It Ain’t No Famous Name On a Golden Plaque: The 52 State Pick-Up Mix, Part 11
We are finally near the end of the road trip mixtape across the United States of America, though we might have had to fly once or twice, not just drive. This week is what I call Outliers and Endpoints — the areas on the tips, near the edge, or out on their own. We have a northeast corner, a southeast corner, our nation’s capitol, the state that could be it’s own country, and the territory that could be it’s own country; due to capitalism and colonialism, we are all one great nation of gross national product.
“There are no songs about Maine,” I was warned, and I knew she wasn’t counting the college drinking song because that is some super last resort isht. Luckily, there are a couple songs about Maine, including one by John Linnell of They Might Be Giants. He actually did an album of state songs, though there’s only 15 covered, not 50. The clip for the Maine song is actually the demo version, and it’s ok, but I decided to go with another beloved whiney voice singer, The Mountain Goats. He probably has 15 songs himself about going to various states, and so while this doesn’t have lyrics exalting the wonders of the Pine Tree State and Vacationland, it is a safe remote destination for a fleeing couple.
I thought at first the Sunshine State would be hard because I couldn’t think of any songs mentioning the state explicitly, but after some surface scratching, I was overwhelmed with the options. This could be a chance to include Muddy Waters on the mix! I know Snarky would be happy to see Slow Hand appear! And I came close to picking this Superchunk song just cause I like it a lot! But in the end, I went with the late, great Vic Chesnutt, who departed from this world almost exactly a year ago and hopefully, finally, found some sweet relief.
As you can imagine, there are a LOT of songs about Texas, and I even love the classic Deep In the Heart of Texas (as sung by Pee Wee Herman and strangers). I knew I had to choose well, less the wrath of the Lone State State rain fire on my head, so I call upon Tanya Tucker to protect me. A native of Texas, she started as a teen country star in the early 70s and a short time after she became part of the popular Outlaw country movement that included Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. She spent some time in LA in the 80s where dated Don Johnson and Andy Gibb, got sober, returned to country, and has her own record label now. This 1978 classic song about how Texas is her heart and where she wants to go when she dies is also one of the songs at the heart of her career. Keep on, Tanya Tucker!
Are there other songs about the District? Besides, I do like cheers.
This last song on the mix, a salsa classic by Orquesta Narvaez, is one of the first songs that inspired me to put all these songs together in the first place (along with Rhode Island is Famous for You) because it got me thinking about expressing love and pride in a home region. I did research on other tracks that mention Puerto Rico just in case I’d find something to replace this salsa classic, and instead I just stumbled upon Vaya Con Dios, a Belgian group that sings a song about Puerto Rico.…without having been there, I believe. Look, I haven’t been there either, but I know better than that. Juan es su nombre! This song perks you up on a Saturday morning, even if snow is falling out your window.
And there we have it — the 52 State Pick-Up mix. But wait….there’s more! Next week will be a special bonus disc to add to your collection, so stay tuned for one more edition next Saturday.
Thanks to everyone who has been playing along at home and commenting along the way!