Last night, I contemplated starting this journey with The Beatles.
I decided that would have been a mistake.
This is better for a number of reasons. First off, these guys are from the same neck of the woods as me. As much as I sometimes like to dream of moving to the agate-encrusted beaches of the Pacific Northwest, or testing my mettle as a real cowgirl on Texan plains, nowhere I could move would pull the deep, twining roots of the Midwest out of my heart (without me subsequently bleeding to death, that is to say). The Daredevils started out in South-west Missouri, “the Springfield area.” They must like the Midwest alright too, because that’s where they continue to tour these days. Incidentally, I recently missed their performance at the Du Quoin (IL) State Fair, which was quite the bummer – maybe next time, boys.
Another reason this was a better choice for my first post is because it’s far less documented an album than Sgt. Pepper’s. I feel the risk of people immediately deciding I don’t know what the junk I’m doing would have been greater if I started in guns blazing with my opinions about an album that already holds such a near and dear place with J.Q. Public. This way, we all learn something we probably didn’t know before – and if you did know all about this album…congratulations! You’re already a fan, and perhaps there is a certain level of appreciation and respect we can hold for each other and dialogue accordion-ly (little joke, folks).
Well, I said there is a number of reasons, and there is – that number is two.
Now we’ve seen the original artwork and read a little rambling; it’s time for the music.
“Keep On Churnin’,” (Words and Music: John Dillon); “If Only I Knew,” (Words and Music: Larry Lee and Steve Cash); “Leatherwood,” (Words and Music: Randle Chowning); “Cobblestone Mountain,” (Words and Music: Steve Cash); “Mr. Powell,” (Words and Music: Larry Lee); “Gypsy Forest,” (Words and Music: Randle Chowning and Steve Cash).
“Thin Ice,” (Words and Music: Randle Chowning and Steve Cash); “From Time to Time,” (Words and Music: Larry Lee and John Dillon); “Southern Cross,” (Words and Music: Steve Cash and John Dillon); “Out on the Sea,” (Words and Music: John Dillon and Elizabeth Anderson); “Whippoorwill,” (Words and Music: Randle Chowning).
It always makes me happy to see song lyrics written out. I understand that there may be a bit of push and pull between how the artist laid out the words originally and how they appear on the album sleeve, but just the fact that they’re included gives me an invitation of welcome. I appreciate when symbols meant primarily to sound awesome have had the care attended them to look awesome as well. The tiny indents capital T’s make under capital I’s and the overlap of double V’s appeals to my aesthetic, for sure.
There’s a lot of spirituality in The Daredevils. I’ve made a mental note of that before. It doesn’t feel like they beat you over the head with religion through overtly Christian lyrics in all their songs, but I wouldn’t call the influence subtle either. The Car over the Lake is their 4th album. — Did I mention I’m doing this in no purist sort of order? It’s sort of a practice in counter-OCD, to ensure I actually get something done other than figuring out how to properly order my collection. (Alphabetical? By artist? Record Label? Date? Spectrum-Chromatical?!) — anyhow. There is a lot of light-heartedness in this album, but it also suggests troubles with living the nightlife, going astray…maybe “being cool” doesn’t equate to feeling lost. There is a lot of talk about not knowing where the path leads, dreaming of far-away landscapes, and misplaced trust. Over-all, I’d call it country blues. This is how they left the album, so I’ll follow the same cue.
You call from out the timber
Like a chanter on a throne
Only to remember the secret still unknown
And makes us to decide
Are we false or are we real.”
– Randle Chowning, 1975.
Other musicians who helped:
Weldon Myrick, pedal steel guitar; Farrell Morris, orchestra bells; Nancy Blake, cello. Special thanks to Bill Jones for arranging and playing all horns and woodwinds, plus harpsichord and background vocal arrangement “Mr. Powell” and organ, synthesizer and elka on “Whippoorwill”
Produced by David Anderle
Recording and re-mixing engineer: Marty Lewis
Assisted by Kent Nebergall
Recorded at Quadrafonic Sound Studios, Nashville, Tenn.
Re-mixed at Sunset Sound Recorders, Los Angeles
Mastered by Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab
Art Direction– Roland Young
Album Design– Chuck Beeson
Front Cover Design– Murv Jacob
Lettering– Stan Evenson
Back Photos– Jim Mayfield, Billy Higgins, Kansas Film Works
Artist Management– Good Karma Productions
P.O. BOX 782
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA 90213