Volunteer Jam XIII: Reunions and Jerry’s Kids
September 6, 1987
Volunteer Jam XIII was a historic concert for multiple reasons. First of all, since it occurred over the Labor Day Weekend, it coincided with The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon and the telethon cut back and forth to the Jam performances, but more on that later. It was also the first time that a band officially broke tradition and announced it was appearing at the Jam, as it was usually a well-guarded secret, except for a couple of times when a couple of local media figures decided to announce the guest list ahead of time which didn’t go over to well in the CDB/Sound Seventy camp.
There were fewer acts this year, but the acts got more time than in previous years. The previous Jam veterans were Grinderswitch, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Toy Caldwell and Paul Riddle who had both left The Marshall Tucker Band at this point, William Lee Golden who had left The Oak Ridge Boys to go solo and the recently reunited Lynyrd Skynyrd would make their first full appearance since the 1977 plane crash.
The Jam first-timers included Christian artist Gary Chapman, Jimmy Davis & Junction, blues guitarist Mason Ruffner, country artist David Lynn Jones, Carl Franklin, The Goldens – a duo composed of the sons of William Lee Golden,” and metal “hair band,” Great White.
The CDB also recorded a music video during their performance for, “Bottom Line” which was – if I’m not mistaken – the lead single from the CDB’s ‘Powder Keg’ album.
I think I’ve written about this before. This is one of my favorite CDB albums. It was one of the more pop-influenced albums the band ever did, I always thought it had to be to the CDB what the ‘Eliminator’ album was to ZZ Top, a massive crossover album.
Even though he was on the Columbia Records label and CDB was on Epic, both were under the CBS Records banner (now Sony Music), and CBS was gearing up for Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ album, and I think that several artists, including the CDB’s ‘Powder Keg,’ got lost in the shuffle.
As much as I love the song, “Bottom Line,” it’s very atypical for a CDB song, it’s got a bit of a Latin beat and it’s more of a love song. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best choice for a single, but the video also included clips from some of the other performers from Jam XIII.
Toy Caldwell joined the CDB on stage to perform “Can’t You See,” with dad’s fiddle replacing the original’s flute intro.
Aside from the CDB’s set, there were two performances that really set the evening apart.
The first was Stevie Ray Vaughan’s set. I didn’t really get to see him when he previously performed at the Jam. But seeing the music which poured out of him was a sight to behold. From “Scuttle Buttin’” paired with “Say What?” to covers of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and a haunting rendition of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” rounded out the set.
Then it was time for the main event. The one that broke Jam protocol, the reunion of Lynyrd Skynyrd for the first time since Jam V, the surviving members took the stage now fronted by Ronnie Van Zant’s brother, Johnny.
Sadly, Allen Collins was wheelchair-bound and had been replaced by original guitar player, Ed King, but he came out to introduce the “new” band and came back out to talk about what he said was originally called “The Charlie Daniels Song” but was actually called “When You Got Good Friends.”
The Skynyrd set rocked the house. Playing hit after hit for the crowd that had been missing the presence of what dad always said was the premiere southern rock band. The crowd rocked to “Workin’ for MCA,” “That Smell,” “I Ain’t the One," "Sweet Home Alabama" and more.
Then came time for the encore. As had occurred previously at Volunteer Jam V, the band performed an instrumental of “Free Bird,” and on the microphone stand someone laid one of Ronnie Van Zant’s hats on top, paying tribute to the original front man, and dear friend of dad’s.
The Jam portion consisted of an all-star version “The Old Gospel Ship” and “Call Me the Breeze,” sung by Taz DiGregorio.
But it’s worth mentioning that in the transition back and forth from the Jam to the Labor Day Telethon had one truly notable moment. Jerry Lewis said “Now we’re going back to Nashville TN to Join Lyn-E-ard SKY-nard (read that phonetically).
It was a classic Jam moment that will always stick with me.
And many more moments will be made at Volunteer Jam: A Musical Salute to Charlie Daniels on August 18, 2021 at Bridgestone Arena. Get tickets HERE
“Ain’t it good to be alive and be in Tennessee!”
Let’s all make the day count!
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police, the Peace of Jerusalem and our nation.
God Bless America!
— Charlie Daniels, Jr.
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