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Todd Dills

Put your CD player in ‘Overdrive’ — hauler Joe Lee Smith reissues record

| August 26, 2010

Sitting outside Overdrive sister mag CCJ‘s Commercial Vehicle Outlook Conference in Dallas yesterday and typing away on a story, one of the presenters, with whom I’ve talked in years past, walked by and nodded my way with a quip I’ve heard near countless times over the years from folks who know who I work for. “Put it in ‘Overdrive,'” he said. I laughed, for what I was at that exact moment looking at on my laptop screen made the quip doubly appropriate:

What some view as a classic trucking music record made in 1989 by independent hauler Joe Lee Smith (pictured), his “Smokin’ Joe in Overdrive,” has now been re-released, just over twenty years after it was recorded. Smith, a long-hauler with more than three million miles under his belt, conceived the record as the first professionally produced and recorded rock-n-roll trucking album. And it certainly was, so much so that the country music-dominated nature of the market at the time pretty much kept it off the airwaves.

But it made its way onto racks some of the major truckstop chains at the time and sold several thousand cassette copies. And over the years, the album attained something of a cult status, and Smith, well, he’s still out there and just recently traded a Peterbilt 387 for a 379, leased to 101 Transportation of Lakeland, Minn. Visit Smokin’ Joe’s website to listen to some of the album’s cuts, which some have compared to Molly Hatchet and which to my untrained ears sound like a trucking-themed collection of songs laid down by a late-1980s pop-metal band — quite rare indeed… You can pick up a copy there for $15 shipped.

  • donna cochran

    I love this cd smokin joe you da bomb. I have had your tapes I have begged many friends to find you. Today there you are omg Got to save my money and get you r cd

  • judi

    Right on Joe nice article hope you make it through southeast CO in the near future,we still got your cd on the juke box at the roost.Look forward to seeing you again.

  • “Mercy”

    Met you 20 yrs ago in Pharr Tx. Thanks 4 cassette & autographed pic. Still got em & still lovin your music!!!!!!

  • “Mercy”

    Met you 20 yrs ago in Pharr Tx. Thanks 4 cassette & autographed pic. Still got em & still lovin your music!!!!!!

  • Tommy Altstatt

    have a original cassette and still love it as much as I did when i bought it in lascruses in 1990

  • Todd Dills

    Glad to hear it, Tommy. Could you tell me more about when/where you bought it. Did you meet Joe and buy from him or off the truckstop racks? -TD

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  • Manny Narvaez

    I’m looking for an original tape if anyone has one for sale strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.