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Music for Driving Through California

Stephen Feldman

The Trip

The invite was to a friends wedding in Pasadena - what a great excuse for a trip (as if we really need an excuse). I immediately starting planning the trip. I figured that if we flew into San Francisco we could drive up to Napa Valley for a week and then drive down the coast road. See all the sights, stop in all the right places and then head on into Pasadena for the wedding.

Hertz was my first call. Since this was going to be a classic road trip I opted for a Mustang convertible. The drive from Napa down the coast is not a short one and I wasn't too sure about the reliability of decent radio stations (Hertz had no idea what satellite radio was) so I started to think along the lines of about 10 hours of road music - California road music. The CD that evolved has since become a family cult disc.

The first night we stayed at the St. Francis and had a great dinner outdoors in an alley right off the square in a little place recommended by a friend. The next morning we were on the road early and as we crossed the Golden Gate bridge we started out listening to "Mustang Sally" by Wilson Pickett, followed by "I left my heart in San Francisco" by Tony Bennett. Well, now, you get the idea.

In Napa we stayed at the Embassy Suites. I prefer multiple rooms and space to canopied bed B&B's, and it was great. It is very wine country and not your standard Embassy Suites operation. That night we wined and dined royally at Mustards Grill.

Up at 5am the next morning we headed out to a rendezvous for a morning hot air balloon ride over the valley. What a marvelous adventure! I included lunch at a nearby vineyard. That night we dined at Bouchon, the French Laundry's little sister (just a year old at the time and we still had a hassle getting a reservation 2 months ahead of time) but I would recommend it highly. The next day we did a catered lunch on the Wine Train ending up at the Grigich Hills Winery for a tour and then dessert and coffee on the train back to Napa.

Leaving the Valley early the next morning to the tune of "California Dreamin'" by the Beach Boys, we headed down the coast. As we passed San Francisco we were listening to all the old music scene stuff by the Who, The Dead, Procol Harem, plus The Eagles "Life in the Fast Lane" on our way to Carmel. We have a friend who owns the French restaurant in town so we had booked the Artist Suite at the Tradewinds for the night. Dinner at La Boheme was great.

Passing all the small surfing towns the next day we were well into Jan & Dean and the Beach Boys tunes on our way into Santa Barbara. We stayed at the Oceana (we wanted to be on the water) and dined overlooking Santa Barbara at El Encanto up in the hills. Another unique situation that I would recommend highly. Leaving Santa Barbara to the likes of Free Ride, The Doobie Bros and Hotel California, The Eagles thru Randy Newman's "I Love LA", we pulled into Old Pasadena to the strains of, what else but, "The little old lady from Pasadena" by Jan and Dean, just in time to meet friends for dinner.

I will recommend the The Raymond in Pasadena for dinner. A garden setting and kitchen of the first order. Or as the review says: "With its easy-to-miss setting in a sleepy part of Pasadena, the Raymond is a jewel few locals even know about. This Craftsman cottage was once the caretaker's house for a grand Victorian hotel called The Raymond. Though the city has grown to surround it, the place maintains an enchanting air of seclusion and serenity. Chef/owner Suzanne Bourg brings a romantic sensibility and impeccable culinary instincts to dishes that are mostly haute American--with an occasional European flair."

I would like to tell you that we flew home to Liza's "New York,New York," but after turning in the car and all the excitement of the wedding we passed out on the plane and couldn't wait to get home.

All in all I had a ball putting the list together and it worked out just as planned. Next time you think trip, start thinking music and have a go at it.

The Playlist

"Mustang Sally" - Wilson Pickett

"I Left My Heart in San Francisco" - Tony Bennett

"Wipe Out" - The Surfaris

"Roll on Down the Highway" - Bachman-Turner Overdrive

"Bad Company " - Bad Company

"California Dreamin' " - Beach Boys

"California Girls" - Beach Boys

"Fun fun fun" - Beach Boys

"Little Deuce Coupe" - Beach Boys

"Little GTO" - Beach Boys

"Surfing Safari" - Beach Boys

"Surfin' USA" - Beach Boys

"Wipeout" - Beach Boys

"Travelin' This Lonesome Road" - Bill Monroe

"Summertime Blues" - Blue Cheer

"Green Onions" - Booker T & the MG's

"On the Road Again" - Canned Heat

"Born On The Bayou " - CCR

"Free Ride" - Edgar Winter Group

"Hot Rod Lincoln" - Commander Cody

"Six Days on the Road" - Dave Dudley

"Mercury Blues" - David Linley

"Highway Star" - Deep Purple

"Rockin' Down the Highway" - The Doobie Brothers

"Free Ride" - The Doobie Brothers

"Hotel California" - Eagles

"Life In The Fast Lane" - Eagles

"Peaceful Easy Feeling " - Eagles

"Driven' My Life Away" - Eddie Rabbitt

"Free Ride" - Edgar Winter

"Ride, Ride, Ride" - Foghat

"Slow Ride" - Foghat

"Jewish Princess" - Frank Zappa

"The Race Is On" - George Jones

"Move it On Over" - George Thorogood & The Destroyers

"New, New Minglewood Blues" - Grateful Dead

"Cocaine" - Grateful Dead

"Truckin'" - Grateful Dead

"Running on Empty" - Jackson Browne

"Little GTO" - Jan & Dean

"Dead Mans Curve" - Jan & Dean

"Ball & Chain" - Janis Joplin

"Me & Bobby McGee" - Janis Joplin

"Mercedes Benz" - Janis Joplin

"Somebody to Love" - Jefferson Airplane

"White Rabbit" - Jefferson Airplane

"All Along the Watchtower" - Jimi Hendrix

"Take Another Road" - Jimmy Buffett

"The Wind Cries " - John Mayer

"California Dreamin'" - Jose Feliciano

"Six Days on the Road" - Dave Dudley

"Walk On The Wild Side" - Lou Reed

"Dead Skunk" - Loudon Wainwright III

"Freebird" - Lynyrd Skynyrd

"Ballad of Thunder Road" - Robert Mitchum

"White Line Fever" - Merle Haggard

"A Whiter Shade of Pale" - Procol Harum

"Lord, I'm Coming Home" - Red Foley

"Higher Ground" - Red Hot Chili Peppers

"King of the Road" - Roger Miller

"I Can't Drive 55" - Sammy Hagar

"Black Magic Woman " - Santana

"Come On Eileen" - Dave Ferris

"Six Days on the Road" - Sawyer Brown

"The Race Is On" - Sawyer Brown

"Leader of the Pack" - The Shangri-Las

"I Want To Take You Higher" - Sly & The Family Stone

"Born to Be Wild" - Steppenwolf

"The Wind Cries Mary" - Sting

"Summertime Blues" - Stray Cats

"California Girls " - The Beach Boys

"Little Deuce Coupe" - The Beach Boys

"Surfing USA " by Beach Boys

"Wipeout" (original) - Ventures

"Long Train Runnin'" - The Doobie Brothers

"Break On Through " - The Doors

"LA Woman" - The Doors

"Hotel California" by Eagles

"The Guess Who - American Woman"

"America - Ventura Highway"

"Wild Thing" - The Troggs

"Summertime Blues" - The Who

"The Wind Cries Mary" - Jimmy Hendrix

"Wild Thing" - The Troggs

"Running with the Devil " - Van Halen

"Walk, Don't Run" - The Ventures

"On the Road Again" - Willie Nelson

"I Love La" - Randy Newman

"The Little Old Lady" - Jan and Dean

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