30th Anniversary: Special Edition

30th Anniversary: Special Edition

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by Dry Branch Fire Squad

This companion piece to Rounder's 1988 Dry Branch Fire Squad compilation Tried & True celebrates the mercurial bluegrass ensemble's Thirtieth Anniversary with 21 tracks culled from the last twenty years, a few which have never seen the light of day until now. Like Tried & True, which collected cuts from the…  See more details below


This companion piece to Rounder's 1988 Dry Branch Fire Squad compilation Tried & True celebrates the mercurial bluegrass ensemble's Thirtieth Anniversary with 21 tracks culled from the last twenty years, a few which have never seen the light of day until now. Like Tried & True, which collected cuts from the group's first five albums, this latest anthology will appeal to fans of tight, raw mountain harmonies, unpredictable old-timey picking and straight-up gospel bluegrass.

Product Details

Release Date:
Rounder / Umgd


  1. I've Lived a Lot in My Time
  2. Devil, Take the Farmer
  3. I Saw a Man at Close of Day
  4. Rollin' on Rubber Wheels
  5. Church by the Road
  6. He's Coming to Us Dead
  7. A Distant Land to Roam
  8. Over in the Glory Land
  9. Do You Ever Dream of Me?
  10. The Honest Farmer
  11. Long Journey
  12. Oak Grove Church
  13. Hide You in the Blood
  14. Golden Ring
  15. Carolyn at the Broken Wheel Inn
  16. When I Went Down in the Valley to Pray
  17. The Orphan Train
  18. While Roving on Last Winter's Night
  19. Dip Your Fingers in Some Water
  20. We Believe in Happy Endings
  21. How Great Thou Art

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Dry Branch Fire Squad   Primary Artist
Hazel Dickens   Tenor (Vocal)
Dave Edmundson   Fiddle,Guitar,Tenor (Vocal)
Dick Erwin   Bass
John Hisey   Banjo,Bass (Vocal)
Charles Leet   Bass,Electric Bass,Baritone (Vocal),Acoustic Bass
Mary Jo Leet   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Background Vocals,Baritone (Vocal),Vocal Harmony
Suzanne Thomas   Banjo,Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Tenor (Vocal)
Ron Thomason   Banjo,Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals
Tommy Boyd   Dobro,Baritone (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal)
Bobby Maynard   Banjo,Fiddle
Brian Aldridge   Guitar,Mandolin,Baritone (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal)
Adam McIntosh   Guitar,Mandolin,Tenor (Vocal)
Bobby Maynard   Banjo
Dick Erwin   Bass Guitar
Dave Edmundson   Fiddle
John Hisey   Banjo
Danny Russell   Banjo
Charlie Leet   Acoustic Bass
Dan Russell   Banjo,Bass (Vocal),Steel Guitar,Bass Fiddle

Technical Credits

Jim Reeves   Composer
Bobby Braddock   Composer
Don Reno   Composer
A.P. Carter   Composer
Bob McDill   Composer
Bruce Phillips   Composer
Allen Reynolds   Composer
Carter Stanley   Composer
Ron Thomason   Arranger,Song Notes
Rafe Van Hoy   Composer
Dave Gordon   Composer
G.B. Grayson   Composer
Henry Whitter   Composer
Jack Rhodes   Composer
Andy Edelstein   Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Brad SanMartin   Liner Notes

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30th Anniversary: Special Edition 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Playing Time – 63:24 -- In the course of a lifetime, turning thirty may bring a few aches and pains. A band achieving that milestone may also experience similar ailments that also come with musical maturity. Back in 1971, mandolinist Ron Thomason was picking with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley were also his bandmates. From Springfield, Ohio, The Dry Branch Fire Squad formed in 1976 and took its name from a small town in Virginia (where Ron was born). The band’s successful longevity has been attributed to their raw, mountain-style vocals and Thomason’s wry humor as an emcee and storyteller. Until retiring in 1999, Ron was an English and math teacher and junior high assistant principal. Their ninth album on Rounder Records, this heartfelt 30th anniversary collection only draws material from the label’s releases since 1989. The reason is that there was a previous band anthology, “Tried and True,” (Rounder 11519) released in 1987. Would it have been better for a 30-year album to also draw material from all three decades, and from as far back as their three pre-Rounder LPs from the 1977-78 timeframe? While their Rounder material has been superior to their earliest recordings, it would’ve been exciting to document all 30 years with a couple songs like Out on the Blue Ridge Mountain from their earliest 1977 “Live at the Crying Cowboy Concert Saloon” LP (RT-513). Also, the early days of the band emphasized basic, mournful, sensitive vocal duet arrangements with Ron Thomason and tenor John Baker (fiddler Kenny Baker’s son). You’ll need to get DBFS’s 1979, 1981 or 1982 Rounder albums (“Born to be Lonesome,” “Antiques and Inventions,” or “Fannin’ the Flames”) to experience them together. Or to hear some of Thomason’s originals like “Dak’s Song” or “Oh! What a Storm.” So, to truly celebrate all 30 years with this band, I recommend also picking up a copy of the 1987 “Tried and True” anthology mentioned earlier. Among the 21 tracks on “30th Anniversary,” there are four previously unreleased songs (He’s Coming To Us Dead, Over in the Glory Land, Golden Ring, How Great Thou Art). Although liner notes don’t indicate when they were recorded, they’re quite recent, and three feature the band’s newest lineup of Ron Thomason, Brian Aldridge, Dan Russell and Tommy Boyd. A hit for George Jones and Tammy Wynette, “Golden Ring” is still arranged with Ron’s crosspicked guitar, and the song does appear on the band’s 1981 album “Antiques and Inventions” with a different group except for common denominator Thomason. The binding thread or glue in all of the band configurations, Ron primarily plays guitar or mandolin. His clawhammer banjo picking appears in two songs – his solo rendition of Grayson & Whitter’s “He’s Coming To Us Dead” and the band’s quartet offering of “The Honest Farmer,” accompanied only by fiddle and banjo. Vocal arrangements capture the emotional essence of their largely traditional bluegrass and gospel canon. On all vocal cuts, Thomason sings lead. In the last two decades, the band’s mournful signature sound has also regularly been built around Ron’s lead with female tenor or high baritone parts (courtesy of Suzanne Thomas and Mary Jo Leet). All three of them are showcased together in “Dip Your Fingers in Some Water,” and the quartet (with Charles Leet singing bass) entitled “When I Went Down in the Valley to Pray.” Hazel Dickens, who recalls a time when it was “downright subversive practically to be a woman in bluegrass,” sings tenor on “Hide You in the Blood.” These songcarriers have kept nuggets like Carter Stanley’s “Roll