Another Angel Gets His Wings

Another Angel Gets His Wings

Music community bids sorrowful goodbye to Hoobie

Special to The Free Weekly

“The good men perish; the godly die before their time and no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to realize that God is taking them away from evil days ahead. For the godly who die shall rest in peace.” — Isaiah 57: 1-2

On July 9, 2020, we lost a beloved, talented member of Arkansas’ musicians community, Harold “Hoobie” Daniels. He was a good friend, a musical brother and bandmate to me and to many. To those who watched him from the audience, he was the smiling, joyful presence who filled the room with his obvious love for doing what he did best, holding down the bass line and shining brightly, moving to the rhythm. To those who knew him personally, he was the southern Mississippi gentleman who greeted you at your table, the storyteller and the music historian of rare and well-known artists. To those who knew him privately, he was the confidant and true friend. To those who traveled thousands of miles and played hundreds of shows with him, he was the navigator, the button pusher, the big brother, the caretaker — and he was the one who made sure all the Ts were crossed and the Is dotted.

Although Hoobie lived a much larger life than his short time here as a musician in Arkansas, we all came to love and adore him. When I was asked to write this article, I thought it would be impossible. I am still questioning my ability because this hits too close to home. After several talks with Carmen and a good word from my husband, Larry, I am ready to lay it down.

I hope that this article will answer some of the questions I’ve been asked. I hope it will tell a bit of Hoobie’s story as an Arkansas musician as well as share some perspective from his wife Carmen and his good friends. But most of all I pray it will truly express the unparalleled human that Hoobie was. I know that some things may be left out, for it is difficult to wrap up such a life in just a few paragraphs. I am certain others could do better; I will do my best.

Two weeks into quarantine and livestream concerts, Hoobie became ill from what seemed to be some sort of stomach pain. It was not unusual for Hoobie to have pains in his gut because he was accidentally shot in the stomach when he was 14.

One of the many blessings of having a doctor in the band is we all have a good friend to call if we get sick, so after talking to Hunter, he and Carmen decided to get him checked out.

This time they found a mass and immediately began treatments with a specialist. The treatments seemed to be working at one point, and then suddenly they were not. Hoobie did not want to make a big fuss, so it was not made known to many that he was suffering.

A few months after his first diagnosis and with his loving wife Carmen by his side, he passed on. It was sudden for many, but for those who knew he was not well, especially Carmen, it was in some ways a long and sorrowful few months.

The outpouring of love and memories since Hoobie’s passing have been tremendous, whether through Facebook posts, messages to his wife and friends, emails and phone calls. I knew that he touched my life in a big way, but it is obvious that I am just a small part of the many in this world whom he has impacted as a person and as a musician.

Hoobie was born in Laurel, Miss., and graduated from Richton High School as a salutatorian. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Mississippi State University and worked in manufacturing for the majority of his corporate career. He was the “head honcho,” as Carmen put it, meaning the vice president of operations and plant manager at manufacturing facilities in Hattiesburg, Miss., Neosho, Mo., and in Austin, Texas. Hoobie once told me that those he worked with and some band members called him the “DA,” which stood for designated a-hole… Haha.

During his college years and professional life as “the head honcho,” Hoobie always had a musical project going. Between his time from Mississippi to Arkansas to Louisiana to Texas, he kept his musical chops up on the side while playing in weekend bands — bands like The Ghost Peppers, Roamin’ Hands, The Rhythm Method, Highway 61 Band, as well as projects with Charles Sledge, Dennis Cavalier, Jimmy Phillips, Bob Tom Reed and one I heard many praises about, the late, great David Egan.

Hoobie became musically involved with the talented Jim Nicholson of Northwest Arkansas in the early 2000s, and they developed a brotherhood that remained true through the years. (Hoobie often referred to Jim and himself as “twin sons of different mothers.”) Jim had a band called The Blue Healin,’ and Hoobie joined them on stage at Bikes, Blues & BBQ in 2003.

Hoobie and Carmen later moved to Austin, where we all know music is alive and well. I recall Hoobie telling me how much he and Carmen use to love being able to walk to the live music venues during South By Southwest and on any given weekend. Hoobie once sat in with Marcia Ball and also had the honor of hosting Delbert McClinton and a few of the road crew and band at his home for crawfish étouffée back in the mid-1980s. I didn’t hear these stories until after his passing. Hoobie, rather, told stories of the great unknowns and the local heroes.

After retiring in 2016, he moved back to Northwest Arkansas to live out his dream of working as a full-time musician. Jim had been telling Hoobie about the mind-blowing Arkansas musician from Winslow, Jesse Dean. They teamed up to produce an album out of Jim’s garage studio for Jesse — an album on which Jesse played every instrument. Hoobie, like anyone who witnesses Jesse at work, was amazed and worked tirelessly to learn the parts for Jesse’s live shows.

Carmen said that Hoobie would think that there was no way he could learn the bass lines exactly like Jesse wanted, but then Jesse would map it out for him effortlessly, and he would get it. Carmen also said “words can’t express the deep respect and appreciation Hoobie had for Jesse’s talent and musical generosity. They were especially close. It was a beautiful sight to see the two of them interact off stage, in private.”

Hoobie was humble about his musical talents and worked hard to live up to his own standards. Anyone who has ever worked with Hoobie knows that he could hang with the best. Carmen also told me that he was “over the moon” getting to play with Earl Cate!

Hoobie worked with several musicians during his time in Northwest Arkansas including a short-lived band called “The Hoobies,” consisting of Hoobie, Kevin Bonner and Vince Turner (who gave the band its name).

Hoobie’s full-time gigs were with Jesse Dean and Co. and Brick Fields. Hoobie and Kevin Bonner made the rhythm section for both bands. Carmen says about Kevin and Hoobie: “You can only imagine the special rapport those two had as the rhythm section!” They grew to be remarkably close.

Diane Rudolph was also a part of the drum section for Jesse Dean and Co., and those three together were a powerhouse. I know Hoobie absolutely shone while he was up there making music with that crew. He would come back to our Brick Fields gigs telling me about the amazing show he had just experienced with Isayah Warford and the Yingling sisters who all make up JDC.

Because of the size of the group, which consisted of at least 11 players, the shows with Jesse Dean and Co. were few and far between but worth the wait, and Hoobie was on cloud nine before and after all of them.

Brick Fields Blues Therapy was a big part of Hoobie’s music run here in Northwest Arkansas since we played anywhere from two to five shows a week around the region, including our weekly Wednesday Blues Therapy nights first at Bear’s Place and now at Morano’s.

No matter the situation, he always had a good time and kept the mood up. I can recall saying to Larry on several occasions, “I’m not going without Hoobie!”

Hoobie was certainly the biggest fan of the musicians he played with and only kept company with those he enjoyed being around.

I admired his unwavering love for his wife, his love for his mother, his family and his music.

He had a good eye for BS and was a protector. When we were out on the road or at any show, if he saw that someone was cornering me, he would jump right in there with a smile and ward them off with a subtle, charming grace. If he considered you a friend, he had your back.

He would always greet with a smile and an uplifting word before every show and after every show with a Mississippi “You done good, baby!”

He would rock Larry’s boat about everything. They would pick back and forth at each other constantly. Hoobie would ask, “Larry, did you practice that tune?” Then after the gig, “Larry, you didn’t practice that tune!” Guess what, Larry started practicing. Hoobie kept Larry in line like no other. But you always knew if Hoobie was giving you some razz, it meant he trusted and cared for you.

His own wife, Carmen, describes him as “one of the most sincere, kindest, gentlest souls I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.” She also says: “One of his favorite sayings is something his father, Hobart, said all his life: When someone asked Hoobie: ‘Do you need anything?’ he would inevitably say, ‘just a little time and a few kind words.’”

Being the sure bass player he was, it seems that “time” was a gift of his. One of Hoobie’s favorite songs to play with Brick Fields was “You Can’t Hurry God”:

“You can’t hurry God

You just have to wait

Trust and give Him time, no matter how long it takes…

He’s a God you can’t hurry

You don’t have to worry

He may not be there when you want Him but He’s right on time.”

Hoobie was sensitive, strong, faithful, true and most of all loyal. He would never leave you hanging if a better paying gig came along. He was there with a smiling heart ready to give it his all, the same for $25 as for $2,500.

I have never worked with a bass player whom I could count on more — a man of his word and always, always, always right on time!

My heart breaks terribly, and I know I am not alone. So for now I am looking forward to the day when we play together again along with all who have gone before us in that magnificent sanctuary band!

We love you, Hoobie.

Thank you to Peter Read of Nightflying Magazine for encouraging this article and Carmen for walking me through it.

Carmen would like to let everyone know that there will be no plans made for his “Celebration Of Life” until it is safe to commune together.

If you would like to send something in memory of Hoobie, please donate to The Ozark Blues Society ( in his name.

Categories: Cover Story