A tribute to Charlie Daniels, the best that’s ever been…
The repertoire of boundless talent we have lost in 2020 has been, to this point, astounding. We’ve lost Jerry Stiller, Little Richard, Rob Reiner, Kenny Rogers (The gambler broke even), and now Charlie Daniels. That isn’t everyone, but that is a treasure trove of talent we will never replace.
The loss of Charlie Daniels hit Uncle Abe particularly hard. I have a friend who played golf with Charlie, from time to time, and the two of them were huge Tennessee Volunteer football fans. My friend is a native of Kentucky who “Volunteer(ed)” to play collegiately at the state along Kentucky’s southern border.
I called him after finding out Charlie Daniels had passed. He told me a profound and amazing story about Charlie Daniels’ depth and even his theology. I would like to share this story with all of you.
According to my buddy, he was playing golf with Daniels one day and related something to Charlie he told me he had to "gather the courage" to even say. “Charlie, in your song The Devil Went Down to Georgia, if we are being honest, I am not so sure Johnny beat the Devil. I think the Devil conceded way too fast. What made the Devil so sure he had lost the golden fiddle?”
Charlie laughed and said, “You wouldn’t believe how many times that has been said to me over the years. If you were a fiddle player you would get it.”
My buddy asked him to explain. His explanation is one I will never forget.
Charlie said, “The Devil’s song sounds good, but it isn’t difficult to play and you don’t have to be too good on the fiddle to play it. It’s ‘smoke and mirrors.’ Much like everything the Devil sells us, it ‘sounds good’ but in the end it just isn’t. It’s ‘smoke and mirrors.’”
Charlie Daniels continued with, “Now Johnny played Fire on the Mountain and Granny, Does Your Dog Bite? Both of these songs were long-time, traditional mountain favorites with right difficult fiddle parts. Much like the Christian path, neither of these songs have what an accomplished musician would call “easy” fiddle parts. Both required skill and hard work. Any fiddle player would tell you neither of those pieces is ‘smoke and mirrors’ but rather pieces which reveal ‘the real thing’ at least on the fiddle.”
Charlie concluded with, “That is why the Devil conceded. That is why he bowed his head. The Devil had been beaten by the genuine article, the real thing. You see the Devil was trying to con his way into Johnny’s soul.”
“Everybody who had ever “rosin(ed) up his bow and played his fiddle hard…” knew the Devil had lost. Much like his never-ending and ultimate defeat suffered to Christ, another genuine article, the Devil had, once again, relied on ‘smoke and mirrors’ to attempt to cheat his way into a soul. Johnny got out his fiddle and showed the Devil which one of them was ‘the real thing.’ I believe Jesus does the same, everyday.”
I thought I would share this story with you. Charlie Daniels is having a golden fiddle lain at his feet as he enters into his reward. As Pride is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, I am going to bid farewell to the man who wrote and flawlessly recorded and played one of Uncle Abe’s all-time favorite songs by saying something about Charlie he would never say about himself.
Devil, just you come on back, if you ever want to try again. Charlie done told you once, you SOB, he was the best that’s ever been! Fire on the mountain, Charlie. Fire on the mountain!
This is your old Uncle Abe Yokem and I am still up here SHOUTING FROM THE MOUNTAIN-TOP!