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*8.05-ON THE ROAD AGAIN (Canned Heat)

Canned Heat

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[Intro]

Well, I'm so tired of crying, but I'm out
On the road again,
I'm on the road again.
(2x)
I ain't got no woman
Just to call my special friend.

You know the first time I traveled out
In the rain and snow,
In the rain and snow.
(2x)
I didn't have no payroll,
Not even no place to go.

And my dear mother left me when
I was quite young,
When I was quite young.
(2x)
She said "Lord, have mercy
On my wicked son."

[Break]

Take a hint from me, mama, please
Don't you cry no more,
Don't you cry no more.
(2x)
'Cause it's soon one morning
Down the road I'm going.

But I ain’t going down that long
Old lonesome road
All by myself.
(2x)
I can't carry you, baby,
Gonna carry somebody else.

[Coda]


So far as I know, Dr. John had done it first, marrying music derived from voodoo rites in a Louisiana swamp with psychedelic effects in January 1968. But Dr. John’s first album, Gris Gris, had failed to chart anywhere. Now, with Summer coming on, Canned Heat, a group from Los Angeles, introduced themselves to Top 40 radio with a song recorded by Floyd Jones in 1953, its roots in Delta Blues dating back to the 1920s. It was the first successful attempt of psychedelic blues to make it on the U. S. charts. On The Road Again turned out to be a bigger hit in Britain than it was in the U.S.

The Summer of 1968 would later introduce the swamp rock delivery of Suzie Q, mixed with psychedelic music, that would launch the career of Creedence Clearwater Revival. The greater acceptance of Blues forms in psychedelic music during that Summer would help to further audience acceptance of the early boogie-woogie phase of the Grateful Dead, and stoke the popularity of Janis Joplin, who had her first hit on the U.S. charts with Big Brother and the Holding Company's Piece of My Heart.

The tambura droning from start to finish of the song provided the psychedelic atmosphere, and also the “heat” of a Summer day reminiscent of cicadas thrumming in the background while moving along an asphalt highway. Never had the tambura been featured so prominently in a Top 40 record, and it proved an excellent balance for Alan Wilson’s blues harmonica playing, which punctuates the end of the first line of each verse with a lilt and provides the break with some improvisation. Wilson sings the song in a falsetto said to be similar to Skip James, another famed bluesman. On the Road Again proved that the blues and psychedelic music could find common ground together, and as 1968 progressed, much successful psychedelic music would be grounded in the blues tradition.

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