Playlist for a Memphis-New Orleans roadtrip
November 2, 2007 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Short roadtrip from Memphis to New Orleans. Musical Selections?

So, I'm taking a trip down south. Looking for some music appropriate for a car journey. I was thinking some Sun Records for the Memphis portion. Some blues for the middle. Maybe some Southern Rock.
I'm not much on Zydeco, but I could be persuaded.
Bonus points for songs that mention the journey or sights along the way (Memphis, New Orleans, Mississipi, etc)
posted by madajb to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Certainly Paul Simon's Graceland would be a good selection, and that should be a good entre into some poppy zydeco (mixed with South African music).
posted by luriete at 2:58 PM on November 2, 2007

Johhny Cash, "Big River" would be a good theme song.
posted by four panels at 3:15 PM on November 2, 2007

Essential New Orleans records, off the top of my head:

The Meters - my fave is "Rejuvenation", ymmv.
Dr. John - "Gumbo", "Right Place, Wrong Time"
Professor Longhair - "Gumbo"
Little Feat - "Dixie Chicken", "Feats Don't Fail Me Now" (more of a Baltimore record, but it's still great)
There's a live Neville Brothers record that's pretty great

You're gonna have a great time.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 3:23 PM on November 2, 2007

"City of New Orleans" covers a similar journey. There are a number of renditions, and you might want to pick several as it's quite the earworm.

Also, considering your destination, you should mix in a little old school jazz.
posted by waxboy at 3:41 PM on November 2, 2007

"Me and Bobby McGee" - Janis Joplin
"New Orleans is Sinking" - The Tragically Hip
"Hardcore Hornography" - Michelle Shocked
posted by SBMike at 3:52 PM on November 2, 2007

and of course anything by Louis Armstrong or Jelly Roll Morton
posted by SBMike at 3:54 PM on November 2, 2007

Ike and Tina Turner - Rollin' down the River
posted by chrisamiller at 3:54 PM on November 2, 2007

Besides Sun, Stax and Hi were also Memphis based record companies, so you have a huge amount of Southern soul – from Rufus Thomas and Albert King through to Al Green and Ann Peebles – to chosse from.

There's also a bunch of great "In Memphis" records including Dusty in Memphis (Dusty Springfield), Toots in Memphis (Toots Hibbert, of Toots and the Maytals) and From Elvis in Memphis (Elvis Presley). You should also have some Memphis Slim and Memphis Minnie, of course.

Moving down the road, it's hard to think of many important blues artist who didn't come from that part of Mississippi or a cross the river in Arkansas. A few years ago Muddy Water's old shack on the Stovall plantation was still standing. See if you can find it; it'll give you chills just to stand there.

I'm not sure how close you need to get to New Orleans to pick up WWOZ but once you get within range they'll help you out with the play list. To add to that you need Little Richard (he's from Georgia but his great records were made in New Orleans), Professor Longhair, the Nevilles, Allen Toussaint, Lee Dorsey, The Meters, Guitar Slim, Huey Piano Smith, Irma Thomas and of course Ernie K-Doe (burn, K-Doe, burn).
posted by timeistight at 4:52 PM on November 2, 2007

I've done that trip twice in the last year and listened to a ton of different stuff. The album that most sticks out for me is Mel Brown's Chicken Fat for some strange reason. Some great late 60's southern blues/funky stuff (and it features a tune called 'I'm Goin' To Jackson' which you may very well be going through.)

Some other songs/artists that come to mind:

Memphis, Tennessee - Various Artists (although I like the Johnny Rivers version.)

Both 'Green Onions' & 'Melting Pot' - Booker T & the MG's

Tennessee - Arrested Development

Try A Little Tenderness - Otis Redding

Jambalaya (On The Bayou) - Harry Connick Jr.

Basin St. Blues - Louis Armstrong

Drop Me Off In New Orleans - Kermit Ruffins

King Of New Orleans - Better Than Ezra (questionable but not altogether a bad song)

Proud Mary - Tina Turner

The Battle Of New Orleans - Leon Russell

There are plenty others which given enough time I could probably think of, but for now that should give you a start. Good Luck and enjoy the drive!

(Brief off-topic aside - I asked this question before my first trip and the AskMeFites came up with some great ideas for things to do during the drive.)
posted by Rewind at 6:08 PM on November 2, 2007

You should get some some Creedence. I recommend these songs, or any of their original seven albums:

Green River
Proud Mary
Born on the Bayou
Cotton Fields
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 6:14 PM on November 2, 2007

Black Water - Doobie Brothers
Sweet Southern Comfort - Buddy Jewell
Down at the Twist and Shout - Mary Chapin Carpenter
Ballad of Thunder Road - Robert Mitchum
posted by anaelith at 6:44 PM on November 2, 2007

Them's "Baby Please Don't Go" (down to New Orleans...)
posted by Rangeboy at 10:53 PM on November 2, 2007

Southern rock? Back to the classics then - Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker Band.
posted by Neiltupper at 2:44 AM on November 3, 2007

Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
posted by acorncup at 10:30 AM on November 3, 2007

I agree with several others: Professor Longhair is essential. He is the essence of New Orleans. Great CD: "Rock 'N' Roll Gumbo." His song "Tipitina" (forever linked to the great club by that name) is a must. When you get to the corner of Napoleon and Tchoupitoulas you need to have that song rolling!

Also try Champion Jack Dupree. Try these CD's: "Back Home in New Orleans" and "Won't Be a Fool No More."
posted by lowrypei at 12:42 PM on November 3, 2007

if you're driving on highway 61, listen to 'highway 61 revisited'. i can personally attest that this is an awesome experience.
posted by genmonster at 4:55 PM on November 3, 2007

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