That’s Been Fifty Years Ago… 50 Years of the CDB Part 21: The Door
The signing to EMI Music’s labels was a mixed blessing in that it had its high points and low points.
The two Sparrow Records albums were the high points.
Dad went in to record 1994’s “The Door” in a very familiar place, the studio he had built behind the office in Lebanon, known as Twin Pines Studio.
Ron Griffin was chosen as the producer, he had worked with the more traditional southern Gospel Bill Gaither and his trio, as well as Christian rock powerhouses dcTalk and Audio Adrenaline.
The album can best be described as a CDB Christian album. The music is CDB with just a taste of Church sound thrown in. Taz’s piano and B3 licks sometimes echo an old church organ or piano, but they still sound like CDB.
It’s an uplifting album full of messages of hope and redemption in Jesus.
There are fourteen tracks altogether, so there is more to write about than previous CDB albums, so let’s get to it.
“The Business of Love” kicks off the album. It is co-written with Christian artist, Steven Curtis Chapman.
It begins with the story of the early days of the Church, after Pentecost, preaching to the lost without worrying about denominations, “They just called themselves the ‘Body of Christ.’”
Then he takes us to the present where even good people who want to spread the gospel have lost their way, and the need to put differences aside, stop fighting amongst ourselves, take our Bibles off the shelf and “let’s get down to God’s business, the business of Love,” because our “lost and dyin’ world is going to hell.”
Whether we like our music loud, or quiet, or if we prefer to be docile while listening to the Word, of if we jump up and dance around, God uses all of us ”to make the light of His love shine.”
“Washed in the Blood” tells how people can escape the terrifying things to come in the End Times, by rejecting the New York Times theory that “God is Dead,” and New Age beliefs. Instead, we need to put our faith in Jesus, “There is one way to escape that awesome day, Jesus is the one, He’s God’s only Son and if you ain’t been washed in the blood, ask him to forgive your sins, and come boldly to the Throne.”
He goes into more detail about the eschatological things to come, the Tribulation, Mark of the Beast and hell, but Jesus is the way out of all of those horrors. Halleluiah!
The message of “Jesus Died For You” is a simple one, no matter your circumstances, Jesus died for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re drunk, on drugs, broke, in prison or feeling like you’re at the end of your rope, Jesus died for you and He’s there for you any time and place. His sacrifice opened the door for salvation for all who will reach out for it, just “get down on your knees and receive it!”
“You can face death with a smile, laugh at all your troubles and trials, never have to walk another lonely mile, Jesus died for you.”
“Sunday Morning” feels very much like a Church song with plenty of dad’s mandolin picking peppered throughout. It’s about a man who was filled with the Spirt during church service on Sunday morning, praising and worshipping the Lord, and plenty of fellowship with other churchgoers.
Then Monday morning rolls around, and everything that could go wrong, does. His car doesn’t start and he’s late for work, people at work are grumbling and complaining and says that “it’s just about enough to make a man want to cuss.”
Rather than joining the fussing or cussing, he goes by himself to a corner and thanks “Jesus because I’m not the man he used to be” anymore, and he’ll endure the week and come Sunday morning, he’ll be back at church on the front row.
Then Saturday night an old friend drops in and says they should go out, get drunk and pick up some women. He tells his friend what Jesus has done in his life, and that he can do the same thing for him, they both get down on their knees, then come Sunday morning, they are both sitting on the front row.
“Protected by Prayer” is a rockin’ mid-tempo with lots of guitar, B3 and some mandolin highlights in places which reminds me of an old CDB song called “Running With The Crowd.”
It tells three separate stories. The first is about a soldier who gets separated from his unit, gets wounded from enemy fire and accepts his fate.
But he doesn’t know that his mother is praying for his safety as a helicopter lands to airlift him to safety, protected by prayer.
Next is the story of a woman who had to work late and takes a shortcut through the park in hopes of making it home before it gets too dark outside. But a man with a knife steps from the shadows with a “cold evil look in his eye.” She cried out to Jesus to send help because she can’t face this alone. The man tripped and fell, she finishes her journey home without fear because she knows angels are protecting her, protected by prayer.
The last story is of a husband and father of two who starts experimenting with drugs only to become hooked on them and his life falls apart. He becomes a street person, stealing and begging for money for his habit, but his family kept praying for him and one day a street preacher tells him “I’ve been sent to help you find salvation’s door, you can’t live like this anymore.”, protected by prayer.
“Lay it On the Line” is a song that I’m pretty sure began as a secular CDB song, but was never recorded, or never released if it was.
It’s about letting go of fears and regrets, or worrying about tomorrow, but “Tomorrow may never come.”
Hard times are inevitable, but we need to “put our plans in the nail-scarred hands, and there’s nothing we should be scared of” and live one day at a time, live bold in His love and “lay it on the line.”
“No matter what happens in this evil old world, we’ve got a better place to go.”
Indeed, we need to lay it all on the line.
“Praying to the Wrong God” is based on 1 Timothy 6:10 where the Apostle Paul says “the love of money is the root of all evil,” not money itself, but the love of it.
Dad goes on to describe people who carry lots of diamonds and wear ridiculously expensive suits and their Millionaire’s Row mansions, yet their “Bible is a check book and your church is a bank,” not believing in charity and lacking gratitude. They lie, swindle, steal and cheat, and throw widows and orphans out on the street, but “you’re praying to the wrong God, mister” and it’s “going to eat your flesh like fire.”
He also warns of going to astrologers, Tarot cards and Ouija boards, and Scientology instead of going to the Lord, and about those who hate their neighbors and cheat on their spouses, and if you believe the fallacy that “all roads lead to the mountain top, you’ve got a long way to drop.”
“Two out of Three” is probably the most country of the songs on the album.
It’s a man thinking about all the questions he wants to ask the Lord when he sees Him, like “Why in the world was I born?” but the question he most wants to ask is how Jesus could love him when so many times he had a choice between good and bad, “I picked bad two out of three.”
“We’ve all been tempted and charmed, but all of us sinners, the Man in the sandals will welcome right back in His arms,” is a powerful line in this powerful song which also had a music video of dad walking through a carnival singing while temptations surround him.
“End of the World” is about the battle with our enemy, Satan, who will be cast into everlasting fire in the End Times, but will try to take as many good souls with him before he meets his fate.
Satan will tell you it’s okay to sin, and that the solution to depression is suicide, blind you with “flashes that would cause your head to whirl.”
But he stresses the end is coming in the twinkling of an eye, but God’s door is standing open for those to ask for forgiveness and He will give you joy and peace of mind, and then Satan can’t touch you.
“Where will you be standing, on His left, or right?”
It’s a question we all need to ask ourselves.
Lastly, we have a song in five parts, “Jerusalem Trilogy.” I actually saw a critic review this album and he hoped it wasn’t sacrilegious to point out that there are five interconnected songs instead of three, but “trilogy” doesn’t refer to the number of parts, it refers to the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord.
The first song, “My Chosen One,” begins with the promises of God to Abraham to be the father of a great nation, and then sets the stage for the birth of Jesus as the children of Israel forsook the ways of their ancestors and turned to idol worship, but a remnant of faithful Jews remained, then Rome conquered Jerusalem as the Jews cried out for the promised Messiah, Jesus, God’s “Chosen One.”
Part two is “The Birth,” a joyous song of celebration of the birth of our Savior. Shouts of “Hallelujah” and “Hosanna” provided by Nashville’s Christ Church Choir.
While it’s technically about Christmas – the birth of Jesus – it feels more like an Easter song. In fact, one year, dad reworked the song for an Easter performance at World Outreach Church.
If this song doesn’t wake up your spirit, then you’ve got problems.
Then we come to the Passion part of the song, “Crucify Him,” which is based on the account of Jesus’ trial and condemnation by the Pharisees in Jerusalem leading chants of “Crucify him” to Pontius Pilate in order to let Jesus be executed and “If you are the son of God why don’t you come down off of that cross.”
The fourth song is “Jerusalem’s Shame,” and it takes place in the wake of Jesus’ execution.
Dad sings that Jerusalem has mocked the Lord and nailed him to a tree, but they are no guiltier than he is.
He also sings that they will be redeemed, at last, and rejoice.
He ends it singing “You’re no guiltier” and solemnly speaks “than me.”
That redemption comes with the final song, “Joy in the Morning,” which is the climax of the Jesus story, His resurrection on Easter Sunday.
It’s a rockin’ uptempo Gospel number
Dad quickly recaps the crucifixion and the Roman soldiers gambling for His clothes and his burial.
Then the empty tomb, and then He returns and says to give his disciples a message, that “the Son of Man has risen and I’ll meet ‘em in Gallilee,”
And it’s “Joy in the morning, Joy all through the day, ‘cause Jesus Christ our Savior has overcome death, hell and the grave.”
“if you missed the first coming of the precious Son of Man, just stick around, brother, because He’s coming back again.”
This was a dream project for dad, and I think he was able to use his voice and his talents to spread the Gospel.
The album won a GMA Dove award for Best Country album, and the video for “Two Out of Three” won best video from the Christian Country Music Association.”
‘The Door’ was dedicated to my grandmother, LaRue Daniels who passed away in 1993 from pancreatic cancer.
“Somewhere up there
Above all the rain
Above all the suffering
And beyond all the pain
There’s a place where there’ll
Never be darkness nor night
Where the streets are all gold
And the Lamb is the light
And joyous fulfillment
Of God’s Holy Word
Things that eye has not seen
And ear has not heard
Well that’s where my
Momma is living today
Because she trusted Jesu
And she stayed in the way
He’s the King of all Kings
And the Lord of all Lords
Momma’s laid down her
Burdens and claimed
Charlie Daniels 1994”
Next time we have another good album that got lost, and ended up being his last major label secular album.
Be back next time to learn about “Same Ol’ Me.”
Check out ‘The Door’ HERE
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!
— Charlie Daniels, Jr.
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