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This originally appeared on Little Feat's debut album, but the version that has become famous was recorded for the follow-up, Sailin' Shoes, in 1972. The original version has a faster tempo.
Guitarist/singer Lowell George wrote this before the group was even formed. The song is about a truck driver in the American southwest who makes some extra cash smuggling cigarettes and transporting illegals across the border from Mexico.
The opening line, in which the narrator describes himself as being "warped by the rain," originated in a conversation between George and drummer Richie Hayward. Hayward had used it to describe a rocking chair.
Before forming LIttle Feat, George was a member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. It is probable that this song was a reason for his departure, due to its drug references in the chorus. It is known that his leaving had something to do with his drug use, which Zappa heavily frowned upon.
Although the band never had a charting single, this is arguably their best known song. They still play it at concerts, even though George passed away over 20 years ago. Guitarist Paul Barrere now sings it.
Linda Ronstadt recorded this on her 1975 album Heart Like A Wheel. While Ronstadt is certainly versatile, it's hard to imagine her at the wheel of a rig hauling freight (or contraband) across state lines.