Various Artists

Volunteer Jam Classic Live Performances, Vol. 1

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Charlie Daniels has pooled together some of the finest moments from Volunteer Jams past to create an historical document of vast importance. Beginning with an all-star blow-out on "Can't You See," featuring Toy Caldwell and Paul T. Riddle, along with Papa John Creach, Grinderswitch, Bonnie Bramlett, Wet Willie, Chuck Leavell, and the Charlie Daniels Band, the disc explodes with a pool of talent that provides a literal encyclopedia of Southern rock heroes. Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie blows a power-soaked blues harp, backed by the guitars of Dru Lombar, Toy Caldwell, and Charlie Daniels. Next up is a smoking take on "Statesborro Blues" from Sea Level, accompanied by Jimmy Hall on harp once again and Charlie Daniels on guitar. Hall's vocals soar, and Daniels shows that the fiddle is not his only instrument. Willie Nelson treats the audience to a medley of three of his hits, including "Funny How Time Slips Away," "Crazy," and "The Night Life," all accompanied by the red-hot guitar work of Caldwell. The sounds are as exciting as they were in the '70s, and Caldwell's understated lead work begins to move toward the forefront by the third song, with unmistakable Caldwell riffs dominating the track. So sweet. Ted Nugent steps out in front of Molly Hatchet to burn through the core of the classic Mountain song, "Mississippi Queen," with fire and fury, and Grinderswitch rocks through "Lady Luck." Papa John Creach, the legendary fiddle player for Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, tears through "Down Home Blues" accompanied by the Charlie Daniels Band and the horns of the L.A. Reflection Section, while Wet Willie is joined by Richie Cannata on their biggest ever hit, "Keep on Smilin'." All you have to do is close your eyes, and suddenly you feel transported back to 1977. Closing the CD out is Daniels and his band, joined by Hall, with their tribute to Southern rockers everywhere, "The South's Gonna Do It." Taz DeGregorio plays an extended piano run, and the rest of the CDB show their stuff as well. Hall blows one of his powerhouse sax solos, and the crowd goes wild. They always go wild at the Volunteer Jams. This disc if for everyone who ever attended a Volunteer Jam or for anyone who ever attended a Southern rock concert during the genre's peak years of 1972-1979, this is an album you will not want to miss. For those who just plain enjoy good rock & roll and jamming, this one's for you, too. It doesn't get much better than this.

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