Monday, October 8, 2007

Charlie Daniels - s/t 1970

Charlie Daniels

When Charlie Daniels released his eponymous debut in 1970, Southern rock was in its nascent stages. It had been a year since the Allman Brothers Band released their debut and Lynyrd Skynyrd wouldn't unleash its first record for another three years, so the genre was in the process of being born, and Charlie Daniels' debut plays a pivotal role in the genre -- not so much because it was directly influential, but because it points the way to how the genre could and would sound, and how country music could retain its hillbilly spirit and rock like a mother. Where the Allmans were firmly grounded in the blues, especially on the first two records, Daniels was a redneck from the start, and all ten songs on his debut were country at their foundation, even if some of it is country via the Band, as Rich Kienzle points out in his brief liner notes to Koch's 2001 reissue of the album. The Band connections derive from Daniels' time as a session musician for Columbia in Nashville, where he played on many country-rock albums, including Dylan's Nashville Skyline, but there's a heavy dose of hard rock, often via the Allmans' extended jams, on this record. Daniels simply wails on his guitar here, most notably on the six-minute closer "Thirty Nine Miles from Mobile," but, apart from the ballads, he doesn't miss a chance to solo. The heavy guitars give Charlie Daniels a real rock feel, and that vibe is continued through the loose rhythm section and a strong dose of counterculture humor, heard strongest on "The Pope and the Dope." That song also shows signs of Daniels' redneck sensibilities, which also surface in unpredictable ways throughout this wild, woolly album. He makes crude jokes, celebrates the South (particularly his home, "Georgia"), spits out bluesy leads, exaggerates his vocals, croons sweetly, and steals women. He's a redneck rebel, not fitting into either the country or the rock & roll of 1970 with this record, but, in retrospect, he sounds like a visionary, pointing the way to the future when southern rockers saw no dividing lines between rock, country, and blues, and only saw it all as sons of the south. That's what he achieves with Charlie Daniels -- a unique Southern sound that's quintessentially American, sounding at once new and timeless. Once he formed the Charlie Daniels Band, he became a star and with Fire on the Mountain, he had another classic, but he would never sound as wild, unpredictable, or as much like a maverick as he does on this superb album. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guideh

1 Great Big Bunches of Love (3:26)
2 Little Boy Blue (4:31)
3 Ain't No Way (3:31)
4 Don't Let Your Man Find Out (3:17)
5 Trudy (4:10)
6 Long Long Way (Back Home Again in Indiana) (4:11)
7 Georgia (3:23)
8 Pope and the Dope (2:34)
9 Life Goes On (2:47)
10 Thirty Nine Miles from Mobile (5:23)

charlie daniels - album credits

Jeff Myer Drums
Richie Schmitt Engineer, Remixing
Bob Wilson Keyboards
Ernie Winfrey Engineer
Rich Kienzle Liner Notes
Ivan Joseph Goldberg Mastering Engineer
Brad Wrolstad Package Design
Dave Nives Producer
Ben Keith Guitar (Steel), Slide Guitar
Jerry Corbitt Guitar, Producer, Vocals
Charlie Daniels Guitar, Violin, Vocals, Main Performer
Rex Collier Engineer
Billy Cox Bass
Joel "Taz" DiGregorio Keyboards, Vocals
Tim Drummond Bass
Earl Grigsby Bass, Vocals
Karl Himmel Drums


WVKayaker said...

Thanks again for another GEM from the South!

Skynfan said...

your welcome this is one of my favorites

Ernie Winfrey said...

Hey skynfan,
It's really gratifying to see your comments about Charlies's first album. I was fortunate enough to be the engineer on it. Glad you liked it. It was a blast to record.
That was back when Charlie was still pretty much a hippie redneck and a real trip to work with.
Thanks again,
Ernie Winfrey