A friend of ours put out a message on the staff mailing list recently. He’s planning a long journey, moving halfway across the country to be with someone he loves, and he was asking for suggestions for driving music. Talk naturally turned to the Ultimate Road Trip Mixtape that we assembled last year. Now, that’s a piece that still holds a special place in my heart. My role was primarily curatorial — assembling and arranging a staggering array of tracks suggested and provided by my fellow volunteers in the Popdose Army — but I was inordinately pleased with the result.

Apparently, I was not alone. A year and a half later, we’re still getting requests to repost the mix, or some of the component songs, both in the comments at the original article and by email. For reasons more logistical than aesthetic, we’ve held off on doing so.

Until now.

When we first assembled our Road Trip mixtape, we were thinking about summertime — but Thanksgiving is actually the biggest holiday for travel in the US, and for those who don’t feel like subjecting themselves to a sexual assault by a minimum-wage TSA staffer at their local airport, that means a long car ride. And so it seems like an appropriate time to revisit an old favorite.

There’s a different mood, though, that comes with the season. A summertime road trip is all about escape, setting off for parts unknown. Autumn, though, is about coming home. College students come back to break bread with family at the same old dining room table, to sleep in their narrow old beds in the rooms their parents saved for them — then return to campus and the institutional brick buildings that now feel more like home than the places where they grew up. Birds migrate to their winter grounds, snarled Vs twisting southward across the sky — and older people head Florida or Arizona to wait out the cold and the snow in rental properties, and talk about selling up the old place, and heading south for good.

Leaving home. Returning home. Sometimes both at once — leaving the place you’ve known, striking out, and making a new life somewhere else.

DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE PACKAGE (three mixes plus CD artwork: 335 MB .ZIP file)
Massive thanks, as always, to Dw. Dunphy, for his fabulous art and design.
Individual mixes are linked below. Selected cuts from the mixes are available as individual downloads, but for best effect, you’re really going to want to listen to the whole thing…

PART ONE: LIGHTS OUT FOR THE TERRITORIES
Full Mix – 1:18:04

I. Get Everybody And Their Stuff Together
(intro: The Blues Brothers)
Tank! (Theme to Cowboy Bebop) – The Seat Belts
Ride – The Vines
The Passenger – Siouxsie and the Banshees
On the Road Again – Canned Heat
Roam – The B-52s

II. Someone Take The Wheel
(interlude: Ralph Spoilsport Mantrum – The Firesign Theater)
Going Mobile – The Who
Harley Davidson – Mick Harvey with Anita Lane
Vehicle – The Ides of March
Dashboard – Modest Mouse
Boss Hoss – The Sonics
The Bumpin’ Contraption – Latyrx

III. No Particular Place To Go
(interlude: Jack Kerouac reads from On the Road)
Missing Person Afternoon – The Story
Trampled Underfoot – Led Zeppelin
Silver Wheels (live) – Bruce Cockburn
Away – The Feelies
Freeway Jam – Jeff Beck
Hang On St. Christopher – The Bulletboys
Burn Rubber On Me – The Gap Band
Gear Jammer – George Thorogood and the Destroyers
(coda: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation)

PART TWO: BROTHER WHERE YOU BOUND
Full mix – 1:18:04

IV. Dangerous Curves
(intro: Back To The Future)
Crash – The Primitives
Panama – Van Halen
I Ride In Your Slipstream – Richard Thompson
Rev It Up – Casual Gods
Car Song – Elastica

V. And You May Ask Yourself, Where Does That Highway Go To?
(interlude: Big Trouble In Little China)
I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash
Orphan Girl – Emmylou Harris
Driving South – The Stone Roses
Highway 49 – Howlin’ Wolf
Tennessee Plates – Charlie Sexton
East Easy Rider – Julian Cope
Roadrunner – The Modern Lovers
Lover – Michael Stanley Band
On The Western Skyline – Bruce Hornsby and the Range
Going In the Right Direction – Robert Randolph and the Family Band

VI. Another Roadside Attraction
(interlude: National Lampoon’s Vacation)
Sunday Afternoon – Blossom Dearie
The Church of Logic, Sin, and Love – The Men
The Last Chance Texaco – Rickie Lee Jones
San Berdoo Sunburn – The Eagles of Death Metal
DizzKneeLand – dada
Trigger Happy Jack (Drive-By a Go-Go) – Poe
Eight Hundred and Thirteen Mile Car Trip – They Might Be Giants
(coda: The Big Lebowski)

PART THREE: LONG WAY HOME
Full mix – 1:17:41

VII. The Hour Of The Wolf
(intro: Days of Thunder)
2, 4, 6, 8, Motorway! – The Tom Robinson Band
Passenger Side – Wilco
(interlude: Big Trouble In Little China, slight return)
The Western Lands – Material with Wm. S. Burroughs
Night Hawks – Crossover
Moonlight Mile – The Rolling Stones
(interlude: Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas)
State Trooper – Cowboy Junkies
Screenwriter’s Blues – Soul Coughing
Radar Love – Golden Earring
(interlude: Airplane!)

VIII: We’re Gonna Get To That Place We Really Wanna Go
Born To Run – Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Formula, Cola, Dollar Draft – Marah
My City Was Gone – The Pretenders
A Million Miles Away – The Plimsouls
Any Ole Stretch Of Blacktop – Shenandoah
On Every Street – Dire Straits
Come A Long Way – Simple Minds
(interlude: Back To The Future, revisited)
Western Lights – Simon Bonney
coda: Road – Nick Drake

But you know what? That’s not all.

If you’re still with us this far down the page, we’ve got a brand new road trip compilation for you — another CD’s worth of traveling music, something a little more seasonally appropriate; a little somber in spots, maybe a little melancholy. Music for migrations and homecomings. You didn’t think we were just going to repeat ourselves, did you? Consider this the reward for the faithful — the bonus disc with the reissue, if you will.

PART FOUR: MIGRATORY INSTINCTS
Full mix – 1:16:01

Long Time Traveller – The Wailin’ Jennys
A Sort of Homecoming (remix) – U2
Moonracing – Bikeride
Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
The Travellers – Big Country
Farewell, Farewell – Martin Carthy with Maddy Pryor
We Came Along This Road – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Big Sky Country – Chris Whitley
Lost – The Church
In the Back Seat – The Arcade Fire
Mile-Marker – The Innocence Mission
The Wheel – Rosanne Cash
Return of the Native – Early Day Miners
Still Water – Daniel Lanois
Go Places – The New Pornographers
Graveldrive – John Cale
A New Career in a New Town – David Bowie
Back of a Car – Big Star
Coming Up Close – ’til tuesday
coda: Always Returning – Brian Eno

Safe home, friends, until we meet again.