Saturday, March 28, 2015

Kama Sutra Records: Uneasy Rider

For many of us, the first time we heard Charlie Daniels’ name was when his 1973 tune “Uneasy Rider” hit the airwaves. Basically a narration to an acoustic treatment, Daniels perfectly illustrated the clash of cultures that were still occurring in the South during the Vietnam era.

It wasn’t Daniels’ first single release, but it was the first one to chart. This Kama Sutra single charted at #9 on the pop charts, which is uncanny at the time, but it was a novelty record and typically these do very well, but don’t have longevity. Its performance on the country charts was no doubt hindered by the content, as it only made it to #67. Surprisingly, it even made it to the AC charts where it performed better than with country radio. It peaked at #37.

Having moved to Central Appalachia within months after the release of this record, I noticed “Uneasy Rider’s” influence on local culture, as the recording spawned a number of dives to rebrand as “Dew Drop Inns.” In case you’re wondering, Kama Sutra provided an edit that bleeped out the song’s one offending word.

“Uneasy Rider” was Daniels’ only charting single on Kama Sutra; however, his final LP for the label featured two songs that received some airplay: “The South’s Gonna Do It” and “Long Haired Country Boy” that both made it into the Hot 100; however, the singles were issued by Daniels’ new label – Epic Records. Epic also re-released the “Fire on the Mountain” LP.

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