Various Artists

Highway South: Overdrive

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Road trips require the perfect soundtrack. And no matter what your personal musical style preference is, Highway South: Overdrive constitutes as a great start to any cross-country voyage. The compilation's title itself conjures up the image of speeding down an empty stretch of North American highway, and from the very first guitar chords of "China Grove" to the final muddy notes of Rossington Collins' Southern rock ballad "Don't Misunderstand Me," the album delivers exactly what it promises -- solid American driving music. Most of the track picks are obvious (though nonetheless effective) and would function as the choice of a beginner if '70s Rock 101 were ever an academic course (i.e., "Slow Ride," "Rocky Mountain Way," "Mississippi Queen," etc.). A few pleasant surprises abound, like Johnny Winter's "Good Morning Little School Girl" and J.J. Cale's original version of "After Midnight." Of course, there's always a better Ted Nugent song available than "Cat Scratch Fever," but that's just nitpicking. Pettiness aside, Highway South: Overdrive is exactly what it should be: a hard-rocking salute to the hedonistic, freewheeling, carefree lifestyle that the American road trip represents.

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