Our top 10 Ozark Mountain Daredevils songs introduce us to an American band famed for its influence in the country-rock music scene. Bassist Michael Granda revealed in his book It Shined that the band’s name was derived from “Cosmic Corn Cob & His Amazing Ozark Mountain Daredevils.” The choice of the name Ozark Mountain Daredevils by John Dillon followed after finding out the moniker “Family Tree” was already in use by another act. Active as Ozark Mountain Daredevils since 1972, the band would begin playing country music avidly in 1973. The band’s demo tape would soon receive the attention from A&M Records, who by then were in search of an Eagles country-rock band.
Ozark Mountain Daredevils bagged a recording contract with A&M Records, where they would fly all the way to London to record their debut album. The band’s self-titled album, also given the name The Quilt Album, would be released later in December 1973. In the album, Ozark Mountain Daredevils blended rock, pop, country, and bluegrass vibes to bring out a unique sound that helped the band receive critical acclaim.
However, a question might arise as to why the band failed to reach its peak success levels. The band had its fortunes start to falter following reluctance to make constant tours, something known to help bands build on their fanbase. Ozark Mountain Daredevils also seemed reluctant in replicating efforts they made for songs like “Jackie Blue” and “If You Wanna Get to Heaven.” The band would later fall apart with its record label A&M after the label’s loss of enthusiasm for the act.
Would Ozark Mountain Daredevils kiss goodbye their successful days? The answer here is relative to the country-rock fans having some believe that they maintained a fair impact on the country music scene while others felt like the band plummeted never to rise again. Nevertheless, the band seems to be past its prime having it release it’s Off the Beaten Path album in 2018, almost twenty-one years after their album 13 (1997). The band’s 1997 album also came seventeen years after their 1980 release of Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Ozark Mountain Daredevils has opened shows for bands such as Fleetwood Mac while rubbing shoulders with reputable artists and acts such as The Commodores, Eric Clapton, The Doobie Brothers, Waylon Jennings, and Jessi Colter. Here are the top 10 Ozark Mountain Daredevils songs that bring the best country-rock vibes from the band’s eight studio albums.
10 – Homemade Wine
Opening up our top 10 Ozark Mountain Daredevils songs list is the rip-roaring song “Homemade Wine.” The four-minute song was penned by Larry Lee and featured on the band’s album Men from Earth (1976). “Homemade Wine” has much to offer, from deep country vibes to some nice lyrics. The song will get you up and dancing thanks to its superb and catchy tune. It is amazing to see a musician testify that sipping on some wine might make you find every woman look attractive.
This takes me back to a saying my grandfather told me that whenever I out and plan on drinking, there’s a drill to save me from the trouble! Here are his words (you’ve probably heard them too), “Take a look at a woman you find unattractive, and when she starts looking beautiful, just know it is time to pay your bill and go home!” I know some might throw stones at me, but I feel that he made way more sense than many drunk men would in a similar situation. Continue resting in peace, Grandpa!
#9 – Mr. Powell
The song “Mr. Powell” takes us to The Car Over the Lake Album (1975). “Mr. Powell” is a stirring hit penned down by keyboardist and drummer Larry Lee. The song’s tune doesn’t get any better than having it feature a harpsichord intro and a mandolin, which add to its catchiness. “Mr. Powell” has its lyrics alluding to the story of John Wesley Powell, an American explorer. Specifically, the song is about an 1869 fantastic yet dangerous journey he took alongside ten men down the magnificent Colorado River.
#8 – Walking Down the Road
Guitar and piano intros never get better than in songs like “Walking Down the Road.” The song is an original composition by the band featured on the album, It’ll Shine When It Shines (1974). Like most of the songs in the album, “Walking Down the Road” offers a glimpse into the budding maturity of the band’s songwriters Larry Lee, John Dillon, as well as Steve Cash. The song feels like a hidden treasure that many haven’t heard in the country music scene. Let the catchy country vibe in the song take over, and have the awe-inspiring song from Ozark Mountain Daredevils rock your day!
#7 – You Made It Right
Also from the album, It’ll Shine When It Shines (1974) is the song “You Made It Right.” Who said we couldn’t get thankful for all that we have in a country song? The song feels even way better than some of the praise and worship songs you might ever hear from a gospel song. Don’t blame Ozark Mountain Daredevils for making a country song that makes some gospel vibes look too mediocre. The song feels like a thanksgiving anthem for all the minute things that we take for granted sometimes. Yeah! Including a woman who will love you even in your absence. You’ve got to be grateful for absolutely everything. After all, life is too short to waste all your energy whining about your problems.
#6 – Country Girl
Number six on our top 10 Ozark Mountain Daredevils songs list is the hit “Country Girl.” Don’t confuse this song with “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)” by legendary country music artist Luke Bryan. Many might have met this third best-selling song by Luke Bryan, but his version was something different from Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ “Country Girl.” Featured on the band’s eponymous 1973 album, the song brings on some unique vocals delivered on a magnificent tune. Make me feel like I need a country girl too to be smothered with delight while driving the pain away, as Ozark Mountain Daredevils quotes on the song’s chorus.
#5 – It’ll Shine When It Shines
Steve Cash and John Dillon collaborated to release one of their best compositions in the album titled song “It’ll Shine When It Shines.” Can we call Ozark Mountain Daredevils stoics? The song’s title and lyrical content say it all about their philosophy of life. “It’ll Shine When It Shines” passes on a message that you can’t go out feeling like you have the whole world under your control and, in some way, even manifesting your destiny, but that’s not the true nature of life. Throughout the song, Ozark Mountain Daredevils reflects the truth that life progresses in cycles, which cannot always be forced. So, don’t overwork your mind in forcing situations that you can’t control to yield positivity. It’ll Shine When Shines!
#4 – Standing On the Rock
“Standing On the Rock” is one of the best songs from the band’s eponymous debut album (The Quilt Album). Ozark Mountain Daredevils made their mark in the country-rock music scene with songs like “Standing On the Rock.” You’ll understand why A&M Records saw some future with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils by listening to the song. Unfortunately, failure to replicate such efforts in later releases had the band fall out with the famous record label. However, such songs remain souvenirs of the band’s capabilities and true art in the country-rock scene.
#3 – Chicken Train
Before Ozark Mountain Daredevils went on a seventeen-year music album release break, the band left us with one of its best songs, “Chicken Train.” Thanks to the magnificent songwriting skills by Steve Cash that the song features quite some simple yet striking lyrics. However, the catchy instrumental of the song does some magic in having the song become what it is today! And creativity doesn’t get better than having the band feature in the song an unusual yet perfect musical instrument that adds to the song’s catchy vibe.
#2 – If You Wanna Get to Heaven
Number two on our top 10 Ozark Mountain Daredevils songs is the hit “If You Wanna Get to Heaven.” This was Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ major hit featured on the band’s debut album. The song was penned down by John Dillon and Steve Cash, having the band feature a fairly typical sound. Its theme pointed towards creating some little hell to make sure you get to heaven. The song peaked at number twenty-five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
#1- Jackie Blue
The song “Jackie Blue” is by far the best song by Ozark Mountain Daredevils from the band’s album, It’ll Shine When It Shines (1975). Its lyrics allude to a woman who is in pursuit of happiness. However, she never gives anything enough time to make her happy since she gets too bored easily. I’m I talking to someone here (lots of laughter)? We all have some element of that woman, depending on what we never have too much patience with. Maybe it’s work or a relationship! Steve Cash and Larry Lee penned down the lyrics to this song after inspiration from someone they met in Los Angeles. The song was covered by Smashing Pumpkins for the album Pisces Iscariot. Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ version peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Feature Photo: IFA-International Famous Agency/ A&M Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons