The names of old-time string bands that recorded in the '20s and '30s tend to be pretty ridiculous, some of them made up by corny disc jockeys or promoters. This group may have the worst name of the bunch, based on both the surname and height of bandleader guitarist John Dilleshaw, a historical old-time guitar picker whose height was close enough to seven feet to suit the purposes of old-time band naming. The Dill Pickles included hired guns from amongst the area's best fiddlers, including the one-handed Lowe Stokes, as well as novices such as Harry Kiker, who became interested in old-time music when Dilleshaw started courting his sister, Opal, as the shy guitarist would often bring his entire band along to assist with the romantic atmosphere. The leader was known for his driving, bluesy guitar playing, which along with the sound of the bowed bass and tenor banjo, played by the father and son team of Pink Lindsey, gave this group an absolutely distinctive sound. As is typical of the genre, a great deal of humor was interspersed with the music, and in the manner of Western swing bandleader Bob Wills, Dilleshaw (or Dilly) would sometimes talk right over the soloing or ensemble playing of the other musicians. Skits involving various members of the group were no doubt done in imitation of the widely popular Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers, which had also employed Stokes. The group recorded in 1929 and 1930, and the tracks have all been reissued on a Document CD. The tracks include "Bad Lee Brown," perhaps an ancestor of Jim Croce's "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown," the rollicking "Bibb County Breakdown," the two-part "Fiddler's Tryout in Georgia" (a combination of music and theater), and the classic "Pickin' Off Peanuts." A few sidemen from the group carried on with musical activity. Lindsey did a few sessions for Bluebird that featured Shorty, and possibly Dilleshaw as well, although nobody present can agree on this. Shorty also played tenor banjo on some recordings by fiddler John Carson. Kiker was the only player from this ensemble who survived into the year 2000, and at that time was still playing, mostly in his own kitchen, with an ex-violinist from the Atlanta Symphony.
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