Friends and family have by now figured out that once I really like an author, program, musician, or any topic that interests me, etc. that I try to find all information available about them. So it is with the NPR program Car Talk with Tom and Ray Magliozzi, aka Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers. Sadly, Tom passed away several years ago; however, the show continues in reruns. Even if you don’t know a thing about cars, you’ll enjoy the show. I tuned in every week just to hear the sound of the brothers’ laughter. (No, they never discussed wheelchair repair, motorized or otherwise, but I bet more than a few listeners would have been happy if they had.)
I was looking for a copy of Springsteen’s CD Born to Run in my library’s online audio selections and came up with Born Not to Run: More Disrespectful Car Songs, Volume 2. I was surprised to find it under Audiobooks. I checked it out…and then nearly fell on the floor laughing as I listened. The first song parodied how when women gather in a book group, they talk about everything. But when guys get together, they talk about–you guessed it–cars. However, this is not always the case. Another one I liked better was “If She Wasn’t on Blocks” (She’d Be a Great Car.) I felt for the narrator of “It’ll be me by the side of the road next to a pile of junk.” “You Dance Like You Drive” tells the story of a guy, newly released from the hospital, who meets his current girlfriend as she nearly runs him over offering him a ride home. It contains the immortal line: “I guess this is where love and terror meet.”
And who hasn’t wondered “Who Taught These Idiots to Drive?”–another great song. I could also relate to the guy begging his car to last just one more year. But the best was a fed-up guy in church (cue the organ music), praying, “O car, please don’t die on me….”
Then I discovered Disrespectful Car Songs, Volume 1–and laughed even harder. I played this one over and over for my aunt, who also thought they were funny. Here are my top favorites:
“Somebody Help Me Push My Car”–Very relatable, especially when remembering the times my wheelchair died–sometimes in the middle of the road–and people pushed
“You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me Loose Wheel” — HILARIOUS!! Sung to the tune of “Lucille.” When this Kenny Rogers hit was new, this was a family favorite to sing along with on the radio.
“Singin’ in My Car”–This is for everyone who wants to sing, and simply can’t. But they do it anyway for the sheer joy of it. Who among us hasn’t had the rock star fantasy–with the most awesome guitar riffs ever– and loves to belt out favorite songs?
“Duct Tape”–This one is sung in a round. Not only is the duct tape missing, but the singer’s romantic partner has left, too. Listeners hope everything will work out all right.
“Under the Wrench”–For anyone with a beloved classic car that they don’t want to give up on.
I wonder if each of these groups and individual performers could nail the songs in one take without even cracking smiles. I’ll never know….
Happily, episodes of the actual show are available to enjoy in audio format and are organized around themes. I haven’t listened to these yet, but I’m looking forward to it.
On a more serious note, people really do get attached to their cars. I remember my uncle on the phone with the mechanic, asking about his light blue Ford, “When should I bring her in?” he asked anxiously.At the age of 4, I remember my uncle lifting me up and sitting me on the front of the car at a rest stop during a family road trip. It felt very cool to be so high up–or at least it felt that way to me.
On another family road trip when I was 13, I rode part way with my cousin in her yellow car. It was a sunny day, and she had the windows open. We enjoyed the breeze and a blaring eight-track of the Styx album, Grand Illusion. Years later, needing a family car, she was very sad to sell it.
But it was hardest of all on my mom. She learned to drive late in life. Once she got the hang of it, she loved it and we all went everywhere. When she lost her eyesight, however, she had to give it up. She really missed driving–and her midnight blue Ford Torino station wagon. I think she was glad, though, that a nice couple with a family was able to use it.
And here is the best song about a favorite car. It’s “My Old Yellow Car,” by Dan Seals: