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Red Simpson

Country Western Truck Drivin' Singer: The Best of Red Simpson – 1999 (Razor & Tie)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by Red Simpson

Joseph "Red" Simpson was a huge force in the development of the Bakersfield Sound of the '60's, writing or co-writing hits for Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and numerous others. Adopting a truck driver persona in 1966, Simpson's major solo hits were "Roll, Truck, Roll," "The Highway Patrol," (recently revived by Junior Brown) and 1971's "I'm a Truck."

Fortunately, there's a lot more to Simpson than his 3 major hits on this 20-track collection. In addition to covers of the major trucker hits of the era (including "Truck Drivin' Man," "Six Days On the Road," and "Give Me Forty Acres"), several other minor hits and album tracks are included, including 1972's "Country Western Truck Drivin' Singer" and 1973's "Awful Lot to Learn About Truck Drivin'," among others.

The mastering is crisp, and the liner notes by Diesel Only label head Jeremy Tepper are informative. Though Simpson confines his performances to the Bakersfield area these days, his sound lives on in the records of Brown, Dale Watson and others. A welcome addition to the collection of any fan of both trucker country and the Bakersfield Sound.