Volunteer Jam IV: Hitting a Stride - Soapbox Jr.
Volunteer Jam IV became the first Jam to be a repeat performance in the same venue, Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium on January 14, 1978 and it would continue to be the Jam’s home until Starwood Amphitheatre opened in 1986.
Many of the guests from the first three jams were on hand again, including Grinderswitch, Sanford-Townsend Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, Mylon LeFevre, The Outlaws and Papa John Creach. Chuck Leavell brought his new band, Sea Level, and Jimmy Hall brought the rest of Wet Willie along, but several new faces graced the stage at Municipal Auditorium including Fingers Taylor, Mac Gayden, The Winters Brothers – Dennis and Donnie, - John Prine, a now-solo Henry Paul, Jim “Dandy” Mangrum from Black Oak Arkansas and for fans of Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous,” yes, there really was a band called Stillwater although the version in the movie was completely fictional.
I mentioned Wet Willie, and I just have to take a moment and say what an amazing singer Jimmy Hall is, and a great guy as well. “Keep On Smilin’” is one of my favorite songs, and I never get tired of hearing it, or Jimmy’s voice. It’s been joked that Jimmy could sing the phone book and it would sound terrific, which isn’t much of an exaggeration.
During the CDB set, we saw the band who was now accumulating quite a repertoire, and songs like “Saddle Tramp” got extended into a twenty-minute jam with roaring extended guitar solos from dad and the great Tommy Crain.
Dad and Tommy complemented each other, with dad often commenting on how blown away he was at the music that easily poured out of Tommy’s fingers. Dad, who was a great musician, said that he wasn’t a natural musician, and that he had to work a little harder at it, but that Tommy was truly a natural.
During the CDB set, we also got to see a preview of material that would end up on the “Million Mile Reflections” album with a song by Taz DiGregorio called, “Jitterbug.”
Many of the CDB’s performances from Jam IV are available on YouTube, and one memory that really stands out was when someone set off a pack of firecrackers in the crowd, never a wise idea, and while you can blame it on alcohol or other substances, who in their right mind stuffs firecrackers in their pockets and says, “Oh boy, this is going to be great!”
But after this Einstein lit his firecrackers, he got scolded by dad who told him to leave his firecrackers at home which met with cheers from the crowd before the band kicked off the next song, a fiddle standard, which by the way, Jam IV was also the Jam debut of the Grand Ole Opry’s Ben Smathers and the Stoney Mountain Cloggers who had been touring with the CDB on the Midnight Wind Tour, and would continue for the next couple of years and strolled out on stage for “Orange Blossom Special.”
As they often did, at the end of the show, dad brought many of the artists on stage for a “jam,” and this time, it was “Tennessee Waltz,” the state song, and promised that they would be back for Volunteer Jam V.
As I mentioned in the soapbox on Jam III, selections from Jam IV were combined with recordings from Jam III to form the double LP, “Volunteer Jam III & IV,” for Epic Records.
As good as the previous Jams were, the next one was truly historic for many reasons, and only partially because of the guests who appeared.
We’ll have that next time.
And speaking of next time, the next Jam will be 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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