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The Dillards: Pickin’ and Fiddlin’/Wheatstraw Suite/Copperfields

Barney Hoskyns, Uncut, September 2004

WHEN DOUGLAS and Rodney Dillard’s quartet hit Los Angeles in 1963 they blew everyone’s minds. Playing bluegrass with fuck-you rock’n’roll attitude, they wasted the competition at clubs like the Troubadour. 1965’s Pickin’ and Fiddlin’ was so-titled because red-hot violinist Byron Berline entered the fray, sawing brilliantly away on a selection of rags, reels and hornpipes. With Doug’s departure for his Fantastic Expedition with Gene Clark, the more conservative Rodney oversaw late ‘68’s Wheatstraw Suite, a surprisingly bold mix of acoustic trad and electric contemporary (including Beatles and Nilsson covers) that influenced the whole LA country rock clique. 1970’s Copperfields was more of the same, only slightly less so.

Total word count of piece: 109