Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Charlie Daniels Band

  • Million Mile Reflections [Epic, 1979] C
  • A Decade of Hits [Epic, 1984] B

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Million Mile Reflections [Epic, 1979]
The adventurous journeyman having long since turned into a professional reactionary, he here offers nine nominally new ways to kick shit down an Interstate divider. Including a hit single lifted from Stephen Vincent Benet, rock and roll heaven south of the Mason-Dixon line, passing criticism of the Ku Klux Klan, and a sentimental reminiscence of "Mississippi," a state the adventurous journeyman fled in an uproar back when he didn't ride so easy. C

A Decade of Hits [Epic, 1984]
"Uneasy Rider" is still perfect--a tall tale of a new outlaw, peace-loving but not a damn fool about it, grabbing a redneck by the symbolic short hair. But a year later "The South's Gonna Do It" sang the praises of long-haired rednecks, and he never looked back. A safer tall tale, the predictable "Devil Went Down to Georgia," put him back on the singles charts in 1979, and in 1980 the Russkie-baiting "America" proved what the self-reliant individualism of "Long Haired Country Boy" was good for. Already pushing fifty, he's just a Southerner of a certain generation. Sometimes he's a lot of fun. If he sang as good as Merle Haggard we might even forgive his jingoism. B