That’s Been Fifty Years Ago… 50 Years of the CDB Part 1: Before the CDB
*NOTE* Once again, I apologize for the soapbox absence, but not only have I been slammed for the past 7 months trying to do a podcast, in January I completely lost my mind and decided to jump to video for the podcasts, complicating my life even further. The podcast is on a bi-weekly schedule and I hope to do the same with the soapboxes, alternating content with a new soapbox one week and a new podcast the next. I plan on chronicling each album release from 1972 onward, if I survive… - CD, Jr.
“The Charlie Daniels Band Est. 1972”
We’ve sold merchandise with that on it for the better part of 25 years or more. I’m not sure of the exact month, I’m sure dad would know, but he’s not available to ask right now, so we’re going to be celebrating all year long!
But to tell the full story of the CDB, you have to go back a little further than 1972, in fact, we have to go back to 1958 in Fort Worth Texas where dad and his friend, producer and fellow songwriter Bob Johnston, first met, humble beginnings of two soon-to -be storied careers.
Bob produced an instrumental called “Jaguar” which got picked up by Epic Records - oddly enough, the CDB would eventually sign with Epic in the 1970s, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself too much – which prompted his band, The Rockets, to change their names to The Jaguars. The instrumental song featured heavy guitar riffs which was common in a lot of music from the time. It’s almost a slightly faster grittier of the “Peter Gunn Theme,” and features one of the nastiest - and I mean that in a good way - saxophone recordings I’ve ever heard.
The song got a LOT of airplay, but the airplay did not turn into single sales, which is why most people never heard of Charlie and the Jaguars, but Bob and dad continued to work together, if you want to have some fun, do a search on YouTube for “Middle of a Heartache,” and “Daniels” – if you search for “Charlie Daniels,” you might not find it because some of the early recordings misspelled dad’s name as “Charley.”
There’s another unique 60s pre-Nashville song called “Robot Romp” it’s a hoot, you should definitely check it out as well.
All the while he was cutting singles, he was also playing anywhere he possibly could, and Bob was finding success as a songwriter which led to him becoming a sought-after producer in Nashville, and eventually would become the Nashville division of Columbia Records.
Before that, he and dad wrote a song that Elvis Presley recorded in 1964. But Bob had a publisher, and the way I understand it, Col. Tom Parker wanted 50% of the publishing, it was Elvis after all, there was nobody bigger at the time. But because Bob was signed to a publisher, he put the song in his wife’s name, Joy Byers.
Later, in 1967, Bob convinced dad to move to Nashville to play on recording sessions, something which dad had difficulty doing because he had played rock covers in nightclubs for almost a decade which gave him a louder and more rock sound than what was part of the “Nashville Sound” at the time.
Dad has spoken at length about the opportunity that came his way when Bob Johnston was producing Bob Dylan, and the impact that had on his career and his confidence.
Bob Johnston had become such a sought-after producer that he couldn’t keep up with the demand, and started suggesting dad for projects he couldn’t fit into his schedule. Dad’s early production credits included The Youngbloods album ‘Elephant Mountain’ a long-unreleased Roy Buchanan album and a few others.
But the association with The Youngbloods would oddly enough work towards becoming an artist. Jerry Corbitt left The Youngbloods, and for a while, they were touring together as a duo. You can even find a couple of bootleg CDs of Corbitt & Daniels out there, but Corbitt would produce dad’s first (and at the time, only – Capitol Records solo album, and dad produced Corbitt’s lone Capitol solo album.
Capitol didn’t work out for either of them in the very early 1970s, but dad did land a record deal in 1972 with Kama Sutra Records – a division of Buddah Records which was primarily an R&B/Soul label - and this one would prove much more profitable, at least eventually.
But we’ll start with the first “official” CDB lineup next time.
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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