(Editor’s note: Palisadian Alan Eisenstock’s 19th book “Redeeming Justice” co-written with Jarrett Adams, came out on September 14 and was named the Best Book of September by Amazon. “A consuming tale of a broken legal system, its trail of ruin and the fortitude needed to overcome its scarring.”
When Eisenstock is not writing, he pursues what he calls “a crazy labor of love side project” that he started in March 2020: sending a weekly Covid-themed playlist of songs to his family and friends. These playlists (which can be downloaded on Spotify click here span rock ‘n’ roll and pop music from the 1950s to 2020, and Eisenstock adds one or two lines of commentary about each song that is clever, amusing and informative.)
A front-page headline in the Wednesday, November 10 New York Times reads: “Lack of Truckers Is Choking U.S. Supply Chain.” Blame a wave of recent retirements, the stress of the job, and of course COVID, but we have a shortage of truckers, causing even further supply chain headaches. What to do? Idea. Here are 16 “trucker” songs. Listen up!
- “I’ve Been Everywhere” Johnny Cash. In 1996, The Man in Black covered this 1959 Australian ditty written by Geoff Mack. Originally the song contained all Australian towns but to appeal to Americans, Mack’s publisher handed Geoff an American atlas and had him write in all American towns. Johnny sings that he’s even been to Pittsfield.
- “Up Around the Bend” Creedence Clearwater Revival. Call it roots rock, swamp rock, or what have you, I love the CCR sound. Frontman John Fogerty wrote and sings this big hit from 1970.
- “On the Road Again” Willie Nelson. Willie wrote this 1980 song for the movie Honeysuckle Rose about an aging musician and his trials and tribulations on the road. Willie actually starred in the movie and claimed that he wrote the lyrics on a barf bag. Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their album Urban Chipmunk.
- “Truckin'” Grateful Dead. For all you Deadheads, here is the most famous Dead song of all and a perfect fit for this week’s playlist. The 1970 song comes from their album American Beauty. Not a poll question, but who’s got the worst voice, Jerry Garcia or Bob Dylan?
- “Carefree Highway” Gordon Lightfoot. Canadian folk singer whom Robbie Robertson called a “national treasure.” Gordon’s 1974 song appears on his album Sundown.
- “Convoy” C.W. McCall. Country-singer, former advertising executive, and environmental activist William Dale Fries, Jr. used the stage name C.W. McCall and wrote this nearly unlistenable song. Of course, the song sold 2 million records and is made up of a conversation between two truckers, Pig Pen and Rubber Duck.
- “Truck Drivin’ Man” The J. Geils Band. Any excuse for these rockers but this one’s a stretch. At least it’s short and contains the mantra of many writers: “Pour me another cup of coffee.”
- “Brother Trucker” James Taylor. JT rocks out on this pure truck driving 1979 song from his album Flag. That voice. He growls, he wails, he barks. “I say where, you say when… Two hours of sleep in the last two nights…”
- “One Toke Over the Line” Brewer & Shipley. Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley, friends, folk singers, stoners wrote this song after one of them (Mike?) told (Tom), “I’m so stoned I think I’m one toke over the line.” What does this have to do with trucks? Apparently, truck drivers enjoy some enhancement to get them through the night.
- “Goodbye” Drive-By Truckers. Alt-country band formed in Athens, GA. Co-founder Patterson Hood wrote this song from their 2006 album A Blessing And A Curse, the last album to feature Jason Isbell.
- “Trucks” Fountains of Wayne. Adam Schlesinger, the pride of Montclair, NJ, and Chris Collingwood met as freshmen at Williams College and would eventually form the band in NYC after graduation. Adam wrote this catchy kids’ song in 2013. He died from COVID in April 2020.
- “That’s How I Remember It” Asleep at The Wheel. Western swing band that was formed in Paw Paw, West Virginia, the next town over from Snout Snout. The band has won 10 Grammys and this newish song features vocals by Chris O’Connell and Elizabeth McQueen. LOVE.
- “Bound for Glory” Tedeschi Trucks Band. Super blues singer Susan Tedeschi and her husband Derek Trucks, a guitar virtuoso, formed this band, recorded their outstanding album Revelator, which won the Grammy for Best Blues Album in 2012. LOVE.
- .”Willin'” Little Feat. Last week, we had Linda Ronstadt’s version, now here’s the original, written and song by Lowell George. He wrote it while a member of Mothers of Invention. Allegedly, Frank Zappa heard him sing and told him that he should form his own band. The best truck driving song.
- “Runnin’ Down a Dream” Tom Petty. From Tom’s 1989 solo album Full Moon Fever, the song co-written with Jeff Campbell and Jeff Lynne. The song was used as the theme for the 2006 NBA Finals, even though it has nothing to do with basketball. Or trucks, for that matter. Sounds like it should.
- “Because the Night” Patti Smith. Punk legend, author, and consummate New Yorker, Patti co-wrote this with Bruce Springsteen. Yeah, I know, it’s “lovers.” One of my all-time favorite songs. LOVE, LOVE.
And there you have it, 16 “truck” songs during the supply chain challenge due to COVID.
Some advice: Don’t Forget to Disinfect and… PLAY IT LOUD!
The link again: click here.
Are you ready? Alvin and the Chipmunks DID cover “On The Road Again” from their album Urban Chipmunk.
To my knowledge, there is no Snout Snout, West Virginia, although there could be.
LAST WEEK’S POLL QUESTION:
“American Girl” and “Dust In The Wind” tied, although many of you said how much you hated both songs. I love your constructive feedback.
THIS WEEK’S POLL QUESTION:
Oh, why not? The more annoying voice–Bob Dylan or Jerry Garcia? Who you got?
I’m taking a two-week Thanksgiving break. See you Friday, December 10.