“Highway 49” – Howlin’ Wolf
“Further On Up The Road” – Eric Clapton
“51 Phantom” – North Mississippi Allstars
“Highway 51” – Curtis Jones
“Out On The Road” – Jimmy Rogers
“61 Highway” – Mississippi Fred McDowell
“The Highway Is Like A Woman” – Percy Mayfield
“Highway 99” – Lowell Fulson
“Route 90” – Johnny Winter
“Down The Highway” – George Thorogood
“Highway 13” – John Lee Hooker
“Walking The Blues” – Willie Dixon And The Allstars
This time on Nothin’ But The Blues we’ve got the key to the highway.
We’ve devoted the entire edition to the Big Road Blues.
Drinking coffee, in a booth at the ‘Trés Le Parque Blues Lounge & Grill’, we were talking about the chunk of ageing bitumen from Route 66 which a friend had brought back for me from a road trip. Who knows who might have travelled over that piece of tarmac.
Eventually, we began discussing an edition of Nothin’ But The Blues paying tribute to all those great Highways employed by Blues itinerants across the decades, on the route of their journey to the next gig. The next juke joint. The next house party or levee camp.
Those roads also provided the means for a large chunk of the population mostly, from the rural south, to move to a land of opportunity in the north. (And sometimes, to move back again, if things didn’t work out.)
As well, The Blues is littered with tales of transients living out on the road through some personal misfortune – or as a freewheelin’ alternative to being rooted to one city or town.
We decided an edition about Highways was a worthy case to pursue – but we didn’t want to chase down the usual suspects. So, the obvious remains absent. We eschewed any idea of defaulting to songs like “Key To The Highway” (as much as we love Big Bill), “Route 66” (as much as we love Chuck) or “Highway 61 Revisited” (as much as we love Bob.)
Instead, we took the road less travelled approach, which led us to cats like Curtis Jones, Percy Mayfield, Willie Dixon – along with a new release from George Thorogood (sans The Destroyers).
But yeah, I get what you mean, how could we possibly fit all those Highways, Roads, bitumen, gypsies and vagabonds – and walking shoes – into a single hour of hard travellin’ Blues radio?
Press the Play button above for the answers.
As always, thanks for listening.
Gideon Rhyme – Cultural Detective