"And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
and you show me a sign
I'll be willin', to be movin'..."
Written in 1970, "Willin' " was a mainstay of Little Feat, the band Lowell George had helped to found in 1970 and was a leading member of until his death on June 29, 1979. The song, John Tobler contends in the liner notes of As Time Goes By. The Very Best of Little Feat (1993), "quickly became a favorite among America’s truckdrivers, many of whom continue to regard it as the anthem of their profession . . . although absurdly it never has been a hit."
In George's lifetime, "Willin' " was recorded in three different versions (though more and more have surfaced). On the band’s debut album, Little Feat (1971), George made do with his own raspy voice and guitar, and the sparse accompaniment of Ry Cooder’s terse steel guitar. On Sailin’ Shoes (1972), the song was done by the whole band, the chorus harmonized by four voices, and the piano solo was added by Bill Payne — "eh bill o' pain," as pronounced by George six years later, on the spectacularly successful live double album, Waiting for Columbus (1978). There, "Willin’" became hymnic, and was followed without interruption by "Don’t Bogart That Joint," another classic tune George had a hand in (he was briefly a member of Fraternity of Man, too).
I just realized/remembered that Don't Bogart That Joint does *not* appear on my Waiting for Columbus CD... and, upon reading the liner notes, discovered this:
The tracks "Don't Bogart That Joint" and "Apolitical Blues" which appear on the double album and cassette have been omitted so as to facilitate a single specially-priced compact disc" - d*mmit!
Hmmm... I just thought of something - wondering if we can have a Truck Driving Songs theme one of these weeks?... :-)