Yeppers, folks, the list you've all been waiting for! Whether you're hitting the holiday road this summer, searching for fun in the sun - or staying in town working all summer - everyone knows you're gonna need some great songs for cruising! Here's what's in Nettiemac's car this summer, and I proudly present to you my picks for Summer '99 (in no particular order)!
Music for All Occasions by The Mavericks. No, I haven't gone crazy -- hear me out! If you want to hear real country music, don't go for the big-smiling, too-cute boys in hats. Instead, go for these men, who sing about love, life, and everything in between. This is what's been playing in my car for the last couple of weeks, with everything from cool honky-tonk sounds to tender ballads. While for me, just about anything by the Mavericks will do, this one remains my favorite pick.
Bat Out Of Hell by Meatloaf. Mr. Loaf's debut album makes almost any good list of mine. I don't know why it's so appealing to me, but there are some things you just don't analyze. Last year, as I headed to the beach, this one was on auto-reverse all the way down there. It must have made at least 5 trips through the old tape machine (which is probably why the machine is on the fritz now), and it never got old. I must have sung every song to death, and couldn't get enough of it.
Grease (movie soundtrack). The perfect summer sing-a-long; it's pure fun, and you know exactly where the song is in the movie. I have a bad tendency to do hand motions to "Greased Lightning" while driving -- and I bet half the people who saw me thought I was an idiot, while the other half began singing, "Greased lightning, go greased lightning..." The original Broadway soundtrack isn't bad either, but for those of us who grew up with Olivia and John, no other version will do.
Songs You Know By Heart by Jimmy Buffett. It wouldn't be a summer without tunes by the Big Kahuna of the Parrothead Nation. Here's one you'll hear almost everywhere you go this summer. This one's especially good to keep with you, when you're sitting in traffic and wishing you were anywhere else. It's a great mental escape to the Keys and to the good life. And if I could make a living as a beach bum, God knows I would! So grab onto your shaker of salt, and enjoy the tunes!
Big Ones by Aerosmith. I admit, I've given the bad boys from Beantown a bit of grief lately. Still, if I had to pick any of their stuff for traveling music, this is the one. I know it will be in my case this summer. This is the best of everything from Permanent Vacation forward (pre-Nine Lives, though), and it's a winner for putting the top down, letting your hair down, and being free to do what you want!
Grand Strand Gold (compilation). Okay, at least that's what this album was called when I bought it about ten years ago. It's had several incarnations since, all put out by Ripete Records of South Carolina. You will hear these songs all over the Carolina coast, from Myrtle Beach to Beaufort. And if you're looking for the best in pure Carolina beach sounds, then look no further. Put this one in, and prepare to shag the night away, baby! Special note: in South Carolina, "shagging" is dancing. The shag is the official state dance; there's a movie about it, go check it out. Still, we had lots of fun in college explaining to our British exchange students that for only $10, they could have six weeks of group shag lessons!! :-)
Boston by Boston. This one's just a great hard-driving, good-rocking CD that I wouldn't want to be without. Some of the songs may be a bit dated, but the sounds never will be. While again, just about any CD would do, the first is always the best, and these guys are great!
Cracked Rear View by Hootie & the Blowfish. Another great debut album makes the list!! Again, while I like all CD's from H&TB, this one remains my all-time favorite. It's just pure infectious pop, and it's always good for a smile and a light heart. And isn't that what vacations are for -- forgetting all your troubles and being lighthearted for a time? Enjoy!
Greatest Hits (both volumes) by the Eagles. I hear you saying, "Ugh! These songs are so old, so jaded, so dated." And in spite of all your best intentions, you listen to them over and over again. Why? Well, if you're like me, it's almost as if these songs are the soundtrack to your life. And the underlying thoughts and feelings of the songs don't go away -- in some ways, they seem more true the older you get. Update: Just go ahead and the "Very Best of" (the 2-CD set). Way more songs, including some of the truly good ones that should have been on the original 2 GH's.
Big Chill (soundtrack). If you want a great sing-along album, then this is the one! This one hearkens back to the days when the highest compliment a song could get was that it had a "good beat and you can dance to it." If you're up for a heavy dose of the Motown sound, with a bit of other good-time stuff thrown in, then you can't go wrong with this one!
Rubber Soul by the Beatles. For me, this is the best of all the Beatles albums. It's less pop-oriented than Meet the Beatles or Hard Day's Night, but it's also not quite as trippy as Sgt. Pepper's. The songs are catchy and good to sing along with, and you'll enjoy them!
Latin: Colors of the World (compilation). Colors of the World is a collection of compilations issued by Allegro Records. Others in the series include a sample with songs from all over, a Celtic compilation, and and African compilation. This one is great for hot rhythms -- from the rumba to the conga to the tango, it's all here, and it's all good! This one definitely gets you moving!
Metallica by Metallica. Also known as The Black Album, this one's an excellent choice for hard-driving music. While I'm not a metal-head, Metallica is one of my metal picks (along with AC/DC's Back In Black). If you're looking for something to bang your head to while driving, you can't go wrong with this one!
Rock of the 80s, any volume (issued by Priority Records). Yes, I admit with pride that I am a child of the 80s, and there are times I really miss the music. I certainly miss the variety found on the airwaves at the time, and there's something about these albums that take me back. I have several of the volumes in my collection, and they're all excellent.