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Singing down the highway doing 55Posted Friday, January 14, 2011, at 12:44 PM
It's confession time in the tone of the old Scottish proverb: "Confession is good for the soul."
The confessional question is how many of you sing in your car, truck, van or SUV?
I would wager a cup of coffee that many of you, even those of you who are shy, and more introverted, would admit to singing at some time or another while motoring down the highway or winding around on a Greene County country road.
I'm not talking about those songs all of us probably sang as kiddies while traveling with our parents and the same songs that we later sang as parents ourselves with our own offspring when we went on summer road trip vacations.
You know back in "the day" when buying gasoline for a relaxing venture to Florida didn't require you to take out a mortgage to fill up the tank a couple of times and a good clean motel room was $29 a night.
You can remember the kiddie songs that I'm talking about, like -- "My friend the witch doctor he told me what to say. My friend the witch doctor he told me what to say, he said, 'Ooh, Eee, Ooh Ah, Ah -- Ting Tang Walla Wall Bing Bang".
Does that bring back a memory?
How about "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" or the famous road trip song for families "Row, Row, Row your Boat"?
Those were great songs and still are.
But you know the songs that I'm really talking about are ones you sing alone in your vehicle with the windows rolled up tight so no one can hear you butchering that classic tune.
This is about the songs we sing when we think no one is listening, the ones that may not have anything at all to do with our lives, but we sing them with the same passion as if they did.
These are songs from our teen years that foster memories of days gone by.
I'll be the first to step up and confess -- yes, I sing in the car.
Most of the time I'm in the wrong key and many times I don't know all of the words, but does it really matter? This is not Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, or the Hollywood Bowl, it's my car for heaven's sake.
Who cares if I botch up the song? It's not like I'm auditioning for American Idol or anything like that.
The car is like my own sort of private karaoke night -- without the bar part, and also without the singing-in-front-of-strangers part.
It's my perfect stage.
And to be real honest, when the mood hits me, I sing like a rock star even at the red lights, but I really hope no one is looking.
My family would be surprised to know this, because I'm the guy who generally would prefer to listen to talk radio or a ball game -- any kind of ball game -- rather than music when we are traveling together.
I'm also of the opinion that certain songs are just made to be sung loudly and at high speeds.
Have you ever found yourself getting engulfed in your own little front seat Grammy Award winning stage performance and you look down and the speedometer is frightfully pushing 70 or even 80 mph as you hit that big note?
But don't worry, a recent British study showed that singing in the car is actually safe because it kept you refreshed and prevents you from going to sleep.
So, I ask, what are your favorite songs to sing in the car?
I know the list will vary greatly with age and generation, but I know we all have the ones we like to perform for ourselves.
For me, my "car songs" are not necessarily my all-time favorite songs, but they are tunes that when I hear them on the radio, I want to crank up the volume and sing, sing, sing at the top of my lungs.
Among my favorites are: "On The Road Again" by Willie Nelson; Elton John's "Rocket Man"; "Mustang Sally" by Wilson Pickett; "Born to Be Wild" made famous by Steppenwolf; "Slow Ride " by Foghat; Chuck Barry's "No Particular Place to Go"; "King of the Road " by Roger Miller; "I Can't Drive 55" made famous by Sammy Haggar;" Hit the Road Jack" by Ray Charles; "East Bound and Down" by The Road Hammers; "Free Bird", a classic by Lynyrd Skynryd; "California Dreamin" -- The Mamas and the Papas; and "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by the late John Denver.
There are others, but to avoid future humiliation, I'll stop there and ask what tunes are on your car singing list?
Nick is assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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