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Copperfields

The Dillards

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Album Review

The Dillards' second album with rock-influenced arrangements was not as barrier-busting as 1968's Wheatstraw Suite, and further removed from their bluegrass roots. However, it was a similarly eclectic and, for the most part, joyous romp through a fusion of bluegrass, rock, folk, and country, with a bit of pop and orchestration along the ride, and the group's superb vocal harmonies being the main constant. "Touch Her If You Can" was the number with the most pop and orchestration, and worked extremely well, with its achingly sad melody. If anything the Dillards did on Elektra could have been a hit single, this would have been a likely candidate. Their unusual a cappella arrangement of the Beatles' "Yesterday" caught some attention, and "Brother John" is another simultaneous detour and highlight, with its Dave Brubeck-influenced jazzy rhythms and guitar picking that recalled the Byrds' psychedelic era. While other tracks, like the bluegrass tune "Old Man at the Mill" and Eric Andersen's "Close the Door Lightly," were more in the standard country-rock mode, they're also good, with the musicians applying care and creative production to the material throughout the disc.

Biography

Formed: 1962 in Missouri

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

One of the leading lights of progressive bluegrass in the '60s, the Dillards played a major part in modernizing and popularizing the sound of bluegrass, and were also an underappreciated influence on country-rock. The group was founded by brothers Doug (banjo) and Rodney Dillard (guitar), who grew up in Salem, Missouri, playing music together. During the late '50s, they appeared often on local radio and performed with several different area bands, including the Hawthorn Brothers, the Lewis Brothers,...
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Copperfields, The Dillards
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