Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Red Simpson - Hello, I'm a Truck

On a fairly different note from my previous post, I just discovered C&W singer Red Simpson when I was in Bakersfield recently and found out that this man, who wrote "The Highway Patrol" that was a hit for Jr. Brown, has had a long country career, concentrating on truck-drivin' songs. I didn't see him, but I understand that, even at 80, he is still playing at the Bakersfield honky-tonk, Trouts, on a weekly basis.

I'm usually not a fan of corny/silly songs like "Hello, I'm a Truck", but there is something endearing about the almost childlike simplicity of this - and the band is solid behind him, as it is for "Highway Patrol" - and, as much as I dig Jr. Brown, I do prefer this version. "Roll, Truck, Roll" is a bit poppier and even more corny (as he talks about the truck driver being away from his family for long periods of time) and not quite as successful though "I Burn Up the Roads" works better as a straighter country tune with some nice guitar licks throughout. "Don't Fall Asleep At the Wheel" is, again, a bit corny as Red gives advice to a younger trucker, but has a fun, up-tempo chorus. There's some cool pedal steel guitar and honky-tonk piano in the ballad "Endless Black Ribbon" and a fairly raucous and lewd number in "Beaver on my Lap, Bear on my Tail". Similar in theme is another upbeat country rocker "Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves" followed by another rockin' (in a country way) number, "California Turn-Arounds". He is genuinely funny in the closer "My Name is Simpson" as he talks about fans confusing him with other country artists.

This is obviously a low-budget compilation that was probably usually sold at truck stops, but it is a fun record of silly, but well done, C&W tunes. Think I'll have to check out more by the man!