Way Out Wednesday: Jodie Lyons, “Talkin’ Smokey”

Written by Music, Way Out Wednesday

One of the biggest American trends in the mid to late 1970s was CB radios.  Originally used by truckers to communicate with each other, scads of other people decided to get into the act as well, likely spurred on by songs like C.W. McCall’s Convoy and the movie Smokey and the Bandit with Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason. My own family wasn’t immune to this. My dad opened up a store where he sold and repaired CBs, which he called “CB Repair” (a master of directness, my father was). He even had his own handle (a word for the nickname one used when they talked on the CB): Early Bird. He picked this name for two reasons. Firstly, because his name was Earl. And secondly, because he was constantly late wherever he went. (And THAT, Ms. Morissette, is truly ironic (don’t you think?))

Whenever a trend gets as big as this, you know that the music industry will jump on it with both feet, and this album by Jodie Lyons was one of the many CB related albums that came out at the time. Here are a few samples.

We’ll start things off with the bouncy “Hey Uncle Charlie,” where Lyons laments about the laws and restrictions that he has to put up with to make an honest living as a trucker and the concern that they’re going to “take his ears away.” You know, if you didn’t know CB lingo that could sound pretty frightening!

Hey Uncle Charlie

Next we have the title tune, in which our trucking hero admits to blatantly breaking the law regarding his speed and his load. He is caught by a smokey (state trooper) who tells him, “You’ve got a new home twenty for the next thirty days and it’ll cost a hundred dollars or more.” And if that wasn’t made clear, the chorus makes sure to sing it as well. Oddly enough, they sing the phrase the same way they might sing a jingle about visiting your favorite restaurant.

Talkin’ Smokey

“Who Could Ask for Anything More” is a heartfelt ballad about Lyons’ true love. He doesn’t know what he’d do if he lost her, she’s true and she never lets him down. SPOILER WARNING: It’s his truck.

Who Could Ask for Anything More

This next song is “a story about a thing that happened that a lot of folks don’t know about and probably never will.” The Kennedy assassination? Grave robbers from outer space? Who wrote the book of love? No, it’s about a plane needing to land in Old Collins Airfield that can’t because they’ve lost power and the runway lights don’t work. So, as would happen in all situations like this, truckers are called. They come to the rescue by…sorry, only one spoiler per post. You’ll have to find out about this one for yourself.

Old Collins Airfield

And finally, we have the obligatory song about the different handles CBers went by. They don’t have my dad’s in there, but they cover an awful lot of others.

The Handle Song

As always, if you’d like to hear the entire album, you can find it here. In my original remarks about this album, I mentioned that it sounded like Jodie Lyons was more likely a studio singer than a trucker. My suspicion was confirmed when I received a comment from Lyon’s nephew saying that he was actually a jingle and promo singer. Lyons did, however, help design the Smokey character on the cover, so I’ll give him props for that.

I’ll talk to you all again on the next “Way Out Wednesday.” 10-4 good buddy, and I’m gone!