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Charlie Daniels Band

Redeck Fiddlin' Man – 2002 (Blue Hat)

Reviewed by Tom Netherland

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CDs by Charlie Daniels Band

Categories can't contain Charlie Daniels. Sometimes he sings country, sometimes rock and sometimes blues. His latest includes all of the above.

Fittingly, Daniels has a lot of pull. The former studio musician with such credits as Bob Dylan's "Blonde On Blonde," welcomes country superstars Travis Tritt and Garth Brooks here, along with the legendary voice of Nashville DJ Carl P. Mayfield. Tritt's turn with the bearded bandleader on "Southern Boy" straddles country and Southern rock. Brooks' backing vocals on "Waco" waltzes to a much easier step. Combined, they highlight Daniels' enormous talent and skill with song structures. Really, either song would have been just as fine without their presence.

Chalk that up to Daniels' impeccable taste and talent. To wit, Daniels confronts America's 9/11 tragedy with such lines as "the cowards came by morning and attacked without warning" via "The Last Fallen Hero." Daniels rightly pulls no punches in declaring that punches will pulverize the guilty. Proudly patriotic, he caps the album with a refreshingly understated "Star Spangled Banner." Daniels' finest moments on record? No. His most timely? No question.