Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Something Borrowed: "Long Haired Country Boy," Every Mother's Nightmare/Charlie Daniels

As most of my friends know, Charlie Daniels' "Long Haired Country Boy" has always been one of the anthems of my life.

There's something about that chorus: "I ain't asking nobody for nothing, if I can't get it on my own/ If you don't like the way I'm living, you just leave this long haired country boy alone." It seems like a good way to live to me, and even though my long hair is long gone, it's a tune that I still identify with.

My introduction to the Every Mother's Nightmare version of the song actually came through hearing a local band play it in the early 1990s. I initially thought it was their version and was impressed. I later discovered they had picked it up from EMN.

If you don't remember Every Mother's Nightmare, don't worry. A lot of people don't. They were one of the also-rans of the later period of 1980s glam rock bands. But they did produce one winner in this cover. It's really kind of interesting how well Daniels' self-confident, self-aware acoustic tune transfers to a rowdy hard rocker.

EMN begins their song, much they way that Daniels does, with that recognizable acoustic first riff, but that's where the similarity ends. With a couple of big power chords, they turn it into a driving rocker, and while the sentiment is the same, the attitude is much different. This version of the song is much more insolent and in-your-face than Daniels' confident, matter-of-fact delivery. But it works in its own way, and it certainly worked for its time.

No, Every Mother's Nightmare's version is not really a match for the original, which is what I turn to most of the time when I'm in the mood for this song, but I still love them both, and in the right frame of mind, there's nothing quite like cranking up this version and shouting along.

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