Posted on 09.23.2022

That’s Been Fifty Years Ago… 50 Years of the CDB Part 17: Simple Man

In 1989, the CDB released one of their biggest, and most controversial songs, “Simple Man,” on the album of the same name.

The album was the second with producer, James Stroud, but there was one big – no – monumental change in the CDB. For the first time since 1975, Tommy Crain would not be part of the band. He left to spend more time with his wife, Melissa, and his daughter, Ann.

Replacing Tommy was no easy task, but dad found Bruce Ray Brown through CDB’s new drummer, Jack Gavin. Both Jack and Bruce had played with country artist, Mel McDaniel, so I guess you could call this incarnation of the band, “The Charlie McDaniel’s Band.”

But seriously, folks…

Onto the music!

The album begins with what dad described as the solution to the problems put forth in “Simple Man” with “(What This World Needs Is) A Few More Rednecks.” The basic premise of the song is touting the charms of living the “redneck” or southern simple life and values of the working people. 

You don’t have to live in the south to be a redneck… but it helps.

As dad so eloquently sings, “what most people call a redneck, ain’t nothin’ but a workin’ man. He makes his living by the sweat of his brow and the calluses on his hands.” as opposed to people who think “redneck” is synonymous with racism. A black country artist named Joel Patrick is quick to shoot down that misconception, and calls himself “The Legendary Black Redneck.” We’ll get back to him in a little bit.

The kicker is the last line, “You intellectuals may not like it, but there ain’t nothin’ you can do, ‘cause there’s a whole lot more of us common folk than there ever will be of you.”

“Was it 26” was the only song not written by dad or anyone else in the CDB. Don Sampson wrote the song, and it would not be the only time the song was recorded. 26 years later, Chris Stapleton recorded the song on his debut album, ‘Traveler.’

The song is about a man recollecting his wilder years when he was drinking and living hard as well as a lost love when the singer was 25… or was it 26?

“Oh, Atlanta” is a fun uptempo fiddle ode to “the queen of Dixie” and “the diamond of the South, Atlanta, Georgia. The song references Peachtree Street and beautiful Georgia “peaches.” 

Next up is “Midnight Wind.” Yes, the same song that was the title track the 1977 album. But this one is considerably slower and darker. The original was dark, but super-fast paced.

The story is the same, a mysterious stranger sweeps a woman off her feet, loans him money and her car, then disappears. Occasionally she thinks she hears his footsteps, but it’s only the midnight wind “howling around the door.” 

“Saturday Night Down South,” is a much more laid-back song than the title would suggest. It’s an acoustic shuffle with a light Dixieland Jazz feeling complete with understated horns. It’s a style dad would revisit - sans horns - with his final project, Beau Weevils ‘Songs in the Key of E,’ with “Everybody’s Gotta Go Sometime.”

Highlighted by images of fireflies, honeysuckle, whippoorwills, magnolia trees, and being able to go to bed with the doors unlocked, it’s a slice of southern life that has evaporated except in the most rural areas.

“Play Me Some Fiddle” is as the title suggests, an uptempo fiddle song reminiscent of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Three Steps.” It’s about a band who takes a gig at a bar in a rough part of Houston when a large and ugly man bursts in the doors and then demands they play fiddle songs if they want to get out of there alive.

The band starts playing as if their lives depended on it, but the man still starts trouble and throws a man through a glass door and starts trashing the place, only to be hauled off by the cops, but as he’s being dragged away, is still begging to hear more of the band’s fiddle playing.

Finally, we come to the title track, “Simple Man.” This swampy commentary on violent crime and drugs came out while the “War on Drugs” and “Just Say No” was still in the public’s minds.

The song pulls no punches as it suggests hanging those who sell drugs to kids, and swamp justice for rapists and pedophiles. dad describes a mild-mannered mindset that wouldn’t harm a mouse, but still keeps a 12-gauge in case someone tries to break in and isn’t afraid to fight if pushed to do so, but points out that the problems in the country are the result of people putting their Bibles aside and living by the “Law of the Jungle.”

Earlier I mentioned up-and-coming country artist Joel Patrick, who happens to be black. He is very active on Instagram, and on TikTok, and other social media platforms. In the past year or so, a video of a young black man listening to the song and having his jaw drop - when he reacts to the line about hanging drug dealers comes up - has been making its way across the various socials. The implication is he believes that the song is talking about lynching African-Americans. Many attention seekers have jumped on the bandwagon by reposting that video with their own commentary, one very white social justice warrior tried to explain that “drug dealer” was “dog whistle” code for black people and that the song is about lynching black people.

God bless Joel Patrick, because he did his own video addendum to the original reaction video by pointing out that not once does dad mention people of any race in the song, and that if you assume he means black people when he says “drug dealer” then YOU are the racist.

Thank you, Joel for setting the record straight.

The song rose to #12 on the Billboard Country Chart in 1989 and a few radio stations refused to play the controversial song, but the album rose to #2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart and went gold.

And there’s an interesting story about how the song came about which dad talks about in his book, “Never Look at the Empty Seats,” and he reads in a highlight from a Facebook Live from a few years ago on the latest episode of The Charlie Daniels Podcast. 

Dad was approached to write a couple of songs for the Patrick Swayze movie, “Next of Kin.” He wrote two songs, one was a title track, and the other was “My Sweet Baby’s Gone.” They used the latter, and passed on the former. Dad changed the title from “Next of Kin” to “Simple Man” and it worked out pretty well.

“Old Rock ‘n Roller” is about… you guessed it, an old rock ‘n roller who still plays covers in backstreet bars even if he can’t play guitar and sings a bit flat. His glory days were back in the 60s when he had a top ten record. It’s a sad song about a time passing and the old rock ‘n roller who time forgot.

“Mister DJ” is a song that had been kicked around for a while by dad and the band. There’s a line that says “Play ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ or let Waylon sing the blues” but I remember it as “Let B.B. sing the blues” but I believe they changed it thinking Waylon would be more relatable for country radio audiences.

It’s about a truck driver who is homesick, missing his woman with whom things seem to have fallen apart, but he’s got a thousand miles ahead of him and the music is helping “roll his blues away.”

The final song is another reboot of a classic CDB song, “It’s My Life.” This one doesn’t start with the jazzy uptempo intro that the original had, but it just goes right into the blues. The line that always sticks out to me is “you can take a boy of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy,” and the signer points out that he knew he would have trouble when he “signed on to be a man” but if his woman leaves or not, it ain’t going to change his life.

Dad would continue to update classic songs periodically, even in his later years.

‘Simple Man’ was dedicated to rodeo legend, Casey Tibbs, shortly after the massive bronze of Casey riding a bronc outside of the ProRodeo Cowboy’s Hall of Fame, with a dedication called “Casey’s Last Ride.” It’s a little too long for this soapbox, but dad thought a lot of Casey. From everything I’ve heard, he was one of a kind.

One last note about ‘Simple Man,’ sadly, vinyl, LPs, albums, whatever you preferred, were on their way out. This would be the CDB’s last pressed vinyl album… until it returned, triumphantly, in 2014 when “Off the Grid-Doin’ it Dylan” became the first CDB vinyl in 25 years, and there would be more to come, and still more coming in 2023 when ‘Volunteer Jam 1 1974: The Legend Begins’ is released.

Next time, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas Time Down South!

What do you think?

Let’s all make the day count!

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

God Bless America!


#BenghaziAintGoingAway #End22

—  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

Check Out The Charlie Daniels Podcast!

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




A Whole Bunch Of Rednecks
Amen, Amen & Amen Charlie Jr. what we need today are a whole bunch of rednecks. It seems to be that the work ethic in this country left with COVID. Trying to hire workers these days is like trying to find hens teeth. Not wanting to get to political but if we don't do some changing this November in all levels of government we are probably past the point of no return. Simple Man is definitely a classic and a favorite of mine. Just like your dad I'm not for vigilante justice, just look at Joseph Smith it made him a martyr of whose cult religion has spread around the world. However as Jesus said Matthew 18:6 KJV 6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. God only knows how deep in hell and how hot it will be , where the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched, for the drug dealer and rapists and pedophiles. All songs on this album were greats in my humble opinion. Tommy Crain was one of the greats that left this world to soon but sure impacted us.........nuff said God Bless Plowboy
Posted by Plowboy
"Simple Man"
The video of "Simple Man" is memorable, too.
Posted by Jason