Dave Dudley

1776

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Imagine if C.W. McCall's truckin' hit "Convoy" had been about the framers of the U.S. Constitution, with founding fathers chatting on the C.B. radio and using trucker lingo. That's Dave Dudley's "1776," one of the most bizarre mish-mashes of unrelated pop culture items in the history of country music -- namely the celebration of America's bicentennial and the contemporaneous C.B. radio/truck driving craze. The juxtaposition is so incomprehensible that first-time listeners will almost certainly spend half of the song's duration wondering what the heck these truckers are talking about. When the concept finally hits home, it's more weird than funny, and the single understandably flopped. It's easy to imagine that Dudley, who co-wrote the song, saw "1776" as a can't-miss opportunity to revive his flagging chart career by cashing in on two current trends. The album 1776 isn't nearly as strange as its title track, offering as it does Dudley's usual blend of country ballads and truckin' songs. The truck driving country songs huddle together on Side One while the slow, serious ones on Side Two struggle in vain to counteract the discombobulation caused by "1776." The patriotic "America, I'll Always Love You" closes an album that is otherwise business as usual for Dudley. 1776 produced no hits and can be safely forgotten except by the most dedicated novelty seekers.

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