It’s time for another country clackin’ guitar string whackin’ Truck Driver Song! Here we look back at some of the great big sellers and unsung gems of the music world that all give a tip of the cap to the North American trucker.
Red Simpson pretty much knew right away he wanted to write songs about the great American road. He was spotted by an entertainment manager while singing at a local drive in called The Wagon Wheel. The performance aided Red in getting a steady gig supporting Buck Owens.
Simpson was influenced by Owens, Merle Haggard and Bill Woods, who asked Red if he would write a song about driving trucks. Simpson handed off four decent tunes to Woods, but those were never fully developed into recorded media.
In 1965, Capitol records producer Ken Nelson was looking for someone to record some songs about trucking. His first choice was Haggard, who wasn’t interested, but Simpson readily agreed. His first, Tommy Collins’ “Roll, Truck, Roll,” became a Top 40 country hit and Simpson recorded an album of the same name.
That year he offered up two more trucking songs, both of which made it to the Top 50 or beyond. Red Simpson continued on with the truck driver song genre and basically never strayed all the way until his unofficial retirement from music in 1995. It was that year that he released a collaboration with country slide picker Junior Brown.