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Sixties country rock
on 21 August 2003
Doug Dillard (ex-Dillards) and Gene Clark (ex-Byrds) teamed up to together and recorded two albums in the late sixties. Those albums are included here together with other tracks not released on either album, so this set contains everything that Dillard and Clark recorded together for A+M. Although their style is generally described as country rock, their music contains plenty of bluegrass, too – if you don’t like the sound of the banjo, you may not appreciate this album.
The first album, Fantastic expedition of Dillard and Clark, contains many original songs, often written or co-written by Gene Clark. One such song, Train leaves here this morning, was written by Gene with Bernie Leadon who later helped form the Eagles – a cover of the song appeared on the first Eagles album. Git it on brother is a cover of an obscure Lester Flatt song.
Next come the three bonus tracks, which include a distinctive cover of Elvis Presley’s Don’t be cruel.
The second album, Through the morning through the night, contains fewer originals and more covers, including Rocky top (a country hit for Lynn Anderson and a smaller country hit for the Osborne brothers), So sad (Everly brothers), Four walls (Jim Reeves), Don’t let me down (Beatles), No longer a sweetheart of mine (Reno and Smiley) and Rollin my sweet baby’s arms (Bill Monroe). This album also features a female singer, Donna Washburn, who sings lead on Rocky top as well as backup on other tracks.
The country and bluegrass aspects of their music are a little more obvious in the second album than the first. Which album you prefer may depend on your own musical taste, but both are excellent in their different ways.
This is an intriguing collection, containing elements of music to be found elsewhere but still sounding different to anything else I’ve heard. Like so much country rock music of the time, it was not commercially successful at the time because the public was not ready for such a mix.