Riding My Thumb To Mexico was on my satellite radio yesterday. As I drove down the road, I thought about hearing Robert Earl Keen play it live. At that time, I was not familiar with this original version by Johnny Rodriquez. In fact, I'm not sure then I even knew who wrote the song. Now I know it was a number 1 country hit for Rodriquez in 1973 .
With a little Spanish guitar beginning and some tasty steel guitar behind Johnny's vocal, it is a very nice tune. Give it a listen:
Johnny Rodriquez was the first breakout Mexican country artist. Born in Sabinal Texas in 1951, Johnny was the youngest of 10 children. After some troubled teen years, he was discovered by Tom T. Hall and Bobby Bare. They encouraged him to go to Nashville. According to the legend, he arrived there in 1971 was $14 in his pocket and an old guitar. He joined Hall's band and began writing songs.
It didn't take long for him to become famous. In 1973, he had two number one country hits with You Always Come Back and Riding My Thumb. In 1975, I Just Can't Get Her Out of My Mind, Just Get Up and Close the Door and Love Put a Song in my Heart went to number one as well.
Rodriquez has released 26 albums and had 45 singles that made the charts. He was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.