Lowell George, one of the founding members of the group Little Feat, wrote a lot of songs that have been covered by a lot of people.
Among them was perhaps the ultimate rollin’-down-the-highway song (yes, even more epic than the Doobie Brothers’ “Rollin’ Down the Highway”)—a song called “Willin’.”
The Byrds covered it. So did Steve Earle. And David Allan Coe.
But my favorite version is by a singer with one of the three most beautiful voices in the world, IMHO: Linda Ronstadt.
I’ve been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed
And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
And you show me a sign
I’ll be willin’, to be movin’
I bring this up for two reasons:
- It provides an opportunity to remind you that our unofficial, unscientific, completely subjective countdown of the Top 10 Wine Songs of All-Time begins here on Monday. (While “Willin’” would not be considered a “wine song” by most, the mere mention of wine in the lyrics makes it eligible for our list.)
- In the late 1970s, Ronstadt dated Jerry Brown—the first time that Brown was the Governor of California.
Now that Brown is back in that office, when not working to solve the Golden State’s budget crisis, he’s busy signing proclamations. Among them was one signed recently that once again designates September as California Wine Month.1
In conjunction with California Wine Month, dozens of wineries, wine industry groups and restaurants have planned special events—everything from a lobster feed dubbed “Claws for Celebration” to a harvest ball with live music and dancing. You can view a comprehensive schedule here.
Jerry Brown ran for President of the United States, which means Linda Ronstadt could have been the First Lady, had all the stars aligned—and had they decided to get married. But the stars did not align; Brown and Ronstadt eventually went their separate ways, and now Brown is serving his second stint as California Governor,and Ronstadt is still making beautiful music.
What does it all mean? I have no idea, but I think I’ll go put on a Linda Ronstadt CD, open a bottle of wine, and toast the First Couple that never was. That’s as good a reason as any to have a glass of wine…