The Thing About Dave Dudley
by Walter Price
When you record some 70 albums and land 30+ Top 40 hits in a long and winding career and not really anyone remembers your name, sad days are in full swing. And, outside of rockabilly circles, Dave Dudley’s name usually doesn’t flow from the lips of hipsters at know it all get-togethers of posers but it should.
Dudley’s smokey deep honky tonk rockabilly gnaw of a voice could launch a million big-rigs (which it would one day). A voice that has been rumbling around my conscious since I was a wee West Texas redneck.
Interesting enough, what got my curiosities up again about this faded name of country and open road songs was listening to The Flying Burrito Brothers and their take on Dudley’s take on the road song classic “6 Days On The Road”. Dudley went big with the track in 1961 and Flying Burritos Brother went on TV with it 1971.
This initiated another one of my wild hare tangents of listening to forgotten greatness in sounds.
Anyway, as with Bill Haley things got twisted or time moved too fast. Perhaps both and Dave Dudley got lost to more polished “country” and I suppose his kind weren’t needed anymore. Legend has it Mr. Dudley spent his last days in a secluded lake cabin frequenting a local small town cafe engaging with locals, “Do you know who I am? I’m Dave Dudley.”
Breaks my heart. The thing about Dave Dudley that doesn’t break my heart is the sweet as 18 wheels and an open highway music he left us to crack a few cold ones to and ponder what’s up yonder.
Dave Dudley May 3, 1928 – December 22, 2003
Check out these gems:
“Where There’s A Will (There’s A Way)” 1959
“Six Days On The Road” 1963 (original lyrics)
“38 and Lonely” 1976
BONUS. Flying Burrito Brothers – “Six Day On The Road”
SUPPORT GREAT ARTISTS & REMEMBER THEIR NAMES