The Ozark Mountain Daredevils were an almost confusing cross between commercial rock of the slickest variety and a genuine down-home rustic mixture of soft-country and true grit rock celebrated by a number of Southern bands (though they were a Midwestern band, from Missouri, and proudly so).
When they came to the attention of the Kansas City-based Good Karma Productions via an audition tape submitted by Randle Chowning’s brother, most members of the band had neither automobile nor telephone.
The band had originally come together as a collection of writer-musicians, most of whom had played in various top-40 groups playing the usual pizza parlours and fraternity parties.
Eventually, they formed the band that evolved through various stages (at one point they called themselves Leatherwood, which eventually became the title of one of their songs) to become the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.
Rusty Chowning (Randle’s brother) had the band record a marathon 15-hour demo tape in an 8-track studio in Springfield chiefly used for gospel sessions.
He sent it to the Cowtown Ballroom, a Kansas City hall run by Good Karma’s Stan Plesser and Paul Peterson, simply because he had heard that they were the nearest opportunity to be heard by anyone in a position to do anything.
The tape reached the attention of Ballroom manager Frank Polte, who eventually routed it to Peterson. It was the band’s first break.
Impressed with the 23-song Daredevils audition tape, Plesser and Peterson had the band cut several more sides and then skimmed off what they felt to be the best ten to be submitted to record companies. A&M signed them.
The first album, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, (recorded in London) sold well enough regardless of any conflicts between the band and their producer Glyn Johns and despite the fact that the single of Heaven wasn’t even played on a number of major market Top 40 stations.
For the second album, It’ll Shine When It Shines, recording was done on the Reudi Valley Ranch, a largish spread leased by the band safely inside rural Missouri – as an effort to alleviate the homesickness.
The Car Over the Lake Album was produced by David Anderle, recorded at Norbert Putnam’s studio in Nashville, and had what the band felt to be a more consistent set of songs.
Michael “Supe” Granda
Drums, piano, guitar, vocals