Trucking Songs Through the Years

Truck Driver’s Boogie: Big Rig Hits, 1939-1969
Various Artists

Attention truckers: Get this CD! This release is a smorgasbord of 20 of the biggest trucking songs in history, all of which are the original recordings by the original artists. The Country Music Hall of Fame teamed up with Diesel Only Records to bring fans of the open road this piece of heaven that should never leave your rig.

Beginning with the 1939 jukebox hit “Truck Driver’s Blues” by Cliff Bruner & His Boys, and ending with Red Simpson’s 1969 smash “Roll, Truck, Roll,” memories galore will fill your head. The trucking masterpieces “Girl On The Billboard” by Del Reeves, “Six Days On The Road” by Dave Dudley and Dick Curless’ “A Tombstone Every Mile” are part of the journey. The liner notes on this project are quite good, giving great background on some of the lesser-known songs. You’ll dig “Truck Drivin’ Cat With Nine Wives” by South Carolina native Jim Nesbitt. When this song was constructed back in ’68, the LP pictured Nesbitt coyly reading a copy of Playboy in a truck cab surrounded by nine mod babes. Y’all remember that? Other songs of note are Johnny Horton’s “I’m Coming Home,” “Widow Maker” by Jimmy Martin and “Little Pink Mack” by Kay Adams.
Grade: A+

Part II
Brad Paisley

A lot of folks in Music City climbed on the Brad Paisley wagon with his 1999 debut CD, Who Needs Pictures. Any fan of good country music would be a fool to not hop on this caravan of cool country! The 28-year-old West Virginian sent two singles from that first CD to the top of the charts, “He Didn’t Have To Be” and “We Danced.” Already, Paisley’s first release from Part II, “Two People Fell In Love,” is following that same successful highway.

Paisley has a lot going for him: young, clean-cut, college graduate, songwriter, picker and single. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have the traditional country clan rooting you on. On “Too Country,” legends George Jones, Buck Owens and Bill Anderson provide guest vocals. The first track, “Two Feet Of Topsoil,” is a wonderful ditty that’s about as upbeat as it gets. “Wrapped Around” is another good fast one. The final cut is a live version of Brad singing and picking “The Old Rugged Cross” – all by himself – at the Grand Ole Opry.
Grade: A+

Roy D. Mercer vs. Yankees
Brent Douglas and Phil Stone

Southerners are often the brunt of jokes. It’s good to see the role reversed with this unusual act. For years, Brent Douglas and Phil Stone have been creating the fictitious character of Roy D. Mercer at Tulsa’s KMOD. Mercer frequently calls gullible folks and tricks them into thinking he’s gonna whup their backside.

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Mercer is a hick who calls unsuspecting victims with absurd storylines that test the job skills of any customer service rep. He’s sold 2 million albums with seven previous “How Big’ a Boy Are Ya?” releases in which his gags invariably lead to faux anger. In Roy D. Mercer vs. Yankees, he targets 13 guinea pigs in the northeast United States with merciless scenarios. In one example, he calls an art gallery, asking if he can show off his wife’s macaroni-art replica of the Mona Lisa, which he’s carrying in his trunk. From the album jacket: “Southerners think that ‘the Hamptons’ are that gospel singing group that used to be on ‘Hee Haw.'” When you need a good laugh, Roy D. Mercer comes through with a vengeance.
Grade: B

Inside Out
Trisha Yearwood

Trisha Yearwood has consistently proven herself to be one of country music’s most impressive songstresses. She can take just about anyone’s music it seems, and make it utterly her own. That magic is still apparent on Inside Out. Yearwood can belt with the best of them, as the opening cut, “Love Alone,” proves.

The Georgia native does a brilliant job on “For a While,” giving the song a low-key, conversational feel that shows some real sensitivity toward the material. The same is true for the swampy, almost eerie “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone.” The Rosanne Cash treasure “Seven Year Ache” is re-cut, with backing vocals from Cash. This song will hopefully bring new fans to the Cash-Yearwood sound. “Inside Out,” which features Don Henley, finds her looking back to the success of their previous duet, “Walkaway Joe.” This album contains a lot of string work, which is a slight change from Trisha’s past records.
Grade: C+

Carrying On
Montgomery Gentry

Who said rabble-rousing, heck-raising music was dead? This duo of Kentuckians made a name for themselves with their previous album, Tattoos & Scars, which just happened to be their freshman project. This sophomore sensation is literally Carrying On in a fine way!

“While The World Goes Down” is a tune about why country life makes sense. The boys claim that all you need to survive is a shotgun, a guitar and a gallon of wine. Eddie Montgomery belts out the vocals on the first single from the album, “She Couldn’t Change Me,” a great woman-coming-back track. Montgomery Gentry co-wrote “Lucky To Be Here,” which is a tale of their being humble and thankful for good times in Music City.
Grade: B