Album Review: Back Porch Bluegrass (The Dillards)
For my album review, I chose a classic, Back Porch Bluegrass, composed by and performed by The Dillards.
The Dillards originally consisted of Douglas Dillard on banjo, Rodney Dillard playing the guitar, and dobro, Dean Webb on mandolin, and Mitchell Franklin “Mitch” Jayne on double bass, with the conception of the band in 1963, the same year they first released their very first album, which I am reviewing today.
The biggest reason The Dillards came to fame was thanks to The Andy Griffith Show, performing as the fictional Darling family, although they had previously already established themselves as a bluegrass band prior to the show.
The fifteen track album can easily explain as to how they were able to bring bluegrass to main stream media. Introducing what is now known as classics, such as Dueling Banjos (famously reenacted in the movie Deliverance), Dooley and Old Joseph; three classics from just a single album.
Track one of the album, Old Joseph, would be considered a more traditional bluegrass, with heavy banjo and mandolin, with a quick pace that would be easily get the whole crowd up and going. What would be considered a great intro to the album and setting the mood, in a feel good way. The length though is relatively short, running only a minute and a half, what we would today consider an intro to the album in music today.
Track two of the album, Somebody Touched Me, gives a satirical view on bluegrass gospel, with the idea when analyzed that someone other than God may have touched the narrator.
The third track, Polly Vaughn, is an Irish folk song that was adopted by Rodney Dillard in a more traditional bluegrass way, with his own original lyrics. The idea that he could mercilessly kill the fairest girl in the land but feel no remorse makes you wonder if he too had died with her that day.
Track four , Banjo in the Hollow, what would be considered another feel good Doug Dillard track has a heavy influence from the mandolin shows the skill in which Webb was able to show his quick picking.
Track Five, Dooley, another traditional Bluegrass with heavy mandolin, depicts a scene what the general mass would be consider the lifestyle of mountain folks, depicting a private moonshine business that was run by the whole family. What may seem sad is that the idea of Dooley passing away, but with people only missing him, or not missing him in some cases, due to the fact that he will only be missed for his moonshine. Though, it does seem like he will be greatly missed as they respected the fellow by laying him to rest with what he loved, the jug he sipped out of and a barrell used as his grave marker.
Track six, The Lonesome Indian, another traditional bluegrass, has the feeling of positive vibe. With the ability of making you want to take the back country roads, this track will make you feel as though you a free man on a lonely road.
Track seven, Ground Hog, another traditional bluegrass, depicts the idea of hunting day, where everyone, young and old from both sexes would come out and enjoy a recreational activity of hunting ground hogs.
Track eight, Old Home Place, explains a story of a man that lost everything he loved and owned in a town that he grew up in. The song is of traditional bluegrass, with whats most memorable is the banjo.
Track nine, Hickory Hollow, written and performed by Douglas Dillard, is of traditional bluegrass once more. the uppity tune makes anyone want to stand and start dancing.
Track ten, Old Man at the Mill, as what i perceive it to mean, the young man is at the distillery, also known as the Mill in the song, with the Old Man working tirelessly all day at the Mill.
Track eleven, Doug’s Tune, written by Doug himself, is heavy on the mandolin, which may make someone tap their feet to the beat, just a song to slow down to after a song that you can dance to.
Track twelve, Rainin Here this Mornin, which features Grandpa Joe, which was also redone by the Stanley brothers, depicts a man stuck in jail, waiting for a day to see his daughter, but having second guesses of her no longer loving or recognizing him when he gets out of jail.
Track thirteen, Cold Trailin, is another slow song that you can tap your toes to, which would make it easy to have a conversation in the pool hall.
Track fourteen, Reuben’s Train, depicts the man stuck in the jail cell once more, but with the idea of either getting on the train to get away, or eventually dying and going to the prison cemetary.
Track fifteen, The infamous Deulin’ Banjo, this is the one song that you would have to listen to yourself to understand the feel good music.
Overall, this album is an overall feel good album. I originally thought that i would dread listening to the album, but from the very first song, I had enjoyed every moment of it. Driving on the back country roads with it playing made the experience all that much better.
Link to full album can be found at: