It’s time to shine the Vinyl Spotlight! Every now and then on Paloozapalooza, I like to focus on a random LP from my collection. This week, we have:
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils – It’ll Shine When It Shines (1974)
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils are a southern rock band largely known for two two fairly successful singles: “If You Wanna Get to Heaven” and “Jackie Blue.” One of those songs does show up on this album, but It’ll Shine When it Shines is more than just “the one with ‘Jackie Blue’ on it.” This is a fantastic record from start to finish.
When I bought this album, the only song I was familiar with was “Jackie Blue.” I had bought the band’s 1973 self-titled debut a few years ago and loved it, though, so I was still confident this one would be worth my time. And I was right!
It’ll Shine When it Shines kicks off with one of its strongest songs, “You Made it Right.” It’s a happy, simple slice of country rock that, and if you close your eyes, you can imagine being played on the front porch of an old farmhouse on the top of green, rolling hill. Fans of Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline,” you need to seek this one out, pronto.
The next track, “Look Away,” turns the dials a bit closer toward the rock ‘n’ roll side of things. “Look Away” hops and shuffles forward, and there’s even a brief guitar solo before the song’s breakdown, which actually sounds a lot like Creedence Clearwater Revival’s cranking out “Cotton Fields.”
“Jackie Blue” shows up as the third track on It’ll Shine When it Shines, and it sounds even better in the context of the album than it does when it pops up on classic rock radio. I’m no expert on these guys, but as far as I can tell, there aren’t a whole lot of songs in the band’s history that sound like “Jackie Blue.” The gorgeous vocals (delivered by drummer Larry Lee, it turns out) sounds more like something from the Raspberries or Badfinger than a southern rock band, and the song’s tight groove sounds like a bunch of slick session musicians. Not that I’m complaining! This song sounds more like the Raspberries, or even even Badfinger. But it’s the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, dangit, and I am here to announce that this song does not get old, no matter how many times you hear it.
… and that’s just the first three songs! This album really is tremendous, folks. There are other standout tracks as well, like the slow, impactful “It Couldn’t Feel Better” and the toe-tapping, so-simple-it’s-perfect “It Probably Always Will,” but I think you get the idea.
If it wasn’t for record collecting, I would have never sat down and listened to entire albums by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. I would have heard the two hits now and then, sure, but that’s it. Thankfully, I’ve now picked up two of their albums, and have really enjoyed both. One thing is clear: I need to buy more. It’s time to buy the entire discography already!
I definitely recommend picking up this album if you can find it for the right price. And you can listen to the whole thing below, thanks to the great, almighty Spotify machine …