Hey truckers, we’re back with another episode of our site favorite, Truck Driver Songs. Here we have a listen to some of the greatest music from the past that sings great things about truck drivers and all they do. This week we go back to some groovy 60s Detroit R&B. And don’t forget to check out those crazy kids and their dance moves!
Mitch Ryder was considered by many to be the great bridge between the sounds of Detroit soul and Motown, and the emerging garage rock scenes beginning to take hold in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Cincinnati during the late 60s. His hoarse wailing vocals over driving beats and the unmistakable Hammond organ grind recalled Motown greats like Booker T & The MGs and showstoppers like James Brown.
However his arrangements around rebellious guitar riffing and callback choruses made him a big draw in dance and rock n’ roll clubs everywhere. The video we’re featuring today illustrates that perfectly. Some of these kids look like they’re just about to give over to spiritual bliss while they sweat under the studio lights. You don’t see many dance clubs like that any more.
Mitch Ryder created plenty of hits in the 60s and 70s using his tried and true formula of combining high energy rock arrangements infused with lots of Motown conventions to keep the groove seamlessly glued together. Then some of AOR Radio conventions began changing out of R&B and more towards a heavier styles following cues from bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.
Ryder’s career then took several detours, when his manager encouraged him to pursue a solo career. Unhappy with the results after one album, he returned home to a reunion with The Wheels drummer John Badanjek in the short-lived super group Detroit, which lasted just long enough to record one monster of a heavy-duty rock ‘n’ roll album in 1971.
Mitch left the active performing scene for the next 5 years, but came back to a major American label at the request of the quickly rising rock star John Cougar Mellencamp. The two produced Never Kick A Sleeping Dog in 1983, highlighted by a world weary, gritty version of Prince’s When You Were Mine, who was also still enjoying a meteoric rise between the conventions of radio rock and R&B.
C.C. Ryder is your classic “I’m outta here to find a new woman to ride the highways with” song. It’s one of the perfect examples of why truck drivers keep on keepin’ on. The road calls. Enjoy!
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If you can’t get the video to play, click this pic!