I once played a sweet little instrumental by James Burton and Ralph Mooney on an all-truck-driving radio show, even though it’s not actually a “trucker tune” — and yet nobody called me out on it, because the song – “Corn Pickin‘ – fit like a glove. Later when I “back-announced” the set over the air, I re-named the song “Corn Pickin’ and Rig Ridin'” – to my great relief, the switchboard at WKHS did not light up in anger. This was in 2004.
I happened to be checking the Washington Post website on March 23, 2011 when I was stunned to see Ralph Mooney’s name at the top of the home page — as one of the top “trending” stories! As it turned out, Mooney – one of the “chief architects of the Bakersfield sound” – had left us at the age of 82. The Post’s Melissa Bell was kind enough to add my Ralph Mooney recommendation to her musical tribute, the aforementioned “Corn Pickin'” from Burton and Mooney’s 1968 LP collaboration, Corn Pickin’ and Slick Slidin’. But then that audio clip disappeared from YouTube and never returned. Until a fortnight ago!
“Corn Pickin’ and Slick Slidin'” James Burton & Ralph Mooney 1968
From a “musical acrobatics” standpoint, this is not particularly ‘flash’ guitar work — and yet the relaxed exchange between the two accomplished musicians is supremely satisfying. John Beland of the Flying Burrito Brothers, in his review for Amazon.com (entitled “Ground Zero for the Bakersfield Sound of the 60s”) preaches the gospel:
“This album was my bible for Tele[caster] playing … Recorded at Capitol in the mid-60s, this album, while perhaps sounding corny to some, laid down a true blueprint for west coast country playing.”
At the time of release, Billboard would give the album a “four-star” review in its February 17, 1968 edition.
Sadly, this is only the 16th Zero to 180 piece to feature a truck driving song