Dave Dudley

Truck Drivin' Son-Of-A-Gun

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Mercury should release a compilation of Dave Dudley's prime truck-drivin' songs. He started the country subgenre and produced many fine singles that extolled the 18-wheeler lifestyle throughout the '60s. Save for the EMI import 20 Great Truck Hits, there are hardly any decent Dudley reissues or collections available. So it's worth looking for the excellent Dudley album Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun, which features two of the singer's biggest hits, "Two Six Packs Away" and the title track. Dudley's gravelly, vibrato-inflected voice and thick, reverb-drenched guitar lines (his own rough-hewn version of the Nashville sound) were perfect for songs detailing the perils of white line fever. Songs like "Jack Knife" and "Speed Traps, Weigh Stations & Detour Signs," which chronicle the hurdles of the highway, and "Two Six Packs Away," which -- in very un-PC, yet hilarious fashion -- reveals the dangers of a trucker's little helper (the liner notes include a friendly disclaimer: "A drinkin' and a drivin', here Dave's singing and guitar are much more compatible than alcohol and gas"). The out of print Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun is a title definitely worth seeking out. If you don't mind import prices, though, get the EMI collection.

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