Song Of The Day 5/19/2016: Cledus Maggard & the Citizen’s Band – “Cledus’s CB Lingo Dictionary”

To Trucker With Love – The CB radio craze was one of the '70s' more curious multimedia fads. Intended as a sort of mobile intercom for small businesses -- blue collar operations like construction and plumbing -- citizen's band radio found a real niche when the 1973 gas shortage hit. To conserve as much as possible the feds imposed a national highway speed limit of 55 miles an hour. Truckers saw this as a hit on their paychecks, especially if they were paid by the mile. So they adopted the CB radio as a tool for a few purposes. One was to let other nearby trucks know about service stations that had some supply of fuel available. Another was to spread the word about any speed traps the highway patrol might have set up. But the most kick-ass thing CB radios were used for was setting up convoys -- gigantic, road-hogging trains of multiple semis designed to protest all the crap truckers were enduring at the time because of the gas shortage.

Anyways, CB radio got sucked up by converted ham enthusiasts and pestering children in the private sector, all of them charmed by C.W. McCall's 1976 novelty hit "Convoy," a song that somehow, mysteriously and improbably, has aged okay. Americans picked up on the colorful jargon of CB radio more than anything else. After years of contending with pig Latin, Ubba-Bubba and Bronx finger salutes it was nice to have some decent metaphors and numbers to work with for a change. "Breaker breaker," "10-4," "go-go juice," "on your donkey," "pumpkin roller" -- it was just a great time for that kind of Southern Dickensian patter. Cledus Maggard & the Citizen’s Band (their hit was "The White Knight") oriented their mini-career around disseminating CD vernacular in various ways. "Cledus's CB Lingo Dictionary," an amazing piece of work of which I'm quite fond, runs through about everything you need to sound in-the-know at those effete truck driver cocktail mixers. 

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