EMI Music Distribution
Country, Progressive Country, Traditional Country, Bluegrass, Progressive Bluegrass, Country-Rock

Album Review

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 CD adds four bonus tracks, though only "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" is a proper song; two of the others consist of warmups and studio chat, while "Remember Me" (featuring Doc Watson) is just a fragment.
Bruce Eder, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Grand Ole Opry Song
  2. Keep on the Sunny Side
  3. Nashville Blues
  4. You Are My Flower
  5. The Precious Jewel
  6. Dark as a Dungeon
  7. Tennessee Stud
  8. Black Mountain Rag
  9. Wreck on the Highway
  10. The End of the World
  11. I Saw the Light
  12. Sunny Side of the Mountain
  13. Nine Pound Hammer
  14. Losin' You (Might Be the Best Thing Yet)
  15. Honky Tonkin'
  16. You Don't Know My Mind
  17. My Walkin' Shoes
  18. Lonesome Fiddle Blues
  19. Cannonball Rag
  20. Avalanche
  21. Flint Hill Special
  22. Togary Mountain
  23. Earl's Breakdown
  24. Orange Blossom Special
  25. Wabash Cannonball
  26. Lost Highway
  27. Doc Watson & Merle Travis First Meeting (Dialogue)
  28. Way Downtown
  29. Down Yonder
  30. Pins and Needles (In My Heart)
  31. Honky Tonk Blues
  32. Sailin' on to Hawaii
  33. I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes
  34. I Am a Pilgrim
  35. Wildwood Flower
  36. Soldier's Joy
  37. Will the Circle Be Unbroken
  38. Both Sides Now
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