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Will the Circle Be Unbroken [Bonus Tracks]
     

Will the Circle Be Unbroken [Bonus Tracks]

5.0 3
by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
 

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Not to take anything away from the deserved success of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, but the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band were there first -- in 1972 -- accompanying a staggering assembly of bluegrass and traditional country giants on Will the Circle Be Unbroken, which featured songs associated with the

Overview

Not to take anything away from the deserved success of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, but the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band were there first -- in 1972 -- accompanying a staggering assembly of bluegrass and traditional country giants on Will the Circle Be Unbroken, which featured songs associated with the Carter Family, Roy Acuff, Merle Travis, and Jimmy Martin. Earl Scruggs sat in on banjo and took the lead on two of his own originals, "Flint Hill Special" and "Earl's Breakdown," plus the traditional instrumental "Soldier's Joy." Also on hand were Mother Maybelle Carter, fiddler Vassar Clements, guitarists Norman Blake and Randy Scruggs (Earl's son), Dobro player Pete "Oswald" Kirby, bassist Junior Huskey, and Doc Watson, who sang and picked. This Hall of Fame cast produced a powerful, exciting, and durable album. Highlights include Mother Maybelle's plain, potent voice packing an emotional punch on "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes," Acuff's soul-piercing cry on "I Saw the Light," Travis's slick pickin' and genial vocal on his "Nine Pound Hammer," Clements's searing fiddle work on "Lonesome Fiddle Blues," and Watson being his irrepressible self, vocally and instrumentally, on the rollicking "Way Downtown." The studio banter -- particularly Acuff's -- is priceless. Will the Circle Be Unbroken is even more of a landmark than O Brother, and its long-overdue release on CD is not merely a welcome arrival but a spiritual blessing.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Bruce Eder
With all due respect to the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, it took the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with this album to come up with a merger of rock and country music that worked for both sides and everyone involved. The opening number, "The Grand Ole Opry Song," set the tone for the album, showing that this band -- for all of their origins in rock and popular music -- was willing to meet country music on its terms, rather than as a vehicle for embellishment as rock music. The result, without a false or strained note anywhere among its 37 songs, was an all-star country project that worked (and transcended its country and rock origins), with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band serving as catalyst and intersecting point for all of the talent involved, all of who gave superbly of themselves. Not only did this album result in new exposure to a new and wider audience for the likes of Mother Maybelle Carter, Roy Acuff, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, and others, but this was the first real country album that a lot of rock listeners under the age of 30 ever heard. Thus, it opened up pathways and dialogue in all directions, across several generations and cultural barriers; the dialogue between Doc Watson and Merle Travis alone was almost worth the price of admission. This was also one of rock's very few multi-disc sets to be fully justified in its length and content; at a time when unnecessary double-LPs were all the rage, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and company gave a triple album that, if anything, left audiences asking for more. [The 2002 reissue adds four bonus tracks, though only "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" is a proper song; two of the others consist of warm-ups and studio chat, while "Remember Me" (featuring Doc Watson) is just a fragment.]

Product Details

Release Date:
03/26/2002
Label:
Capitol
UPC:
0724353514822
catalogNumber:
35148
Rank:
7494

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Will the Circle Be Unbroken 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am SO glad to find this disc still available - first heard it in 1978, and have been looking for it ever since I lost my copy...an excellent sampler of seminal bluegrass for the beginner, and a welcome addition to every collection!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago