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First released in 1975, this is C. W. McCall's seminal, ground-breaking work, which brought the freedom of the American open road and Citizen's Band radio to Britain. For a few brief years everyone in the UK aspired to a CB radio, with its connotations of freedom, independence, and putting one over on the authorities. 'Convoy' associated the CB radio with lorry drivers, but we could rarely get on the air because it was always full of schoolchildren talking to their friends three doors away, who could actually have opened their bedroom windows and shouted to each other. Once the kids were in bed the airwaves were jammed with middle-aged overweight baldies with handles like 'Rocky' talking to grandmothers with handles like 'Lolita'. Much like Internet chat-rooms, really...  It just wasn't the same over here, anyway; They have Interstate 44 - we have the M42...

The Government killed the CB craze in Britain in 1981. They made it legal to own one.

So now, download the record here (convoy.mp3 - about 3.5MB), unwrap a Yorkie, and sing along!

(British visitors - want to know what it all means? Read the Glossary!)

Rubber Duck

[On the CB]
Ah, breaker one-nine, this here's the Rubber Duck. You gotta copy on me, Pig Pen, c'mon? Ah, yeah, 10-4, Pig Pen, fer shure, fer shure. By golly, it's clean clear to Flag Town, c'mon. Yeah, that's a big 10-4 there, Pig Pen, yeah, we definitely got the front door, good buddy. Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy...

It was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June
In a Kenworth pullin' logs
Cab-over Pete with a reefer on
And a Jimmy haulin' hogs
We is headin' for bear on I-one-oh
'Bout a mile outta Shaky Town
I says, "Pig Pen, this here's the Rubber Duck.
"And I'm about to put the hammer down."

'Cause we got a little convoy
Rockin' through the night.
Yeah, we got a little convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.

[On the CB]
Ah, breaker, Pig Pen, this here's the Duck. And, you wanna back off them hogs? Yeah, 10-4, 'bout five mile or so. Ten, roger. Them hogs is gettin' in-tense up here.

By the time we got into Tulsa Town,
We had eighty-five trucks in all.
But they's a roadblock up on the cloverleaf,
And them bears was wall-to-wall.
Yeah, them smokies is thick as bugs on a bumper;
They even had a bear in the air!
I says, "Callin' all trucks, this here's the Duck.
"We about to go a-huntin' bear."

'Cause we got a great big convoy
Rockin' through the night.
Yeah, we got a great big convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.

[On the CB] Ah, you wanna give me a 10-9 on that, Pig Pen? Negatory, Pig Pen; you're still too close. Yeah, them hogs is startin' to close up my sinuses. Mercy sakes, you better back off another ten.

Well, we rolled up Interstate 44
Like a rocket sled on rails.
We tore up all of our swindle sheets,
And left 'em settin' on the scales.
By the time we hit that Chi-town,
Them bears was a-gettin' smart:
They'd brought up some reinforcements
From the Illinoise National Guard.
There's armored cars, and tanks, and jeeps,
And rigs of ev'ry size.
Yeah, them chicken coops was full'a bears
And choppers filled the skies.
Well, we shot the line and we went for broke
With a thousand screamin' trucks
An' eleven long-haired Friends a' Jesus
In a chartreuse micro-bus.

[On the CB]
Ah, Rubber Duck to Sodbuster, come over. Yeah, 10-4, Sodbuster? Lissen, you wanna put that micro-bus in behind that suicide jockey? Yeah, he's haulin' dynamite, and he needs all the help he can get.

Well, we laid a strip for the Jersey shore
And prepared to cross the line
I could see the bridge was lined with bears
But I didn't have a dog-gone dime.
I says, "Pig Pen, this here's the Rubber Duck.
"We just ain't a-gonna pay no toll."
So we crashed the gate doing ninety-eight
I says "Let them truckers roll, 10-4."

'Cause we got a mighty convoy
Rockin' through the night.
Yeah, we got a mighty convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.

Convoy! Ah, 10-4, Pig Pen, what's your twenty?
Convoy! OMAHA? Well, they oughta know what to do with them hogs out there fer shure. Well, mercy
Convoy! sakes, good buddy, we gonna back on outta here, so keep the bugs off your glass and the bears off your...
Convoy! tail. We'll catch you on the flip-flop. This here's the Rubber Duck on the side.
Convoy! We gone. 'Bye,'bye.


10-4 - 10-codes are widely used in radio transmissions. (Even the British police use them, though the meanings of the various numbers vary from force to force.) 10-4, in this context, is an affirmative response.

10-9 - Repeat last message.

Bear - See 'Smoky Bear'.

Cab-over - Style of lorry where the cab sits directly over the engine, ie there's no bonnet. Nearly all British lorries are 'cab-overs'.

Chi-town - Chicago, Illinois.

Chicken coops - Weigh Stations.

Copy - 'You gotta copy on me?': Are you receiving me?

Flip-flop - 'On the flip-flop': On the return journey.

Front door - To have the front door means to lead a convoy. Not surprisingly, to have the back door (which isn't used in the song) means to bring up the rear.

Hammer - 'Put the hammer down': To put your foot down.

I-one-oh - Interstate 10.

Jimmy - Make of truck (GM - General Motors).

Kenworth - Make of truck.

On the side - Monitoring transmissions, but no longer transmitting.

Pete - Make of truck (Peterbilt).

Reefer - Refrigerated trailer.

Rigs - Vehicles, especially trucks.

Rubber Duck - Decoy. A lone truck which goes ahead of the main convoy to draw police patrols out of hiding.

Smokies - See 'Smoky Bear'.

Smoky Bear - Police. Apparently the US Forestry Service some years ago ran a publicity campaign to encourage people to be careful not to start fires, which involved a large bear in a police-style uniform. The bear was called 'Smoky Bear', and the name started to be applied to the police.

Suicide jockey - Driver hauling a dangerous load.

Twenty - 10-20. Home destination.

Want to know more about C.W. McCall? Go here.

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