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Sonny George

Truckin' Country – 1998 (Spinout)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Sonny George

A member of the now-and-then Nashville band The Planet Rockers, Sonny George has spent as much time as a truck driver as he has as a musician (he thanks his Teamsters Local in the liner notes to this album). Out of that field work comes this great collection of 14 tunes, all penned or co-penned by George. Drawing in equal measure on country and rockabilly and thoroughly suffused with the influence of Cash, what really makes 'em go is George's voice - low, burly and booming, a worthy addition to the likes of Dave Dudley and Red Simpson.

There's nothing fancy or mysterious about the songs, as is sufficiently indicated by a title-check: "Truck Driver No. 1," "The Lone Masked Trucker," "The Ghostman Trucker," "The Truck Stops Here," "Truck On, Boy," "Truckin' Country." George does stray down a few less trodden paths, however. "The Ballad of Big Joe" is no doubt the only truckin' song about a transvestite trucker, "flat-out different as a guy can get," but with "the heart of a hero, the soul of a saint;" although off-beat, it's still solidly in the tradition of the Sovinesque story-song. "Dixie Fireball" is another nice twist, a diesel variant on "Wabash Cannonball."

The release of this album, close on the heels of Dale Watson's "The Truckin' Sessions," is a welcome resuscitation of another neglected country music byway.