Friday Five: California Towns
From the deserts of the Mojave Desert to the redwoods of Eureka, California has some of the most diverse geography in the country. Whether it’s the coastline of Big Sur to the towering skyscrapers dotting the City of San Francisco, there’s no shortage of inspiration. It’s no wonder that California towns have made it into a number of songs over the years. Even before it was named the 31st state of the Union way back in 1850, California towns have been the topic of many a song by singers too many to count. Here’s a few of our favorites. What are yours?
5. Avett Brothers – “Pretty Girl from San Diego”
This little tune by the Avett Brothers doesn’t actually mention the city of San Diego anywhere in the lyrics. “They say just do what your heart tells you to/ But sometimes you cannot feel it/ Sometimes you cannot hear it.” Sounds like an EKG is in order.
4. Charlie Walker – “San Diego”
Charlie’s protagonist longs to be under the star-studded skies of San Diego, and “his shoes are homesick for her streets.”
3. Hank Snow and Anita Carter – “Rose of Old Monterey”
This romantic number highlights California’s first city.
2. Waylon Jennings – “San Francisco Mabel Joy”
John Denver, David Allen Coe, Kenny Rogers and Joan Baez are among those that have covered the famous Mickey Newbury song. But for this Friday Five, we’ll go with Waylon Jennings’ version that was on his near-perfect Lonesome. On’ry and Mean album.
1. Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens – “Streets of Bakersfield”
Written way back in 1973 by Homer Joy and performed by Owens over the years, it wasn’t until it was released as a single 15 years later–Yoakam’s Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room album–that it hit #1.
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- Joe Mekler: Not only is this a fun tune with an unusual form but it is politically appropriate for the present times!
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- Ron Estepp: Great toe tapper, dance song and straight lyrics. I need more!