Various Artists

Truck Driver's Boogie: Big Rig Hits Vol. 1: 1939-1969

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Produced in conjunction with the Country Music Hall of Fame, this is probably the best compilation of country songs about trucks, truckers and trucking, a mini-genre onto itself. It's not a mere novelty: big names like Johnny Horton, Jim & Jesse, and Jimmy Martin are here, and the chronological and stylistic range is wide, from country-blues laments of the early 1940s to the near-rockabilly of Horton's "I'm Coming Home" and the more standard Nashvillized pop-country of the 1960s. It could be that just one song, Dave Dudley's 1963 hit and perennial trucker's anthem "Six Days on the Road," will be instantly familiar to many listeners. A number of the twenty tracks never appeared on CD before this release, including some real goodies, like Doye O'Dell's creepy "Diesel Smoke (Dangerous Curves)," with its bleating horns and nerve-tingling fiddles and steel guitar; the Milo Twins' "Truck Driver's Boogie," a late-1940s release very much like the Delmore Brothers' boogie recordings; and Kay Adams' spunky "Little Pink Mack," the one song here by a woman and a rare tale of truck driving from a feminine perspective. The lengthy liner notes trace both the history of country truck driving songs and specific details about the material on the CD, capping a release that treats the style as worthy of historical enshrinement, but is quite fun too.

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