Never owned Pickin and Fiddlin till now but Wheatstraw Suite and Copperfields have been on my turntable since the 1970s, putting the three albums together ties up beautifully with the Dillards falling out with and back with Elektra period. I tend to think of the Dillards as Missouri hillbillies coming to hang out in LA like Jed and the Clampetts in the Beverley Hillbies.
Pickin and Fiddlin is an instrumental hoe down with Byron Berline guesting on fiddle delivered to Elektra when the band waved goodbye thumbing their noses and playing footsie with Capitol where the initial songs which form the Wheatstraw Suite began to take shape.
Back with Elektra Wheatstraw Suite got underway as Doug Dillard left to form Dillard and Clark with Gene Clark and release the Fantastic Adventures of Dillard and Clark (another stone solid classic album). The hole in the Dillards was filled brilliantly by Herb Pederson and its the twin axis of Rodney Dillard and Herb Pedersen's vocals and songwriting that make The Wheatstraw Suite the masterpiece it is.
The addition of strings and a master session players don't detract more enhance the sound. Sandwiched between the the opening accapella I'll Fly Away and the closing cover of the plain awesome She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune is a Beatles cover and all those glorious self penned classics. If the Dillards had a Sergeant Pepper Wheatstraw Suite is it, a kind of beautifully mixture of backporch songs and stuff deserving more radio airtime.
Wheatstraw Suite was a hard act to follow but Copperfields for the title track alone, West Montana Hannah and In Our Time, my particular favourites follow in the tailpipe of that classic album and that ain't no bad thing.