“Home is where the heart is…” – Pliny the Elder
The Rock Chick and I share a love for the open road. There’s nothing like jumping in the car and driving long distances with music blaring and the wind and sun flowing in the windows. I just have that Jack Kerouac ‘On the Road’-jones, I suppose. While I’ve spent most my life in Kansas City, there’s a gypsy soul in my heart and I love to keep moving. Last week the Rock Chick and I jumped in the car and headed out to points West, to the mountains, to see our daughter and have a little vacation. Things get stressful here at the B&V labs and sometimes you gotta get away… see different stuff, talk to different people, try on different clothes.
Now, I’ll be the first person to admit what a privilege it is to be able to go on a vacation. Not everybody can take off work and actually travel. I will also be the first person on the planet to profess his undying love for my wife and child. We are typically a very good squad to travel with, a very tight-knit group. Those caveats aside… after about three days on the road with my family, I just can’t wait to get back home. I miss my own bed and pillow. I like sitting on my couch in front of my TV drinking my bourbon. Paying $14 a drink didn’t help things. And whilst I love my family, no matter what group you’re traveling with, eventually you’re gonna hit a wall. What starts off nice turns, well, for lack of a better word, crabby. Three people in a confined space doesn’t always work. I travel for my work so my time at home is sacred. Naturally on the back end of my vacation, after spraining my ankle by stepping in a hole, whilst gazing up at the beautiful mountain scenery (because I love the mountains and they hate me… I just don’t perform well at altitude), my thoughts turned to home… which then turned to rock and roll songs about home.
When I got back home last week, I found that we’d finally sold my wife’s deceased father’s home. It’s out in the country, literally in the middle of nowhere. The guy who was renting the place moved out and left a mess. Even at the zenith of my bachelorhood, I couldn’t have imagined living in the filth this guy did. We gathered a squad of intrepid friends who went above and beyond the call of duty and helped us clean out the two barns. It was a dystopian nightmare in those fucking barns, but we cleaned it all up. My thanks to all of them. As I was going through all of my late father-in-law’s belongings, it felt bittersweet. I was close to him. I was glad to be cleaning up the place but kind of sad to let go of this last vestige of “him.”
I have to admit, the sheer volume of stuff in that barn made me think of George Carlin’s definition of home, as just “a place for your stuff.” My father-in-law was a bit of a hoarder. He had over 200 guns. I’m not a gun guy… I’m still baffled by that. More confusing still was his collection of over 180 large, semi-trucks. These were adult Tonka toys. He had a full size road-grader. He had several fire trucks. He needed a really big place for his stuff. As I cleaned out his barn, under a sign that read, “Free Beer… Tomorrow,” I couldn’t help but think about mortality and the passing of time. But more importantly, having just returned home from a brief vacation, I thought about the nature of “home.”
Is “home” just a place for our stuff? Here was this big farm, actually a ranch since he ran cattle on the land, full of big trucks and guns but at the end of the day my father-in-law lived by himself. He always seemed to have a girlfriend, but I never really got to know any of them because as soon as I learned their names, they were gone. I think he was a happy man but do we ever know the mind of others? We got down to see him as much as we could but he lived in a pretty remote area. Is life really about who dies with the most toys wins? Do we just stack up our money and stand on top of it to decide who has the most value?
The only thing that I could come up with as I pondered these deep thoughts in a cavernous barn full of refuse, is that “home” is more than just a building where we keep our stuff. It’s a feeling. I gazed over the group assembled in that barn, three close friends and my wife, and reflected on seeing my wonderful daughter the week before and I realized, “home” is not a building. It’s not what Carlin thought it was, “a place for my stuff”… it’s this network of friends and family. I think Billy Joel sings it best in the song “You’re My Home,” when he sings the line “Well I’ll never be a stranger and I’ll never be alone, wherever we’re together, that’s my home.” Not to be maudlin folks, but as my friend Alfonse always says, “it’s all about love.”
I hope that where you are you are surrounded by family and friends, that you are truly home and happy… As always you’ll be able to find this playlist on Spotify under the title “BourbonAndVinyl.net Songs of Home.” I will add any suggestions to the playlist made in the Comments section… I have to admit, I was surprised at the number of really sad songs about home… what is it about home that causes such longing? There are a host of emotions in these songs… but doesn’t home always evoke a host of emotions? From longing to get back home to longing to hear from someone whose left home… it’s all here.
- Aerosmith, “Home Tonight” – The ending track from Rocks, I love the guitar coda.
- Cinderella, “Coming Home” – These guys were the bluesiest of the hair bands. I’ve always dug them.
- Genesis, “Home By the Sea” – An epic, almost creepy track from them.
- Paul McCartney, “Eat At Home” – Ok this song is about sleeping with your spouse, but the metaphor works.
- The Beatles, “When I Get Home” – Great deep track by the Beatles.
- Neil Young, “Homegrown” – Great track that finally got released on American Stars N Bars.
- Silvertide, “Ain’t Comin’ Home’ – Great little hard rock song from a band the Rock Chick turned me onto.
- Roger Daltrey & Wilko Johnson, “Going Back Home” – Title track from an overlooked gem of an album.
- Led Zeppelin, “Bring It On Home” – Bluesy, bluesy Zep.
- Chuck Berry, “Thirty Days (To Come Back Home)” – Chuck issuing an edict to his woman to get on back home. We all miss somebody out there on the road.
- Bush, “Baby Come Home,” – From the great late period record, The Sea of Memories.
- Scorpions, “Coming Home” – For the Scorpions, home was the stage!
- Eric Clapton, “Lonesome And a Long Way From Home” – From his first eponymous solo album. Great track.
- Boston, “Let Me Take You Home Tonight” – Lame come-on, or great song. I’m leaning toward the latter.
- Delaney and Bonnie, “Comin’ Home” – With sizzling lead guitar by Clapton.
- CSNY, “Our House” – “With two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard…”
- Ozzy Osbourne, “Mama, I’m Coming Home” – Great Ozzy track from a great album.
- The Allman Brothers Band, “Please Call Home” – I love this song. I love both their first two albums Artist Lookback: The Allman Brothers’ First Two Albums, 1969-1970.
- Phil Collins, “Take Me Home” – Phil gets a bad rap, but who doesn’t dig this song?
- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, “Hometown Blues” – I have these all the time… but when I leave I just end up coming back.
- Joe Walsh, “Home” – Laid back, longing from his Barnstorm era.
- Eddie Money, “Take Me Home Tonight” – I hear the Money-man is ill. Here’s to a speedy recovery!
- Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, “Got To Be A Better Way Home” – From Asbury Park’s other great export…
- Bruce Springsteen, “My Hometown” – Speaking of New Jersey…
- Jackson Browne, “The Naked Ride Home” – Title track from a great Jackson Browne LP…in which he convinces a young lady to ride home with him, naked. I could never pull that off.
- Little Steven, “I Don’t Want To Go Home” – From the great Soulfire LP, LP Review: Little Steven’s ‘Soulfire’ A Triumphant Return To His Solo Career.
- Paul McCartney, “(I Want To) Come Home” – The saddest, sweetest song on here.
- White Stripes, “There’s No Home For You Here” – The Stripes say good bye to somebody.
- B.B. King, “Nobody Home” – B.B. doing a great kiss off song. It’s a shame when you can’t go home.
- Bruce Springsteen, “All The Way Home” – From the great Devils And Dust album.
- Tom Petty, “Home” – From the deluxe edition of Highway Companion.
- Billy Joel, “You’re My Home” – The best description of my vacation…
- Gregg Allman, “I Believe I’ll Go Back Home” – Great blues from his next to last solo album, Low Country Blues.
- Motley Crue, “Home Sweet Home” – Classic song by the Crue.
- J. Geils Band, “I’ll Be Coming Home” – I still can’t believe these guys weren’t bigger in the 70s. What a great, overlooked band.
- Blind Faith, “Can’t Find My Way Home” – “Cuz I’m wasted and I can’t find my way home…” I think we’ve all been there.
- Elvis Presley, “Stranger In My Own Home Town” – The King, returning to Memphis and finding himself a stranger.
- Iggy Pop, “Home” – From the great, Brick By Brick.
- Neil Young & Crazy Horse, “Country Home” – A quintessential 7-minute jam from Neil and most importantly, the Horse!
- Rod Stewart, “Oh God, I Wish I Was Home Tonight” – Rod doing the “call my girlfriend back home” song.
- The Vaughan Brothers, “Long Way From Home” – Stevie Ray and Jimmie laying it down.
- Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Comin’ Home” – Good ol’ southern rockers, headed home.
- David Byrne, “Everybody’s Coming To My House” – A song in which David invites everyone to his house, and then sings, “And I’m never going home.” Hysterical.
- Robert Cray, “I Can’t Go Home” – People forget how big the bluesman became in the late 80s.
- Led Zeppelin, “Baby Come On Home” – Early track that only came out on an album on Coda.
- Sam Cooke, “Bring It On Home To Me” – The best voice in the world, doing one of the best songs in the world.
- Simon & Garfunkel, “Homeward Bound” – The folkies best song in my opinion.
- The Allman Brothers, “Leave My Blues At Home” – Steppin’ out and leaving your blues at home… God knows we all need to get out more.
- Roger Waters, “Home” – “Everybody has a place, they call home.”
- Buffalo Springfield, “On The Way Home” – This upbeat Neil Young track sums up how I feel when we load the car for the trip home…
- U2, “A Sort of Homecoming” – Epic, earnest… “I am coming home…”
- Stephen Stills, “Go Back Home” – Gut bucket blues… I seem to be drawn to bluesy numbers for this playlist.
- Bruce Springsteen, “Long Walk Home” – One of his finest late period songs. About geopolitics but it works.
- Foreigner, “Long, Long Way Home” – Epic rock song.
- Steely Dan, “Home At Last” – Steely Dan chronicling Odysseus’ famous trip home from the Trojan Wars.
There it is folks! Hug a loved one. Cheers!