Tuned In To Yesteryear

Randy Grider
[email protected]

There’d be no truck drivers if it
wasn’t for us trucks
No double clutching gear jammin’
coffee drinking nuts
They drive their way to glory and they have all the luck
There’d be no truck drivers if it
wasn’t for us trucks

It’s strange how you can hear an old song and it can lure you into an almost forgotten time. “I’m a Truck” by Red Simpson takes me back to my early youth. My dad was an early riser, usually never sleeping past 4 a.m. when he wasn’t on the road. I can still hear the coffee percolating and almost taste the aroma. He would switch on the stereo and play that song because it made him laugh.

Well there he sits in that cafe drinking coffee and telling lies
Prob’ly telling ’em ’bout that that hill we topped 10 miles back
Oughtta tell ’em how he missed a gear and that Volkswagen bus full of hippies
Passed us like I was sittin’ up on jacks
Or how we took that curve over on 66
Hadn’t been for me hangin’ on the shoulder
We’d a both wound up in the ditch

I grew up in what I call the heyday of classic trucking songs – the late 1960s and much of the 1970s. These songs romanticized trucking. Some were whimsical or sentimental, while others emphasized a rebellious nature.

Their popularity spawned fads, movies and television shows. As a kid, I would crawl up into my dad’s truck when it was parked, turn on the CB and try my best to talk like C.W. McCall did in “Convoy.” Other times I would try to deepen my voice in order to pass myself off as a trucker. I would use the 10 codes to ask for a radio check or the time of day. And I always popped an 8-track of Red Sovine or Dave Dudley into the truck stereo to add realism to my trucking fantasy.

Some drivers who were listening would humor me and give me a few minutes of conversation. Others would remind me that they knew I was a kid who was babbling on a channel where people were trying to work.

Of all the trucking songs that were a staple of my upbringing, Dudley’s “Six Days on the Road” is my favorite. It combines a simple message with a catchy tune. (If you hear it in the morning, you’ll be singing it all day).

I recently watched Country Music Television’s “100 Greatest Country Songs.” For the most part, I didn’t agree with the show’s rankings of the songs, but that was half the fun of watching it. I’ve seen dozens of these “greatest” lists, and none are the same. Some don’t even give the criteria for the rankings. Instead, they provide history and trivia about the songs, which is backed up by personal reflections of other country artists.
I’ve compiled my own list of “greatest” – dedicated entirely to trucking songs. I’ve tried to stay within what I call classic trucking songs, which means they must deal with trucks or trucking in the lyrics. You may notice “King of the Road” – a personal favorite of mine – omitted for this reason.

I know that you may not agree with my rankings, but I hope they at least stir a fond memory or two from your past.

30 Greatest Trucking Songs
1. “Six Days on the Road” – Dave Dudley
2. “Convoy” – C.W. McCall
3. “Looking at the World Through a Windshield” – Del Reeves
4. “I’m a Truck” – Red Simpson
5. “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses” – Kathy Mattea
6. “Give Me 40 Acres” – The Willis Brothers
7. “Teddy Bear” – Red Sovine
8. “Mama Knows the Highway” – Hal Ketchum
9. “Giddyup Go” – Red Sovine
10. “Eastbound and Down” – Jerry Reed
11. “Roll On” – Alabama
12. “Truck Drivin’ Man” – George Hamilton IV
13. “Widow Maker” – Jimmy Martin
14. “Phantom 309” – Red Sovine
15. “A Tombstone Every Mile” – Dick Curless
16. “Wolf Creek Pass” – C.W. McCall
17. “Chicken Truck” – John Anderson
18. “Roll On Big Mama” – Joe Stampley
19. “Movin’ On” – Merle Haggard
20. “Girl on the Billboard” – Del Reeves
21. “The White Knight” – Cledus Maggard and the Citizen Band
22. “Prisoner of the Highway” – Ronnie Milsap
23. “Trucker’s Prayer” – Dave Dudley
24. “Roll Truck Roll” – Red Simpson
25. “How Fast Them Trucks Go” – Claude Gray
26. “Old Home Filler-Up an’ Keep on-a-Truckin’ Café” – C.W. McCall
27. “Big Wheels in the Moonlight” – Dan Seals
28. “The Jogger” – Bobby Bare
29. “Little Pink Mack” – Kay Adams
30. “White Line Fever” – Merle Haggard

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