Best “Unknown” Southern Rock Tunes

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Part I of a Two Part Series

A few months ago, Tommy Daniel and I posted two pieces on the Best Southern Rock Bands and the Best Southern Rock Albums.

Most casual Southern music lovers have heard of the “big six” Southern rock bands–Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers Band, the Charlie Daniels Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, Blackfoot, and Molly Hatchet–and could probably name several of their songs, but Southern rock “fans” often enjoy tunes that the casual listener wouldn’t recognize or hear on the radio. Each of these bands have several songs that fit that bill, so I thought it would be interesting to list one for each. The second part in this series will focus on Southern bands that had some to little commercial success with songs that fit the same criteria. You may know the band but probably not any of the songs.

#1: Lynyrd Skynyrd: One More Time

This tune was originally recorded in Muscle Shoals but shelved after Skynyrd signed a deal with another label. It appeared on their last studio album before the plane crash, Street Survivors, with a revamped intro. Below is the original. This song gets stuck in your head, and it has a great bass line.

#2: The Charlie Daniels Band: Whiskey

Charlie Daniels fifth studio album, Fire on the Mountain, went platinum in 1974, but most people have never heard any of his earlier music with the exception of the classic “Uneasy Rider.” The album that he cut just before Fire on the Mountain has several good songs, but “Whiskey” is a full throttle Southern rock masterpiece.

#3: The Marshall Tucker Band: How Can I Slow Down?

This song from their third studio effort showcases both Toy Caldwell’s superb guitar work and the band’s classic jam band sound. Doug Grey is on fire vocally and the horn section adds a nice greasy feel to this bluesy tune.

#4: The Allman Brothers Band: Don’t Want You No More/It’s Not My Cross to Bear

It’s hard to find an Allman Brothers song that most people have never heard, but these songs from their self titled 1969 debut features a tight instrumental introduction followed by a slow blues freight train. This is Allman blues at its best.

#5: Blackfoot: Dancin’ Man

This song from Blackfoot’s first album is a groovy hard rock tune with a terrific bass riff and blazing guitar accompaniment. I never get tired of hearing this song. Plus, as a bonus, it blasts the disco era, the most non-Southern (or masculine) period in 1970s commercial music.

#6: Molly Hatchet: On the Prowl

This is the only crossover tune from my earlier piece, but it is not well known and too good not to be on this list. “On the Prowl” was a track from the Molly Hatchet comeback album No Guts, No Glory. The comeback didn’t last and the band again broke up, but they were pioneers in the Southern heavy metal sound. This is a fantastic song.

About Brion McClanahan

Brion McClanahan is the author or co-author of six books, How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America (Regnery History, 2017), 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America and Four Who Tried to Save Her (Regnery History, 2016), The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers, (Regnery, 2009), The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution (Regnery History, 2012), Forgotten Conservatives in American History (Pelican, 2012), and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes, (Regnery, 2012). He received a B.A. in History from Salisbury University in 1997 and an M.A. in History from the University of South Carolina in 1999. He finished his Ph.D. in History at the University of South Carolina in 2006, and had the privilege of being Clyde Wilson’s last doctoral student. He lives in Alabama with his wife and three daughters. More from Brion McClanahan

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