Posted on 11.26.2022

That’s Been Fifty Years Ago… 50 Years of the CDB Part 27: Tailgate Party

For the follow-up to ‘Fiddle Fire,’ dad wanted to do an album of covers. Though not all specifically southern rock songs, they were all songs from bands who hailed from the south.

A deal was worked out for that the initial pressing, the album was to be a premium giveaway from A.R.E., a company known for making truck toppers for beds of pickup trucks.

So, if you ever wondered why an album of covers was called ‘Tailgate Party,’ now you know, the r-r-r-rest of the story, apologies to the late Paul Harvey.

After the A.R.E. deal wrapped up, three live tracks were added and a new cover – without A.R.E.’s logo on it – was released.

While the album cover isn’t bad, I always thought the arrow pointing straight ahead – or up – would have made for a great Christian album cover.

The band’s lineup remained stable as did the production with Ron Griffin returning to produce and engineer.

Anyway, onto the songs.

The album kicks off with the version of “The South’s Gonna Do It (Again)” which premiered on the previous album, ‘Fiddle Fire,’ complete with Keith Urban.

If you’d like to read more about the album and this version of the song, check it out HERE

Next up is the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy.” It’s a faithful cover with lots of Taz’s killer B3 licks, and decent guitar work. Granted, dad, Chris and Bruce aren’t Stevie Ray, but then again, nobody is, but they do a great job paying tribute to the late blues great.

The Marshall Tucker Band’s classic “Can’t You See” is up next, again, Taz’s B3 punctuates the song, and even provides the familiar notes of the intro.

The CDB released this as a single once upon a time, back in 1982 with a live version from a Volunteer Jam album.

On both versions, dad sings Toy’s line “’cause my lady now, that mean old woman never told me goodbye” dad sings it “that mean old woman had the nerve to tell me goodbye.” 

The guitar work is outstanding. In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve listened to this, I forgot how good the track is. It’s not Toy’s “thundering thumb’ but it’s a nice arrangement.

The next one is a bit of a stumble, and it’s partly my fault. Dad wanted to do a Hootie and the Blowfish song, and the obvious choice would have been “Only Wanna Be With You” but I remember dad thinking that with as many rockin’ uptempos on there, they needed a ballad. I suggested “Let Her Cry,” but there was a snag. Dad didn’t understand the first verse, and because he didn’t, they left it out. It starts off “She sits alone by a lamp post, trying to find a thought that’s escaped her mind, she says, dad’s the one I love the most, but Stipe’s not far behind.”

I wasn’t in the studio when this was going on or I would have explained to him that Michael Stipe is the lead singer for R.E.M. but they just omitted the line altogether. It’s not horrible, but in hindsight, “Only Wanna Be With You,” would have probably been a better song to cover.

The next song is Atlanta Rhythm Section’s “Homesick” which had been brought back by Travis Tritt just a few years ago, and to be honest, I think it is closer to Travis’ version than the original and I think Travis’ version is probably better known.

It’s guitar-driven and pounding. Great track.

We stay in Georgia for the Georgia Satellites’ classic, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself,” which is about a man who wants to get his girlfriend into bed but she refuses until they are married which frustrates the song’s main character, but “she told me the story about free milk and a cow.” She never bends, “No huggie, no kissie until I get a wedding ring.”

Taz is the featured singer on a killer cover of The Allman Brothers Band’s iconic  take on Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues.”

In addition to some great guitar work, Taz’s B3 skills are once again put on display and it all makes for a great tribute to the boys from Macon.

“Peach County Jamboree” is probably a song that isn’t as familiar to most audiences outside of hardcore southern rock aficionados, it’s a cover of a shuffle by the very underrated Grinderswitch.

Both a man and his woman have the blues, and it appears that they will be parting ways soon, so the man suggests they go to the Peach County Jamboree as a way to get over the blues and have one more good time before they split.

The boys from the Double Z Ranch get the cover treatment with “Sharp Dressed Man.” I think dad really wanted to do something from the older ZZ Top catalog, but he didn’t want to do “La Grange” because it’s about a whorehouse, and “Tush” is well… about… you get the picture… so he decided to go with something from the ZZ Top 80’s resurgence.

It’s a great cover, it doesn’t have the synthesizer rhythms that the original did, and no dancing girls or cool cars, but it is a solid performance.

Finally, the CDB pays tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd” with “Free Bird” which starts off with Taz’s piano tribute to the late Billy Powell original, but the guitar licks are replaced by dad’s fiddle which sounds like it has been run through some sort of processing to give it an almost unrecognizable sound.

The CDB does the uptempo section of the song, but some of the guitar solos are replaced by a fiddle solo.

Knowing how much Ronnie Van Zant meant to dad, I have no doubt this tribute to him meant a lot to him.

After a shorter than the original instrumental section, it ends with dad saying “Why don’t you fly on free bird” then after a brief pause, a soft reprise of the piano intro briefly plays then fades.

The final three songs on the latter version of the album were added after the A.R.E. version and consist of live versions of “The Legend of Wooley Swamp,” “El Toreador,” and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” recorded in Rainsville, Alabama.

The album was dedicated to Stevie Ray Vaughan, “The Bottleneck Bandito”

It’s a little too long to put here, but if I get around to turning these into a book, I’ll probably add all of the complete dedications.

Next time, dad and the band go to the dogs… Road Dogs!

Check out "Tailgate Party' HERE

What do you think?

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—  Charlie Daniels, Jr.



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