Charlie Daniels Band

Tailgate Party – 1999 (Blue Hat)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

CDs by Charlie Daniels Band

Of all the country rock pioneers of the '70's, none had any better time than the Charlie Daniels Band. Although they gained popularity primarily through quasi-novelty hits like "The Ballad of Easy Rider" and the Southern rock and roll call of "The South's Gonna Do It," their skills as players and writers were undeniable, their place with their peers deserved.

This latest testament is basically an album length version of CDB's "The South's Gonna Do It," where they namechecked every big Southern rock outfit of the era.

Potent versions of Marshall Tucker's "Can't You See," and Skynyrd's "Freebird," aren't far off the CDB style standard, while a countrified Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Pride and Joy" incorporates his blues, and a similar treatment graces Hootie & the Blowfish's "Let Her Cry." Lateral homages are afforded the Allman's arrangement of Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues," the Georgia Satellites' "Keep Your Hands to Yourself," and Z.Z. Top's "Sharp Dressed Man," although Daniels' Southern inflection is slightly deeper than some of the sources. This is bookended with CDB's own history, with "The South's Gonna Do It" at the front, and Daniels' incendiary "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" to close it out, both interesting live readings of well-worn hits, not essential but not unwelcome.

The real story here is Daniels' determination to continue doing what he hasdone so well for so long. Daniels, 62, plays and stomps like the young bucks that have populated his bands, his voice thinner but still commanding attention like few others in the genre.