Hollifield: CW McCall and the future of truck driving music | local news

Scott Hollifield Lee Newspapers

I like a good truck driver song.

Was “Convoy” a good trucker song? Their artistic mileage may vary, but in terms of commercial success, “Convoy,” released in 1975 at the height of the CB radio craze, was the biggest and best trucker song of all time, reaching #1 on the country and pop charts and inspired a film starring Kris Kristofferson.

The man behind the song was CW McCall, who died on April 1, 2022 at the age of 93. The man behind CW McCall was William Dale Fries Jr., an Iowa native who worked in advertising before reinventing himself as a country singer for CW McCall.

Before heading off into the sunset, CW, with his baritone voice and CB lingo, introduced the world to a cast that included Rubber Duck, Pig Pen, Sod Buster and “11 Long-Haired Friends of Jesus in a Yellow-Green Microbus.” ”

All were part of a large convoy that could not be stopped, not even by the “Illi-noise” National Guard.

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I was 11 when the novelty hit was all over the radio. It was my introduction to the country music subgenre, which portrayed truck drivers as freedom-loving, coffee-drinking, hapless heroes who criss-crossed the nation and flirted with waitresses.

In truth I liked what I found later even better than what got me there, songs by Dave Dudley, Red Simpson and Dick Curless. Listeners could spend six days on the road with truck-driving sons-of-arms dodging speed traps, weigh stations and tombstones every mile.

My favorite trucking song might be Johnny Horton’s “I’m Coming Home” which was released in 1957. Horton hasn’t made many big, rig-centric tunes and is best known for the hit “The Battle of New Orleans.”

“I’m Coming Home” is a simple, energetic, breathless rockabilly number about a trucker who’s been on the road too long and has important business to attend to with his “cute lovebird”.

Other motorists are advised to give way.

I don’t know if the CW was concerned about this before its last run, but advancing technology has me worried about the future of truck drivers and truck driving songs.

“Imagine seeing an 18-wheel vehicle with no driver behind the wheel,” says an MSN article. “Aurora Innovation is one step ahead. The company already has autonomous trucks cruising on freeways across the country.”

I’m no CW McCall, but I picked up a pen to compose a tune about this disturbing development. It’s called “I’m a Self-Driving Truck” and goes something like this:

Not rural / I’m electrified / Hauling tons of microchips / Got a wired brain / In the fast lane / But I’m equipped with security / When I walk past you / Just wave hi / And wish me luck / ‘Cause I’m a with Aisle blocked/pre-programmed self-driving trucks

I’m a self-driving truck / And I won’t get stuck / On a back road / With a heavy load / Because a cowboy took a wrong turn / I’ve got to burn my memory / Because I’m a self-driving truck

I don’t pass my time / on the old white line / thinking of a trucker stop girl / from Tennessee / on this odyssey / I’m a bit like HAL / but a space station / isn’t my destination / and I don’t run amok / I run down an alley / in Silicon Valley I’m a self-driving truck

You got robbed/when I took your job/ and they put me in a cab/ you need to know the score/ in a robot war/ the worker got caught/ no flesh nor blood/ it’s AI bud/ and you’re done good luck / Just wave goodbye/ As I drive by, I’m a self-driving truck

Breaker, breaker for this little Tesla with Florida plates. Do you have your ears open, darling? Got your 8 external cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and on-board computer on, sweetie? Boom Chicka Boom Chicka…

Scott Hollifield is the Editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, NC and a humor columnist. Contact him at rhollifield@mcdowellnews.com.


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