March 14, 2017

Boomer Anthems: Truckin'

2.%20Keep%20on%20Truckin%27%20WEB.jpg

"Truckin'" was originally a dance move.

There are several theories about where it came from, but the most likely is that it was invented in Harlem during the late 1920's. It was done to a shuffle rhythm and involved moving away from your partner while strutting and waggling your index finger.

It was popularized in the late sixties by cartoonist Robert Crumb. His "Keep on Truckin'" cartoon in Zap comics (1968), featuring a guy leaning way back with his index finger up and his foot thrust forward. It was a popular subject of poster art in the late sixties.

Line by line explication at The Annotated "Truckin'"

Truckin' got my chips cashed in, keep truckin', like the do-dah man
Together, more or less in line, just keep truckin' on

Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on Main Street
Chicago, New York, Detroit and it's all on the same street
Your typical city involved in a typical daydream
Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings

Dallas, got a soft machine; Houston, too close to New Orleans,
New York's got the ways and means; but just won't let you be, oh no

Most of the cats that you meet on the streets speak of true love,
Most of the time they're sittin' and cryin' at home
One of these days they know they better get goin'
Out of the door and down on the streets all alone

Truckin', like the do-dah man Once told me "You've got to play your hand"
Sometimes your cards ain't worth a dime, if you don't lay'em down,

Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me,
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been

What in the world ever became of sweet Jane?
She lost her sparkle, you know she isn't the same
Livin' on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine,
All a friend can say is "Ain't it a shame?"

Truckin', up to Buffalo Been thinkin', you got to mellow slow
Takes time, you pick a place to go, and just keep truckin' on

Sittin' and starin' out of the hotel window
Got a tip they're gonna kick the door in again
I'd like to get some sleep before I travel,
But if you got a warrant, I guess you're gonna come in

Busted, down on Bourbon Street, set up, like a bowlin' pin
Knocked down, it get's to wearin' thin They just won't let you be, oh no

You're sick of hangin' around and you'd like to travel,
Get tired of travelin' and you want to settle down
I guess they can't revoke your soul for tryin',
Get out of the door and light out and look all around

Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me,
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been

Truckin', I'm a goin' home Whoa whoa baby, back where I belong
Back home, sit down and patch my bones, and get back truckin' on

Posted by gerardvanderleun at March 14, 2017 5:57 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I found these interviews of R. Crumb and his opinions of the cultural players from the past to be fascinating time capsules well worth visiting. Start with number 1 and read your way through the bunch.
http://tinyurl.com/z9ww7a3

Posted by: Tom Hyland at March 14, 2017 9:02 PM

Great link, Tom. Thanks for pointing those interview out.

Posted by: Vanderleun at March 14, 2017 9:36 PM

You're on a roll with some of my favorites, here. R Crumb, Truckin', and Mellow Yellow on the side bar. Sunday I was looking through a stack of Zap Comics that I've hung on to from back in the day. Crumb is still funny. The other guys, not so much. I was never a Dead fan, but this song is still good for 15 to 20 over the speed limit. (if you think you can get away with it)
(and yeah, I tried smokin' a goddamn banana peel, too.) :P

JWM

Posted by: jwm at March 14, 2017 10:11 PM

I recently got A Short History of America by R. Crumb. I paid too much, and dont care. It makes me feel good every time I look at it. I framed it and hung it on the wall where I see it every time I walk by.

Posted by: bgarrett at March 15, 2017 3:54 AM

"What a long, strange trip it's been." I say it often, and it's always true.

Posted by: mushroom at March 15, 2017 12:13 PM

" featuring a guy leaning way back with his index finger up and his foot thrust forward. It was a popular subject of poster art in the late sixties. "

And yet I see no finger thrusting in the depictions.

Posted by: Bill Jones at March 16, 2017 4:39 PM

I have a French Fabulous Freak Brothers collection book somewhere... everything they say is in French so it's actually quite amusing. Bought it in Paris in 1981.

Anyway, I just thought I would mention that Hot Tuna also did an amusing song called "Keep on Truckin'". Here are the lyrics.

Well now keep on truckin' mama, truckin' my blues away
Keep on truckin' mama, truckin' my blues away
Here you come mama big as sin, tell what you been doin' by the shape you're in
So keep on truckin' mama, truckin' my blues away
If you been doin' what I think you been doin' baby, can't do that 'round here
You been doin' what I think you been doin' baby, can't do that 'round here
Here you come mam big as hell, tell what you been doin' by way you smell
So keep on truckin' mama, truckin' my blues away
What's that smell like fish pretty baby, I really would like to know
Tell me What's that smell like fish oh mama, I really would like to know
That ain't puddin' baby ain't no pie, it's the stuff that I got you by
So keep on truckin' mama, truckin' my blues away
Now yes you gotta leave this mornin', get your yas yas outta my door
Now yes you gotta leave this mornin', get your yas yas outta my door
Ashes to ashes mama, dust to dust, what-cha gonna do when that damn thing rusts
So keep on truckin' mama, truckin' my blues away

Posted by: Former Lurker at March 16, 2017 5:06 PM

Grateful Dead - Truckin' was our 'breakaway' tune when we were done with un-reps off the coast of RVN.
When the command was given to disconnect all lines and open the gap, they'd play it from the bridge over loudspeakers.

Takes me back 40+ years...
tom

Posted by: tomw at March 19, 2017 10:49 AM
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