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Charlie Daniels: The Outlaw and the Saint

By Mia Evans and Scott Ross
The 700 Club

CBN.comScott Ross [reporting]: Charles Edward Daniels was born into a singing family. He always knew the stage would be his home.

Charlie Daniels: It’s all I ever wanted to do. God has let me spend my life doing the thing that I want to do. I’ve had things happen to me that I didn’t have the imagination to dream of all these years.

Ross: When did your first big break come?

Daniels: When I came to Nashville in ’67. I was different than all the other studio players. I played loud and bluesy.

Ross [reporting]: Charlie’s gritty style caught the attention of the legendary Bob Dylan during a studio session.

Daniels: He said, “I don’t want another guitar player. I want him.” He’ll never understand. I can never pay enough homage to Bob Dylan for those nine words, because after all the put-downs and wondering will I ever fit here, I had it on the authority of Bob Dylan who I admired so much that maybe I was worth something after all.

Ross [reporting]: Even the king of rock and roll recorded a song Charlie wrote in the early ‘60s called “It Hurts Me.” But the song Charlie is best known for…

The devil went down to Georgia / He was looking for a soul to steal...

Ross: Does it bother you that that song’s about the devil?

Daniels: No, because it’s not about the devil in any kind of a good way. I did an interview earlier, and the guy said, "Are you ever going to let the devil win?" I said, "Not in my songs." But it’s just funny. I would never do anything to glorify the devil.

Ross: I don’t think you would. In the midst of all this, where did the faith factor come in?

Daniels: I made a profession of faith when I was very young. I was just a kid, and I drifted away from it. I never quit believing. I never have denied my faith in Jesus Christ but I never understood what it meant. No matter how much money, celebrity, none of that impresses God. The only thing that impresses Him is: I believe Your Son died for my sins. I believe that You forgive me of my sins, and I believe that when I step over the line, Your Word says You’ll forgive me if I confess them... I believe every word in the Bible is true. I’ve learned the 91st Psalm. It’s a Psalm of protection. I’ve learned it. I can say it because I travel so much.

Though a thousand fall at my side, though 10,000 are dying around me, I will see how the wicked are punished but I will not share it.

Ross [reporting]: Charlie doesn't hide his love for God behind his celebrity. Instead he's bold about everything he believes.

Ross: Now I don’t want to accuse you of anything. Are you a man of a couple of opinions?

Daniels: Yes, I am.

Ross: I’m driving here to your house, and the sign says “Tank Crossing.” I said, "Whatever he says, I agree with. There’ll be a tank at the door."

Daniels: If you look down then, it might have been a kangaroo crossing too. I collect these signs and bring them home.

Ross [reporting]: Charlie also collects criticism for his outspoken views on the war in Iraq. But he’s earned a place in the heart of our soldiers overseas.

Daniels: Point is, we’re not just gonna turn tail and run… Let’s get our kids out first. Let’s win this thing.

Ross: What are the responses of our guys? The men and women over there when you go over and do those shows?

Daniels: They take it very much to heart. It’s like a diversion. It’s like somebody cares about us enough to get on a plane and entertain us.

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