The Dillards

Take Me Along for the Ride

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The Dillards' Rodney Dillard/Dean Webb/Mitch Jayne/Steve Cooley lineup recorded two albums for Vanguard in the early '90s. While 1990's excellent Let It Fly was primarily a country-rock effort, their next album, Take Me Along for the Ride, had more of a folk-rock outlook. That isn't to say that everything on this CD falls into the folk-rock category. "Food on the Table" and "Against the Grain" are among the country-rock offerings, and the lively instrumental "Wide Wide Dixie Highway" is a perfect example of the type of straight-ahead bluegrass that the Dillards became famous for in the early '60s. But if any style is ultimately dominant, it is folk-rock -- and those who enjoy hearing the Dillards as folk-rockers will find a lot to admire about tracks like "Banks of the Rouge Bayou," "Move On (Life of the Common Man)," and the sociopolitical title song (which is about those who feel like they are on the outside of the American dream looking in). One of the most interesting tracks is a cover of the Beatles' "In My Life," which receives an unlikely folk-rock makeover. Of course, there are still some bluegrass purists who resent the fact that the Dillards have recorded anything other than traditional straight-ahead bluegrass -- people who have that mindset wish they would stay away from folk-rock and country-rock. They would lament the fact that "Wide Wide Dixie Highway" isn't typical of the album on the whole. But then, Rodney Dillard probably would have become bored if he had to play traditional acoustic bluegrass 100 percent of the time. And for those who have eclectic tastes, the Dillards' versatility is a plus. Although not quite essential, Take Me Along for the Ride was a solid and rewarding addition to the Dillards' catalog.

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