Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dillards 1963-1973

The Dillards,one of the popularizers of bluegrass music in the 1960s,have become a touchstone in the Los Angeles music scene trough their influences on a variety of musicians , most notably various members of the Byrds and their folk rock successors.

The Dillard- Back Porch Bluegrass 1963/Live!!! Almost!!! 1964

These 2 records were made in LA after they headed west from Missouri to LA in 1962

The members were: Douglas Dillard-Banjo
Rodney Dillard-Guitar
Dean Webb-Mandolin
Mitch Jayne-bass

Dillards- Wheatstraw suite 1968

The group had been moving toward a more contemporary sound and this was their first opportunity to put it on a full length album.Before the band recorded Wheatstraw suite Doug Dillard left because he was unhappy with the group's direction.(He then toured live on electric banjo with the Byrds in 1968 and teamed up with ex Byrd Gene Clark to form Dillard & Clark).
Doug Dillard was replaced by Herb Pedersen,bringing along not only his " Nashville rhythm guitar(as it credited on the sleeve) but also his tenor vocals which fit in well with the group's harmonies.Pedersen ended up splitting the lead vocals with Rodney Dillard on the album.

Rodney Dillard-guitars,steel guitar
Herb Pedersen-guitars,banjo
Dean Webb-mandolins
Mitch Jayne-acc.bass
They were backed up by session players:
Buddy Emmons-pedal steel
Joe Osborne-electric bass
Jim Gordon-drums
Toxey french-drums

Wheatstraw suite was fated to be more of a cult album among listeners, and an influential recording among musicians, than it was a big seller.Nevertheless the Dillards had another change to continue moving into progressive directions on:

The Dillards- Copperfields 1970

Copperfields was a continuation of Wheatstraw suite's spirit but less of a groundbreaking landmark, it was still just as accomplished ,electic and enjoyable as its predecessor. Although the sound was pretty much in the same mold as that of Wheatstraw suite there were a few changes.
Paul York was now with the band on drums and the only session player was fiddler Byron Berline.
Copperfields was the last album that the Dillards made on Elektra and like Wheatstraw suite its commercial impact was modest, even if in hindsight the music actuallly sounds more accessible than some other country rock to come from Southern California in the 1960s and early 1970s.
The Dillards would experience their greatest commercial success with their first post Elektra album.

The Dillards- Roots and branches 1972

When they signed with Anthem Records in 1972 and released Roots and Branches Pedersen had departed to work as a vocal arranger ( on Trio for example) and was replaced by Billy Ray Latham. He was much more a bluegrass man( played in the Kentucky Colonels and founder member of Country Gazette).
Latham made the Dillards somewhat return to their rural roots,however Paul York was still there and the album sounds like an attempt to move further into the rock main stream,which worked because its the only Dillards album to reach the USA chart,almost reaching the Top 75.

The Dillards- Tribute to an American Duck 1973

Although is was not that dissimilar to its immediate predecessor it completely missed the chart.
Mitch Jayne was not much involved as a participant although he co-wrote six of the songs.Around 15 performers are listed including John Hartford.

Nothing much was then heard of the Dillards until the late 1970s when they made a few albums. In the 1990s the Dillards were still recording.

So here are the albums by the Dillards before the group retreated cult status.

And for the one's who just want to have a quick listen to the Dillards there is:

The Dillards- There is a time ( 1963-1970)

Extra: Doug Dillard- The Banjo Album

Jim Dickson tried to get A&M Records to finance and release a banjo instrumental album of Doug Dillard with some new ideas.
After A&M passes they independently recorded what was to be " The Banjo Album".

Musicians: Bernie Leadon-guitar
John Hartford-fiddle
Don Beck-dobro
Red Mitchell-bass
Milt Holland-percussion
Gene Clark-harmonica
tracks-1,6,9 Byron Berline-fiddle,guitar,mandolin
Roger Bush-bass
Billy Ray Latham-rhythm guitar
track 12 Vassar Clements-fiddle
track 15 Byron Berline-fiddle
David Jackson- bass
Rick Cunha-guitar

Douglas Dillard- Banjo.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Update Stone Poneys

1967 Stone Poneys - Evergreen Vol.2 has been updated. It now is @VBR.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Linda Ronstadt - Canciones de mi padre

Linda Ronstadt's Canciones de mi padre (1987) consists of old Mexican classics, played by arguably the world's best mariachi group and sung by one of North America's greatest vocal talents. Everything clicks wonderfully here, but numbers that set a new standard include Tu Solo Tu an incredibly harmonic love ode; Por un Amor on the price of real love; and Los Laureles a song of declaration on which Ronstadt soars unbelievably high. Extras include performances by another world figure, requinto player Gilbert Puente, who made history when he led Mexico's Los Tres Reyes in the '50s/'60s.