I was born a rambling man. For whatever reasons, the song “Ramblin’ Man” from the Allman Brothers Band just strikes a chord in my heart. Now I do not claim to be the “Travelin’ Man” that Rick Nelson sings about in the song of the same name. I am able to claim to have visited about half of the United States and several countries in Europe. Some of my favorite travel memories come from London and areas that surround that great city.
I guess there are songs that make us all think of travel or want to travel. There are the songs we sing along with as we ride down the highway. There are songs that we hear by chance that always bring a smile and wish to be “On the Road Again” just like Willie Nelson.
I’m not sure what the first song was that made me think about travel. Maybe it was “Deep in the Heart of Texas” sung either by Gene Autry or Bing Crosby. Perhaps it was “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” played by Glenn Miller’s Orchestra. I just know that music and travel seem to go hand in hand.
Kansas City is a city of some distinction sitting as it does in both Kansas and Missouri, but the reason I have always felt the need to go to “Kansas City” was Wilbert Harrison telling me about those pretty little women there! Maybe I was just jealous of Hank Snow as he sang “I’ve Been Everywhere.”
It does not take a lot to make me want to visit New York City. I actually think I could live there if I had enough money. But whenever I hear Frank Sinatra or anyone else sing to me about “New York, New York,” I think, yeah that’s my kind of town.
Why do some songs work just right for the cities or states they celebrate? I have no idea, but is there anything better than Elvis Presley singing “Viva Las Vegas” to make you want to pack your bags and head out to the bright lights of Las Vegas? There are many songs that draw you down to New Orleans. New Orleans even has its own music and musicians that are like no others. That said, I still want to hope on the train “City of New Orleans” and head south with Steve Goodman and Arlo Guthrie.
Some songs just make you want to be out on the road. Who hasn’t pictured riding in that truck with Janis Joplin and Kris Kristofferson and singing along with “Me and Bobby McGee?” Who doesn’t feel the urge to rev up a motorcycle and hit the road when Steppenwolf starts urging us to be “Born to be Wild”?
Even with the desire to travel and hit the road as often as I possibly can, I still want to head back home at some point. Whether it is Simon and Garfunkel singing about being “Homeward Bound” or Gladys Knight and the Pips singing about that “Midnight Train to Georgia,” at some point I want to come home. I guess I’m lucky that we have “Georgia On My Mind” as a state song and a singer like Ray Charles to make me really think of home whenever that song is played.