Garage Sale Vinyl
Garage Sale Vinyl: Charlie Daniels

Garage Sale Vinyl: Charlie Daniels

Fire on the Mountain / Kama Sutra Records / November 1974

“On the line this morning, I’ve got Chris Long, from Horace Mann Elementary. Now, Chris, if you can tell me what song is #1 on this week’s 1340 KICK radio Top 30 chart, you’ll win a copy of the brand new Bob Dylan album, Blood on the Tracks.”

PAUSE

“Chris, are you there?”

“Uh, hi! Yes — it’s ‘Have You Never Been Mellow’ by Olivia Newton-John.”

“Congratulations, Chris! You’re a winner!”

• •

FYI, this wasn’t my first (or last) rodeo.

As a music-starved kid growing up during the wondrous quadraphonic mid-‘70s, I rarely possessed the funds to purchase the records I craved. While in today’s world, $4.98 would be a bargain price for new vinyl, in 1974, that was a whole lotta loot for a bowl-cut 12 year old to pony up. However, as a constant radio contest winner, my album library managed to remain comprehensive.

But my fortunes didn’t end with just free records. From movie passes and concert tickets to restaurant certificates and sometimes a little cash, my slew of prize winnings kept me rocking, entertained, frequently fed, and occasionally paid. In fact, one time, I snagged a free FULL set of new tires for my sister’s car from a call-in radio contest. Even my dad was taken aback by that one!

A few days following my Blood on the Tracks radio score, I won a copy of Fire on the Mountain, the new LP from the Charlie Daniels Band. Although Daniels still was an artist on the rise at the time, I already was familiar with the North Carolina-born singer, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and session player, as his 1973 Top 10 hit “Uneasy Rider” was one of the crown jewels of my (also) growing seven-inch singles collection.

Fire on the Mountain
photo by Christopher Long
Fire on the Mountain

Fire on the Mountain would be a massive personal eye-opener. Produced by Paul Hornsby (The Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie), the record’s two singles, the lazy-feeling “Long Haired Country Boy” and the fiddle-fueled “The South’s Gonna Do It,” both have since become iconic to the classic Southern rock genre; however, Daniels himself was a musical culinary master. Hence, Fire on the Mountain offered an array of aural palate-pleasing ingredients, blending rock and country quite beautifully with pop, jazz, and blues. Come taste the rainbow, baby!

The first seven of the nine tracks were new studio recordings, while the last two were heart-stopping live tracks recorded in Nashville just a month or so prior to the record’s November 1974 release. Fortunately, my first-pressing copy included the limited-edition live three-song bonus seven-inch.

Fire on the Mountain Gatefold
photo by Christopher Long
Fire on the Mountain Gatefold

Zinging with zesty Tex-Mex flavor, “Caballo Diablo” was a punchy record opener, while “Trudy” was a true blue, boogie-woogie banger — it remains one of the tallest standouts of Daniels’ impeccable catalog. A downhome-style pickin’ party, “Georgia” was an authentic feel-good ode to the “Peach State.” Penned by CDB guitarist Barry Barnes, “Feeling Free” was a sunny-sounding barnyard stomp, and one of the record’s shiniest highlights.

With perennial keyboardist Joel “Taz” DiGregorio providing lead vocals, “New York City, King Size Rosewood Bed” was a down-and-dirty, familiar-feeling, southern-fried gem — Daniels’ slide guitar pinned to the dual drum work of Gary Allen and Fred Edwards further fanned the Allman factor.

Fire on the Mountain Gatefold
photo by Christopher Long
Fire on the Mountain Gatefold

Scorched by fiery guitars and enveloped in authentic organ, “No Place to Go” was a showstopper, to be sure. Ain’t it good to be alive and be in Tennessee? Providing my first introduction to bona fide blues, this epic 11-minute live track oozed non-stop walking bass lines from its unsung MVP, Mark Fitzgerald, and offered graveyard shift DJs a well-needed pee break.

Then there was the blistering, record-closing live version of the truly timeless “Orange Blossom Special.” While your mileage might vary, personally, this is THE most powerful piece of recorded music I’ve ever heard. And I’ll stand by that statement until the early-stage Parkinson’s develops fully and finally takes me out. Too much passion?

Fire on the Mountain has since sold in excess of a million copies. Tragically, my original LP has vanished into the mists of time. And I don’t know whatever happened to my 8-track copy, either. CAH-CLANK! But I do know the whereabouts of my CD copy. Anyway, I was elated when my nail tech recently gifted me a FREE, slightly battered original vinyl pressing of the record — but without the bonus seven-inch. Be sure, I’ll keep searching those garage sales!

(5/5) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fire on the Mountain
photo by Christopher Long
Fire on the Mountain

Fire on the Mountain Track List

SIDE ONE

  1. Caballo Diablo (Daniels) – 4:28

  1. Long Haired Country Boy (Daniels) – 4:03

  1. Trudy (Daniels) – 4:51

  1. Georgia (Daniels) – 3:06

  1. Feeling Free (Barry Barnes) – 4:10

SIDE TWO

  1. The South’s Gonna Do It (Daniels) – 4:00

  1. New York City, King Size Rosewood Bed (Daniels) – 3:26

  1. No Place to Go (Daniels) – 11:24

  1. Orange Blossom Special (Ervin T. Rouse) – 3:00

Charlie Daniels Band


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