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HUMOR: CW McCall and the future of truck driving music | Lifestyles

Was “Convoy” a good truck driving song? Your 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 truck driving song of all time, reaching the No. 1 on the country and pop charts and inspiring a film starring Kris Kristofferson.

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

Before heading off into the sunset, CW, with its baritone voice and CB lingo, introduced the world to a cast of characters including Rubber Duck, Pig Pen, Sod Buster and “11 long-haired friends of Jesus in a micro- charterhouse bus. ”

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

I was 11 when the novelty hit was all over the radio. It was my introduction to the country music subgenre that featured truckers as freedom-loving, coffee-drinking, unlucky heroes criss-crossing the country and flirting with waitresses.

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In truth, I liked what I later found 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 gun wires driving trucks dodging speed cameras, weigh stations and headstones every mile.

Perhaps my favorite trucking song is Johnny Horton’s “I’m Coming Home” from 1957. Horton didn’t do many great platform-centric tunes and is best known for the hit “The Battle of New Orleans”.

“I’m Coming Home” is a simple, gasping, gasping rockabilly number about a trucker who’s been on the road too long and has important business to settle with his “sweet dove.”

Other motorists would be advised to steer clear of his path.

I don’t know if CW cared about this before its last airing, but advancements in technology have me worried about the future of truck drivers and truck driving songs.

“Imagine seeing an 18-wheeler without a driver behind the wheel,” reads an MSN article. “Aurora Innovation has a head start, the company already has self-driving trucks that criss-cross highways across the country.”

I’m no CW McCall, but I took up the pen to compose a song about this disturbing development. It’s called “I am an autonomous truck” and it looks a bit like this:

No countryman/ I’m electrified/ Carrying tons of microchips/ I’ve got a wired brain/ In the fast lane/ But I’m equipped with safety/ When I pass you/ Just wave hello/ And wish me luck/ ‘Cause that I am a self-driving truck with locked/pre-programmed speed

I’m a self-driving truck/ and I won’t get stuck/ On a side road/ with a heavy load/ because a cowboy took a wrong turn/ I’ve got memory to burn/ because I’m autonomous truck

I don’t spend my time/ on the old white line/ thinking about a truck stop girl/ Out of Tennessee/ on this odyssey/ I’m kinda like HAL/ But a space station/ isn’t my destination/ and i’m not gonna get carried away / i’m heading 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 the cab/You gotta know the score/in a robot war/worker got cheated/No flesh nor blood / it’s an AI bud / and you’re lucky / Say goodbye / as I pass I’m a self-driving truck

Breaker, breaker for that little Tesla with the Florida plates. Do you have your ears, darling? Got your eight external cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and on-board computer, honey? Chick Boom Chick Boom…

Hollifield is editor/general manager of The McDowell News in Marion, NC, and a humor columnist. Contact him at [email protected]