Label / Cat. No: Stereo Gold Award MER408
First Released: 1976
What The Album Blurb Says...
The truck driving man is about as individual and as special a breed of man as you're ever likely to meet. He's a man used to long silences broken only by the soft hum of wheels that burn up the miles between lonely townships. He has his own set of driving rules, his own language and his own songs. They're songs that truly reflect the nomadic life that he leads and the situations that lie around each bend in the road, songs with titles like "Soft Shoulders and Dangerous Curves", "Burning Rubber" and "Bumper to Bumper". The truck driving man may sing, hum or whistle them as he drives along that long black ribbon of tarmac towards his destination. Now you can share these songs of the road, as Big Dave and the Tennessee Tailgaters play and sing the tunes that have their own special message for each truck driving man... wherever he may be.
What I Say
I'm really sorry to have to tell you this, but I'm as sure as I can be that this album is a cheap and nasty record cynically trying to cash in on the 1970's trucker / Convoy fad. Yes, shocking I know, but I'm willing to bet there there is no such person as 'BIG DAVE', let alone the Tennessee Tailgaters.
Let's look at the evidence shall we? Firstly, there's the fact that BIG DAVE isn't being used to push this album. The biggest text on the album sleeve is 'Truck Driving Man'. Poor BIG DAVE is relegated to a small corner of the tarmac, and his Tennessee Tailgaters get an even smaller point size. If you go looking for BIG DAVE on the internet (along with the TTs, of course), the only reference you'll find is to this album. Hmmmm.... sounds mighty fishy to me.
Secondly, Big Dave manages to sound like a very convincing woman on 'Soft Shoulders and Dangerous Curves', probably because it is sung by a woman. So unless BIG DAVE is either a) an hermaphrodite with an ability to switch voices at will, b) a very good impressionist or c) has an incredible range, then I don't think he alone tackles the vocals. Fair enough, it may be one of his Tennessee Tailgaters, but as there are sadly very few details on the record sleeve, it's hard to tell.
But the most damning evidence for how nastily this album has been thrown together to hang on to the 'Convoy' fad of '76 is all connected to that particular song.
Exhibit A - the big splash across the young ladies nether regions saying 'including CONVOY'. Clearly the makers of this album are using that song as the attention grabber. After all, why else paste those words across her mimsy. However..... there is a further implication by placing the splash there. It's suggesting censorship, that the young lady leaning suggestively on the cab of the truck may be showing more than she should.
But look! Thanks to the internet, I found a copy of the original, American version of this album, and LOOK! No splash, no 'including CONVOY', and no flesh needing to be censored....
Exhibit B - some simple maths. On the front cover it lists 7 songs, and says '& 4 Others'
By my reckoning that makes 11 songs. But look at the track
listing.... six songs on each side. That always made 12 when I was at school, which means they've stuck an extra song on there. I'm betting it's Convoy.
Exhibit C - The vocalist on CONVOY does not sound at all like BIG DAVE. In fact, he sounds completely different to BIG DAVE, to the degree whereby I would argue with some confidence that it's not BIG DAVE at all, but some completely other person.
Exhibit D - The credits on the album label are all intact for every other song. Every single one. Except Convoy. Why would that be, unless it was a last minute addition to the album.
Now, I may be going out on a limb here, but I reckon that this album, originally released in America, had a version of Convoy stuck on for the British market becuase the timing meant that Convoy was fresh in the mind of the British music buyer, and this was a dirty, nasty, cynical way of selling their grubby little record. BIG DAVE? Big FRAUD, I say.
Which means I haven't spoken about the music (mostly Country with a couple of Bluegrass instrumentals), the inability for the culture to translate (American Knights of the Road on the wide open plains vs. a bloke from Dudley in overalls sitting on the A14 to catch the night ferry to Zeebrugge) or how this music is inappropriate (instrumentals telling of the life of the truck drivin' man? How does that work. Oh, and that 'Diesel Smoke Sally' seems to be about a woman who'll sleep with any trucker who passes through her cafe. Charming).
But you don't need to know about all that, when it's all been built on such flimsy foundations. You know, I never thought I'd have to turn detective, but I'm glad that I've saved you from this charlatan. You may thank me at your leisure.
1. Truck Driving Man
2. Gimme Forty Acres
3. Soft Shoulders and Dangerous Curves
4. Burnin' Rubber
5. King Of The Road
6. T-Town Tailgaitin'
2. Six Days On The Road
3. Giddy Up-Go
4. Diesel Smoke Sally
5. Bumper To Bumper
6. Girl On The Billboard
1 out of 10