SONG TITLE: UNEASY RIDER
PERFORMER: CHARLIE DANIELS BAND
SONGWRITER: CHARLIE DANIELS
YEAR OF RELEASE:
COMMENTS: Before you even get to the philosophy or sociology or whatever, this is just one unusual and outstanding song. It's a humorous rambling country hippie narrative with one long melody - no chorus or repeated verses. But for the down-home tone, this might have been considered an art song. It's damned tricky to make such a construct work as a pop song, to make it it catchy and easy to follow for a general audience. Ol' Charlie did, though. This was a big hit at AOR radio, particularly out in hick country. It is an outstanding and very memorable piece of songcraft.
By rights, this is really a country song and should have been a smash on country radio, but that was never gonna be. It has some outstanding country guitar pickin'. It is full of funny rural southern characters. It's as down home as you wanna be.
However, Charlie, well, let's say he inverted the proper country values paradigm. Our humble narrator is driving through the rural south on (read between the lines) a cross country dope run when he gets a flat tire. While he's sitting in the bar waiting for his car to be fixed, he is beset by some ignorant and unhygeinic rednecks ready to whip his ass on account of his long hair and general hippie appearance.
The heart of his mockery of stupid hicks is in the rap he laid on them to divert attention from himself, all about how their buddy with the green teeth is really an "undercover agent for the FBI sent down here to in-fil-trate the Ku Klux Klan." He goes about piling it up thick and deep with the details about how low-down the guy is. "Would you believe this man has gone so far as tearing Wallace stickers off the bumpers of cars?" And then the stupid sumbitches are ready to buy this story about their lifetime friend and neighbor.
Besides the outstanding conversational melody, what makes this so outstanding is the detail of the parody. What makes the detail so good is that CDB are purebred country boys, and know whereof they speak. A New York Jew would never have understood the mentality or known the details or the accents and rhythms to make it work.
"He may look dumb, but that's just a disguise. He's a mastermind in the ways of espionage."
Music Sustains the Soul
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