Open Letters from Daredevils Fans

These are fan letters reprinted with permission:

March 2010 

Hi!  Well, on a whim last week, I searched around a little & found your website, so I could order all the regular albums on CD, since I loaned out my LPs years ago and they never came back.
Anyway, I found the 'reunion concert' DVD, and just knew I HAD to have that!  I became a huge OMD fan back in the early 70's, went to every concert within reasonable distance, and figured out how to (sort of) play a dozen or so of their songs on my guitar & harmonica.
OMG, that DVD was a wonderful experience!!  It was sooo cool seeing all the guys STILL making that wonderful music - brought tears to my eyes several times.  Nice too, to have the audience shots showing literally NOBODY sitting down - oh my, just like it used to be in Lawrence KS at Liberty Hall/Red Dog, back in the 70's!  I was there when they did part of the 'It's Alive!' album.  Somehow the entire reunion/revival show was a life-affirming event for me, knowing that not all good things have to go away!
Thanks to everybody for making that available!!!   And yes, I am now taking a different CD to work with me every day, for my 45-minute commute to work.

Kelvin Flory

Ottawa KS

 

December 2009

 Hello,

 My name is RaeAnne.  I attended your concert at the DePere, WI Grand Dinner Theatre on Oct. 30th, 2009.  We had the greatest time and you guys sounded absolutely fabulous.  More importantly, I just wanted to let you know how much it meant to my father and his best friend, for whom it was a birthday surprise.  You might have even seen my dad and I dancing up front for a few songs. You can't miss him.  He was the 6 foot 10" man in the flannel shirt.  I am 29 years old and have grown up listening to your music.  My father and his friends met once a weekend for the last 30 years and jammed to some of their own music, but mostly to yours.  My dad just recently lost his house to a fire a week before your concert so it was a great pick me up and an even a better chance to purchase one of every CD that you had for sale because they lost all of their music, the bands musical equipment, and etc, not to mention everything personal, including his copy of the car over the lake album.  They were even more surprised when they got to the Hotel and I told them who we were going to see, and that you guys were staying in the same hotel.  You might even remember having coffee the next morning downstairs and speaking with my Dad’s friend Bob.  My dad was so bummed that he didn't go down there for coffee and missed the chance to meet you all.  I just wanted to let you know how much you have influenced my father, myself, and others musically, and that it was well worth the nine hour drive for them, and the 4 hour flight for myself.  I wouldn't have missed it for the world.  Next year I plan to surprise my dad with tickets for the weekend show at the Lodge that you do.  I hope you are doing it next year and can't wait to be there.  My father is the most down to earth, kindest, talented, and best man I've ever met, and to see how much he loves you guys really meant more to me than anything in the world.  So mainly I just wanted to say thank you for a great show, and we hope to see you next year. Thanks again and Happy Holidays!
 
Warmest Wishes,
 
RaeAnne Conat

 

June 2007

Dear Daredevils,

 I grew up on a river north of Sydney, Australia. We used to hop on a boat to catch the bus to school. Ozark music was the soundtrack to my early life. Dad and Mum had been introduced to it by my Aunty. My Mum and Dad split up when I was seven, it was messy and my life was in pieces. I didn’t know where to look. I played ‘You Made It Right’ to my mum when she came over to Dad’s one night to show us things were ‘normal’… ‘There’s a new star, on the horizon’… She cryed her eyes out and had to leave. Any time I played the Ozark Mountain Daredevils from then on was a reminder of our life on the river and the pain of my family’s collapse.

 I am 33 and I recently played ‘It’ll Shine When It Shines’ again and every note found a spot in my soul to meld with. No pain anymore. I found the simplicity and humanity in your music and realised it is part of me. How you did this I don’t know and thank you seems an odd thing to say, sort of inadequate. But I hope this story helps you realise your music has reached out and become part of other people’s journey through this weird old life.

 Thankyou,

Luke O’Brien

Australia

 

Hello, 

Let me give you a little history, when I was growing up in a housing estate in Glasgow, Scotland I came across an album in a music shop.  It was The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, “It'll Shine When It Shines”.  That was around 30 years ago when I was 10.  I still have the original album, and although I can now get it on CD, I still play it on my old record player. 

I suppose I just want to say to the band that even in a small council house in Glasgow in the 70s a ten year old boy grew up with “It'll Shine When It Shines”.  Truly inspirational.  'It Couldn’t Be Better' was played in the dark, and the sound of the crickets took me away from my poverty and transported me to a barn in the American mountains.  Thank you for that gift you gave me.

Best wishes,

Craig Smith

Glasgow, Scotland

 

Hi Dennis,


Just got my package in the mail yesterday and I was thrilled.

You already know I really like this music a lot – what’s kind of funny is that I didn’t really listen to the Ozark Mountain Daredevils when they were recording & playing.  I was probably listening to stuff that was on the radio. The way I was introduced to their music was that my boyfriend (late 70’s) died and I happened to have a few of his cassette tapes in my car. One of them was It’ll Shine When it Shines.  I had heard a few of the songs on that one & the more I played the tape the more I liked it.  Well, I would put the tape away and maybe wouldn’t even listen to it for a year or so, then one day I would see granny on the blue plate and that would beckon me to play the tape once again.  Every time I played it, it sounded fresh.  There was something about this music that just seemed to “ring true”.  This recording became a sort of touch-stone over the years for me.  When times were good & I’d listen, it was like a validation.  When times were not so good, the music said that things would get better.  As you know, cassette tapes don’t last forever and I kept trying to save it from deteriorating, so I tried not to play it too much.  I started looking for more stuff by the OMDs – found the Quilt Album on CD and another compilation Best Of on CD. That was before I got access to the net and discovered your website.  The cool thing is that most of these other CD’s are like new music to me.  I certainly remember seeing the Car Over the Lake in other people’s vinyl collections, but wasn’t interested in the OMDs in that era.  Just want to tell you I’m enjoying my “new” OMD CD’s immensely and will certainly complete my collection in the days to come.  So – thank you again.  The T-shirts are great and the CD’s sound good.  Keep it going.

Eileen

Muskegon, Michigan

October 2005

Hi all,

Still working a high-pressure hospital job, and sometimes when I feel like I'm on a chicken train, I sing that song in my head, and it helps me get through another work night!  I've been doing it for years. I have recently replaced the old worn out vinyl with disks. Through the years I've been bombarded with so much "irrelevant" music, and now I've come to a realization. There is nothing that truly matters except the good, honest, and simple songs, like those you have created.... songs that touch our hearts and souls in every way, and never grow old. I believe I'm speaking for many people when I say it comes back around through one's lifetime, and even their children’s.  What you have created will be fresh and meaningful time after time. If anyone sees this message, I sincerely hope you all are happy, and have been rewarded well for what you've offered to the world through the years. Thank you for the goodness, honesty, and simplicity, and for keeping it true and real. All the songs will be there for our children, and their children.....and it will matter for a long, long time. Best wishes to you all, and also to those involved in a nice web site.  

Stu in Lititz, PA - "MUSIC IS LOVE IN SEARCH OF A WORD"

September 2005

 

Dear Ozark Mountain Daredevils

 When music became an everyday part of my life, back in my early teens during the early 70s, I stumbled upon the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Thank God for that. Of all the music I have listened to In my life (age 50 now) none have I found that express MY feelings for life, like your songs.  I have identified so closely with you for so long now. I have seen you play numerous times, some I don’t recall so well, (drank too much) but, I recall enough to know I loved it and had a GREAT time.  You guys have made songs that are good. They emit a sense of positive, kind, fun, introspective energies that have been soooooooo good for my soul through the years. Sometimes in my life when things were hard, I could always find energy and see my path a bit better listening to your fine creations.  I have always thought that at my Wake, it would be appropriate to play random songs that you guys have created, cause I love them all, and they all express something inside me. 

 New generations of OMD lovers are emerging because we all want to feel good and see the good in our lives.  My son and daughter took to your music like a fish to water. We go on vacations with windows down through the Ozarks, through Colorado or wherever our spirits take us, and sing and sing your wonderful songs.  Thank you Ozark Mountain Daredevils for expressing goodness, fun, and comfortable fineness of spirit and life in the style of the  Ozarks/Appalachians/country/rock/soul mélange that is so uniquely you. I love you, and always will.  

 Dave in St. Charles Missouri

 

Dear Daredevils:

May of 1973 some friends and I piled into a 65 Chevy Malibu named Mabel and made the drive from north Louisiana to Eureka Springs Arkansas for a bluegrass festival. We were all neo-hippies who had latched onto the growing country/bluegrass/rock movement. And I had loved the Ozarks since I was a kid and my family camped there often. We were all into Earl Scruggs, the headliner, and were looking forward to another big act, whose name I can't remember. As I recall (and I may be wrong--minds were altered in many ways that weekend), the big act cancelled. I was sitting on the side of a mountain, looking down on the stage, when they announced the cancellation. My disappointment turned to joy, however, when you guys took the stage and blew everyone away with the incredible songs from your, I think, yet to be released "Quilt" album. You stole the festival. That night, a tornado blew through, destroyed our tent, soaked everyone to the bone, and we decided to pack it in and head for Louisiana . But, as soon as the record came out, I bought it. And, over thirty years later, I still love that music.

Thanks for your music, great memories, and songs that will always connect me with what is probably my spiritual home--the Ozark Mountains .

Keep the faith,

Bob Jordan
Monroe, Louisiana

 

February 8, 2005

Thought I would pass along my thanks to you for having this site.  The OMD were a big part of my life when I was growing up.  I had lived at one time in Clarksville Arkansas and then moved back to Dallas with my family, that’s about the time the OMD were hitting the airwaves on the ZOO in Dallas.  John Rodie was a big supporter of the band, so between Rush and the Talking Heads he would slip in a little Daredevils.  When I got the chance to move back here to the Ozarks some years back I used to drive thru the mountains with my collection along my side.  Nothing is better than the sun starting to set and the windows down in the car and It'll Shine When It Shines drifting from the speakers.  The Daredevils are a part of why I would not live anywhere else.   For those people out there who have never had the experience of listening to the Daredevils and seeing the beautiful Ozarks in the fall, you need to get up here and give it a try.  

 Jimmy Carlisle
Springdale, Arkansas

 

A FAN FROM ENGLAND WRITES ABOUT HIS “IT’LL SHINE” PURCHASE.

THEY'VE FINALLY DONE IT!!!!!!!

D. Haesler from ST LEONARDS, EAST SUSSEX United Kingdom

I received the disc this morning and am pleased to say it met my expectations 100%. The disc comes with a fold out sleeve comprising 4 disc-box sized pages (8 if you include both sides) of notes pictures and the lyrics, rather like the pullout supplement to the vinyl album if you are lucky enough to have this. Quality of print and package is excellent. On the inside of the disc box, under the disc are two further photos of the boys and the legends "The Ozark Mountain Daredevils" and "At Ruedi Valley Ranch 1974".

The sound is excellent I am pleased to say.  I hope this helps anyone interested to buy. Well done New Era!

 

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Subject: THANK YOU!

Dear Ozark Mountain Daredevils, I think now is the time to tell you THANK YOU SO MUCH for...being such a comforting, enjoyable, long lasting part of my life. Even though you don't know me it seems like we've been friends for a long time. It was great to find your website not too long ago and order some of my old albums on CD (my needle has been broken on the record player for awhile). I'm glad you've made these available. Even now it's all fresh and new to me too because I'm enjoying songs on some CD's I've never heard before. "The Lost Cabin Sessions", all the songs on there that I haven't heard before are all my new favorites! I must sound silly, but it's like you're music defines what is my favorite. Well, I could go on, but I'll just say again...THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Sincerely,
Gail Gusman
St. Louis, Missouri


Subject: Quilt Album

Hi,

Was just going through a pile of old albums and found a copy of “The Quilt” album I bought around 1974/5 but never opened.  Just played it for the first time, "Fantastic".
Best regards,

Chris Frost ( Frosty )
Surrey. UK.
 

 

Dear Daredevils and Webmaster,

Thanks so much for keeping this website up.  And thanks especially to the Ozark Mountain Daredevils for the wonderful music they have made (and continue to make).  In growing up, I was influenced by the music that my older brother listened to in the 60s and 70s.  One time in the mid 70s or so, I pulled the Daredevils “Quilt” album out of his collection and started to play it.  I was quickly drawn to their music and later bought every other album they produced through their last one of their glory days (the maroon and gray covered one from 1980).  Their music sounds as good 25+ years later (and maybe even better) than it did in the 70s.  Their music has a timeless pureness and beauty, unlike few musical artists or groups I have ever listened to.  When I think about my memories of the rural and farm areas of my home state of PA, near where I grew up, the melodies of the Daredevils songs often enter my mind.  It is difficult to fathom how much joy the Daredevils have brought me (and probably countless other fans) with the priceless memories of listening to their music. All I can say is thanks guys!

I recently ordered 4 CDs from their website, including “13”.  I listened to “13" once so far.  But listening to it, even the first time, was like sitting down to relax in a comfortable chair that one had not sat in for a while.  I was lucky enough to see the Daredevils in 1985 in Radford VA. I have great memories of that concert.

Sincerely,

Brian Richards
Columbia MD

  

Hubert & Kathy Newman write: 

Where do I begin? I first saw the band at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg Mo.  I was sixteen, just got my license.  Begged my mom for the car.  So little sister and I headed for town for some nightlife.  We had bought our $1.00 tickets the week before.   I “heard it in the alley” and was hooked.  I had every album.  Wore groves in all of them.  My next door neighbor swore he knew the guys personally.  So he became my hero.  Needless to say, when I found the originals reissued I bought them all.  I have had them for a few days now.  (I have not told my younger sister what is in my possession yet.  I am keeping them for myself.)   I have played the CD's over and over.  My whole family especially liked the cover to "It'll Shine When It Shines" because the little lady in the front looked like our "Granny" and she had the same "Blue Willow" pattern dishes.

We all loved the offbeat songs like "Black Sky" and "Whippoorwill", & "Within Without". Thanks for the memories, and the good times we had growing up with your music.  “You made it right”.

Hubert & Kathy Newman

 

Kenton Foster writes:

I was looking through all of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils stuff and thinking how much their music has meant to me and my family. We put their CDs on when we are traveling and the whole family sings along. Between songs everyone fights over who's favorite will be next.
My 7 year-old daughter likes "Jackie Blue".
My 15 year-old son likes "Fly Away Home".
My wife likes "If You Wanna Get To Heaven".
And if I have a favorite it has to be "It'll Shine When It Shines".
Now these are their most favorite Ozark Mountain Daredevils songs but they all have other favorites that they call out for. But we never skip a song, we might go back a play some over, but every song gets its turn. You know, in a family, we don't always agree on everything... for example, we all have different tastes in music:
My son likes Alternative and Ska
My daughter is pure country
My wife likes Barbara Steisand
and I like Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull,
but we can always agree on the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. It's a great feeling to hear the whole family singing along...I didn't even know that my daughter knew all of the words, but she did great. Maybe part of the attraction of their music is that we are from the Ozarks (at least we think we are, living in Joplin). We love to travel through the Ozark hills and we love to camp in them (and the Rockies). When I hear the Ozark Mountain Daredevils I feel closer to the land; I think back to the many generations of Fosters that farmed this rocky soil. I don't understand this but I love the feeling. Someday I would like to be able to thank John Dillon personally for writing Lowlands. Was it written as a love song? It seems like one to me.
"I knew a gift that was given to my lady,
it was hidden in a dream."

William Hamilton writes:

In 1974,in a small river village on the Kuskokwim River by the name of Aniak, I was introduced to what I thought then and do to this day, to the best music I ever heard. At that time, I was a supervisor of a communications site on the White Alice Communications System, part of the Dew Line Early Warning System. Also at that time in my life, I was standing on a rock, waiting for my seeds to grow. I loved your music so much that the next time I went to Anchorage on leave, I bought every album that was available. I can't tell you how many hours I spent listening to those albums, and enjoying the fruits of those seeds. I'm older and wiser now, and my seeds have long since passed away. But here on the shelf over my stereo system, in a very special place in my collection,( and I might add, in my heart,) are all of your albums. Your music helped me through a very difficult time in my life and I shall always be grateful to all of you for it. YOU'RE THE GREATEST!
P.S. To Steve Cash; I have played many different types of harmonicas for most of my life, mostly in a classical style. I've tried and tried to play blues harps the way only you can and have ruined two pair of lips and the end of my tongue trying. I even wrote you a letter offering an all expense paid fishing trip to Aniak if you would come and teach me how to play like that. I received a letter back from, (if I remember right ) your recording company saying that your concert and recording schedule would not allow you the time to do it. Well I'm not as rich as I was back in those days, but if you could make it to Anchorage next summer, the offer still stands.
Thanks for taking the time to read a note from an old hard core fan.
Sincerely

William Hamilton

 

Michael Turkett writes:

When I was a lad of about 9 or 10, my favorite uncle would bring albums of his liking to while away time at family get-togethers and such. The ones I remember the best were albums by a band called The Ozark Mountain Daredevils. I learned to play guitar a little later, however, by that time, my uncle had moved to Memphis, and was not able to share his music with me. I moved on in my musical venture learning the popular stuff of the day, (hard rock, pop, etc., whatever would get our band a paying job...) and (unfortunately) forgot about the music my uncle played for me. I have played in many bands since then, always trying to find some influences from my past to broaden my horizons. Then it happened. Recently on a trip with my wife and daughter, "Jackie Blue" came on the radio. My daughter and I always play a game to see if she can recognize bands by the songs on the radio. She asked me who was playing that song and without hesitating, I blurted out, "The Ozark Mountain Daredevils...". as soon as we returned from our trip, I made a dash to our favorite record outlet, and purchased the only copy of any Daredevil CD they had. It was "The Best" album, and as if magically, I was transported back. Great stuff! I am really enjoying rediscovering those songs I thought I had forgotten. Thanks for the memories, and I hope to get more recordings soon. Sorry for the long note, but I felt I had to tell you guys that we here in Oklahoma are still fans and new ones are still being made!

Peace,
Michael Turkett

 

Jonathon Miller writes:

I've been a fan since I was in college in St. Louis in the mid-70's. Caught the Daredevils at University of Missouri-Rolla in 1973 or 1974 and I've never forgotten it. Great show by a group of superb musicians! Glad to see you're still making music--I'm listening to '13' right now and I love it! In "Over Again" what does it for me is the way the line "Maybe the first time we got lucky" is delivered. The whole album is perfect for those times when you just don't want to hear any more electronic music. Sunday morning, cup of hot coffee at hand, nowhere to go, snow piled up 14" high on the lawn from a record-breaking snowfall, and Ozark Mt. Daredevils on the stereo--perfect. Thanks for the opportunity to share!

Jonathan Miller

 

Randy writes:

I've been a fan of the OMDD since I heard the "It'll Shine" album. Believe it or not, I found a homemade cassette in the glove box of a '76 VW Rabbit, in a junk yard (I needed some parts you see). The tape didn't even have a label. I taught myself to play guitar on, "Probably Always Will", from listening to this tape. I've since bought several of the albums :) I like to think that finding that tape sort of changed my life. I listen to "Shine" when my soul is needing a fix, like when you get a yearning for steak because your body is telling you that's what it wants. I find some inner strength and peace listening to the lyrics and melodies. I have always wondered if there is some story surrounding these guys. Something special that's just there. I've wondered if they all live near to each other and the wives hangout and kids run around, while the guys jam in the shade of a porch or tree. I've pictured images like this for many years. Being a 70's hippie myself, I can appreciate how they all may live a simple, meaningful life pursuing the joy of friendship and music. Is this all a dream or is there any truth to what I'm saying? I can almost see a book and movie here. I am an amateur writer and just need a story to tell. Is there anything?

Randy

 

Tom Goodlaxson writes:

Dear Dennis, Thank you for helping to make the OMDD site available and so enjoyable. Please allow me to introduce myself to you. I am a 36 y/o NW Iowan that has been deeply influenced by the music that my 5 older brothers enjoyed in the 70's. Two of them happened to travel thru MO and Arkansas between school years and took to the "local favorites", one being The Ozark Mountain Daredevils. I have very fond memories which surround that music, and those times. In the summer of 1996, OMDD played at our local amusement park. The ROOF GARDEN at OKOBOJI, Iowa. It dawned on me during that concert that they are not only still going strong, but that they have created a whole new look and sound. It feels like a little 90's country mixed in there. I think its awesome. It is obviously my opinion, I felt "Car Over the Lake" would never be matched...."13" has blown me away. My wife and 5 year old enjoy it as much as I do. It just keeps getting better and better for us doesn't it.
Sincerely Tom Goodlaxson P.S. I hope they will consider playing here again some day. I'll be there, this time with my family.

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