Convoy

[Author’s note: This post is a continuation of the Welcome to the Future series of essays. If you haven’t read Welcome to the Future, I suggest that you start >> HERE <<]

This essay is both historical for it’s content and futuristic, based on the ease with which one can now learn about C. W. McCall and access his music. Enjoy …

From Welcome to the Future
No smart phones, no cell phones, no satellite phones, no pagers, no texting, no answering machines; only land-line phones at home and if you needed to make a call away from home there were coin-operated “pay phones”.

The above was still true in 1975 when Convoy first debuted. I was in my second year of “real college” in Colorado, my time at Junior College (or Community College as it came to be called) barely counts. OK not strictly true, I met my wife-to-be in Junior College while attending a fencing class. She was my partner during field camp for the “barbed-wire stretching” section. We had five miles of barbed-wire to stretch along a section of canal that bordered the Everglades. She cut her hand and I cleaned and bandaged it tenderly with love and care. So gentle were my attentions that she soon fell under the spell of my gentle but manly manner and soon we were lying under the shade of a mangrove tree making sweet, sweet …

Oh wait that was last night’s dream … It was fencing class as in touché, sabers, etc. …

My wife-to-be in fencing class:

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Ok not my wife … and besides in 1973 the world had not yet been introduced to light-sabers. We used foils, épées, old-school sabers. Her sweet smile and school girl laugh pierced my heart as did the unshielded tip of her épée. When I finally got out of the hospital … OK that was lie. It was fencing class nothing more. But it was the beginning of a 40 year love affair.

 
 
I digress. Where was I? No cell phones. But there was a thing called Citizens Band radio or CB for short (coincidence? … I don’t think so). CB radio became popular with over-the-road truckers as a way to communicate between themselves. In a time without cell phones it became the dominant mobile communications venue for America’s truckers.

Also in 1974, the U. S. national speed limit was reduced to 55 miles per hour, in part due to the Arab Oil Embargo and the need to conserve fuel. America’s truckers who had been used to Interstate Highway speed of 75 mph or in states like Wyoming and Montana no posted speed limit at all, rebelled. Time is money and the reduced speed greatly increased the time it took to get goods across America. They embraced the CB radio as a way to stay in touch and keep an eye out for “Smokey“, the endearing name for state highway patrol officers. So named because they frequently wore hats that made them look like Smokey the Bear (“Only you can prevent forest fires”).

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CB radio was the cell phone of it’s day for truckers and was embraced by many car owners as well. The truckers developed there own jargon, slang, or lingo for talking on CB. The term handle, meaning the alias or name you went by, originated (or at least became popularized) with CB radio a decade or more before online accounts, chat rooms, and blogs.
C. W. McCall merely popularized the current CB language and phenomenon. There were in fact other CB related songs on the air at the time, but they have all faded to obscurity. Only C. W. McCall and Convoy have survived the test of time (at least as long as I have any say in it).

C. W. McCall

Excerpted from http://www.cw-mccall.com/legend/

C.W. McCall is not a real person. “C.W. McCall” isn’t the name of the group that recorded the music. C.W. McCall is the nom de chanteur of Bill Fries, an advertising man who created the character of C.W. McCall.

In 1972, while working for the Omaha advertising firm of Bozell & Jacobs, Bill Fries created a television campaign for the Old Home Bread brand of the Metz Baking Company. The advertisements told of the adventures of truck driver C.W. McCall, his dog Sloan, and of the truck stop that McCall frequented, The Old Home Café. Bill based the character and his environment on his own upbringing in western Iowa. The commercials were very successful. So successful, that the Des Moines Register published the air times of the commercials in the daily television listings.

From those commercials came the first of the C.W. McCall songs, named after the restaurant: “Old Home Fill-er Up An’ Keep On A-Truckin’ Café”. While Bill provided the lyrics to the song and the voice of C.W. McCall, his collaborator Chip Davis wrote the music. Soon C.W.’s first album, Wolf Creek Pass, was released; its title song was a misadventure of a truck with brake failure.

C.W. McCall’s popularity reached its peak in January 1976, when “Convoy” — from his second album, Black Bear Road — reached the number one position on both the pop and country charts of Billboard.

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._W._McCall

 
I was attending college in Colorado when Convoy became a national sensation. I would like to be able to share the exact version of the song that the Mrs has on her playlist, but it appears that YouTube has scrubbed the audio from all of the videos containing the original recording.

If you remember the original and want to relive your own history you can get it from iTunes by clicking on the image below.

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Besides Convoy, there are all of his other hits including Wolf Creek Pass, The Silverton (Train), Old Home Fill-er Up An’ Keep On A-Truckin’ Café, and many others. In addition to their historical significance, these are just plain fun songs with entertaining lyrics and great guitar licks and banjo pickin’.

C. W. McCall is definitely Cat-Beard tested and Momma approved.

If you aren’t an iTunes fan you can also get it from Amazon by clicking below:

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For a trip down memory lane or to listen for the first time, I offer for your consideration …

A VH-1 historical perspective

 
A “live” version of the original 1975 Convoy

 
A raunchier version from the 1978 movie (not my favorite)

 
 
Next >> Wolf Creek Pass

 
1975 Lyrics from http://www.cw-mccall.com/works/black_bear_road/convoy.html

[On the CB]
Ah, breaker one-nine, this here’s the Rubber Duck. You gotta copy on me, Pig Pen, c’mon? Ah, yeah, 10-4, Pig Pen, fer shure, fer shure. By golly, it’s clean clear to Flag Town, c’mon. Yeah, that’s a big 10-4 there, Pig Pen, yeah, we definitely got the front door, good buddy. Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy…

Was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June
In a Kenworth pullin’ logs
Cab-over Pete with a reefer on
And a Jimmy haulin’ hogs
We is headin’ for bear on I-one-oh
’Bout a mile outta Shaky Town
I says, “Pig Pen, this here’s the Rubber Duck.
“And I’m about to put the hammer down.”

[Chorus]
’Cause we got a little convoy
Rockin’ through the night.
Yeah, we got a little convoy,
Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy
’Cross the U-S-A.
Convoy!
[On the CB]
Ah, breaker, Pig Pen, this here’s the Duck. And, you wanna back off them hogs? Yeah, 10-4, ’bout five mile or so. Ten, roger. Them hogs is gettin’ in-tense up here.

By the time we got into Tulsa Town,
We had eighty-five trucks in all.
But they’s a roadblock up on the cloverleaf,
And them bears was wall-to-wall.
Yeah, them smokies is thick as bugs on a bumper;
They even had a bear in the air!
I says, “Callin’ all trucks, this here’s the Duck.
“We about to go a-huntin’ bear.”

[Chorus]
’Cause we got a great big convoy
Rockin’ through the night.
Yeah, we got a great big convoy,
Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy
’Cross the U-S-A.
Convoy!
[On the CB]
Ah, you wanna give me a 10-9 on that, Pig Pen? Negatory, Pig Pen; you’re still too close. Yeah, them hogs is startin’ to close up my sinuses. Mercy sakes, you better back off another ten.

Well, we rolled up Interstate 44
Like a rocket sled on rails.
We tore up all of our swindle sheets,
And left ’em settin’ on the scales.
By the time we hit that Chi-town,
Them bears was a-gettin’ smart:
They’d brought up some reinforcements
From the Illinoise National Guard.
There’s armored cars, and tanks, and jeeps,
And rigs of ev’ry size.
Yeah, them chicken coops was full’a bears
And choppers filled the skies.
Well, we shot the line and we went for broke
With a thousand screamin’ trucks
An’ eleven long-haired Friends a’ Jesus
In a chartreuse micra-bus.
[On the CB]
Ah, Rubber Duck to Sodbuster, come over. Yeah, 10-4, Sodbuster? Lissen, you wanna put that micra-bus right behind that suicide jockey? Yeah, he’s haulin’ dynamite, and he needs all the help he can get.

Well, we laid a strip for the Jersey shore
And prepared to cross the line
I could see the bridge was lined with bears
But I didn’t have a dog-goned dime.
I says, “Pig Pen, this here’s the Rubber Duck.
“We just ain’t a-gonna pay no toll.”
So we crashed the gate doing ninety-eight
I says “Let them truckers roll, 10-4.”

[Chorus]
’Cause we got a mighty convoy
Rockin’ through the night.
Yeah, we got a mighty convoy,
Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy
’Cross the U-S-A.

Convoy! Ah, 10-4, Pig Pen, what’s your twenty?
Convoy! Omaha? Well, they oughta know what to do with them hogs out there fer shure. Well, mercy
Convoy! sakes, good buddy, we gonna back on outta here, so keep the bugs off your glass and the bears off your…
Convoy! tail. We’ll catch you on the flip-flop. This here’s the Rubber Duck on the side.
Convoy! We gone. ’Bye,’bye.

6 thoughts on “Convoy

  1. You have reminded me of that cultural phenomenon “B.J. and the Bear”, curse you.

    I was more into “Guitarzan “, “Wild Wood Weed”, “Vatican Rag”, and ,last but not least. “The Prince’s Panties”

    Liked by 1 person

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