Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"I Told You Once, You Son of a Bitch, You're the Worst There's Ever Been."

Just shut up and sing.

Isn't that the advice Republicans tend to give to celebrities that voive their opinion about politics, right? (Well, at least as long as those celebrities aren't Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono, Clint Eastwood, Ted Nugent, Tom Selleck, or Toby Keith back when he was still in the disagreeing-with-the-war closet.)

Then again, maybe there's a loophole. Maybe the loophole is that you have to use the word "celebrity" pretty loosely to make it apply to Charlie Daniels. After all, the surviving guy from Milli Vanilli had one hit, but I wouldn't call him a celebrity, and his was certainly more recent than "The Devil Went Down to Georgia".

So old Charlie's issued a new fatwa rant against Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi (I do love saying that). This, combined with his earlier admonition to celebrities who disagreed with invading Iraq that they should "get your head out of the sand and smell the Trade Towers burning" , demonstartes why Republicans tend to think celebrities are idiots---

All the ones that they know are.

Of course, I think you should remember that when the terrorists follow us home from Iraq and start their attacks on American soil it’s too late, so you’d better have a plan to deal with it. Do you have a plan?
And if Iran goes into Iraq and makes it a staging ground for Al Qaida to plan and carry out attacks all over the western world you’ll need to deal with that. Do you have a plan?
And if Iran decides to go into Kuwait and cut off the oil flow from the Persian Gulf, you’ll need a way to make up for the shortfall. Do you have a plan?
The world would look at us as a country that has not finished a commitment to war since 1945. Do you have a plan for dealing with that?

I do. I have a plan. We post one American soldier at every border crossing between Iran and any other country and have them blast over a powerful PA system anything of Charlie's other than "The Devil Went Down to Georgia".

I know what you're thinking. The plan certainly has some flaws.

One is that the American soldier forced to carry out such a task is surely on a suicide mission, as even a brief exposure to Charlie Daniels songs would either cause the human skull to explode or to make the bearer of said skull wish it did. But hey, it's a tough job. Sacrifices have to be made. One soldier wishing his head would explode sure beats sacrificing another 3000 just to protect a strategy that consists of "Let's send everyone but Laura, Barney, and the White House Chef overseas so we can move the Halliburton executive liquor cabinet six feet closer to the front line".

The second flaw is that prolonged exposure to Charlie Daniels songs is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, or at the very least, would leave us subject to UN sanctions. But hey, haven't we already proven that we can go to the UN and shovel some horse shit? I think we can beat the rap.


PeskyFly said...

Now now. Charlie's a redneck asshole who I probably wouldn't piss on if he was on fire but he's had more than one hit. His musicianship is extraordinary, as is his skill as a composer. My jaw still drops whenever I hear the Devil's solo in DWDTG, and his eccentric arrangements, crazy tempo and stylistic changes had a profound impact on the American musical landscape, country in particular. Steve Earle is often cited as the father of "Americana" but really, that honor should probably go to the CDB. They used a carefully selected and arranged combination of roots traditions to make some monsterous rock and roll. "Long Haired Country Boy," is an ass-kicker, "Wooly Swamp" is a storyteller's classic, the interplay of hot guitar and fiddle in "In America" is insane,"Rainbow Ride" is so weird it's good, and "Uneasy Rider" is a song in which I find no fault.

In fact, it hurts me that Charlie--who once fancied himself a peace-loving ass-kicker-- has turned into one of the people he mocked in "Uneasy Rider."

Between his own rants, and what I hear from people who've known him, I get the impression he's either always been, or at least become, everything I detest: A narrowminded, biggot, nativist jackass. But a gifted one.

The Louvin Brothers were, by all accounts, some racist SOBs. But I defy you to find more beautiful harmonies. Sometimes-- as unfair as it is-- it happens that way.

I can't be a Toby Keith and judge talent and artistry based on ideology. An evil genius is, after all, still a genius. And as fiddle players go, Charlie is a motherfucker.

PeskyFly said...

I should probably add that the CDB isn't one of my favorite acts, but I recognize artistry, and mostly object to comparing a virtuoso musician to Milli Vanilli. Hell, I'm no Toby Keith fan-- though I want to be because we share so many musical influences. But even when he was bashing the chicks I would have stood up for him if somebody tried to compare him to Milli Vanilli.

Freedonian said...


The Milli Vanilli comparison dealt with his position as "celebrity", and not with the ability to actually sing and play an instrument. Perhaps I should have used Jim Dandy, but I was looking only for someone that's so irrelevant to today's music scene that they're hardly what could even be called a nostalgia act.

The songs you mentioned--- I've actually heard (At least enough to remember) one of them, and I was raised on AM country radio in the seventies and eighties. I only really remember that one because the metal band "Every Mother's Nightmare" recorded a metal version of "Long Haired Country Boy".

If Charlie Daniels takes the band on the road for a show though, the audience (Likely about 40 people a night) will be milling about until he plays "Devil" (Which incidentally, is not his composition--- He simply put lyrics--- Entertaining ones, I grant you--- Over an instrumental called "Lonesome Fiddle Blues"). It will be like being at a Rolling Stones show when they're playing anything from the last twenty years.

I will go along with him being a virtuoso level musician--- There's no doubt of that. Composer- Maybe. Arranger- Definitely. But so completely irrelevant to today's music scene that anyone younger than me says "Who?" anytime he's on Fox News and the job title "legendary musician" appears under his name.

PeskyFly said...

You seriously underestimate his fan base and lingering impact. True, he appropriated LFB from Vassar Clements, but only the basic melody. That's common in country (See Great Speckled Bird, Wild Side of Life, Honky Tonk Angel).

But have you ever heard LFB? By the time you add the bass solos, and Carlie's fiddle runs the're hardly the same song. Now Vassar is also an incredible fiddler, but comparing him to charlie is like comparing Chuck Berry to Eddie Van Halen. (Me, I like Chuck better, but...)

Of course I'm the guy who thinks George Harrison got screwed on My Sweet Lord, so...

If you compared Charlie's star power to say MC Hammer I would wag the finger less. That guy could really dance.