Backin' to Birmingham

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Backin' to Birmingham is a novelty country song recorded by bluegrass legend Lester Flatt and released as the 3rd track on his 1972 album Kentucky Ridgerunner. Burkett (Josh) Graves co-wrote the song which tells a story of a novice trucker charged with delivering a load of steel from Chicago, Illinois to Birmingham. Unable to shift into a forward gear, he drives all the way in reverse. The "coals to Newcastle" irony is not acknowledged in the lyrics.

A cover of the song served as the title track for a 2004 album by Trey Hensley & Drivin' Force.

Lyrics

"I read an ad in Chicago's Sunday paper
"Help wanted: Semi drivers needed bad"
I walked in and said I'd like to see the foreman
I told him all the experience that I had"
"He said "Son, you're just the man I needed"
He handed me the keys and shook my hand
He pointed to the truck and said "I'll see you
Take that load of steel to Birmingham."
"Well I finally got inside and got it started
Put it into gear and started backin' up
Tried every way to get it goin' forward
But I ain't never drove a big old truck"
"Well it wasn't easy backin' through the traffic
And I'll bet I'm the first truck drivin' man
That ever left Chicago in a semi
And backed it all the way to Birmingham."
"The police pulled me over down in Nashville
"What do you think you're doin?" I just smiled
I said, "I just got tired of goin' forward"
I thought I'd drive it backward for a while"
"I backed it in a truck stop and said fill it
And check the oil, it probably needs a can
He said, "Tell me, which way are you backin'
I said I'm backin' south to Birmingham."
"Oh there must be a button on here somewhere
That I can push to turn this rig around
Now I can make it fine out in the country
But I have trouble gettin' through the town"
"But if I keep it up I'll finally make it
And I'll bet I'm the first truck drivin' man
That ever left Chicago in a semi
And backed it all the way to Birmingham.
And backed it all the way to Birmingham."

References