The Joy of the Mixtape

The Joy of the Mixtape

Posted on April 16 by Christopher Ward
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When I was in the preteen phase of my life-long addiction to rock n' roll, my Dad came home from work one weekend with a massive Bell and Howell reel to reel tape recorder. It was love! I held the taxi dispatcher microphone up to the speaker of our home stereo/credenza and recorded songs off the radio creating my first mixtapes.

Cassettes, CDs, and mp3s followed - all with the goal of assembling the soundtrack of my life or creating one for someone else. Think of John Cusak's Rob Gordon in 'High Fidelity', based on Nick Hornby's novel, or Charlie in 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower', desperate to please Sam with the gift of the perfect mixtape.

As anyone knows who has created one, the ingredients of a great mixtape consist of a mysterious alchemy of tempo, key, theme and the ever-elusive 'feel', which is as individual as the compilation itself.

I'm in the middle of an L.A. to Vancouver road trip, revisiting some places that I first experienced in my 20's, so a lot of the music on the accompanying mix reflects that era. I'm finishing the sequence, after much anguishing, in a hotel in Mendocino, a town I've never visited, but always wanted to check out, likely based on the song by the Sir Douglas Quintet which wraps up the list.

Nationwide - ZZ Topp
Anywhere - Lynn Miles
Take It Easy - Jackson Browne
Every Day Is a Winding Road - Sheryl Crow
White Line Fever - The Flying Burrito Brothers
Memphis In the Meantime - John Hiatt
Blue Bayou - Linda Ronstadt
Key To The Highway - Freddie King
Willin' - Little Feat
Two of Us - The Beatles
Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin
Call Me the Breeze - JJ Cale
The Mountains and Maryann - Gordon Lightfoot
Middle of the Road - The Pretenders
Long May You Run - Young Stills Band
Route 66 - Nat Cole
Boys of Summer - Don Henley
Truckin' - Grateful Dead
L.A. Freeway - Guy Clark
Mendocino - Sir Douglas Quintet

Christopher Ward

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Christopher Ward photo

Christopher Ward

Christopher Ward, Canada’s original MuchMusic VJ, wrote the world-wide #1 hit “Black Velvet.” His songs have been recorded by Diana Ross, The Backstreet Boys, Amanda Marshall, and many others. He lives in Toronto and Los Angeles.