Exclusive Premiere: Hear Charlie Daniels Sing ‘Caballo Diablo’ From 1st Volunteer Jam in 1974

by Jim Casey
(Photo by Antony Matheus Linsen/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

If you miss Charlie Daniels like we miss Charlie Daniels, great news. On Aug. 26, Blue Hat Records and BFD/Audium Nashville will release a new album, Charlie Daniels & Friends: Volunteer Jam 1 – 1974 – The Legend Begins. The 12-song offering will feature never-before-released live recordings from Charlie’s first Volunteer Jam, including favorites like “Long Haired Country Boy,” “The South’s Gonna Do It (Again),” and “Caballo Diablo,” which Outsider is exclusively premiering today.

Charlie’s first Volunteer Jam took place at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium on Oct. 4, 1974. Less than two months later on Nov. 29, Charlie released his fifth studio album, Fire on the Mountain, which featured aforementioned songs “Caballo Diablo,” “Long Haired Country Boy,” “The South’s Gonna Do It (Again),” and more. Of course, Fire on the Mountain, is widely regarded as one of Charlie’s best albums.

Initially, Charlie penned “Caballo Diablo,” a haunting, guitar-driven ode about a “half horse, half devil” creature, with Marty Robbins in mind.

“This song was originally written for Marty Robbins in the spirit of his big hit, ‘El Paso,'” said Charlie’s longtime manager David Corlew to Outsider. “Columbia was headed in another direction for Marty. So Charlie created one of the all-time great guitar records. The compelling lyrics matched up with the twin guitars, making for one of the great CDB compositions.”

In addition, fans of Chris LeDoux may recall his cover of “Caballo Diablo” on his 1975 album, Life as a Rodeo Man.

Volunteer Jammin’

Before his death in July 2020, Charlie hosted 20 Volunteer Jams, many of which benefited his Journey Home Project nonprofit. Over the years, the concert series featured a who’s who list of guests, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Alabama, Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, Marshall Tucker Band, The Allman Brothers, and more.

During Charlie’s inaugural Volunteer Jam, special guests included Toy Caldwell and Paul Riddle of Marshall Tucker Band, and The Allman Brothers’ Dickey Betts.

“Here’s a new song—actually an old song we just recently recorded,” said Charlie during the 1974 concert. “The English meaning is ‘devil horse.’ It’s called ‘Caballo Diablo.’ I hope you like it.”

‘Charlie Daniels & Friends: Volunteer Jam 1’ Track List

1. Tennessee Waltz
2. Whiskey
3. Way Down Yonder
4. Long Haired Country Boy
5. New York City, King Size Rosewood Bed
6. Caballo Diablo
7. Jambalaya
8. Stay All Night (Stay a Little Longer)
9. No Place To Go
10. The South’s Gonna Do It (Again)
11. Orange Blossom Special
12. Don’t You Lie to Me