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DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway

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THE WRECK ON THE HIGHWAY


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Lyr Req: The Drunken Driver (from Ferlin Husky) (9)


wilco 21 Oct 02 - 11:01 AM
12-stringer 21 Oct 02 - 03:38 PM
wilco 21 Oct 02 - 05:58 PM
catspaw49 21 Oct 02 - 06:29 PM
12-stringer 22 Oct 02 - 12:08 AM
GUEST,bdatki 22 Oct 02 - 12:10 AM
reggie miles 22 Oct 02 - 12:29 AM
Coyote Breath 22 Oct 02 - 01:43 AM
Glen Reid 22 Oct 02 - 03:46 PM
catspaw49 22 Oct 02 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,Gene 22 Oct 02 - 11:46 PM
Coyote Breath 23 Oct 02 - 02:48 AM
mike the knife 23 Oct 02 - 08:16 AM
catspaw49 23 Oct 02 - 08:25 AM
mike the knife 23 Oct 02 - 08:30 AM
Glen Reid 23 Oct 02 - 10:56 AM
Joe Offer 23 Oct 02 - 12:20 PM
catspaw49 23 Oct 02 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Gene 23 Oct 02 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,Craig 20 Oct 08 - 02:58 PM
Charley Noble 20 Oct 08 - 04:55 PM
oldhippie 20 Oct 08 - 07:31 PM
Cluin 20 Oct 08 - 07:59 PM
GUEST,Suffolk Miracle 21 Oct 08 - 08:52 AM
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Subject: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: wilco
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 11:01 AM

The DWI/DUI thread brough to mind a question that i had about songs about drunk drivers. I sing "Wreck on the Highway," and I was curious about other similiar songs. I've heard "Wreck" done by Mollie O'Day. Wilma Cooper, and Roy Acuff. Any other versions?


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: 12-stringer
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 03:38 PM

What about "The Drunken Driver," which Molly O'Day also did? Great old mountain melody that would sound neat with double-thumbed banjo in GDGCD "sawmill" tuning.

Somebody on the old Folkways LP Mountain Music of KY (Banjo Bill Cornett?) is said there to have written a similar (or the same??) song about a drunk driver who runs over his own child. It's not on the LP but is mentioned in the notes booklet.

"Wreck on the Highway" was written by Dorsey M Dixon, of the Dixon Brothers, and was recorded by them in the late 1930s on the Bluebird label. Discographical notes on this are momentarily out of reach; IIRC it was reissued on vinyl in the 70s on a Dixon Bros LP. I think a 1960s remake is also on Dixon's Testament LP Babies in the Mill, which was recently being sold as a cutout at Daedalus Books.


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: wilco
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 05:58 PM

I have heard a song about a man killing his own child as a drunken driver. I think it was a brothers' group like the Stanley Brothers or Louvin Brothers. Thanks for the information! I'll see if I can find it, and post it here.


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 06:29 PM

For all of you songwriters out there, I am surprised that there is no song to my knowledge about this one....the worst school bus accident in recent history and caused by a drunk driver. The drunk was going the wrong way on I-71 when he struck the bus. There is a marker at the spot still today and until you pass the spot you really don't sense just how fuckin' drunk the guy was. I had always assumed he had come down on an exit ramp and then hit the bus, but although he had come down the wrong ramp, he drove for MILES in the wrong direction!

Tragic crash that some of you may remember.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: 12-stringer
Date: 22 Oct 02 - 12:08 AM

"Now listen you drunken drivers, while here on earth you dwell,
You'll never know when the time may come you'll have to say farewell.

"I'll tell you of an accident that would charm the hearts of men
And teach them never to touch a drop while at the wheel again."

It goes on for several more verses, overall rather pedestrian poetry but the Molly O'Day rendition has this archaic-sounding modal melody that gives me a chill when it plays in my head while I'm typing the lyrics. I don't know the techie talk but I think it's pentatonic. It sounds like something Roscoe Holcomb or B F Shelton would have sung, with that thumb-whacking banjo line underneath. I've heard an old-time or bluegrass band version or two that smooth it down just a bit.

Ivan Tribe's bio-discography says Molly learned this from a sister act at WHIS in Bluefield, WV, in the early 40s, and that someone else at the station did it previously on the air as a recitation. It includes a set of the lyrics which is somewhat different from the one she recorded for Columbia just after WW2 and which is on the 70s Old Homestead reissue of her work: a great LP.


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: GUEST,bdatki
Date: 22 Oct 02 - 12:10 AM

Acuff and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band did Wreck on the Highway for the original Will the Circle Be Unbroken


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: reggie miles
Date: 22 Oct 02 - 12:29 AM

I have a 78rpm of a Billy Strange recording called "Diesel Smoke and Dangerous Curves" but it's damaged. It was such a choice find I decided to keep it even chipped and cracked. I managed to get the words of the song before it's unfortunate accident. They're so fragile! Then just the other day I found another recording of the same song with a slightly different treatment by none other than Gene Autry. One of the verses goes'

I was out last night drinkin' beer with the guys.
Got an achin' head and bloodshot eyes.
I met up with a pretty little dame.
I didn't even know her name.
Diesel smoke, (HONK! HONK!), dangerous curves.

I like Billy's version better. It's a bit more raw. To it's credit, Gene's version has the added quality of better sound effects, truck's brakes screeching and horns blowing.

Be careful out there, Reg


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 22 Oct 02 - 01:43 AM

The song Drunken Driver is also on a New Lost City Ramblers' album which I think is called Songs of Moonshine and Prohibition. I always sing it in G (mountain) modal, which is how I heard the NLCR do it.

CB


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: Glen Reid
Date: 22 Oct 02 - 03:46 PM

Another wreck on the highway classic, was the huge hit Red Solvine had back in the sixties with "Phantom 309"
A real country heartbreaker , about a ghost trucker and his rig.
Recently I heard the origional version by the composer himself.
None other than Tom Waits.


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Oct 02 - 04:20 PM

The money is being held up by relatives, but Red Sovine willed a large chunk to the Neil Young Center for the Terminally Screwed to build a wing in his honor. We are hoping to be out of court soon on this with the money in hand to build the "Red Sovine Memorial Care Unit for the Moronically Depressed and Chronically Stupid."

Spaw


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 22 Oct 02 - 11:46 PM

IMHO:

Ferlin Husky did the BEST version I ever heard of

The Drunken Driver


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 02:48 AM

I'd forgotten about "Phantom 309". I once saw a beautifully painted and lighted 18 wheeler, midnight blue with graphics telling the song's story while rolling down I-80 through Nevada. It was late at night and the whole effect was spooky as all getout. I'd like to hear Ferlin Husky do The Drunken Driver! I always liked him.

CB


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: mike the knife
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 08:16 AM

As far as I know, Red Sovine was the writer on Phantom 309- Waits does a wonderful cover & even gives credit to Sovine on a live recording (devil take me if I can remember which album...)
I seem to remember Sovine's name listed on the 45 record as the writer (I played it on the air when I worked for a country station many moons ago).
Springsteen does a nice one "Wreck on the Highway" on "Nebraska"


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 08:25 AM

Tommy Faile wrote that piece of shit Phantom 309.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: mike the knife
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 08:30 AM

Cheers, Thanks Spaw. Thought it was Sovine.


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: Glen Reid
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 10:56 AM

I stand corrected.
The album "Nighthawks at the Diner" liner notes say all selections by Tom Waits, but farther down in it does give credit to Tommy Faile.


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 12:20 PM

Hey, take a look at The Tortoise, by the Corrries.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 12:33 PM

Geeziz Joe! What's the moral? If someone I know is killed by a drunk driver that I should take their skin and make a shirt or something? Gawdamn man.........Completely bizarre..........I also showed it to our Carolina Box Turtle, Bessie, and she says you're friggin' sick!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 04:34 PM

Ferlin Husky's version is at ROSE THE RECORD LADY's website..


Ferlin Husky (A-3) 'Drunken Driver'



www.google.com will find [ROSE RECORD LADY]


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: GUEST,Craig
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 02:58 PM

http://www.thesharkguys.com/2008/10/20/top-10-drinking-and-driving-songs-contents-may-shift-in-transit/

Here's a Top 10 list of 'em


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 04:55 PM

The Blue Sky Boys also recorded "Wreck on the Highway."

There was also the rock & roll song "Highway 101 (Black Leather Jacket & Motorcycle Boots)" where the hopped-up cycle driver came to a bad end.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: oldhippie
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 07:31 PM

There's a song titled "DUI Blues" by Doug McRoberts.


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: Cluin
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 07:59 PM

Where oh where can my baby be?
The Lord took her away from me
She's gone to heaven so I got to be good
So I can see my baby when I leave-a this world


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Subject: RE: DWI/DUI songs: Wreck on the Highway
From: GUEST,Suffolk Miracle
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 08:52 AM

I know very little of matters on the American side of the pond, but there is definitely a recording of Jack Elliott and Derroll Adams doing Wreck on the Highway in Italy in the mid 50s. The tapes were released on vinyl under the title of Roll On Buddy - The Jack ElliottDerroll Adams Story Volume One. As far as I know no further volumes emerged.


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