Song of the Week – Mercury (Boogie) Blues – KC Douglas, Steve Miller, David Lindley

Ignored            Obscured             Restored

Today’s SotW revives the “evolution series” that I haven’t presented in a very long time.  The featured song is “Mercury Blues.”

Written and first recorded by KC Douglas (and Robert Geddins) in 1948 as “Mercury Boogie”, the song was a tribute to the automobile.

The song languished in relative obscurity until it was given a facelift by Steve Miller on his multi-platinum 1976 album, Fly Like an Eagle.

The definitive, modern version was recorded by David Lindley – the el supremo session musician that has worked extensively with Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and Warren Zevon – on his underappreciated solo album, El Rayo-Ex (1981).

Though the disc peaked at a modest #83 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, “Mercury Blues” was selected as a single and reached #38 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

“Mercury Blues” has been recorded by many other artists including country stars Dwight Yoakam and Alan Jackson.

Wikipedia reports:

Rights to the song were purchased by the Ford Motor Company (who already owned the Mercury marque).  Ford, in turn, used it for a television commercial featuring Alan Jackson singing his version of the song with the word “Mercury” replaced by the words “Ford Truck.”

The Mercury division of Ford was retired in 2011.

Enjoy… until next week.

6 thoughts on “Song of the Week – Mercury (Boogie) Blues – KC Douglas, Steve Miller, David Lindley

  1. Wow! Yes, the Lindsey version is definitive, and one I played frequently on the radio when new (at WHCN in Hartford, when we often equaled but stood in the shadow of our co-owned station, WBCN in Boston, with whom we occasionally shared on-air personnel). We also played Miller’s version; it was good but Lindley nailed three minutes of matchless rock and roll with his version.

    And now that you have prompted the memory, I’ll be playing it on a forthcoming edition of my collector-oriented radio show (also designed to appeal to more casual listeners as well). Please check out “The Record Room,” a fun hour streaming on WOVV, Ocracoke, NC (, Mondays at 4pm Eastern, repeated Thursday evenings at 10pm. It streams, but there are no archives, unfortunately. I’m doing what I when I started in radio many decades ago: freeform music for love, not for money. Please check it out (also for love, not for money!).

      • No, just on WOVV at airtime at the moment. Hopefully, in the future, I will be looking into somewhere that I can archive the shows. But for now, you just have to listen in on line or at 90.1 on Ocracoke!

        • I recently stumbled upon SotW quite accidentally, and as a musician and music aficionado, have been greatly enjoying your weekly posts.

          A brief anecdote regarding David Lindley and his amazing band, El Rayo-X:

          In their 1980s heyday, they came to Minneapolis several times to perform at the Cabooze, a popular live music venue. My friends and I attended every show, and David and band never failed to rip the roof off and leave the audience a delirious, sweaty, mess.

          At their last performance here in ’86 or ’87, we waited around after the show, and I was able to present David with a pair of very wild, eye-wateringly “loud” polyester golf pants I’d found at a thrift store. He immediately tried them on, found that they fit him quite nicely, and danced a funny little jig in them!

          As the years went by, I often shared the story with others, and wondered what had become of the Golf Slacks from Hell. A google image search revealed, to my surprise and delight, that he had been photographed while wearing them at quite a few of his shows:

          Postscript: my partner and I attended a solo concert by Lindley here in 2015, and at the after-show meet & greet, I asked David if he remembered my gift from nearly 30 years before. His face lit up and he said that he recalled that night very well, and that they were his favorite stage-wear pants ever.

  2. That’s a great story… and a great “brush with fame.” Thanks for sharing it and thanks for becoming a reader of our blog.

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