Volunteer Jam VII: Higher and Higher - Soapbox Jr.
January 17, 1981
The CDB was on a roll with their second platinum album, ‘Full Moon,’ which produced the songs “In America,” and “The Legend of Wooley Swamp," when Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium hosted its fifth Volunteer Jam.
Once again, it was a mixture of old favorites and new faces.
Grinderswitch, Jimmy Hall from Wet Willie, Johnny Lee, Ted Nugent, The Henry Paul Band, The Marshall Tucker Band - Jam VII was dedicated to MTB bass player, Tommy Caldwell, who had passed away in April the previous year - Dobie Gray, Crystal Gayle, Papa John Creach, Delbert McClinton, The Winters Brothers Band and other regulars once again treated the Jam faithful to the music they had become accustomed to.
Elvis Presley’s longtime backup singers, The Jordanaires, also made an appearance, as did Grand Ole Opry stars Roy Acuff and Jimmy C. Newman (the “C” stands for “Cajun”).
Dad introduced Billy Joel from “Lon-Gisland” New York, as many from the area seem to pronounce it, and banged out the Jerry Lee Lewis classic, “Great Balls of Fire,” on Taz’s piano.
The lovely Crystal Gayle performed a duet with the CDB of “Falling in Love for the Night,” a CDB song that had only been featured as background music in “Urban Cowboy,” and was on the soundtrack, but never on a CDB album, and the studio version was without Crystal’s voice,
Still wearing a cowboy hat - albeit camouflage this time - Ted Nugent once more rocked the Jam stage with a Chuck Berry tune, this time it was “Around and Around,” and he also joined Molly Hatchet for their first Jam appearance with a cover of Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen.”
Bobby Bare performed his hit, “Marie LeVeau,” and Roy Acuff uncharacteristically wore a cowboy hat to perform for the Jam crowd.
One new face was Shakin’ Stevens. He was a big deal in the UK, but he didn’t endear himself to the Jam faithful - especially the CDB crew - when he flung his microphone high in the air and then hit the stage with a heavy thud. Kind of a “mic drop” on steroids. For Mr. Stevens, it was a dual performance, first and last.
Jimmy Hall showed his amazing vocal skills with a cover of Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.”
This would be the last Jam recorded and released through Epic Records, but they did release a single for the jazzed-up arrangement - with the horn section that was touring with the CDB for a couple of years – of “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Once again, the CDB and company closed the Jam with “Tennessee Waltz.”
It may have been the last album release, but future Jams would be telecast in more complete form than just TV special highlights.
The show was now stretching over eight hours, and there was no going back. This was about the time that a local reporter would usually find me backstage and ask for a quote about the night, which was usually “Best one ever,” but every year that quote was recycled and embellished with “Daniels said with a yawn,” even though I know there was no yawning involved, but I digress.
The more recent Jams have topped out at about 4 or 5 hours, and that should hold true for Volunteer Jam: A Musical Salute to Charlie Daniels. Just last week, Travis Tritt was confirmed for the August 18, 2021 show at Bridgestone Arena. Get tickets here: 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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