Despite the long-term damage this film and the soundtrack's title theme did to bluegrass, the soundtrack stands as one of the best introductions to instrumental bluegrass available. The blistering virtuosity of multi-instrumentalists Eric Weissberg and Marshall Brickman ripple through such traditional numbers as "Shuckin' the Corn," "Little Maggie," and "Mountain Dew" with such fervor and passion, it's hard to believe that all this music is coming from two city slickers. Originally recorded in 1963 under the title New Dimensions in Banjo and Bluegrass, these tracks were subsequently released (along with the addition of the featured piece "Dueling Banjos") as the soundtrack for the 1973 Burt Reynolds film. To be fair, once the all too familiar opening strains of "Dueling Banjos" pass by, the song shifts almost into a completely different structure, becoming quite complex and mesmerizing. While the title track did in fact become a fairly sizable hit (pushing the album to gold status the same year) the real treasures are the rest of the songs. They all crackle with an energy and speed that remains faithful to tradition and still manages to not sound too flashy. A great starter album for the novice bluegrass fan, with enough intricate and interesting licks to keep any seasoned veteran stompin'.
AllMusic Review by Zac Johnson
feat: Steve Mandell