Dillards, The

Band members               Related acts

- Rodney Dillard - guitar, dobro, vocals
- Mitch Jayne - bass, vocals

- Billy Ray Lathum - banjo, guitar, vocals (replaced Herb

  Pedersen) (1972-)

- Herb Pedersen - vocals, guitar (-72)

- Dean Webb -  mandolin, vocals
- Paul York - drums, percussion



Dillard and Clark





Genre: country-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Roots and Branches

Company: Anthem Records

Catalog: ANS-5901

Year: 1972

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 521

Price: $12.00

Cost: $66.00


To be honest, fearing they were simply too country for my tastes, over the years I'd passed on scores of Dillards albums.  Even when I finally bought one at a yard sale, it sat in my 'listen to' pile for a couple of years before I actually got around to playing it.  About all I can say is shame on me ...


Having met with little commercial success while signed to Elektra Records, 1972 found the band switching to the United Artists affiliated Anthem label.  Their label debut 1972's "Roots and Branches" marked several other changes.  Personnel changes continued to plague the band; this time longtime singer/guitarist Herb Pederson replaced by Billy Ray Lathum.  While tracks such as 'Redbone Hound' and 'Forget me Not' retained the band's distinctive country influences, elsewhere producer Richie Podolor (best known for his work with groups such as Three Dog Night), injected a country-rock feel to material such as 'One A.M.', 'Get Out On the Road' and 'Sunny Day'.  Longtime fans may have been disheartened by the group's decision to court a rock audience, but it marked their first brush with commercial success ultimately peaking at # 79 on the album charts.   In an interesting pairing, the group were hired to open for Elton John on his first major American tour.


"Roots and Branches" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Redbone Hound   (Rodney Dillard)
2.) Forget Me Not   (Bill Martin)
3.) One A.M.   (Paul Parrish)
4.) Last Morning   (Shel Silverstein)
5.) Get Out on the Road   (Keith Allison)


(side 2)
1.) Big Bayou   (Gib Guilbeau)
2.) I've Been Hurt  (Gary Itry)
3.) Billy Jack   (Rodney Dillard)
4.) Sunny Day (Jack Conrad - Gary Withalm)
5.) Man of Constant Sorrow   (Rodney Dillard)




Genre: country-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Tribute To the American Duck

Company: Poppy

Catalog: PP-LA-175-F

Year: 1973

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: minor ring and edge wear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4689

Price: $12.00

Cost: $66.00


Released by the United Artist affiliated Poppy Records, 1973's "Tribute To the American Duck" offers up another somewhat uncomfortable attempt to blend the group's country and bluegrass roots with a more commercial pop-oriented attack.  To be honest, with the exception of 'Caney Creek' (sounding like a Band cast-off), 'Dooley', and 'You've Gotta Be Strong', the emphasis is clearly on the latter genre.  Taken one at a time, tracks such as 'Love Has Gone Away' and 'You've Gotta Be Strong' aren't too bad in a Poco/early Eagles country-rock fashion. While I'd love to tell you that this was a breakthrough collection, the fact of the matter is that it seldom rises above being professional and mildly entertaining ... Best of the lot is probably the lead off track 'Music Is Music'.


"Tribute To the American Duck" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Music Is Music   (Rodney Dillard - Mitch Jayne) - 3:14
2.) Caney Creek   (J. Alexander) - 2:30
3.) Dooley   (Rodney Dillard - Mitch Jayne) - 2:00
4.) Love Has Gone Away   (Rodney Dillard - Mitch Jayne) - 3:28
5.) You've Gotta Be Strong   (L. Lamirand) - 4:00


(side 2)
1.) Carry Me Off   (Rodney Dillard - Linda Dillard - Mitch Jayne) - 3:56
2.) Smile for Me  (Gary Itri) - 3:50
3.) Hot Rod Banjo   (B. Clifford - J.H. Burnett - P. Potash) - 2:50
4.) Daddy was a Mover   (Rodney Dillard - Mitch Jayne) - 3:24
5.) What's Time To a Hog?  (Dean Webb - Mitch Jayne) - 2:12



Paul York is a capable player who shines in the rare instances when a bluegrass beat actually emerges. There are touches of nice playing here and there from everyone, including banjoist Billy Ray Latham, and the ensemble passages are tweaked to an impressive level. Some listeners may enjoy the way songs evolve into harmonies that sound more like the Beatles than the Monroe Brothers. It is the songwriting and arrangements that cover the joy of old-time music with a smothering layer of rock and pop influence, and what is really dangerous is that this is referencing the music of the '70s, a time when artificially "down-home" and "funky" foot soldiers were limping through the work of artists such as J.J. Cale, Elton John, the Average White Band, and so on. To hint that these are the influences that take over on this record is a polite way of waving a large red flag. Perhaps the bird of the title is part of a pun, and it is the listener who should "duck" when this particular album flies by.