Detour (song)

"Detour (There's A Muddy Road Ahead)" is a Western swing ballad written by Paul Westmoreland in 1945. The original version was by Jimmy Walker with Paul Westmoreland and His Pecos River Boys, issued around the beginning of November 1945.[1]

"Detour (There's A Muddy Road Ahead)"
Song by Jimmy Walker
Released1945 (1945)
GenreWestern swing
Songwriter(s)Paul Westmoreland

The title comes from the repetition of detour in the chorus:

Detour, there's a muddy road ahead.
Detour, paid no mind to what it said.
Detour, all these bitter things I find.
Should have read that detour sign.

Written in the first person, the song tells of the singer's regrets for the choices made in life.

Headed down life's crooked road
Lots of things I never knowed,
And because of me not knowin', I now pine.
Trouble got in the trail,
Spent the next five years in jail,
Should have read that detour sign.

Spade Cooley (Columbia 36935), with Tex Williams on vocals, had a big hit with it in 1946, spending 11 weeks on the country charts, reaching number two.[2] Other artist scoring big with the song in 1946 included Wesley Tuttle, number three Elton Britt, number five, and Foy Willing, number six.[2]

A well-known version of the song was the popular recording by Patti Page in 1951. It was released by Mercury Records as catalog number 5682, and first entered the Billboard chart on August 4, 1951, staying for 16 weeks and peaking at number five.[3]

Notable cover versions were recorded by Bill Haley & His Comets for the album Haley's Juke Box (1960; not released as a single), Ella Fitzgerald with Herb Ellis, Dean Martin on his 1965 album Houston and an Instrumental version by Duane Eddy, on his album Have 'Twangy' Guitar Will Travel (1958).

In 2016, American singer Cyndi Lauper recorded "Detour" with Emmylou Harris for her album Detour. [4]

In its various versions, it is the Theme music of the Radio program, "Detour, The Folk, Roots, and World Music Show"[5].


  1. Billboard, November 3, 1945
  2. Whitburn, Joel (2005). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits. Billboard Books. pp. 89, 423.
  3. Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research.
  4. Wicks, Amanda (January 28, 2016). "Cyndi Lauper's Country Album 'Detour' Features Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris & More". Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  5. "Detour, WTMD's folk, roots, and world music show". Retrieved December 17, 2017.
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