In this week's episode, we're featuring a sensational Capitol compilation of all-truck driving country: "Put The Hammer Down!" (1976). Popularized by the booming baritones of singers like Dave Dudley and Del Reeves in the 60s, truck-driving country music hit a peak in the early-mid 70s in the USA, right around the time of a nationwide fuel shortage and significant spike in CB radio use. CB radio use amongst truckers, however, was oftentimes to get around speed traps and organise resistance against government regulation in capped speed limits and fuel price increases. The half-sung and half-spoken recitation style of truck-driving hitmakers Red Simpson and Red Sovine echoed the sound of a CB radio, and Merle Haggard and Dick Curless spoke to the trucker in plain, relatable lyrics often delivered with revved-up guitars and standout twang. Our feature album showcases those artists and more (most on the Capitol label itself, hence any glaring omissions) in ten songs that epitomise what the American trucker came to represent: a blue-collar hero who lived the American cultural ideals of autonomy, non-conformity and freedom but who had fierce pride in their country and the principles upon which she was founded. Highlights include Haggard's theme song to the TV show of the same name in "Movin' On", Dick Curless' twangy re-recording of "A Tombstone Every Mile", Red Sovine's tearjerker "Phantom 309" and Red Simpson's sense of zeitgeist in "I'm A Truck". A thoroughly enjoyable album.
Put The Hammer Down!
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