Charlie Daniels, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame best known for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” died Monday morning after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83. Daniels’ death was confirmed by his publicist, Don Murry Grubbs. He is survived by his wife, Hazel, and son Charlie Daniels Jr. Although best known for his blistering fiddle solos, he was an incredibly accomplished song writer. By the time the Charlie Daniels Band topped the charts with “Devil” in 1979, the instrumentalist, singer and songwriter had long established a remarkable, multifaceted career in Music City. As a session musician, he played on three of Bob Dylan’s albums — including the revolutionary “Nashville Skyline” — as well as recordings for Ringo Starr and Leonard Cohen. He also performed on Aaron Lewis of Staind’s debut country solo EP. In 1974, he launched the first “Volunteer Jam,” an all-star concert that has continued for nearly 50 years. Daniels joined the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016. Rest in peace Charlie.
After a gap of six years, legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper is back once again to give today’s youngsters a gentle, but purposeful reminder of how it’s done. At the age of 69, just a few months shy of joining the ranks of the septuagenarians, Alice is clearly in no mood to relax Continue reading
I don’t think anyone is running around accusing Russell Allen of being lazy but, true to his contrarian nature, his current work output is something approaching Stakhanovite in nature. This digital only release of covers and acoustic versions of songs from Adrenaline Mob is, presumably, some kind of a stop gap until the band get around to recording the follow up to Men of Honor. With Allen spending much of 2015 working on the new Symphony X album, Dearly Departed (Century Media) is going to act as a reminder that, despite all the comings and goings in personnel (the departure of Mike Portnoy being the most notable in recent times), Adrenaline Mob remain a going and thriving concern.
Your view of Dearly Departed is going to depend on your view of Adrenaline Mob and your view of the role of the cover version as part of an artist’s canon. This might be a self-evident truth but one does detect a bit of a sneer around this kind of endeavour, however well intentioned. In the case of Dearly Departed, the second covers album from the band, it’s fun. It’s lightweight fun, most assuredly, but fun nonetheless.
As with other Adrenaline Mob releases, the production on this record is big, modern and polished. The vocals are high in the mix, showcasing Allen’s voice which works well for the acoustic versions on show here: ‘Angel Sky’ and ‘All On The Line’ from Omerta and Men of Honor (both Century Media)’s ‘Dearly Departed’ all get thorough run outs. I’m not entirely convinced that the world actually needs an acoustic version of ‘Angel Sky’ but these things are pleasant enough and Adrenaline Mob junkies will lap it up.
The covers include the very-hard-to-bugger-up ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ from the Charlie Daniels Band, a warm and faithful Black Sabbath medley and a sprightly and convincing rendition of Queen’s ‘Tie Your Mother Down’. For this listener though, it’s the Pat Travers band cover of ‘Snortin’ Whiskey’ which is the most inspired choice, suggesting the band have a deeper musical hinterland and a better sense of humour than I had previously given them credit for: it’s punchy, gnarly and a very welcome appearance.
Dearly Departed is no world changer but, a bit like finding some cash down the back of your sofa, it will bring a smile to your face. Don’t expect too much and leave your prejudices at the door and you might find yourself enjoying this.