Friday, June 25, 2010

The Dillards

The Dillards are an American bluegrass band from Salem, Missouri, consisting of Douglas "Doug" Dillard (born March 6, 1937 East St. Louis, Illinois) (banjo), Rodney "Rod" Dillard (born May 18, 1942 Salem, Missouri) (guitar, dobro), Dean Webb (born March 28, 1937 Independence, Missouri) (mandolin), and Mitch Jayne (born July 5, 1930 Hammond, Indiana) (double bass).

Though The Dillards were a tremendous influence on the main core of musicians who started Southern California's country rock movement in the late 1960s (which further extended from that genre into today's country music), their biggest claim to fame is playing the fictional bluegrass band "The Darlings" on The Andy Griffith Show. This was a recurring role and the Dillards were led by veteran character actor Denver Pyle as their father and jug player, Briscoe Darling. Maggie Peterson played Charlene Darling, their sister and the focus for the attentions of character Ernest T. Bass, played by Howard Morris. The appearances of the Dillards as the Darlings ran between 1963 and 1966.

The Dillards are notable for being among the first bluegrass groups to have electrified their instruments in the mid-1960s. They are considered to be one of the pioneers of the burgeoning southern California folk rock, country rock and so-called progressive bluegrass genres.

The Dillards' roots sank deep into the mainstream of popular music --- after leaving The Dillards in 1968, Doug Dillard teamed up with Gene Clark who had just left The Byrds to form Phoenix at A&M records with Laramy Smith and led to the formation of Dillard & Clark. This pioneering duo also featured as session players a veritable who's-who of Southern California country rock legends, such as Bernie Leadon, an original member of The Flying Burrito Brothers & later the archetypal country rock group The Eagles; Chris Hillman, who also had left The Byrds and also played in FBB with Leadon; Sneaky Pete Kleinow, another FBB member; Laramy Smith and Michael Clarke, former drummer for The Byrds. This group was one of the blueprints for the country-rock movement.

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