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Montana 2010: Missoula's In The Headlights, But What's On The Stereo? (or, The Top Five Road Trip CDs)

Posted by Tom Chandler 9/22/2010

It's been quiet on the Trout Underground, but it sure as hell hasn't been quiet at TU/Man Cave World Headquarters.

I'm packing for The Underground's Monstrously Epic Montana Road Trip, which is expressly designed to be - as one wag said in an email after reading one too many "extreme fly fishing" articles - The Most Fucking Epic Fly Fishing Trip Since The Cretaceous Period.

That's me.

Prehistoric and epic, and proud of it (you'll see that in my music selections below).

From The 2009 Montana Fly Fishing Road Trip

Meanwhile, I'm on that pre-vacation treadmill - the one where you work yourself into an exhausted, hallucinatory fugue state trying to wrap up all the loose ends, thereby ensuring you won't remember the first half of your vacation.

I guess it's the second half we live for.

The Road Trip

The Subaru is prepped and ready for the trip, shod with a shiny black set of Continentals.

Unfortunately, packing is not going well, and even without the use of my advanced psychic powers, I can safely predict I'll spend Thursday night basically shoveling random gear into the Subaru (some of you are nodding).

That means I'll arrive in Missoula (approximately 14.5 hazy hours after leaving Mt. Shasta) with almost no knowledge about what I actually brought, and little ability to find any of it.

Instead, I'll open the trunk, and - already woozy and roadburned - see little but a heaving, tangled mass of gear, some of which may not have seen light for a decade or more.

Fortunately, [Name Redacted] owns at least two of everything (yes, everything), and because he's even more of a geezer than I am, a lot of it's the killer older stuff that makes my naughty bits feel all tingly.

It's the kind of thing you can get away with when you're fishing with a gear-collecting buddy, but if you packed that way for a trip to the South Pole, they'd never find the body.

The Great Music Quiz

Through most of my life, I've driven beater cars - mechanically sound but lacking unneeded luxuries like air conditioning, working stereos or paint. I have a strong a preference for cars you can drive over 17 miles of potholed road without worrying about the glossy finish, and for the most part, the concept has served me well.

I made the trip to Montana three years ago in a battered, base-model 1987 Toyota pickup, and everything went perfectly (if you ignored 100+ heat).

Last year - with Little M's arrival imminent - we bought Older Bro's 2002 Subaru sedan, which came equipped with bourgeois items like low-profile tires, a tuned suspension, a/c and a stereo.

A great, big, finely tuned stereo that revealed every last delicate sliver of sound, and at (if necessary) great volume.

I could hear every whisper. Or bleed out my ears.

My choice.

Which creates a new problem.

What the hell do I play?

Road Tunes!

A five CD changer hides in the back and the player up front takes loose CDs, so my choices are essentially limitless, but the last thing I want to do is juggle CDs while driving through wildlife territory at 70 mph.

That means five key CDs and let's say three changeable discs, and all have to hold up over a 14-hour drive (which means good enough for two plays each).

And yes, I know I could carry a bazillion songs on an MP3 player, but we don't have a jack for the thing in the car.

So we're back to these archaic CD things. Which could look something like...

Top Five In-Changer CDS

1. Dave Matthews/Under the Table && Dreaming

Obvious, but great, surprising stuff.

2. Paul Simon/Graceland

Music by a genius, lyrics by god...

3. Steely Dan/Aja

(Intentionally left blank)

4. Ricki Lee Jones/Flying Cowboys

Surprised? The lady at her [probably clean] peak, and so beautifully produced by Walter Becker that I am tearing up in an unmanly way just thinking about it.

5.U2/All That You Can't Leave Behind

Sure, my tastes run to quieter stuff with what I'll grandly term "sophisticated" production values, but every once in a while I need something to keep me awake (and help me exceed the speed limit). This is that CD.

Loose CDs

Heart/Dreamboat Annie

Brain cells are bursting everywhere, but this is seriously good stuff (one or two aside). Haven't listened since the 70s? Shame on you...

Dire Straits/Love Over Gold

Never got over this CD, and see no reason to start now.

The Who/Quadrophenia

Sure, it's a two-CD set, but it's my blog, dammit.

Alternates (could be subbed in at any time)


  • Counting Crows/Films About Ghosts

  • The Best of Pete Townsend

  • Bruce Springsteen/Born to Run

  • REM/Document

  • Piles of other stuff...


Special Bonus Points For...

The Ultimate Geezer Mix CD. This could get messy, but yes, I'm building one as we speak. Probably not time to build another.

In truth, narrowing the avalanche of good music down to a tiny pile is a pointless exercise - most of the Undergrounders can name a band or album that I will immediately shuffle into the Top 5, leaving me with something more like a Top 50.

Naturally, the Undergrounders are encouraged to play along, and we promise not to snicker.

See you on the road, Tom Chandler.

AuthorPicture

Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

38 comments
[...] of detailing his annual road pilgrimages to Montana. In my opinion, the best of these posts is, “Montana 2010: Missoula's In The Headlights, But What's On The Stereo? (or, The Top Five Road Tri....” Chandler gets this connection between fly fishing and music. Because road trips, by their [...]
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Hey, you nailed it with that Ernie Hendrickson song! Dan VonFeldt September 24, 2010 at 8:38 am Ernie Hendrickson is a must on any fly fishing trip. The song not much time will be an instant classic! How about Big Trout Radio as well. It will get you in the fishing mood. Dan VonFeldt(Quote)
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Never commented on here before, but this is too special a post to just sit back. Good suggestions abound, but some bands are VERY obvious but their omissions No Stevie Ray Vaughn?? No John Hyatt?? No Johnny Lang? tsk, tsk, tsk. The trout gods could be offended Wolfy
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Hmmmm,waaay to many geezers here(and ain't we a grand bunch) As JJP sez above "Exile on Main St" The Dead(nothing after Terripian Station) Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings(New old school R&B/funk) Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys "Rough Mix" Pete Townsend and Ronnie Lane,if MS hadn't taken him,Lane should have jammed with the Who,very good album Have a great time.....
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It's road geezer time! And for all that ya left out "Exile on Main Street" and "Let it Bleed" by the Stones and "Morrison Hotel" by The Doors. You also need some Monk and Miles for jazz. And Janis Joplin...and Grand Funk Railroad...and...
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That's all well and good; if you want to catch trout, you'll listen to the Funk Brothers.
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Heart? Rikki Lee Jones? If you find these in your "Top 5", why you should.................aw, forget it Heart? Jeebus.
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I never comment on this blog, but this is a serious topic that requires some feedback for nothing, and I mean nothing is more important than the soundtrack to a road trip. Careful consideration needs to be made due to the limited choices you have based upon your refusal to take part in the greatest innovation of the our time, that being the media player (ipod?), in the car. Tom, I will trade you one ... more of those under appreciated Diamond Glass rods sitting in your closet for the technology required to take part in this innovation. First and foremost we are relying on too much Studio work, we are allowed only one studio album, and that will be Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath because frankly it came out in 1969, and where the heck did that come from in 1969, between the dark evil overtones, coupled with the long jazzy sections with the complex changes, will keep you occupied through several listens, and will come in handy if you must pass through an urban area, or if you are sitting in traffic, and you need a little evil to get you through. Second. Any new live recording of Umphrey's Mcgee. This will accomplish the artistic integrity of Yes, the weirdness of Pink Floyd, and the aggression of Iron Maiden wrapped up into a fresh driving sound. Perfect for wide open spaces that needs something to hold your attention on the road. Third. Grateful Dead, but this needs again to be specifically chosen to accomplish the task at hand. I would suggest any high quality show between 1972, and 1976 where they are playing around with some of the country sounds, but still have long jams to provide the soundtrack for portions of the ride with wide open scenery, that you want to compliment, but not overpower. An added benefit is during this time Donna featured as backup vocals, which is useful to make yourself sound good when singing along. Fourth. Old and in the Way, yes I know I am being Garcia heavy, but the live shows from 1972 are some of the finest bluegrass that I have found and enjoyed. This is perfect to provide the soundtrack for those portions of the ride that you are trying to capture a bit of Americana. Fifth. JJ Grey & Mofro. Understand that the North West is not the home of swamp blues, but JJ's soulful voice, and heart felt lyrics strike a chord with the listener, plus the liberal inclusion of Blues standards into his set lists will have even the first time listener singing along . Again the date of the show is up to the individuals discretion. Finally the most important thing is to NOT listen to any of these new shows before you get into the car, keep it all fresh to your ears. All but the studio work can be found on www.archive.org , the second best website to this one of course. Enjoy the trip, and take lots of pictures.
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Ernie Hendrickson is a must on any fly fishing trip. The song not much time will be an instant classic! How about Big Trout Radio as well. It will get you in the fishing mood.
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Didn't forget them, but remember – I'm talking “locked in a car by myself” for upwards of 15 hours, and a few of the above choices just won't work for me on an album level. Boston's a little too loud; Floyd's a little too weird. Put together a mix tape of the above groups and you'd have something. (Quote) Abra Cadabra vs. Wish you wer here? I hear you about the 15 hours in the car. We drove to ... more Jackson Hole a few years ago.... made the mistake to stop for food in Nevada.
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Didn't forget them, but remember - I'm talking "locked in a car by myself" for upwards of 15 hours, and a few of the above choices just won't work for me on an album level. Boston's a little too loud; Floyd's a little too weird. Put together a mix tape of the above groups and you'd have something.
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Collective "we" Ummmmm.... did "we" forget all about Pink Floyd The Beatles Bob Marley Boston Cream Doobie Bros Steve Miller Tom Petty No Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor or John Denver? Heck, no Emmy Lou just to fantasize for a few hours.
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Coldplay, X & Y, Rush of Blood to the Head or Viva la Vida Blue Man Group, The Complex or Audio Otherwise, it sounds like you've got a good selection. I listen to lots of book tapes. They really help pass the time. You listen to them and they help keep you focused on what you're listening to, and before you know it, four hours have gone by. Spenser novels are short and sweet and usually fit on ... more just one or two CD's.
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John Prine John Prine Willie Nelson Johnny Cash John Foggarty
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Defenitly not enough country in your diet Tom, Music that is. The best all time goin fishin song for me is Hank Williams Jr. Country state of mind ! And I quote " Catchin these fish like there going out of style" The best line ever. Other then that I just drive in silence and think about fishing.
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Derek and the Dominoes!
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Not a bay area group in your selection! Second Eat a Peach, Grateful Dead (Workingman's or American Beauty); and try the latest Clapton album, which I believe is called “Clapton”. The last will fit your criteria nicely. (Quote) For local artist, Jackie Greene out of Cameron Park, Ca....he's outstanding young talent.
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Not a bay area group in your selection! Second Eat a Peach, Grateful Dead (Workingman's or American Beauty); and try the latest Clapton album, which I believe is called "Clapton". The last will fit your criteria nicely.
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Huey Lewis and the News-sports!
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I wondered if someone was going to suggest an audio book. I have little experience with them, and might still try it if I can find the time (and the right download). Jim Jarmusch did an audio version of one of the greatest road trip stories ever: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Not sure if there is a download available online somewhere. Don't see one on Amazon or iTunes.
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Greg Brown - Dream Cafe George Winston - December Anything Grateful Dead
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Ditto on the Dead, ABB, but here's a few less obvious.. Chatham County Line - Wildwood (rollin through the pretty parts) Otis Redding - Otis Blue (for the flat unscenic parts) Railrod Earth - Elko (beginning of the drive, "Long Way to Go" is a favorite) Wilco - Sky Blue Sky (one of the best albums start to finish in the last 10 yrs) and of course...PHISH (any live show, anytime!) might just have to ... more plan a road trip myself, thinking about all these great tunes. Enjoy.
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YES!
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Whoops - - Whipping Post is only on the re-released version of Eat a Peach, or try the Fillmore East album for the 30-mile version.
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Some dip and a 24 pack and it all sounds good. Drive at night with the lights off - they'll never see you. Allman Bros- Eat a Peach KD Lang - anything Dire Straits - Sultans and everything Harry suggested.
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Don't hit the road without Wagner. And his work suits the apocalyptic conditions you warn that we face. They just don't write 'em like that any more. If the CFO is along, then it's NPR, of course.
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Excellent! A third vote for Prine (in my experience, seems to be a near universal flyfishers choice). Others: 1) The Band (almost any album - - perhaps a compilation) 2) Allman Bros (Eat a Peach is a start - - you can put a lot of miles under you just during the long version of Whipping Post) 3) Who (Live at Leeds!)
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Please record my vote for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Very, VERY good stuff.
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I wondered if someone was going to suggest an audio book. I have little experience with them, and might still try it if I can find the time (and the right download).
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Again, this explains a lot.
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I received an email suggesting I'm a dreary old horse heading for the glue factory as evidenced by my "docile" choices in music.Here's the rub; we're talking Road Trip Music here. Too many amps in the song and you find yourself bouncing off the walls of the car with another ten hours to go, feeling trapped and restless.Too little wattage in the music, and you're likely to end up asleep and in the ... more ditch.I look for that thin musical line; a middle ground of quality, multi-layered stuff that keeps you absorbed - but not over-amped.It's the kind of music where you're cruising, life is good, you're calm, you're happy, and it just doesn't matter you've got ten more hours ahead of you...
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How could I forget this one? Eagles Live -the first live double cd they did
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My choices: Eric Clapton-One More Car, One More Rider ( 2 cd set) Bonnie Raitt-Road Tested (2 cd set) Derek Trucks Band- Roadsongs (2 cd set) and for a change of pace Dwight Yoakum-Guiters, Cadillacs & Hillbilly Music Lyle Lovett-Mama Don't Tolerate
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Second some Jon Prine....... John Lee Hooker..... guilty pleasure fun bouncy stuff.... my nephew loved the movie Second Hand Lions (not sure but I may be one of those uncles shoot at just one or two random folks and suddenly you're some kind of nut job) He was really young and loved the Rolling Stone from Texas song played in the movie... Don Walser goofy cowboy music but fun and good for making you ... more grin like an idiot and tap your foot....as you blaze a trail toward big browns taking hoppers Also an audio book of something with action an airport kind of read like Jack Higgins ...
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Van Halen (not Van Hagar) By the third album you wish that old lady would step off the curb onto your street.
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Gotta tell ya, I love those picks. Could definitely fill those long miles on the road. Led Zeppelin IV Beatles One Yo Yo Ma Cello Suites (this can be sleeping music so you definitely don't want to play this unless well caffeinated) Annie Lennox Medusa Pink Floyd The Wall Of course, I've got the plug in my car for the ipod so I'm taking along all bazillion songs in the collection.
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John Lee Hooker Radiohead Matthew Sweet Big Head Todd and The Monsters The Pretenders Elvis Costello Emmylou Harris
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John Prine Greatful Dead Jimmy Buffett The Bay City Rollers That should get you to Montana
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