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Driving With “The Ride”

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We spent most of our vacation driving to and fro in the “high country” of North Carolina from our base in Boone: cruising the beautiful but treacherous Blue Ridge Parkway (home of fog thick enough to eat for dinner), rolling on down to Asheville (where resides the 8,000 acre Biltmore estate – opulence and practicality wrestle – opulence kicks the shit out of practicality), zipping over to twee Blowing Rock (that’s a town name just begging for substantial abuse), and so on and so forth.

In the process of our daily drives, we stumbled upon a near-great classic rock station out of Charlotte, “97.5 The Ride.” Being (now) 45 (it happened on the trip), and having listened maniacally to rock music for the last 35 years or so, I need to listen to a “classic rock” station – with the same old same old same old same old shit over and over again – like I need a barium enema.

But hearing a combo of crunchy, riffy, poppy, jam bandy, psychedelic, soulful rock music roughly from the period of ’65-’80 that hasn’t been beaten into sonic road-kill over the last quarter-century was soothing balm to my jaded ears.

Check out this playlist from 11AM until 2PM today:

JANIS JOPLIN MERCEDES BENZ
11:01 am DOOBIE BROTHERS TAKIN’ IT TO THE STREETS
11:05 am
11:05 am SMALL FACES ITCHYCOO PARK
11:07 am FLEETWOOD MAC MONDAY MORNING
11:10 am
11:10 am ROD STEWART THE FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST
11:14 am JOAN BAEZ THE NIGHT THEY DROVE OL’ DIXIE DOWN
11:17 am
11:17 am DOORS LIGHT MY FIRE
11:24 am STEELY DAN PEG
11:28 am
11:28 am LED ZEPPELIN DAZED AND CONFUSED
11:35 am NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND MR. BOJANGLES
11:38 am
11:38 am TONY JOE WHITE POLK SALAD ANNIE
11:42 am STEALERS WHEEL STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU
11:45 am
11:45 am MUNGO JERRY IN THE SUMMERTIME
11:48 am
11:48 am ANIMALS BRING IT ON HOME TO ME
11:51 am EAGLES WITCHY WOMAN

12:00 pm JETHRO TULL LOCOMOTIVE BREATH
12:04 pm AMERICA TIN MAN
12:07 pm
12:07 pm BEATLES STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER
12:11 pm CARLY SIMON ANTICIPATION
12:15 pm
12:15 pm GEORGE HARRISON MY SWEET LORD
12:19 pm JACKSON BROWNE SOMEBODY’S BABY
12:23 pm
12:23 pm ZOMBIES TELL HER NO
12:25 pm JUDY COLLINS BOTH SIDES NOW
12:28 pm
12:28 pm CANNED HEAT ON THE ROAD AGAIN
12:31 pm AL STEWART TIME PASSAGES
12:36 pm
12:36 pm BEE GEES TO LOVE SOMEBODY
12:39 pm HARRY CHAPIN CAT’S IN THE CRADLE
12:43 pm
12:43 pm DEREK & THE DOMINOS LAYLA
12:50 pm
12:50 pm ARLO GUTHRIE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS
12:54 pm PAUL SIMON 50 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR LOVER

YES ROUNDABOUT
1:08 pm GARY WRIGHT DREAM WEAVER
1:12 pm
1:12 pm ROLLING STONES THE LAST TIME
1:16 pm LOGGINS & MESSINA DANNY’S SONG
1:20 pm
1:20 pm CROSBY STILLS & NASH SUITE: JUDY BLUE EYES
1:27 pm
1:27 pm SPENCER DAVIS GROUP I’M A MAN
1:30 pm FLEETWOOD MAC DREAMS
1:34 pm
1:34 pm IDES OF MARCH VEHICLE
1:37 pm DAVID ESSEX ROCK ON
1:40 pm
1:40 pm BEATLES SOMETHING
1:43 pm HOLLIES LONG COOL WOMAN (IN A BLACK DRESS)
1:46 pm
1:46 pm
1:46 pm STEELY DAN BLACK COW
1:51 pm CHICAGO SATURDAY IN THE PARK

Not afraid to play the hits, not afraid to go deep into an artist’s catalog, full of real surprise, the music was a joy to behold. In five days I only heard a handful of repeated tunes, and while I’m sure I would get sick of it over time – I always do – for a week it was pure pleasure.

I only turned away from the station once because of the music: they played a freaking Air Supply song and I about popped a gonad, but other than that my only complaint is the canned presentation. No live DJ (once an hour a recorded voice was dropped in saying something like, “and that was Fleetwood Mac – did you know Stevie Nicks was a syphilitic toot-monster through the late-’70s and early-’80s?”), portentious station voice for repetitive promos and IDs (“the greatest music of all time”? Mozart might disagree) – I hate the depersonalization of radio, but at least The Ride is filling in the uprooted DJ chatter with something useful. Ride on.

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About Eric Olsen

  • Eric Olsen

    That was not “the Ride” that played the Air Supply, unless you were enjoying it subliminally when I was asleep.

    I enjoyed listening to music that made me feel a little closer in age to you than is the norm.

    Hey, sit back and enjoy, “The Ride”.

  • Eric Olsen

    Okay, I take it back about Air Supply – I feel a lot better actually.

  • http://gratefuldread.net/fando/ Natalie Davis

    Ooh, I *love* those classic-rock stations too, especially when I’m behind the steering wheel and on the road. And I share your antipathy for the ClearChannelization of radio. Where are the live jocks with wit, intelligence, knowledge, and passion? Oh yeah, they (myself included) are generally too old to be attractive to modern radio.

    Count me in as another one who is all out of love for the Aussie duo, but then, I never had it to begin with. I would guess that the Air Supply must have been on another station — one of those lite-music atrocities, perhaps.

  • Eric Olsen

    Dawn reminded me that we heard it in a restaurant that I thought was playing The Ride, but was actually running a canned program somewhat similar to The Ride. I became confused.

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