The Dixon Brothers

Beyond Black Smoke

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The brothers Howard and Dorsey Dixon came out of the harsh atmosphere of the Carolina mills and created a duet sound that might seem intensely stark compared to other old-time "brother" groups such as the Blue Sky Boys. The slight distortion inherent in these older recordings takes a bit of the edge off the rough and tumble harmonies, but thankfully not too much. Instrumentally, the Dixons are one of the best of this type of group because of their unique use of slide guitar licks, and each of Howard's steel National solos is worth waiting for. The material gets a bit heavy sometimes, such as the song "I Didn't Hear Anybody Pray," which Roy Acuff later turned into the Nashville hit "Wreck of the Highway." Nonetheless, the Dixons have the power to make songs such as these literally shine with a glorious intensity.

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