Nothing, it seems, not the passing of the Carter administration nor the frequent salvos fired by the rock press, can keep Charlie Daniels from attracting a rebel-yelling throng each summer at Merriweather Post Pavilion.
Fists were raised high Saturday night as Daniels and his 13-piece ensemble raised rock's confederate flag again in a show drenched with Southern sentiment. Unlike his contemporaries, who brandish bottles of Jack Daniel's and engage in tedious guitar duels for applause, Daniels, seldom makes a move that isn't required. He'd be blind if his cowboy hat sat any lower on his head.
Nonetheless, few of his songs fail to elicit a powerful response; they are so steeped in folksy Southern chauvinism that they couldn't miss. As in previous summers, there was the dirgelike remembrance of Elvis, Janis Joplin, Ronnie Van Zant and other fallen stars. Similarly, Daniels, teary-eyed homage to the Carolinas, his love it or leave it "America" and his perrenial promise, "The South's Gonna Do It Again," all met with thunderous applause even though much of the music sounded as routine as the lyrics at times. Johnny Rebel may fast be coming Johnny One Note.