The Ozark Mountain Daredevils were, amazingly enough, a bunch of guys from the Ozarks, hippie longhairs who grew up in Missouri and started jamming together in the early 1970s. They had a couple of major hits, the funky "If You Want To Get To Heaven" and the alluring "Jackie Blue," and came up with a mix of '70s pop, light Southern rock and hillbilly twang that gave them a distinctive sound amid the glossy pop of the time. Only one of their singles grazed the Country charts, but they are generally seen as part of the country-rock movement of the era. Here's a quick look at their work...
Ozark Mountain Daredevils "Time Warp: The Very Best Of The Ozark Mountain Daredevils" (A&M, 2000)
Although they're best known for their monster '70s soft-rock radio hit, "Jackie Blue" (which I love, by the way...) and its companion single, the slightly more rugged (but equally catchy) "If You Want To Get To Heaven," the Daredevils had a few other tunes that hold up okay as well. For twang fans, "Chicken Train" will always exert an irresistible pull, and lesser tracks such as "Homemade Wine" and "I'll Shine When It Shines," while maybe not super-great music, are still far better country-rock than most Poco albums. (Unfortunately, I'm old enough to also remember when their other radio single, "Spaceship Orion" also got some airplay -- a drippy but inoffensive ballad that evokes the possibility of what Gram Parsons might have sounded like if he'd been able to make it as a commercial singer, and not OD'd in the desert...) Y'all can laugh, but the Daredevils weren't so bad.
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils "The Lost Cabin Sessions" (Varese Sarabande, 2003)
Early demos from a band that would go on to become a pillar of the commerical country-rock scene. These are mainly pretty low-key performances, made while the band was still a loose collection of friends, living in Missouri, jamming on the front porch and all. This set demonstrates that they had a pretty broad range very early on, from traditional country to spacey folk and experimental mixes of boogie-rock and twang. Ultimately, I found this underwhelming, but it's definitely worth checking out. Includes "Chicken Train," which was always one of my favorite Daredevils tunes, though no secret demo of "Jackie Blue..."
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils "The Millennium Collection" (Universal, 2002)
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils "The Ozark Mountain Daredevils" (A&M, 1973)
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils "It'll Shine When It Shines" (A&M, 1974)
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils "The Car Over The Lake Album" (A&M, 1975)
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils "Men From Earth" (A&M, 1976)
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils "Don't Look Down" (A&M, 1978)
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils "It's Alive" (A&M, 1978)
A live album...
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils "Ozark Mountain Daredevils" (Columbia, 1980)
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils "Archive Alive" (1997) (live album)
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils "13" (New Era, 1997)
Hick Music Index