AUK’s Chain Gang: Old Crow Medicine Show “Wagon Wheel”

Photo credit: Kit Wood

Last week’s chain featured Austin’s Asleep At The Wheel who put their own spin in the nineties on Tex Williams’ ‘Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)’. Which lead me on to thinking about country songs which feature smoking in them, be that cigarettes or other substances. One of the most famous songs in recent years to make reference to one of those “other substances” is the much-covered ‘Wagon Wheel’ by Old Crow Medicine Show.

The song was co-written by Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor of OCMS over the course of three decades, Dylan recording the chorus in 1973 while Secor added verses 25 years later, one of which describes meeting a trucker and sharing a joint:

“Walkin’ due south out of Roanoke
I caught a trucker out of Philly
Had a nice long toke
But he’s a headed west from the Cumberland Gap
To Johnson City, Tennessee”

Old Crow Medicine Show’s final version was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in April 2013. The song has been covered numerous times, including charting versions by Nathan Carter in 2012 and Darius Rucker in 2013, but the OCMS is still the original and the best.

About Mark Whitfield 1841 Articles
Mark Whitfield has been Editor of Americana UK for the last 20 years while also working in public health as his day job, which has been kind of busy recently.

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