The Dillards / Copperfields – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

More Dillards

For the first time on the site, Hot Stamper sound for The Dillards! Those of you who enjoy the country-fried style of the Flying Burrito Bros., Gram Parsons or The Byrds will probably get a lot out of this one. We paired up our best sounding side one with our most impressive side two to create this QUIET A+++ / A++ 2-pack. Great sounding pressings for this band are tough to come by, so don’t let this one slip past you if you’re a fan!

We’ve been trying to find great sound for this band for years, but it is one tough task. For one thing, it’s difficult to find clean copies out in the bins and even when we do most of them don’t sound that hot. It took years worth of purchases to get enough of these together for a shootout, and even then very few of them delivered. We couldn’t even come up with a copy with two great sides, so we paired up the two pressings that had the best sound for either side.

The side one here is killer earning our top grade of A+++. The sound is super open and transparent with a very wide soundfield, giving lots of room to each of the musicians. This side one had the best bottom end we heard anywhere. It also had excellent presence, lots of energy and natural texture all around. It couldn’t be beat and I’d be very surprised if you could find a better one.

The side two of this set is nearly as good, smooth and sweet with lots of extension in the extremes. Many copies suffered from a veiled midrange that robbed the instruments of texture, but this one was cleaner, clearer and more transparent. We gave it an A++.

Flip either of the rated sides over to hear what separates a Hot Stamper pressing from the rest!

We Love It

This is the band the Jayhawks grew up listening to, along with, I’m guessing, The Byrds (circa Sweetheart of the Rodeo), The Grateful Dead (American Beauty), The Eagles (first LP), Poco, and no doubt plenty of other bands that never became famous.

Actually, the Dillards themselves never became famous, which is too bad, because based on this album they should have. It’s full of wonderfully melodic songs, with all the boys pitching in for harmony, backed by every stringed instrument that’s fit to pick: guitar, mandolin, banjo, pedal steel, fiddle, dobro — you name it, they play it. They even do one by the Beatles. And that’s not nostalgia: the Beatles were together (sort of) when this record was made!

By the way, the guy front and center is Herb Pederson. I never knew who he was until I attended a concert that Chris Hillman and his acoustic trio gave at a coffee house (!) and then again at a home concert (where I was lucky enough to sit three feet from them and got to chat them up during the break).

They performed mostly old bluegrass and country tunes (with Hillman on mandolin, his first and favorite instrument), some originals, and even covered one or two of The Byrds’ hits. The guitarist in the band turned out to be Herb Pederson, and one day I noticed a similarity between the 55+ year old gentleman I saw that night and the guy on the cover of The Dillards. Sure enough, it’s the same guy.

You can also find his name on dozens of country rock records by artists like Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. He was the “go to” guy back in the day, with his top notch harmonies and authentic country guitar playing. Which is what he brings to this album too.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Rainmaker 
In Our Time 
Old Man at the Mill 
Touch Her if You Can 
Woman Turn Around 
Yesterday 
Brother John

Side Two

Copperfields 
West Montana Hanna 
Close the Door Lightly 
Pictures 
Ebo Walker 
Sundown

AMG  Review

… it was a similarly eclectic and, for the most part, joyous romp through a fusion of bluegrass, rock, folk, and country, with a bit of pop and orchestration along the ride, and the group’s superb vocal harmonies being the main constant…