Duke Daniels is not a solo artist, but rather an alias for singer/songwriter Dan Clark and his bandmates. Led by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dan Clark, Duke Daniels is one of southern California's best new country rock bands. With Clark's baritone vocals accompanied by Geoffrey Moore on guitar, Larry Aberman on drums, Byron Thomas on keyboards and Nick Sample, the son of jazz bassist Joe Sample, on bass, Duke Daniels continues to build on their roots-oriented sound.
On this, Charlie Daniels' second release, there are obvious signs of a bright future for the guitar- and fiddle-playing hillbilly rocker. Along for the ride is Joel "Taz" DiGregoria, Charlie's longtime bandmate and keyboard wizard. Taz even takes lead vocal duties on one song, "Billy Joe Young," and his ivory tickling is a highlight of this historical Southern rock document. Daniels rocks with the intensity of a downbound train on "Great Big Bunches of Love," and on his cover of the Jerry Lee Lewis chestnut "Drinkin' Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee." A true Southern poet, Charlie Daniels is seen here in the infancy of his artistic development, but even at this early stage, the poet is alive and well.
Eddie Daniels is such a monster on the clarinet that all of his GRP recordings are worth acquiring. This one, however, due to the somewhat commercial nature of some of the tunes (and the lightly funky rhythm sections), is of lesser interest compared to the classics such as Breakthrough. Daniels sounds fine but he is far better than much of the material (generally written by either the clarinetist, Rob Mounsey or Dave Grusin).