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October 2, 2002
8:54 PM   Subscribe

In the wake of the tornados and armageddon, perhaps some happy news is in order. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band have released the third volume in their Will the Circle Be Unbroken series. This series which began 30 years ago and continued with Volume 2 in 1989, features the boys in the Dirt Band getting together with country legends like Johnny Cash, members of the Carter Family and Vassar Clements and inheritors like Emmylou Harris and Ricky Skaggs and doing some astonishing versions of old traditional tunes, hymns and a few originals. I'm listening to Vol. 3 right now, which features first timers like Dwight Yoakam, the lovely Iris Dement and even Tom Petty, and I'm tellin' ya, it's a worthy addition to the tradition, my freinds. Traditional music is enjoying a revival right now and that's great, but these folks have done an enormous amount to keep it alive and vital between the vogues and created some music for us in the bargain.
posted by jonmc (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

"Ricky Skaggs" Osco. Ricky Osco. (Old joke, one of the favorites of my late uncle and I).

When I was a wee lad, The Dirt Band was one of those groups that seemed to appeal to the country world and the rock world, so Uncle Charlie was a staple on family trips in the car (because my mama didn't dance...ah, you know the rest). I think I knew all the words to Mister Bojangles before I was three. Then, somewhere in my early teens, they dropped off my radar because it wasn't cool to listen to music of which my parents would approve (though I would always turn up Dance Little Jean if it came on while I was riding in my dad's truck, but I'd never have admitted it to my friends).
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:11 PM on October 2, 2002

I grew up down the street from the house of one of the members. Sometimes they would pull out guitars and such on the back porch and have little jam session.

Much fun was had by all of us kids peeking over the back fence. The whole neighborhood would go abuzz when that big ole tour bus would pull up for its regular visits. Everyone had their ears pealed to hear when the jams would start. Sometimes we'd get to sit in their yard until our moms would call us home.

What fun!
posted by filchyboy at 9:11 PM on October 2, 2002

Thanks for posting, I hadn't heard about volume 3. I've found this site to be a great source for "non-radio"/"" music. No downloads, but people with similar tastes have compiled mixes.
posted by Frank Grimes at 9:14 PM on October 2, 2002

Looks like a purchase to me.

No Sheryl Crow? I thought it was some kind of law that these things have to include Sheryl Crow.

On a related note, here's the info for Johnny Cash's new album.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 9:15 PM on October 2, 2002

Johnny Cash covering Personal Jesus.

Shave my head and call me Sally.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:21 PM on October 2, 2002

...and to keep the meme going the Dirt Band record has a song featuring Earl Scruggs called "Sallie Ann." Spooky.

I'm listening to Emmylou Harris and Matraca Berg doing "Oh Cumberland" right now. Beautiful.

And Barney, my man, this record is certified Sheryl Crow free, although she will be on the Velvet Underground tribute I'm told, her version of "Venus in Furs" is ....different.
posted by jonmc at 9:26 PM on October 2, 2002

And Barney, my man, this record is certified Sheryl Crow free, although she will be on the Velvet Underground tribute I'm told, her version of "Venus in Furs" is ....different.

Well, of course, if it's a tribute album. Now, that is a rule. This will be the best chance we ever have of seeing "Venus in Furs" on VH-1.

The other day, I got a mp3 of Emmylou Harris and Dave Matthews doing "Long Black Veil". I don't know where that one comes from. Emmylou rules. She could sing a weather report and make it pretty.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 10:09 PM on October 2, 2002

Oh, Jesus. It can't be thirty years!
posted by timeistight at 2:55 AM on October 3, 2002

momento mori indeed
posted by yonderboy at 6:22 AM on October 3, 2002

And if you don't have the remastered version of the first "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" go get it right now!
posted by maurice at 6:47 AM on October 3, 2002

And if you don't have Dream, get it...
posted by johnjreeve at 8:26 AM on October 3, 2002

The first WTCBU definitely is one of those 10 records that I'd take to the mythical desert island where you get 10 books, 10 movies, etc. (Just for the sheer numbers, if I only got 10, I'd try to make all of my choices double- or triple-album sets.) It's all good, but I especially love the Doc Watson parts.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:02 AM on October 3, 2002

I suppose that the blues equivalent to Sheryl Crow would be Bonnie Raitt, jonmc--whose presence on anyone else's album incites, well, yecch, bleaugh and all those old Mad Magazine cartoon expletives, at least from me.

It's interesting how Johnny Cash now gets all the attention he does--each generation makes an icon out of a new someone old. All I remember is that endless stream of worthless novelty songs from the 70s on.... Plus he hates steel guitars. But if he's revivng his career, I'm all for it--to a degree. But he's not that great, in my opinion.

So, whyn't the Nitty Grittys jam with my man Merle anyway? Now there's a voice.
posted by y2karl at 11:04 AM on October 3, 2002

great anecdote, filchyboy--I meant to say that in the above.
posted by y2karl at 11:06 AM on October 3, 2002

would be Bonnie Raitt, jonmc--whose presence on anyone else's album incites, well, yecch, bleaugh and all those old Mad Magazine cartoon expletives, at least from me.

If you're talking about her recent material, you'd be right, y2karl, but back in the day she did some great stuff. Her version of "Love Me Like A Man" for instance and, "Love Has No Pride" still gives me chills. And I saw her play "In The Mood" live with John Lee Hooker in NYC back in 1990 and it positively cooked. Sadly though she's fallen into an easy listening rut lately. She's still got that sexy red hair though.

And BTW, I love Johnny Cash and I love Merle Haggard, but there's one man who dwarfs them all, though...
posted by jonmc at 12:26 PM on October 3, 2002

Thanks to you all, I headed over to the Bull Moose store across the street at lunchtime and bought the vol. 3 CD. It's great! Worth it if only to hear Willie and Tom Petty singing "Goodnight Irene".

By the way, while I was in there they were playing the new Johnny Cash CD. Much more character to his voice than the "young" Johnny.
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:42 PM on October 3, 2002

Hey, jonmc, I ran across a Merle Haggard anecdote about how Eldon Shamblin told him about how Bob Wills and Hank Williams got drunk together one night and Bob hired Hank as a Playboy. The next day Eldon told that he was going to quit because taking care of one drunk was bad enough--so Bob fired Hank that morning. No there's some trivia. Bonnie Raitt has sucked for a very long, long postcolonial time--as did the clock punching lazy ass John Lee Hooker. The only time I ever saw Hooker put out was to show up a very sick and ailing Howlin' Wolf in 1975. He actually got up and duck walked! Otherwise he phoned it in from the bar everytime I saw him... And you never heard anyone sing or play with the force of Son House, drunk as he got the night I saw him.
posted by y2karl at 9:37 PM on October 3, 2002

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