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Wheatstraw Suite

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Album Review

It never got any better than this. In 1968, as the Byrds were making valiant (if unappreciated) efforts to bring rock and country music closer together, the Dillards were trying to do some of the same for bluegrass and rock. The result was 13 all-but-perfect tracks mixing some pretty laid-back topicality ("Hey Boys") and humor ("The Biggest Whatever"), cowboy songs ("Single Saddle," which Gene Autry should have covered), just plain gorgeous poetry ("Lemon Chimes"), and a couple of unexpected covers ("I've Just Seen a Face," "Reason to Believe"), with arrangements that exude a delicate, subdued lushness ("Listen to the Sound") and an element of electric rock (courtesy of Joe Osborn on electric bass and Jim Gordon on drums) that worked perfectly. In many ways, this is a finer rural/rock fusion album than Sweetheart of the Rodeo, the first Flying Burrito Brothers album, or the Beau Brummels' efforts during this same period, and an indispensable part of any collection of '60s music.

Customer Reviews

found it at last

this is an all time great, ranking high amongst the fantastic albums of the mid sixties

not as expected

i bought this cd on the strength of "Brother John" and "Copperfield" (both these tracks are not on the album), i found them 10 years ago on a alternative country compilation cd...loved these tracks so thought id love this album, but im not really excited by blue grass, so the obviously very accomplished musicianship is somewhat lost on me...the songs are less enigmatic than either Brother John or Copperfield, i found them a bit too sweet and straight forward. if like me your tastes run more to country/rock shot through with a good dose of psych/folk then Brother John is their best tune and Copperfield is a beautiful tune that lingers...as a tip I can highly recommend Beau Brummels "Bradley's Barn".

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,...
Full bio
Wheatstraw Suite, The Dillards
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