A few years before they hit the big time with "Jackie Blue," the Ozark Mountain Daredevils were a group of friends who gathered together to make music in a Springfield, Missouri pizza parlor. With surprising quickness the aggregation turned into a group and found themselves in a local 8-track studio recording some very polished demos. From the start the band operated democratically, giving several members an opportunity to contribute songs and lead vocals. Even still, they forged a unified country-rock sound, taking in the smoothness of Firefall, but with a hint of Southern boogie and a bluesy, hippie edge ala Brewer & Shipley.
Titles such as "Chicken Train," "Leatherwood," "Keep on Chrunin'," "You Know Like I Know," and "Fly Away From Home" would turn up in re-recorded form on the Devils' subsequent albums for A&M, but many of these songs never made it past this demo stage. Calling these "demos" is a bit misleading, given their finished arrangements and impressive production quality. As the band demonstrated across their later catalog, they brought together a broad range of influences, from the folky guitar strumming of "Rainbird" and the softer pop sounds of "You Know Like I Know" (shades lot of Todd Rundgren's "Hello It's Me" period), to the San Francisco ballroom blues of "Feelin' Good."
It's hard to imagine many bands (then or now) having this many good songs (not to mention the good taste to cover "A Satisfied Mind") so early in their career; not to mention the talent to record such fine sounding demos. Fans of the band's better known albums will positively love this release, and those familiar only with "Jackie Blue" may very well become fans after a spin through these tracks.