A country music legend has passed away. William Dale Fries Jr., better known as C. W. McCall, died on Friday at the age of 93. Because he was best known under his “stage name”, I’ll use it to refer to him here.
McCall got his start in advertising, and used his music skills to make a humorous advertisement for a brand of bread. It went viral, and started his music career.
His comic persona of a truck-driving country singer was so successful that he parlayed it into five successful albums in the 1970’s. His hit single “Convoy” attracted the interest of director Sam Peckinpah, who adapted its storyline into a hit film in 1978 under the same title. The song had to be given new lyrics to fit the plot of the movie, and became best known in that second version.
McCall’s first album, “Wolf Creek Pass”, released in 1975, received air time in many countries. As far away as South Africa, I recall hearing the title track that same year, and laughing at it. That country also had its fair share of tricky mountain passes, where trucks and lighter vehicles alike often came to grief, so it found a ready audience there.
Here are a couple of other songs from McCall. The first is about a train, for a change, rather than a truck.
And finally, here’s the short but amusing “Black Bear Road”.
You’ll find more of McCall’s songs on YouTube and elsewhere. His wit and self-deprecating humor will be missed.