Doug & Rodney Dillard (Part 2)

The Original Dillards

1962 - 1963

The Original Dillards

The Dillards

Rodney, Dean, Doug & Mitch

Mitch Jayne came up with the fact that as there were two Dillards in the group, to call the band The Dillards. Doug, Rodney and Dean wrote and practiced songs daily on the back porch of Mitch's house. The Dillards realized immediately that if the band was going to have a shot at success, they would have to offer something different.
In 1962 the Dillards decided to try their luck in California. But before heading west the Dillards played their first big show - a successful debut concert at "Washington University" in St. Louis. A CD of this show was released in 1999:

- THE DILLARDS: A Long Time Ago - The First Time Live! (Varese Sarabande 302 066 057 2)
Live 1962 at Washington University/Missouri.
With Doug Dillard, Rodney Dillard, Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne.

Dickson management

Jim Dickson management

Car troubles along the way to California damaged the group's fragile financial status and when they arrived in Oklahoma City they were nearly flat broke. At the "Buddhi Club" in Oklahoma City they got a job. This was the first time the band was together for their first professional road show. After a very successfull week at the "Buddhi Club" the band had the money to finish the trip to California. After arriving in Los Angeles, it was November 1962, the boys landed at the door of the "Ash Grove", a popular hangout for poets, beatniks, folk singers and bluegrass musicians. Appearing that night was a New York-based bluegrass band, "The Greenbriar Boys". The Dillards struck an immediate friendship with the "Greenbriar Boys" and the two bands were jamming on stage. Seated in the audience that night was Jim Dickson, a talent scout and producer for Elektra Records. Dickson who produced such musical acts as The Byrds, was duly impressed by the novel sound of the Dillards. (Dean Webb arranged the harmony vocals of the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man"). The next night the Dillards had their first recording contract.

Before "Back Porch Bluegrass" was released, Elektra records released one single. "Hootin Banjo" which is the song "Deulin' banjo" released on the "Back Porch ..." album:

- THE DILLARDS: Hootin Banjo/Polly Vaughn (Elektra EKSN 45006)

The debut album was appropriately named, as many of the songs had been composed on the back porch of Mitch's home in Salem:

The Dillards

Mitch, Dean, Rodney & Doug

- THE DILLARDS: Back Porch Bluegrass (Elektra Records EKL-232)
with Doug Dillard, Rodney Dillard, Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne.
Produced by Jim Dickson.

In the liner notes to this albums is written:

"The Dillards have a drive and enthusiasm that shine through the hard, sparkling brightness of their music. They call it "Back Porch Music" and they enjoy the making of it so obviously that the listener finds himself caught up and carried away. On this album you will find mountain songs, play-party songs, dance tunes and breakdowns from the Ozark region, plus original material based on the tunes indigenous to the boys' home territory. If in listening to this album you find yourself ruminating on bygone times, sensing perhaps the musical feeling and creativeness of your ancestors long since finished with their part in the making of America, if you get the feeling of the campfires and the log cabins and the lonely candlelight burning in the wilderness, you will have amply rewarded the Dillards."

The song " Reuben's Train" from that album was released 1970 on the compilation album "Folk Festival" on Legacy records (LEG 110) and on "Hootenanny" released by Elektra/Crestview (CRV-7806).

Note: "Back Porch Bluegrass" and "Live...Almost" were released 2001 on one CD by Elektra (8122 73562-2).

Dillards with Andy Griffith

Rodney, Doug, Andy
Mitch & Dean

During the same time Richard Linke, associate producer of "The Andy Griffith Show" contacted Elektra Records management and arranged to audition the band. After playing half of a tune they offered the Dillards a job as The Darling Boys, a musically-inclined mountain family. The Dillards started writing songs together because they felt it was extremely imortant to develop and perform their own material. Whenever possible, Griffith allowed the Dillards to perform their own material on the shows.

In 1992 a video was released with three Episodes of the "Andy Griffith Show" with the Dillards appearing as "The Darling Boys":

- The Andy Griffith Show: The Best of the Darlings Collection (UAV Home Video 5584)
- Episode No.88: The Darlings are coming (Original Air Date: March 18, 1963)
- Episode No.96: Briscoe declares for Aunt Bee (Original Air Date: October 28, 1963)
- Episode No.121: Divorce Mountain Style (Original Air Date: March 30, 1964)
With Doug Dillard, Rodney Dillard, Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne.


Doug, Dean
Rodney & Mitch

The Dillards also appeared at the "Judy Garland Show" and a few TV shows with "Tennessee Ernie Ford". The same year the Dillards also played at "The UCLA Folk Festival", "The Monterey Folk Festival", "New York's Folk City" and "The Newport Folk Festival".

Songs from "The Newport Folk Festival" were released on:

- Various Artists: Bluegrass Breakdown (Vanguard VCD 77006)
Five songs performed by The Dillards live:
- Old Joe Clark
- Ground Hog
- Banjo in the Hollow
- Polly Vaughn
- Dueling Banjos
with Doug Dillard, Rodney Dillard, Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne.

The Folkswingers

The same year Jim Dickson asked the Dillards to help him on an instrumental project with Glen Campbell on the 12 string guitar. Jim Dickson called the group "THE FOLKSWINGERS" and they recorded folk and bluegrass songs.
They recorded songs for two records released on World Pacific in 1964:

- THE FOLKSWINGERS: 12 String Guitar! (World-Pacific Records WP-1812)
- THE FOLKSWINGERS: 12 String Guitar! Vol. 2 (World-Pacific Records WP-1814)
Both albums with Doug Dillard, Rodney Dillard, Dean Webb (on the bass) and Glen Campbell.
Produced by Jim Dickson.


The Original Dillards


Mitch, Dean, Doug
& Rodney

The Dillards second album was released. A live album recorded during a three-night engagement at "The Mecca", a popular Los Angeles folk music club:

- THE DILLARDS: Live...Almost (Elektra Records EKS-7265)
with Doug Dillard, Rodney Dillard, Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne.
Produced by Jim Dickson.

Note: "Back Porch Bluegrass" and "Live...Almost" were released 2001 on one CD by Elektra (8122 73562-2).

During 1964 the Dillards and the embryonic Byrds with Gene Clark (Jet Set/Beefeaters) were in the World Pacific Studios in L.A. and were both produced by Jim Dickson.
Tracks from these sessions appeared years later in 1969 on the album released on the Together label (additional musicans were Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke):

- Various Artists: Early L.A.-Archive Series-Volume Four (Together Records ST-T 1014)
Songs performed by The Dillards:
- Each Season Changes You
- Don't You Cry
with Doug Dillard, Rodney Dillard, Dean Webb, Mitch Jayne, Chris Hillman on bass, Michael Clarke on drums.

In the liner notes to this album is written:

"The Dillards go electric to make up bluegrass-rock!"

Note: 2007 Sierra Records released the two songs from the "Early L.A." album on the CD Sixties Transition with an additional unreleased track "Someday you'll find" from the same session with Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke. Other artists on this CD are: The Byrds, The Hillmen, The Gosdin Brothers, Leon Russel, David Crosby etc ... all produced by Jim Dickson .

Doug Dillard

One day Doug became a call from Bill Monroe and he asked Doug to play a show with him. Bill's bus had broken down and Bill had come to Los Angeles by himself, he left his banjo picker and everybody else behind. So Doug went and played the college at San Diego with Bill Monroe.

1965 - 1967

The Original Dillards


Dean, Mitch
Doug, Byron & Rodney

The Dillards owed Elektra one final album. The group decided to demonstrate to the bluegrass elite that the Dillards could play the old-fashioned style because the band experimented with electric instruments and occasionally added drums, like drummer Dewey Martin for a road trip. This time the Dillards were not playing bluegrass festivals, they were doing the rock and roll circuit with groups like "Sam the Sham", "Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels" and "The Byrds". Jim Dickson had arranged for the Byrds and the Dillards to travel cross country together on a thirty-stop tour. Both bands recorded at World Pacific Studio and were friends. (Dewey Martin was hired after a tour from Stephen Stills and formed with future legend Neil Young "Buffalo Springfield").

Rodney approached Elektra Records about the possibility of doing an instrumental album and received the go-ahead.
The Dillards third album featured an addition to the band, fiddler Byron Berline (at this time 19 years old), who had met the Dillards at a college concert in Norman, Oklahoma.

- THE DILLARDS with Byron Berline: Pickin' And Fiddlin' (Elektra Records EKS 7285)
With Doug Dillard, Rodney Dillard, Dean Webb, Mitch Jayne and Byron Berline.
Produced by Jim Dickson.

This album, strictly instrumental, was indeed a dramatic departure from the Dillards' previous efforts as the fiddle was prominently emphasized in tunes.

Note: The label on the disk and the album cover notes, do not correspond with the actual track appearance on the record!

Note 2004 "Elektra Records" has released a double CD including three Dillards albums and two singles: "Pickin' and fiddlin'" with Byron Berline, "Wheatstraw suite" and "Copperfields" and 2 singles as bonus tracks which were recorded for "Capitol Records" in 1965.

After that album the Dillards had left the Elektra label and signed a contract with Capitol Records. The Dillards cut several sides with different producers and never found any continuity and so they never finished an album for Capitol and returned to Elektra Records.

Single Two singles were released by Capitol Records:

- THE DILLARDS: Nobody Knows/Ebo Walker (Capitol Records 5494)
With Doug Dillard, Rodney Dillard, Dean Webb, Mitch Jayne and Dewey Martin.
Produced by Ken Nelson.

- THE DILLARDS: Last Thing On My Mind/Lemon Chimes (Captiol Records 5524)
With Doug Dillard, Rodney Dillard, Dean Webb, Mitch Jayne and Dewey Martin.
Produced by David Axelrod.

Note: "Last Thing On My Mind" was issued on a folk compilation in Spain.


Note 2004 "Elektra Records" has released a double CD including those 2 Capitol singles as bonus tracks. This CD contains: "Pickin' and fiddlin" with Byron Berline, "Wheatstraw suite" and "Copperfields" and the two singles.

Rodney felt extremely limited by bluegrass and was ready for a radical change, but Doug didn't want to change the rhythm of the music and one day Doug Dillard announced that he was quitting the band.

Mitch Jayne's first book "Forest In The Wind" was published in 1966.

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