The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Time Warp: The Very Best Of
2001 marks the 30th year of The Daredevils, who started in Springfield, Missouri playing gigs in bars and on porches. Their unique blend of country, Southern rock and roll, and Appalachian/Ozark-flavored songs enjoyed some fairly major success on the pop charts, and earned them critical acclaim and some notable admirers ranging from Waylon Jennings to Eric Clapton, both of whom later joined Daredevil principals John Dillon and Steve Cash on the White Mansions recording. The White Mansions recording was structured as a Civil War audio play of sorts, and was among the first recordings of this kind.
Though they are probably best known for the classic Southern rock staple “If You Want to Get to Heaven,” The Daredevils scored a number of hits in the mid-seventies pop charts, including “Jackie Blue.” Despite this success, some of their best work went largely unnoticed. Their well-crafted songs incorporated elements of Appalachian traditional music, Southern blues, and rock and roll, but it was usually a sweeter, more sophisticated brand of music than most of the other Southern rock and rollers were offering up.
This release covers considerably more ground than the earlier and much too short Best Of recording did. While there are a few songs absent from this compilation that I’d have liked to seen included, like “It Couldn’t Be Better,” this package offers plenty of value for the buck and it serves as a very good retrospective. In addition to the hits, much of their best is included in these 21 songs. My favorites include “Walking Down the Road,” “Arroyo,” “Standing on the Rock,” “Road To Glory,” and of course, the signature growling rockers like “E. E. Lawson.” These guys also do a pretty good “freak out,” as they demonstrate on Time Warp. I’d be very remiss if I forgot to mention the memorable “Chicken Train” — fire one up and turn this silly tune on. It’ll help you find your inner hillbilly.
Maybe you are in the process of discovery, or maybe you’re just getting around to replacing your vinyl. In either case, this is a very good place to start giving The Daredevils their due.
A&M Records, 2200 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404, http://www.ozarkdaredevils.com