"Hitchin' Post"

©1972 David "Bean" Walter; additional lyrics ©1975 Lee Ruth

John Schneller - Vocal & Acoustic Guitar
Rob Lampe - Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Jim Hellmann - Keyboards
Jesse James - Drums
Greg Miller - Bass
  MP3 Sample of Lee's Original


Song Lyrics:
Lee's Lyrics:
People in glasses and hats
People in your moving chairs
People overrunning your cups
Won't you please pull over and pick me up

Masses of metal moving down the street
Always one or two people and a big back seat
Clouds of consumption filling my lungs
Stretch from a tree trunk and stick out my thumb


Standing on the roadside out from town
The air is clean when there's no cars around
He said, "I ain't goin' far, but I'll take you from here
I've got something to smoke and a cold can of beer."


Round the corner come a farmer in an old pickup truck
Stuck out my left hand to change my luck
Riding in the back on a bale of hay
Didn't go far, but that's OK


People, in glasses and hats
People, in your moving chairs
People, over-running your cups
Won't you please pull over and pick me up

Masses of metal, movin' down the street
Always one or two people and a big back seat
Clouds of consumption, living in my lungs
Stretch on a tree trunk and stick out my thumb


Standing on the roadside, out from town
The air is clear when there's no cars around
He said, "I ain't going far, but I'll take you from here.
I got something to smoke, and a cold can of beer"


'Round the curve come a farmer in an old pickup truck
Stuck out my left thumb to change my luck
Ride in the back on a bale of hay
Didn't go far, but that's okay

Please pull over and pick me up

Artist on the Song:
Lee on the Song:

Even though Lee only wrote the last verse of this song, there's no doubt he's spent enough time on the road to write a thousand verses. Lee played this song on KOPN years ago when we were performing together on Steve Donofrio's "Boone County Live" show. I still have the tape and dug it out after Lee suggested that we reprise it for the tribute. He insisted on providing us with a fresh recording, which I found a bit puzzling given the fact that most of Lee's songs sound pretty much the same across time. In any event, I told him, it won't sound anything like the earlier versions once we're done with it. I'd like to think the rest of the band helped me keep that promise.

Bean was an integral part of the Columbia music scene from 1963 right on through to 1969, when he moved to Berkeley, California, for three years. Passing through the Bay area on my 12,000-mile summer-of-1972 odyssey, I found him at loose ends, picked him up, and we sojourned back to Columbia, where he stayed until 1975 or '76. On one occasion during his time in Columbia I set him up with a low-key gig at Alfie's Fish and Chips, during which he off-handedly sang, a cappella, a hitch-hiking chant he called "Hitching Post." Several years later, on one of my hitch-hiking trips to the Arkansas folk festival, I found myself seemingly stranded alongside US 63 in southern Missouri, with long hours between rides, and remembering only the chorus of Bean's chant, I began to sing it to the April air, soon finding myself making up verses to go with the chorus as the southbound traffic passed me by. I think I did have my left thumb out when some kind soul finally stopped and gave me a ride. Several days later when I returned home, I located my reel-to-reel tape of Bean's impromptu "Hitching Post," learned his verses, added the only verse I remembered of the dozens I'd made up by the side of the road, figured out a guitar part, and I had me a new song to sing.
Artists on Lee Ruth:
Lee on the Artist:

One of Lee Ruth's more enduring legacies is his devotion, in the true folk tradition, of passing along music--and the muse--to subsequent generations. Lee figures he's given guitar lessons to many many people during the past thirty years. For better or worse, I'm one of those who stuck with his program long enough to fake it. Our band is a bunch of locals, so we all have a deep affection for Lee and his music. To Jesse James, he's a neighbor and kindred soul from the other side of the river. To Columbia native Greg Miller, he's the guitar player with the bright red hair who kept a steady presence in Peace Park during the 1970s. To Rob Lampe, he's a close friend from the days of "hanging out with old hippies" at campfire jam sessions. And to Jim Hellmann, he's simply a guy who's "built to play"--and would rather do that than just about anything else. To that, we all say Hallelujah!

John Schneller

John Schneller was one of a particular small group (which included this project's producer, Steve Donofrio) of very interesting young college students I met during my mid-70s Columbia street-life days. Though our paths crossed frequently for years, it wasn't until he started taking guitar lessons from me in the late 70s that we really had the opportunity to become friends. Sometime in the early 80s he began performing at select community events (full-moon island parties, Lupus Chili Fest, etc.) and soon after that he had a band together and has continued to maintain a musical presence in the community parallel to his family life and a successful career as a newspaper reporter and editor. As I recall, he always did like "Hitching Post" after I made it a staple in my repertoire. He and his bandmates sure found a way to expand it into a rock anthem.
Producer's Notes:
Recording Credits:
I've known John Schneller and Jim Hellmann going on thirty years. About twenty years ago, John and I were house mates when he started taking guitar lessons from Lee Ruth. Yes, Lee, I will attest, John practiced a lot . Trying to learn that finger-picking style on "Shady Grove" and various other songs Lee assigned as homework. John and I would go to hear Lee play at the Chez Coffee House or The Gladstone Manufacturing Company. I would hear a great song and ask Lee who wrote it? Often he would say Townes Van Zandt or sometimes mutter "This is one of my songs." To this very day, if you asked me to conjure up a picture of Lee Ruth, it would be a late fall evening at Gladstone's where Lee would be seated on a stool next to the wood stove with his tip jar. When the idea to produce this project started, it seem appropriate for me to ask John to do a song. I'm glad he realized that the band was invited also!

Recorded at Pete Szkolka's Studio

Record Date: 3/19/03

Mixed Dates: 9/12/03 and 9/17/03

Mixed by Pete Szkolka and Steve Donofrio



The Project
Songs & Artists
Order Form
News & Reviews