Posted on 08.21.2020

Growing Up with The Best There’s Ever Been

Just wanted to say that as therapeutic as these soapboxes have been, it blows my mind that for many years, dad did these TWICE a week! That won’t be happening anytime soon, but I’m going to do my best to keep them weekly.

People used to ask me what it was like growing up with a famous father, and often I would say that I didn’t have anything else to compare it to.

Ever since I could remember, this is what dad did for a living. He never worked a 9 to 5 job, so it just was what it was.

Some of my earliest memories are of dad coming home late after playing recording sessions, or some club in the area, I remember dad and I staying up late to watch reruns of “Mission: Impossible” until TV went off for the night.

I blame my dad for making me the night owl that I have been most of my life. I’ve just never been an early riser. Dad had to have the flexibility to be both. He stayed up later when he was on the road, and when he was at home – at least in his later years – he got up with the chickens, as they say.

The most obvious thing was that dad was gone a lot. He was a road dog, through and through, and unfortunately, he wasn’t around as much as we would have liked. But that’s just the nature of the business. He loved what he did, and what he did enabled him to provide for us.

It was particularly challenging for my mom, because for a lot of the year, it was almost like being a single mom, in as much as it was just the two of us a lot of the time.

I love my mom, she’s an amazing lady. But growing up, she for some reason felt that since I was an only child, she needed to aggravate me like an older sibling would.

Thanks, mom…

I don’t put much stock in horoscopes, but I was born at the end of April, which makes me a Taurus. And whether or not astrology plays into this at all, I can be extremely stubborn. Sometimes that comes through as determination, but sometimes it comes through as bullheaded.

Mom would frequently comment on how stubborn I was – still does – but let me let you in on a little secret…

She’s at least as stubborn as I am, if not more.

She used to say that I would argue with a fence post, to which I would eventually say, “But you’d be right there taking the fence post’s side!”

I love you, mom. I can at least be lovingly stubborn in that.

Things that other kids didn’t have to deal with that I did, junior high school comes to mind.

I’d be walking down the hallways and frequently I’d hear, “Hey, Charlie, how’s your dad doing?” as opposed to “How are you doing?” I have to admit that it started getting on my nerves.

One time someone asked me how my dad was, and I said, “Great, how’s yours?”

I don’t think they were expecting that.

For a while it started bugging me to the point that when I went away to college, I started introducing myself as “Charles” instead of “Charlie.” Sometimes people would make the connection, eventually, but I felt like some people had a preconceived notion of what I was like, a potentially spoiled celebrity’s son. 

Dad did spoil mom and I, but I was always taught to respect what I had, because many people didn’t have the material blessings we had, and I know he worked hard for everything he got for us.

The holidays were always special, dad was home, and as a bonus, after Christmas, I went on the road with the band, and for many of my younger years, I was a virtual “Mini-Me” to dad, complete with hat, boots, a vest and even a pocket watch.

The times on the road were fun, and I got to see dad work. It was easy to take it for granted, but dad was incredibly talented. I remember watching some video from the second Volunteer Jam with him about 30 years ago, and I was blown away watching him make a guitar sing the way he did. He was known for the fiddle, but that was only a small fraction his shows. He was a great, great guitar picker.

One of the most memorable moments was around 1979 or 80, The CDB was touring with a horn section, and the Stoney Mountain Cloggers who were a staple of The Grand Ole Opry for years. I got to know the Smathers family of cloggers from our time on the road together and became friends with them. 

Let me be clear, I can NOT clog, but I can fake it enough that someone who doesn’t really know what clogging is supposed to look like think that I know what I’m doing, at least I could back then.

So, we decided to have me come out on stage, unbeknownst to dad. While he was playing his encore, “Orange Blossom Special,” the Smathers family all came out in pairs, do-si-doed and promenaded and so on. I had borrowed one of their red checkered shirts, but since I didn’t have a partner, I watched backstage until I they broke into a line, and then ran out onto the stage and got in line with them. I’m pretty sure dad’s bearded jaw hit the stage, and he missed a few licks in the song.

I did my best to fake-clog along with the professionals, but after a while I noticed he wasn’t looking over at the cloggers anymore and I started to wonder if I made him mad at me (and the cloggers) for our little fun.

Since it was the last song, I ran up to him as we were walking off stage and hugged him and told him I was sorry if I upset him. He laughed and said, “Son, I wasn’t upset, I just couldn’t figure what was going on at first, I thought somebody was after you and somehow got past Skinny, and Cheapshot and you were running for me as your last resort!”

It was a priceless memory.

I’ve got lots more, but this will do for now. My mom and I still appreciate all the prayers and we will always need them, but they are definitely needed now.

Thank you all.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops, our police, our country and the Peace of Jerusalem.

God Bless America

— Charlie Daniels, Jr.


Feel free to comment on soapboxes, but please refrain from profanity and anonymous posts are not allowed, we need a name and you MUST provide a valid email address. If you provide an email address, but leave the name as "Anonymous" we will pick a name for you based on your email address. No one other than website administrators will see your email address, not other posters. If you post without a valid email address, your comment (whether positive or negative) will be deleted. — TeamCDB/BW


Check out "Geechi Geechi Ya Ya Blues" from Beau Weevils - 'Songs in the Key of E'




The soapbox, 8/21
Thanks for posting these memories; it helps us all in coping... I met your dad in Houston, 1975 or '76. He opened for Marshall Tucker Band and of course returned to do 24 Hours at a Time with them. Was during set changes, I got up and was roaming the downstairs hallways of Houston Music Hall, which was brand new then; and before security. Who did I see but your father, also killing time between sets. Most humble and down to earth man I ever met. Asked him "how do like Houston?" Told him we really liked him. Please keep posting and his Twitter account alive; we need to be reminded what is real. THANKS
Posted by paul
Inherited talent.
CD Jr. I have no way of knowing if you acquired some of your father's musical gift, but God has definitely shared his ability to express thought in words with you. I have been reading the soapboxes since 2006 when I first discovered them. Agreed with most, but my favorite of all was his story about Christmas down south. Every time I read it, (even knowing the ending), I would still get a chuckle and a tear in my eye. Your father was special & we miss him. Keep up the good work as long as you feel the need. May God bless you and your family.
Posted by Brian
Clog On Charlie Jr.
Amen, Amen & Amen Charlie Jr, appreciate the inside story, I have always enjoyed watching cloggers perform and am glad to hear that at least you can fake it when necessary. Me I can't carry a tune nor dance, I can barely tune in a radio. There is nothing wrong with being stubborn, it can be a virtue more often than not. I'll bet you even had your can of skoal:) take care, God Bless Plowboy
Posted by Plowboy
Memories of your Dad
Thank you for continuing to share your memories. Not only is it therapeutic for you, but it does the same for your Dad's fans. After writing a heartfelt and lengthy post in your 'Ten Years Later' post, I just wanted to reinforce what you said about your Dad being an amazing guitarist. We all know of his amazing talent on the fiddle as highlighted on many songs including 'Orange Blossom Special' and 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia'. I'd also like to include an amazing song from the Ultimate Charlie Daniels Band album called 'Talk to Me Fiddle' which integrates a fictional story of his fiddle as well as his amazing fiddle playing. Also on that album, is a song which highlights his amazing guitar playing. This song, 'Funky Junky', is the perfect example of the guitar master at work and demonstrating how much he enjoys playing his guitar. Thanks again for sharing. God Bless your Dad, your Mom, yourself, and God Bless America. Also, pray for our troops, our country, and our police who are being mercilessly attacked in many cities while they do their best to serve and protect. P.S. - can't wait to go to the Volunteer Jam: A Salute to Charlie Daniels in February.
Posted by Michael
Growing up with the best
Thanks for sharing ,it let's us fans see how it was like growing up with a famous parent.i don't know your dad like some others that where blessed to have met him .but has I learn more about your family .I feel blessed to share the amazing words about your family,its made me try to get better with the lord ,as long as you and your mom need prayers .you have them .may god bless you and the CDB family 🙏🙏🙏
Posted by Jamie
Keep the Soap Box Going
I Just want to say I have been a fan of Mr. Charlie Daniels my entire life. I remember exactly where i was the first time i heard Devil Went Down To Georgia. I was 8, 1979 and me and my friend heard it come on the radio and we stopped in our tracks. I was fortunate enough to see him in Baltimore for the first time many years later. I planned an entire summer vacation to see him in my home state of Missouri. Charlie Daniels, .38 Special and Shooter Jennings at the Missouri State Fair. I recently saw him again in Baltimore with Travis Tritt. I am so glad I decided to go see your father last year. When I heard of his passing I honestly feel like it was my own grandfather. I never realized the impact he had on me until i sat back and realized he has been with me my entire life. I am not use to loosing people close to me, your father always was in my heart. He is family to me and so are you and your wonderful mother Hazel. I wish you all the best and hope you keep going with the soap box. I have to say, one of my favorite songs, Mr. DJ was a song that was written for Hazel when he was homesick and on the road missing his family. He was one tough dude. Just a hunch, but I hear it in the song. Thanks for all the wonderful memories. Jeff Walden
Posted by Jeff
Thanks Charlie
Just wanted to tell you how cool it is to hear stories of the past of you and your father. I met your dad a couple years ago at a show in Payson, AZ. Your dad is a hell of a musician and a nicer man. I recently this past December lost my father also to pancreatic cancer. Hearing your stories I can really relate to what you are goi g through. My dad was not famous, but he was my hero. If I have learned one thing from dad’s passing it is never take people for granted. And not just people. Thank you for the stories Mr. Charles Daniels and thank you for sharing your dad with us music lovers. Please keep posting once a week. I will definitely keep reading.
Posted by Jeremy
Post office
I feel you spreading fear and trying to get the seniors scared that they will not get the medication . I’m a senior and have not hay problem with meds or my check , start doing you job which the tax payer give you and stop digging up thing to cover up the poor job you doing *NOTE* Ma'am this is a soapbox about memories of Charlie Daniels, who hasn't said anything about anything political since he passed away over seven weeks ago. - TeamCDB/BW
Posted by Shirley
Thanks for sharing
He made you special,for in his eyes you were his everything. It was his ability to make us feel the music,that made him super star that he was, My Prayers have gone out for you and your Mom,We his fans miss him . Our grief doesn't hold a tea cup to you all"s. So in Charlie Daniels style we shall celebrate his life and see him someday again.God Bless you and yours and especial praying for your Mom.
Posted by Carol
Growing up with the best there's ever been.
Jr. You father is so proud of you as he smiles looking done for heaven. Once a week will make him happy as you reflect on your life as the son of Charlie. I sure you have lot's of stories and tales of your dad and mom you could tell us. We all miss him so, so honor him with your writing. Hugs for you and your mom and all the CDB family. He has passed, Im sure he'll never be forgotten. Also maybe with time your mom can write a little too!
Posted by Louis
Growing up
I can relate Charlie Jr. My dad was a good horseman in his day and for many years around the horse shows I was "Little David". Even now I hear quite often how the apple didn't fall far from the tree. But like you, I couldn't be more proud of my dad's accomplishments. We go through life trying to forge our own path to destiny but we can never fully get away from our roots ... But I consider that a good thing! Keep on sharing the stories! Mark in Shelbyville
Posted by Mark
Keep up the Good Work
Hey my friend, those stories and memories are awesome, faith in God, your Dads strength in the Lord. I think he was truly blessed in his family life and on the stage, what a great guy, thank for sharing the intimate details of your family life. I think you are as normal as anyone that I would meet on the street. Best wishes, and prayers to you, your mom and the rest of your family.
Posted by Russ
Charlie, this really made me smile and sent me tumbling back in time. I remember this night ( you danced well, as I remember). Me, Candy and Debbie always had a lot of fun with you. Very good memories. You know how much I love your Dad. He will always be very special in my life. They were good years. Mama passed away May 21st of this year and then Hal two months and two days later. It's been the hardest year of my life so I know how you are feeling. Stay strong, that's all we can do. Love to you and Hazel, Sally
Posted by Sally