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Monday, 2003 March 17 : Volume 6, Number 6

What We Got Here in this edition of The Legend-News.

Smells Like American Spirit

A few issues ago, we mentioned a Critter sighting (well, hearing) of a new album containing C.W. McCall material. Well, it's true. Coming this Memorial Day to a retailer near you will be American Spirit, by Mannheim Steamroller and C.W. McCall, a collection of patriotic songs and spoken words.

Bill Fries, The Real C.W. McCall, was at the American Gramaphone studios in Omaha, Nebraska a few weeks ago, recording voice-overs; he's the narrator for the spoken word tracks. And for the fans of Bill's songs, American Spirit will include a digital re-recording of The Best Damn Trucker's Anthem Ever, "Convoy". The Rubber Duck rides again!

Ed. Floden, the Space Cadet, attended a recording session that was held at St. Michael's Church, in Chicago's Old Town area, on Thursday, March 13. Seems that when Bill Fries was at AG, he mentioned some of the web sites about C.W. McCall: our own C.W. McCall: An American Legend, Miles Lumbard's The Narrow Gauge Circle, and David Frederick's CONVOY: The Movie, The Music. Dan Wieberg of AG contacted the masters of those sites, and invited them to attend the session. Unfortunately, the only person who was close enough to Chicago was Ed., who lives in McHenry, Illinois, about 45 miles northwest of the city. Ed. arrived at St. Michael's in mid-afternoon, and observed the recording session from set-up to tear-down.

In the first half of the session, Chip Davis conducted a group of brass and percussion players from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a rendition of "Fanfare For The Common Man" by Aaron Copland. Later that evening, the CSO Choir (sans orchestra) performed "American The Beautiful", "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic", and "Home On The Range". (Yes, "Home On The Range".)

Immediately following the conclusion of the session, Chip and crew flew back to Omaha to continue working on this album, which is expected to be a big seller. Its upcoming release has already been promulgated (Whoa! Big Word Alert!) to major retailers in the U.S. Chip Davis says that Target and Wal-Mart, among others, have placed large pre-orders for American Spirit.

We'll continue to report on this album as we receive more information. Later this week, we'll post some pictures of the session on the American Legend web site.


Meanwhile, Back At The Critter Ranch

David Frederick's CONVOY: The Movie, The Music is back online, having moved back to Angelfire from its brief home at Dreamstation. David says that Dreamstation's bandwidth limits were causing his site to be inaccessible much of the time, due to the large collection of pictures on his pages. David also notes "Did you know Bill appeared on American Bandstand January 3, 1976? I found this info thru www.tvtome.com. Strangely enough, this was eight days before Convoy would become #1 on Billboard. The film of him on Bandstand was seen on VH1 One Hit Wonders Series 'Goofy Greats' episode."

Greg Lucke found an article about American Spirit. While it is informative, don't die laughing when you read the headline; the author apparently didn't do much research. Greg also tells us "I took a day trip up to Lake Forest [Illinois] and back to KC myself yesterday [Tuesday, March 11]. O'Hare [Field; Chicago's major airport] is a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours that you can never regain."

Last issue, Duane Jenkins wrote to us and told of his interpretation of one line in "Convoy (new version)", that was one of the tracks in The Motion Picture CONVOY. Duane thought that

We trucked all day and we trucked all night
Pig Penny improvin' our style
should be
We trucked all day and we trucked all night
Big Benny approvin' our style

"Big Benny" being a reference to the Governor of New Mexico, one of the characters in the movie. Gary Peterson, Ray Wheeler, Dave Alden, and Chris Doyle responded, all declaring that this was a reference to stimulants that the truckers used to stay awake. Really good guesses; and for the definitive answer, we received this message:

From: "William Fries"
Date: Thu Mar 13, 2003  21:00:59 America/Chicago
To: <legendnews@techren.net>
Subject: Big Benny

is benzedrine!!!

Guess that settles it. So, in conclusion, that disputed line will now read

Big Benny improvin' our style

which says it all. Thanks to all of the contributors, and to this "William Fries" guy for confirming the answer.

On an unrelated topic, Duane — who is in New Zealand, where The Lord Of The Rings movies were filmed — opines "About the only thing the elves and I could agree on is that if the Duck was delivering the Ring it would have only taken one movie, not three."

But a new question has arisen, just like a bad moon (10 points to the first Critter who can name that tune). VM writes

I have a question for you regarding some lyrics posted on this site, specifically the lyrics to "Gallopin' Goose".

You've got it posted as: "He declared a busted drive shaft on the pass at Lizard Head". I think it's: "He'd acquired a busted drive shaft on the pass at Lizard Head".

Okay, Critters, which is it? "Declared" or "acquired"? Send your vote to <legendnews@techren.net> and we'll tally the responses for the next edition of The Legend-News.

The history of "Ed.'s Wrong Lyrics" began in 1999, when someone noted that he had transcribed a line from "Wolf Creek Pass" as "four hundred head of Rhode Island Reds and a couple a' Bird Isle roosters on the line". Now Ed.'s excuse is that when he transcribed those lyrics, he was still listening to his worn-out, stretched, C.W. McCall-sounds-like-a-bass cassette tapes, and he swears that he heard the words "Bird Isle roosters". Many Critters wrote to correct him, telling him that the phrase was "burnt-out roosters", which would make sense given the four hundred hens. Ed. dutifully made the correction; or so he thought. He missed one (or two) references; and William Fries was recently perusing the American Legend site and spotted one. Mr. Fries, of course, informed Ed.

From: "William Fries"
Date: Thu Mar 13, 2003  20:54:58 America/Chicago
To: "Ed Floden" <techren@techren.net> 
Subject: Typo

Ed..Bird Isle?   make that burnt-out. (roosters)

Thanks, Bill

Ed. has finally corrected all of those "Bird Isle" references, and he is relearning how to perform a multi-file text search in BBEdit.

New Critters On The Ranch. Red Kilby, Locomotive Engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad and country music entertainer; P. Chevée (France).

P. Chevée thanked us for for answering a question that's perturbed him for 27 years. A French radio broadcast from 1976-77, "Walk Or Dream", used "Telluride Breakdown" as its theme music. He didn't know the title of the work, but thanks to The World's Original C.W. McCall Web Site!™ (insert sound of own horn tooting) he was able to finally identify the music. Of course, he would have found the answer sooner if a Certain Multinational Record Company Who Shall Remain Unmentioned (*cough* *PolyGram* *cough*) would clean up the master tapes and release all of the Original Six C.W. McCall albums on CD.

Product Placement. This isn't really an advertisement; I'm a subscriber to Anu Garg's "A Word A Day" newsletter, and I'm just spreading the word. Anu's written a book about words of which you may not be aware.

A Word A Day: A Romp Through Some of the Most Unusual and Intriguing Words

"A delightful, quirky collection."
-The New York Times, Nov 28, 2002
"Triggers the kind of passionate reaction that actors, authors and memoirists would die for."
-USA Today, Jan 1, 2003
"Extraordinary words."
-Chicago Tribune, Nov 24, 2002
"Indefatigably jaunty hilarity."
-The Observer (UK), Jan 19, 2003

You can read more reviews at Anu's Wordsmith site.

Get the book at your local bookstore or online at Amazon.com.

Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind. -James Russell Lowell, poet, essayist, and diplomat (1819-1891)

An Interview With C.W. McCall (Part Two)

The Legend-News recently sat down with a fully-loaded iPod and a fully-charged PowerBook, and got this exclusive interview with country music legend C.W. McCall.

Legend-News: C.W., you've travelled over a lot of the U.S.A., both during your touring days and while in retirement. What was the most scenic route on which you've driven?

C.W. McCall: Me an' Earl was haulin' chickens on a flatbed out of Wiggins, and we'd spent all night on the uphill side of thirty-seven miles of hell called Wolf Creek Pass.

LN: What was your opinion of the Pass?

CW: Earl said, "My, ain't this purdy up here." I agreed.

LN: What other places have you travelled? What did you do?

CW: Well, I've walked the line on 89 in the Arizona sun, I've caught a star on U.S. one-oh-one, changed a tire on the rock-bound coast of Maine, shoveled snow up in Idaho, and been stuck on the Kansas plains.

LN: You've been almost everwhere.

CW: I've trucked all over this land, from Maine to the Rio Grande.

LN: Are there any particular roads that you'd like to revisit?

CW: I'm gonna take Old 30 one more time. Three thousand miles of rockin', rollin' highway.

LN: Do you often travel on the Interstate highways?

CW: Yeah, but it just don't send those shivers down my spine.

LN: What's the worst stretch of road on which you've been?

CW: U.S. 550, south of Ouray, Colorado, after a snowfall.

LN: It's treacherous?

CW: Especially for the plow jockeys. Ya never quite know what time a' the night you gonna die in the Riverside Slide.

LN: What was the most exciting drive that you've taken?

CW: Well, me an' Earl was workin' the superslab outside a' that Ogallala, when outta town come a local clown in a '65 Impala. Old boy got on his microphone, says "How's about a little showdown?" We won the race when he got too close and got a terminal dose a' that good ol' Hereford gas.

LN: Bet he backed off about five miles or so.

Next Issue: Wilderness.


Old Home Café: The Next Generation

Episode XIII: The Sequel Begins

Having survived the morning breakfast crowd, Jon and crew took a few breaks after 9 A.M., when the Pisgah Mob dwindled to a manageable half-dozen customers. Larry cleaned the grill, Jerry and Jerry Too bussed the tables, and Jon washed the dishes. Their relief was obvious, and so was the stress they'd endured.

But the peace was not to last. (Insert omnious bassoon music here.) Today was a day in July, a warm day in July, and what better way to deal with a warm day in July than by cruising the back roads in an open vehicle? A vehicle like, say, a motorcycle? And not just a motorcycle, but a Harley-Davidson with a throaty roar, and a well-leathered rider and passenger. Perhaps in a group. A large group. A group of twenty-three Harley-Davidson motocycles with well-leathered riders and passengers and a need for sustenance and refreshment, and hoping to find it at a little restaurant in the Loess Hills.

(Those of you who just muttered, "Oh, my God!", raise your hands. Yeah, I thought so. You really need to learn tolerance for other lifestyles.)

Next: Harleys, Hamburgers, and Lone Star Beer.

Song A’ Th’ Week

The scene: the shore of New Jersey. One thousand 18-wheelers have eluded the smokeys, but now they find themselves trapped by a seemingly insurmountable obstacle: the Atlantic Ocean. Call this song "Convoy II".

'Round The World With The Rubber Duck
(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album Rubber Duck

[On the CB.]
Breaker, one-nine, this here's the Duck again. You got a copy on me Pig Pen, c'mon? Ah, negatory, Pig Pen, there ain't no way out 'cept for that one Atlantic Ocean. Now listen, drop them hogs off in Omaha and get over here in a short, 'cause it definitely looks like we got us a problem.

Bears to the left; bears to the right
We didn't have no place to go.
They had us backed up clean to the shore,
And them cab-over Petes don't float.
I says, "Pig Pen, I got me a good idea.
Them Friends a' Jesus gonna save us!
"So praise the Lord and Mister Ford,
And follow that micra-bus, ten-four.

[Chorus]
Yo ho ho, and a thousand trucks
Gonna take a bath with a Rubber Duck
Yo ho ho, and a lots a' luck
'Round the world with the Rubber Ducky!

Yeah, we drove on the water like diesel whales
Sank about a hunnert-and-ten of 'em
I says, "Pig Pen, they just didn't have no faith
"They definitely gone ten-seven."
By the time we got into that Piccadilly Town,
'Bout half of 'em was lost at sea
I says, "Break one-nine for a ten-thirty-three"
What we got was the cotton-pickin' BBC

I say, Fabersham. Looks likes the Americans have got themselves another bloody Convoy.

[Chorus]
Yo ho ho, and a thousand trucks
Gonna take a bath with a Rubber Duck
Yo ho ho, and a lots a' luck
'Round the world with the Rubber Ducky!

Good heavens! Look at them all! Half of them are sinking in the Thames! Hello! Some of our truck chaps are assisting them. Good show, actually. Oh, well, ten-four and all that rubbish.

Well, we crossed that Channel like snakes on glass
And stormed the beach about dawn
I says, "Grab your shifters and punch 13
"We all goin' truckin' on the Autobahn.
"Now, Pig Pen, this here's the ultimate slab
"'Cause there goes a Mercedes truck."
He says, "Break one-three for the Strudel Machine
"Ya just blew the doors off'n the Duck. How 'bout it?"

Oh, zehn-vier, Rubber Duck. Ve are receiving you vall-to-vall, but the schpeed limit on za Autobahn is triple-nickels. You travel too schlow, Rubber Duck. We gonna see you around. We gone. Wiedersehen.

[During the next verse, the chorus (the singers, not the words) is heard in the background. What they're singing is what's printed in the tiny little letters. No, I am not making this up. That's what they're singing.]

Well, we stopped for a coffee in West Berlin
Dumb, dumb, dumb. This is
The British had hundred-mile tea
dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.
I says, "Pig Pen, from here on it's wall-to-wall bears."
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb,
Says, "Bash the Wall; we gonna see."
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.
Well, them big red bears must'a been in the bush
Dumb, dumb, dumb. This is
'Cause we didn't see a one all day
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb,
So we raked up the leaves and we shook out the tree
Dumb, dumb, dumb. This is
'Til they finally had something to say
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
You got it..

Comrade Duck: you have been given until daybreak in Murmansk to get your cotton-pickin' trucks out of the U. S. S. of R. You will copy!

Well, we shot them rigs through salt-mine city
Dumb, dumb
With a hammer and a sickle on down
Dumb, dumb
Then we hit the fan through the Sea of Japan
Dumb, dumb
Tooled into Transistor Town
Dumb, dumb
I says, "Pig Pen, this here must be the place,
Dumb, dumb
"'Cause everybody's eatin' with sticks."
Dumb, dumb
He says, "Ten-Four, this here is CB land
Dumb, dumb
"'Cause my channel knob just went crick."
Dumb, dumb

Ah so, Lubba Duck. You have a nice day today, betta day tomollow. We catch you on frip-frop. This one Kamikaze Ozzie; we gone. Sayonara.

[Chorus]
Yo ho ho, and a thousand trucks
Gonna take a bath with a Lubba Duck
Yo ho ho, and a rots a' ruck
'Round the world with a Lubba Ducky!

[On the CB.]
Ah, ten-four, Pig Pen, what's your twenty? Australia? Mercy sakes, ain't nothin' down there but Tasmanian devils and them Q-alla bears. What's that? No double-nickel limit? We gonna be there in a short, Pig Pen. This here's the Rubber Duck, ten-ten and doin' it to it like Pruitt used'ta do it to it. We gone. 'Bye-'bye.


Next Issue

Continuing our interview with C.W. McCall; the Old Home Café gives it away; a Song A’ Th’ Week; and anything else that we can think of.

A fortnight from now is the fifth Monday, so the next edition of The Legend-News will be published on April 7th, just in time for you to contemplate a start at preparing your tax return for 2002.


The Legend-News is published fortnightly — unless the fortnight is the fifth Monday, in which case it's published fortnightly-and-a-half — by TechRen Enterprises, lazin' on a sunny afternoon. Contents Copyright 2003 TechRen Enterprises, except for anything that we borrowed from someone else. Thanks to Bill Fries and Chip Davis for the words and music. "Don't squash him, muffin! He's a friend of mine!"