If That Ain’t Country February 21, 2019 (Put The Hammer Down!)

Put The Hammer Down! (Cover LP Capitol 1976)
Put The Hammer Down! (Cover LP Capitol 1976)

Put The Hammer Down! (1976)

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.

HOUR 1:

1. Merle Haggard – Movin’ On (1975)
2. The Osborne Brothers – Roll Muddy River (1967)
3. YOUTUBE REFLECTIONS: Red Foley – Birmingham Bounce (1950)
4. Joey & Rory – Baby I’ll Come Back To You (2010)
5. Bradley Walker & Joey Feek – In The Time That You Gave Me (2016)
6. Cowboy Copas – Flat Top (1962)
7. Jeannie C. Riley – Ex-Mrs Jones (1976)
8. NewFound Road – Love Stay Away From Me (2009)
9. Ed Bruce – If I Just Knew What To Say (1984)
BUMPER: Buck Owens – Orange Blossom Special
10. Lynn Morris Band – Wrong Road Again (1999)
11. Dick Curless – A Tombstone Every Mile (1970)
12. Dick Curless – Long, Lonesome Highway (1970)
13. Mark Chesnutt – Hello Honky Tonk (1997)
14. Monte Good – The Walls Of This Old Honky Tonk (2012)
15. The Compton Brothers – Nadine (1971)
16. Jacky Ward – Big Blue Diamond (1971)
17. Jeff Woolsey – Relief Is Just A Swallow Away (2016)

HOUR 2:

1. Red Steagall – Sittin’ In An All Night Café (1978)
2. Merle Haggard – White Line Fever [Live] (1969)
3. Red Sovine – Phantom 309 (1967)
4. Joe Diffie – Liquid Heartache (1990)
5. Red Simpson – Nitro Express (1965)
6. Red Simpson – I’m A Truck (1971)
7. Janie Fricke – Always Have, Always Will (1986)
8. Lefty Frizzell – You Want Everything But Me (1951)
9. Sister Sadie – Morning Sky (2018)
BUMPER: Bob Wills – San Antonio Rose
10. Elizabeth Cook – House Of Mirrors (2000)
11. COUNTRY COVERS: Jim Byrom – Walkin’ Slow (2003)
12. COUNTRY COVERS: Sunny Sweeney – 16th Avenue (2006)
13. COUNTRY COVERS: Jimmy Burson – My Window Faces The South (2002)
14. SHOT OF STEEL: The Wilburn Brothers – That She’s Leaving Feeling (1971)
15. Cledus Maggard & The Citizen’s Band – The White Knight (1976)
16. Bradley Walker – His Memory Walks On Water (2016)

HOUR 3: If That Ain’t Country’s Year In Country Music – 1967

1. Wynn Stewart – It’s Such A Pretty World Today
2. Merle Haggard – I’m A Lonesome Fugitive
3. Fiddlin’ Frenchie Burke – The Fiddlin’ Of Jacques Pierre Bourdeaux (1975)
4. Jim Ed Brown – Pop A Top
5. Stonewall Jackson – Promises And Hearts
6. Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton – The Last Thing On My Mind
7. Tompall Glaser & The Glaser Brothers – The Streets Of Baltimore
8. Buck Owens – Where Does The Good Times Go
9. Connie Smith – I’ll Come Running
10. Loretta Lynn – What Kind Of Girl (Do You Think I Am)
11. Nat Stuckey – Oh, Woman
BUMPER: Buck Owens – Orange Blossom Special
12. Kitty Wells – If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)
13. Johnny Paycheck – Jukebox Charlie
14. Johnny Paycheck – Touch My Heart
15. Johnny Paycheck – I Never Had The One That I Wanted
16. Johnny Paycheck – Meanest Jukebox In Town
17. Jim & Jesse – Diesel On My Tail
18. Marty Robbins – Tonight Carmen