Category: Tunes

Fishing Lines Top 10

Without further ado, I present the Top 10.

10. “I’m like a fish out of water, I’m just a homesick man.”
Fool for the City – Foghat (1975)
Cool band name, cool cut, and cool album cover. Takes me back to flipping through the albums at Musicland, Lindstrom’s, Co-Op, and The Platter once upon a time.

9. “Just for the record let’s get the story straight, me and Uncle Tom were fishin’ it was gettin’ pretty late.”
Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Warrant (1991)
A hair band, a story song, a fishing line, and a banjo? Poke fun all you want, but I think this is a darn good tune.

8. “Well, it’s just now and then my line gets cast into these time passages.”
Time Passages – Al Stewart (1978)
This one deals in reminiscing and what a wonderful collection of lines. To a guy who digs fishing, tunes, writing and waxing nostalgic, this song is spot on. Also see, Stewart’s “Year of the Cat” for some more sonically (and visually) appealing lyrics.

7. “And it don’t matter if we sit forever and the fish don’t bite, jump in the river and cool ourselves from the heat of the night.”
Fishing in the Dark – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1987)
I’ve long said that fishing ain’t just about catching fish and this song is proof. I guess that I’ll just leave it at that.

6. “But I got to stop wishin’, got to go fishin’, down to rock bottom again.”
A Pirate Looks at Forty, Jimmy Buffett (1974)
This tune came out when I was seven years old, I didn’t discover it until I was in my twenties and the “forty” in the title is well over a decade in the rearview mirror. Wistful and a bit melancholic with the selected fishing line expressing that there are few better pursuits than fishing to soothe what ails you.

5. “If it were easy as fishin’ you could be a musician.”
Takin’ Care of Business – Bachman Turner Overdrive (1973)
Now, BTO could rock, and I dig many of their tunes. But fishin’ is “easy”? Sure, it makes for a great lyric in a classic tune but some days, fishin’ ain’t quite as easy as these fellows might think. I suppose playing guitar ain’t a walk in the park either.

4. “Catfish are jumpin’, that paddle wheel pumpin’, black water keeps rollin’ on past just the same.”
Black Water – The Doobie Brothers (1974)
Hate to say it, but I can’t recall any instances where I’ve witnessed catfish jumping. Rolling, maybe, or perhaps I just haven’t been in the right place at the right time. These days, Asian carp would qualify but that would ruin the whole flow of the song. And besides, they are an invasive species. Regardless, is there anyone who can resist singing along to the “funky Dixieland” part of this tune?

3. “Hands are full of a fishin’ rod and the tackle on our backs.”
And It Stoned Me – Van Morrison (1970)
It don’t get much better than Van Morrison and an autobiographical tune about the exploits of a couple young boys out fishing. Been there, still do that and could say that it still can stone me all these years later.

2. “If you want to talk fishin’, well I guess that’ll be okay.”
Don’t Ask Me No Questions – Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)
Some days, these lines and this song title just about say it all. I suppose that I would add music and baseball to the allowed topics as well.

1. “Now he lives in the islands fishes the pylons and drinks his green label each day. Writing his memoirs, losing his hearing but he don’t care what most people say.”
He Went to Paris – Jimmy Buffett (1973)
I’m no Parrothead but have simply always loved a good story song. Fishing, booze, writing and a bit of a recluse; there have been occasions when I’ve aspired to be that guy.

It’s been a fun ride for me this week as anytime I can work some tunes into an outdoor blog, I’m a happy camper. Here’s hoping that you may have learned something new, rediscovered a forgotten tune or have some fishing tunes of your own to offer (let me know as MTV will turn 50 eventually).

In closing, I’d like to thank J.J. Jackson, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn, and Alan Hunter. And, to paraphrase the Top 40 legend, Casey Kasem…

“Keep your lines in the water and keep reaching for the dipnet.”

Talk to you later. Troy

Fishing Lines #20-#11

Quite a collection of not only fish in this bunch of tunes but a veritable menagerie of creatures. The hits keep coming as we enter the Top 20 “Fishing Lines.”

20. “You got fins to the left, fins to the right and you’re the only bait in town.”
Fins – Jimmy Buffett (1979)

19. “Well, I love her, and I love to fish…Yeah, I’m gonna miss her, Oh, lookie there, I’ve got a bite.”
I’m Gonna Miss Her – Brad Paisley (2001)

18. “I like catchin’ fish on a cane pole just about sundown time, my kinda action is country relaxin’.”
Country Relaxin’ – Hank Williams Jr. (1984)

17. “Stoppin’ at the log where catfish bite”
Green River – Credence Clearwater Revival (1969)

16. “They don’t do much huntin’ and fishin’ up here, ya know, but I have met a few squirrels and one porcupine.”
Dixie On My Mind – Hank Williams, Jr. (1981)

15. “Blow across the home of the Seminole, the alligator and the gar.”
Seminole Wind – John Anderson (1992)

14. “I know there’s fish out there but where, God only knows.”
The Downeaster Alexa – Billy Joel (1989)

13. “I can catch catfish from dusk ‘til dawn.”
A Country Boy Can Survive – Hank Williams, Jr. (1981)

12. “I eat fish to pass the time away, ‘neath this blue Canadian moon, this world has made me crazy, crazy as a loon.”
Crazy As A Loon – John Prine (2005)

11. “You oughta see his wife, she’s a cute little dish, she smokes like a chimney and drinks like a fish.”
It’s A Big Old Goofy World – John Prine (1991)

One more day to go, stay tuned for the Top 10.

Fishing Lines #30-#21

A bit more of an eclectic collection graces today’s edition of the Top 40 “Fishing Lines” countdown.

30. “I’m just laid up here in a country state of mind, catchin’ these fish like they’re goin’ out of style…”
Country State of Mind – Hank Williams, Jr. (1986)

29. “But I guarantee this memory’s a biggin’ and she thinks we’re just fishin’.”
Just Fishin’ – Trace Adkins (2011)

28. “If we don’t hook a perch or bass, we’ll cool our toes in dewy grass.”
The Fishing Hole – Andy Griffith (1960)

27. “Johnny’s daddy was takin’ him fishin’ when he was eight years old. A little girl came through the front gate holdin’ a fishin’ pole.”
Don’t Take The Girl – Tim McGraw (1994)

26. “Fish and whistle, whistle and fish, eat everything that they put on your dish.”
Fish and Whistle – John Prine (1978)

25. “Longer than there’ve been fishes in the ocean.”
Longer – Dan Fogelberg (1979)

24. “Trying to save our marriage and perhaps catch a few fish.”
Lake Marie – John Prine (1995)

23. “You flex your rod, fish takes the hook.”
5:01AM The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking – Roger Waters (1984)

22. “When I look back, boy, I must have been green, boppin’ in the country, fishing in a stream.”
Honky Cat – Elton John (1972)

21. “You gonna burn, burn, burn, burn, burn to the wick, oooo, barracuda.”
Barracuda – Heart (1977)

Well, we’re halfway to coveted chart topper. Tune in again tomorrow as we enter the Top 20. Talk to you later. Troy

Fishing Lines #40-#31

Welcome, as we launch the “Fishing Lines” Top 40 countdown for the week beginning August 2, 2021. The following hits were compiled by yours truly and reflect the best I could do to create this multi-part blog series. Apart from one tune (#36), I stuck with the criteria that I had to be familiar with each song and not simply surf the internet in search of “fishing songs” to make the list. It was a bit of chore, but I did manage to reach my goal of 40 although I am sure there are many that I missed or have never heard. Therefore, feel free to chime in with any selections of your own as I’m always up for exploring some new jams.

40. “If I could make a nickel off a turning ‘em bass, never worry about the price of gas, I’d be wheelin’ and dealin’ and sittin’ there reelin’ ‘em in.”
Huntin’, Fishin; and Lovin’ Every Day – Luke Bryan (2015)

39. “Betty’s got a bass boat, Betty’s got a truck, all of a sudden things are looking up.”
Betty’s Got A Bass Boat – Pam Tillis (1995)

38. “Oh, Tennessee River and a mountain man, we get together anytime we can.”
Tennessee River – Alabama (1979)

37. “Settle down far from town get me a pirogue and I’ll catch all the fish in the bayou.”
Jambalaya – Hank Williams (1952)

36. “Everybody caught the limit yesterday; I think I’ll just haul off and go fishing yesterday.”
Fishin’ Song – Stringbean (????)

35. “It’s too hot to fish, and too hot for golf, and too cold at home.”
Too Cold at Home – Mark Chesnutt (1990)

34. “On the dock the fish were stinkin’, I simply didn’t have a care.”
He Forgot That It Was Sunday – John Prine (1995)

33. “I can almost see the bobber dancin’, but I just dream, keep on bein’ the way I am.”
The Way I Am – Merle Haggard (1980)

32. “Skippin’ rocks across the water, fishin’ on an old trotline.”
Red River – Alabama (1983)

31. “When I’d skip school, he’d take me fishin’, sittin’ on the creek bank talkin’ and a wishin’.”
Shoestring – Mel McDaniel (1986)

Heavy on the country tunes to kick off our countdown but I suppose fishing goes a bit more hand in hand with that genre. It is also interestin’ how many words in the lyrics drop the “g”. And we’ve only just begun, as the countdown continues with another ten hits tomorrow. Talk to you later. Troy

Fishing Lines


Whenever I get to mix music into an outdoor blog, I’m pretty fired up. And sometimes I get a little carried away, like this project. I’ve explored this topic before but for a 40th anniversary, I’m taking it up a notch. So, here we go.

It was forty years ago today when a fourteen-year-old music fan (and millions of others) was introduced to something completely different; MTV – Music Television. August 1, 1981 opened the floodgates to an eclectic mix of legends (The Who, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie), legends to be (John Cougar, U2, Tom Petty), lady rockers (Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, Debbie Harry), future pop superstars (Madonna, Prince), strange new wave acts (Devo, Adam & The Ants, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Talking Heads) and one hit wonders (The Buggles, Aldo Nova, Taco, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Tommy Tutone).

Prior to this rock around the clock menagerie of television tunes I’d had to get my weekly fix via programs such as “The Midnight Special”, “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert”, “Night Flight”, “Solid Gold’’, “American Bandstand” and an occasional dose of “Soul Train.” In addition, there were also the brief glimpses of performers on Saturday Night Live. For a kid raised on these bits and pieces of musical performance and Chicago’s classic WLS 890AM, music television was a revolution. And, yes, unlike today it was videos all day, every day. For an impressionable teenaged music lover, it was “Just What the Doctor Ordered“(can’t resist the Ted Nugent reference).

So, here’s a little background on this project. Ten years ago, on August 1, 2011, as part of another blogging gig, I celebrated MTV’s 30th anniversary with my Top 3 fishing tunes. I revisited the post on August 1, 2017, after launching this blog earlier that spring. Once again, that post include my Top 3 tunes. For the 40th anniversary, however, it only seemed right to do a Top 40 Countdown ala Casey Kasem.

Stay tuned throughout the week as we combine fishing and music with “Fishing Lines.” Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes April – Part II

And the Top 5 goes a little something like this…

5. Wango Tango – Ted Nugent (1980)
Whether or not you like “Uncle Ted” and his views or his willingness to expound on them, you’ve got to admit that he produces some fun rock and roll. Apparently, he has a soft spot for dance tunes in the case of this cut. Motor City Madman indeed, raw as heck and wandering off into stream of consciousness rambles as he lays it down.

4. Just The Same Way – Journey (1979)
I like what I call “middle Journey” (1977-1981) more than the bookends of their lengthy career. Several songs during that span feature shared vocal duties between Steve Perry and Greg Rolie. This tune is one such cut, and I’ve always enjoyed the mix of the two singers interspersed with the blend of instruments each shining at various points during the song. Just a cool tune overall with a band hitting on all cylinders on a tune that wasn’t a chart “hit.”

3. You’re My Best Friend – Queen (1976)
Queen is one of my favorite bands of all-time and this song serves as a perfect example of what I dig about their sound. Now, I don’t know a darn thing about notes, scales, chords, harmonies, measures, time signatures or any other technical stuff, I just know it sounds good. Each member gets to strut his stuff with instrument and/or voice and with a little help from their standard vocal multi-tracking, this one soars. One final aspect that I find interesting is that the song was composed by bassist, John Deacon. Often overlooked, his contributions could pack a punch (see also “Another One Bites the Dust”).

2. Ain’t Even Done with The Night – John Cougar (1981)
Before he really hit it big and was able to add his given last name to his stage name, John Cougar released a trio of Top 40 hits that rank among my favorites from his catalog. Along with “I Need A Lover” and “This Time”, this 1981 cut was an introduction to a career that would soar to the next level the next year. Numerous Top 10 hits and a Billboard chart topper would come his way but to me there’s something special about this song from the early years.

1. Dance the Night Away – Van Halen (1979)
From the opening cowbell, this one is a winner. Classic Van Halen, rocking, fun, one for the ladies, the occasional lead vocal histrionics and the always enjoyable background vocals. Probably my favorite Van Halen song, always have to turn it up and try to sing along. The only thing missing for me is a third verse as this three-minute ride always ends too soon.

And the blogging beat goes on tomorrow with the weekly Friday Flashback. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes April – Part I

With three fishing trips under my belt, I’ve spent a fair amount of time surfing the airwaves on the way to the fishing holes. Thus, it is time for an overdue batch of Trip Tunes collected on the ride.

10. Forever Young – Alphaville (1984)
I honestly don’t recall this tune from it’s original release as it did not make much of a splash on the Billboard Hot 100 and did not crack the Top 40 (peaked at #65). However, fast forward to 2004, when a movie entitled Napoleon Dynamite put this tune on my radar. If you haven’t seen the flick, it’s an odd one, but a hit around our house and brings plenty of laughs for all. As far as this soundtrack cut, it is certainly a nostalgic piece of the 80s and approaching 40 years old. Time flies.

9. Too Shy – Kajagoogoo (1983)
I couldn’t help but stop the dial on this one hit wonder and MTV staple from my sophomore year of high school. All these years later, I still don’t know all the words but that doesn’t hinder singing along as I roll down the highway in my truck. That whole “hush, hush, eye to eye” bit is still a catchy, winning hook that will never get old. It is fun though to discover something new about the tune nearly 40 years later. I find it fun to find the funk in what was a new wave, synth-pop hit. I guess the television speakers just didn’t do the tune justice back in the day.

8. You Can’t Change That – Raydio (1979)
Several years before he was lyrically asking, “Who you gonna call?”, Ray Parker, Jr. was fronting a band called Raydio. Among the group’s handful of chart hits, I would select this one as my favorite.

7. Whatcha Gonna Do – Pablo Cruise (1977)
Always dug this tune that offered quite a range of grooves from pop to rock to soul to light jazz to a little bit of funk. Takes me back to Steele Middle School, WLS, and a few awkward laps around the local roller rink. Coming in at #16 on the Billboard year end chart and #65 on the WLS Big 89 for 1977, those charts featured a quite a range of tunes. From pop to rock to soul to disco to soundtrack cuts to singing actors, what a great time to be a kid with a transistor radio.

6. Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon (1978)
What can you say about a quirky song that references beef chow mein, pina colada, names Lon Chaney and Lon Chaney, Jr., and includes the word “mutilated”? Not to mention, the lead character being a werewolf. However, the lyrical coup de grace is Zevon using the odd word “amok” in a song. An interesting stroll around London town from the mind of a musical marvel.

Top 5 up next…Talk to you later. Troy

Texas Trip Tunes

Tired, busy and the winter doldrums have put a damper on my rambles, both outdoor and blogging. Lots to catch up on in terms of a 2020 recap with 2021 off and running and halfway to February. First up, is an overdue “Trip Tunes” post.

A round trip work drive to south central Texas as 2020 drew to a close provided more than a little time to tune in to the radio dial. And since I took along some fishing gear and even caught a bass, well, it qualifies for the final “Trip Tunes” feature from 2020. I actually only heard one of the following on the radio but years of listening brought several other apt tunes to mind.

And the Top 5 goes a little something like this…

5. Little Rock – Colin Raye (1994)
“I think I’m on a roll here in Little Rock.”
Several of the tunes on the list weren’t actually heard on the radio but rather in my head as I trekked south out of the Midwest via some previously unseen roadways. In fact, I’d never been to Arkansas; close on Table Rock Lake, Missouri but no cigar. Two passes through the state’s capital city had me wavering between this cut and the 1986 Reba McEntire hit of the same name. In the end, Colin Raye’s lyrics were more on the mark as I did a lot of rolling to the tune of 2500 miles behind the wheel.

4. Texas Women – Hank Williams, Jr. (1981)
“They may be from Waco or out in Lampasas but one thing about it they all come from Texas.”
Me and this tune go back to the 80s when my buddies and I used to listen to a decent dose of Bocephus. This cut came to mind as I passed a highway sign for Lampasas and crossed the Lampasas River. For all these years, I had no clue where Hank was singing about so it was a fun kind of light bulb moment as I made my way through The Lone Star State. While I still find the rhyme a bit of a stretch, I can now indulge in a little mental cartography and get his drift.

3. It Came Out of the Sky – Credence Clearwater Revival (1970)
“Whoa, it came out of the sky, landed just a little south of Moline”
This is the lone tune on the list that I actually heard on the radio. The CCR hit catalog provides ample cuts for classic rock/oldies stations but this one was breath of fresh air. A cool, deep cut out of nowhere gracing the airwaves in the dark of night somewhere near the Arkansas/Texas border. It’s always kind of fun to hear a lyric with a local flavor and even more so when you are about eleven hours away from your home a little east of Moline. UFOs were a hot topic back when I was a kid and the fascination has been rekindled with recent talk of “classified government documents” possibly being revealed.

2. East Bound and Down – Jerry Reed (1977)
“The boys are thirsty in Atlanta and there’s beer in Texarkana.”
Well, 1977 was quite a year at the movie theater with the likes of “Star Wars”, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, “Oh God!”, “Saturday Night Fever” and “Slapshot”, to name a few. And then there was “Bandit” and “Snowman” looking to deliver a load of beer on an interstate adventure with Buford T. Justice in hot pursuit. Jerry Reed (aka Cletus “Snowman” Snow) did the honors in co-writing and performing this cut from the highway hit comedy “Smokey and the Bandit.” Although I was south bound, this tune was playing on the soundtrack in my head as I crossed the Arkansas-Texas border at Texarkana.

1. Guitar Town – Steve Earle (1986)
“I’m just out of Austin, bound for San Antone with the radio blasting and the bird dog on.”
As I found myself in the geographical position noted above, I couldn’t help but think back to wearing out the cassette of Steve Earle’s debut. This title tune served as the lead track and there wasn’t a bad cut on the album, start to finish. A great listen made even better in the middle of nowhere in the 80s at a place called Green Oaks with my buddies. A campfire turned bonfire, just a couple beers and a boom box with Guitar Town at high volume was just the ticket for some Knox College Siwash students. Oh yeah, a picnic table and a little air guitar were also right on the money as the beers and the nights rolled on.

I sure dig my tunes but plenty of 2020 fishing recap stuff is in the works. It’s just a struggle to find the time and the energy to get it done. But, open water fishing will be here before you know it (a little wishful thinking), so I’d better get on the ball. Stay tuned and talk to you later. Troy

Five Fine Prine Fishing Lines

Dedicated to Fred and Mike for all of the hours of Prine CDs in the QC Lab.

One week ago, the world lost a legendary singer/songwriter with the passing of John Prine, the former mailman from Maywood, Illinois. I was introduced to his music once upon a time in the National Seal Company Quality Control Lab probably about 1991. Sadly, the pair of co-workers responsible for my fandom are no longer with us either.

Prine left a mark that leaves this fan looking for a way to say “Thank you”. But just how does an outdoor blogger work in a tribute to such a man?

Well, if anybody can work in an outdoor related tangent…

I give you my Top 5 John Prine fishing lines.

“On the dock the fish were stinkin’, I simply didn’t have a care.” – He Forgot That It Was Sunday (1995)

“We’ll whistle and go fishing in the heavens.” – Fish and Whistle (1978)

“Trying to save our marriage and perhaps catch a few fish.” – Lake Marie (1995)

“You oughta see his wife, she’s a cute little dish. She smokes like a chimney and drinks like a fish.” – It’s A Big Old Goofy World (1991)

“I eat fish to pass the time away, ‘neath this blue Canadian moon, this old world has made me crazy, crazy as a loon.” – Crazy As A Loon (2005) (Note: above strip pit is a spot I named Loon Lake, story for another day)

If you don’t know these songs, I’d encourage you to look them up and give them a listen for a Prine primer. If you already know the tunes, I encourage you to listen again. Only a minute sample of his craft but it gives you a feel for the diversity of his catalog and the creativity in his storytelling.

Our lives are made up of a collection of stories and Prine’s lines covered all kinds. The ones we are fond of telling as well as the ones we’re better off keeping to ourselves. His songs make us grin or grimace, bring a laugh or a tear, put you on the edge of your seat or make you squirm in it a bit. And sometimes he covered all of those bases in the span of less than four minutes. One of a kind, whose tunes and tales regarding the human condition will live on and on. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes 3/7 – Part II

The Top 5 spans the 70s and provides a nice retrospective on the range of offerings that the decade had to offer. From ballad to singer/songwriter love song to rocker to disco/funk to new wave/post-punk. If you didn’t like the genre of the song on the radio in the 70s, well, just wait until the next one…

5. Boogie Nights – Heatwave (1977)
This funky groove was one of the trio of Heatwave hits that also included “Groove Line” and “Always and Forever.” All were written by the band’s English keyboardist, Rod Temperton, who claims my title of “I sure didn’t expect that” among songwriters (guess which guy in the lineup above). Just for fun, do a search for the guy who also wrote Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall”, “Rock with You” and “Thriller.” And there was also George Benson’s “Give Me the Night”, “Stomp” by The Brothers Johnson, “Baby Come to Me” from Patti Austin/James Ingram and “Yah Mo Be There” from James Ingram/Michael McDonald. Awesome and unexpected.

4. Message in a Bottle – The Police (1979)
This trio was hitting their stride with the release of this cut as the first single from their second album. Strange to think that in four short years and three more albums, it would all be over, arguably right at their peak. The members would go on to individual successful endeavors as well as earning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction as a group. The lasting impact of a band that released five albums in just under a five year span not only amazes but also begs the rock and roll cliché’, “What if?”

3. Without You – Nilsson (1971)
Harry Nilsson took this tune penned by a pair of members of the group Badfinger to the top of the charts in early 1972. Numerous other artists have recorded versions of the cut over the years as it is just one of those tunes that some find bears repeating. Personally, I find the Nilsson recording by far the best and despite some fawning over Mariah Carey’s version, not a fan. Of her or the song, both are too much. Anyway, if there was such a thing as a make The Beatles jealous song, this is it (only make believe though as I realize there is no such thing).

2. Let It Ride – Bachman Turner Overdrive (1974)
Led by a somewhat different looking stout pair of Canadian co-vocalists, BTO flat out rocked. This cut is a prime example with bassist C.F. Turner belting out the lead vocals and the band cranking out a rhythm that just chugs along full speed ahead. It is one of those songs where the pace, tone and vocal perfectly reflect the tune’s title. Or, maybe it is the other way around. Whatever the case, I could listen to this one all day long.

1. I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song – Jim Croce (1974)
When it comes to the singer/songwriter niche, it’s tough to find anyone who did it any better than Jim Croce. Not only love with songs such as this classic but also as a humorous storyteller offering up characters like Leroy Brown and a “five foot six and two fifteen bleach blond mama with a streak of mean.” Impossible to say where Croce was at his best but this Top 10’s Top Tune is among his many candidates.

Tourney time tomorrow night as Lure Lunacy resumes with Sweet 16 matchups. Talk to you later. Troy