Back in the UK in the 70s and 80s, I regularly hitch-hiked the motorways to get from one end of the country to the other. Sometimes the driver would be of interest conversationally, such as the one who stopped at every service area to play the pinball machines. I learnt from him how to control the flippers so that by the time we reached Scotland I was a worthy opponent.
Another time, I hitch-hiked in the other direction from Carlisle on the Scottish border some 300 miles or so down to London. My first thought was that I was fortunate to get a lift with a yuppie going all the way in his flashy sports car. It was a memorable ride, but not for taking just four hours for the journey. No, what I remember was that he had but one cassette on a constant loop: the first two albums of Men At Work, and the first would have been one too many.
I’m not overfond of Bob Marley now either. A few years back we stayed with friends in Lubuk Sikaping in West Sumatra. The nearest conurbation is Bukittinggi to the south; on the drive north their driver would insist on playing a Marley hits collection as we drove along the unlit roads. After we had heard the cassette two and half times, he told us that we’d arrived. He didn’t have a watch: just that cassette, and one other which would have been much worse – Celine Dion.
In the early eighties we didn’t have music players which have a few gigabytes to play around with. A cassette would only last 45 minutes, or twice that on auto-reverse. When I was criss-crossing the country on my MZ 250, I’d have a cassette player in the pocket of my Belstaff waterproof jacket with the earpiece headphones (earphones?) secure under my helmet. Steve Hillage’s free album And Not Or was perfect.driving music.
For this compilation, I figured I’d see if I could string together a story with as few familiar tracks as possible. I hope you enjoy the ride, even if you’re stuck in a traffic jam and unable to go as fast as 70kph, let alone 70mph.
01. Blind Blake & Charlie Spand – Hasting Street
02. Lowell Fulsom – Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?
03. Taj Mahal – Six Days On The Road
04. Skin Alley – (Going Down The) Highway
05. Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way
06. Brian Auger & The Trinity w. Julie Driscoll – This Wheel’s On Fire
07. Kokomo – I Can Understand It
08. Man – The Ride And The View
09. Robin Trower – Too Rolling Stoned
10. Khan – Driving To Amsterdam
Where is this cool road?