It is summer time which means it is also traveling time. I have long associated summer with epic road trips and loud music playing on the car stereo. The days of long road trips have passed but the association between travel and road music remains. These days I travel by train or plane and the music comes from my computer. The music helps create new travel memories and recall old trips.
When I first started hitchhiking around the US at the beginning of the 1970s, The Grateful Dead were the premier rock jam band. Their extended sets were perfect for the open highway. Truckin’ has since become a rock standard.
As a hitchhiker you had to listen to whatever the driver was playing. I was someplace in Georgia on my way to Florida when I first heard the Allman Brothers Band. At Fillmore East was beyond compare, and has been considered by some critics to be one of the greatest live albums in rock music. The Dead would become a memory to me only to be played by chance or accident after hearing the Allman Brothers that day. Ramblin’ Man, which was written and recorded much later, gives a sense of the greatness of the Band in a brief, radio friendly song with a sizzling guitar solo.
Canned Heat was never as well known as the Dead or the Allman Brothers but their performance at Woodstock made On the Road Again an anthem for road trippers.
The longer I traveled the more strange people and situations I encountered. Music began to change as well. It was as if the experience of thousands of young men and women on the road was being reflected in the music. The Doors certainly captured the new mood in Riders on the Storm
Well, enough nostalgia for now, I am ready to hit the road for the next six weeks. Before I die, I want to make the same boast that Johnny Cash made.