fan of solo Sammy but i’m not – however Eddie and Co were pretty dumb to think he fit the bill.

      • Yes, I am, Amy. Having seen Sammy’s “solo” band play a couple of times on UK tours in the early ’80s, I always maintained that Hagar-era-VH took two excellent bands, and mashed ’em together to make one so-so one. I’m not much of a solo Diamond Dave fan on record either.

      • i was never a fan of Diamond Dave, even with VH, always thought he was an asswipe. Until he was gone. Then i didn’t realize what i missed. Loathed the Just a Gigolo stuff though.

      • amylee, sorry I disappeared so quickly last night, Mrs. L wanted the computer. I roughly know the area that you are talking about as on my first trip to Boston I walked up Massachusetts Ave to Harvard (caught the MBTA back mind you).

        Our next trip back to the states is next year but we’re off to the sunshine state though I expect we’ll head back to New England at some point in the near future.

      • smart move going to the Sunshine state given the weather this year. From what Shoey said, there wasn’t much sunshine down there this year, but hopefully as compensation they get through hurricane season unscathed this year. Make sure and let him know you’ll be in the area.

  5. An alternative list for your Week1 trip, Leavey.

    Since Michelle Shocked is now persona non grata, We’ll start in the far north with either:
    Tangerine Dream – Alaskan Summer, which is not a fave TD tune, or
    Beau Dommage – La Complainte Du Phoque En Alaska.
    That goes all Waitsian midway through, and is ace.

    Shawn Mullins – September In Seattle, which is quite funky, and on YouTube, or
    2 Tribes – Seattle, which isn’t either.

    I’d have picked exactly the same Oregon tune, but as an alternative, how about
    Richmond Fontaine – The Chainsaw Sea, from the story-telling (I’m loathe to say “Concept”) album The High Country, set around Clatskanie.

    California is almost too big to contemplate, but if you want a couple you may not know:
    Richard Butler – California, which is pleasantly hazy, or
    Bullets And Octane – Cancer California which may get those who’ve read my dismissals of this week’s opening ‘Worms spitting into their Darjeeling!

    Moving on, you may like to float away down:
    Rebel Meets Rebel – Arizona Rivers
    but I can’t do this state without nominating
    Drive-By Truckers – Monument Valley

    And so, we roll into Nevada.
    After the sweaty journey of
    Willard Grant Conspiracy – Christmas In Nevada
    I wouldn’t be able to resist the bright lights provided by
    ZZ Top‘s version of Viva Las Vegas.

    I’m struggling with Idaho, so I’m going for an ever-so-slight cheat:
    Long Ryders – Looking For Lewis And Clark
    Well the Expedition did pass through Idaho!
    And as Dave Mustaine is an Idaho native, we’ll have
    Megadeth – These Boots Were Made For Walking
    Yes, that song. On YT, if you haven’t heard it before.

    You might want to think twice about where you’re making camp:
    If Frank Zappa & Tina Turner – Montana are in the next tent, you may want to move. But don’t go too far, you don’t want to run into:
    Tomahawk – Crow Dance.
    Sleep tight now …. pleasant dreams * mwah-ha-ha-ha! *

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