"After many years, The original Dillards have returned. This bluegrass/folk icon includes Rodney Dillard, on guitar, occasionally harmonica, and lead vocal; Doug Dillard, on banjo and baritone vocal; Dean Webb on mandolin and tenor vocal; and Mitch Jayne on bass and acting as MC with comic monologues."
Ozark bluegrass band "The Dillards", started out in Salem, Dent County, Missouri and in 1962 headed west to Los Angeles and became world-famous. The Dillards performed and recorded over the decades with various line-ups; Doug Dillard was known for his virtuosity on the banjo while Rodney Dillard played guitar and mandolin. The original Dillards line-up included Mitch Jayne on double bass and Dean Webb on mandolin and vocals. They also made six appearances on the Andy Griffith (1960-1968) show (nos. 88, 94, 96, 121, 139, 193) under the pseudonym "The Darlings," a mountain musical family headed by Briscoe Darling, played by Denver Pyle, with sister Charlene Darling, played by Maggie Peterson. They subsequently appeared on the 1986 reunion show "Return to Mayberry". Best known for their hit song "Dooley" it was featured on an episode: The Darlings-Andy Griffith Show/ "Dooley"
Douglas and Rodney Dillard are great-grandsons of J.T. and Pholenia Nevada Grace (Flint) Pettigrew. Pholenia was the daughter of Mariah Caroline "Aunt Duck" Shuck (1834-1916) who married 16 September 1860 at Dent Co., Missouri to Lucius Columbus Flint (1841-aft1900). (He married second about 1890 to May F. ________.) Mariah Caroline Shuck was daughter of Edward Young Shuck (1803-1870/1880) and Frances Ann White (Est1805-Bef1858). See: Biography: Mariah Caroline (Shuck) Flint & Martha Ann (Shuck) Cage
Their story is published in Everybody on the Truck!: The Story of the Dillards (The Life and Times of the Dillards); Grant, Lee and Pyle, Denver; Paperback; 1995; $12.95; (have not seen) Co-author Denver Pyle was a long-time Hollywood character actor and appeared on the Andy Griffith show as Briscoe Darling, patriarch of the musical "Darling" family, played by the Dillards. He later became more prominent in his role in the 1980's as Uncle Jesse on TV's The Dukes of Hazzard.
Mitch Jayne has written a humorous "guide" to Ozark language and humor: Home Grown Stories & Home Fried Lies advertisement from Ozark Riverways National Park Newsletter.
See the Dillards videos on YouTube For more videos, just enter "Dillards" in the search box in the upper-right corner. Following include as of August 2007:
The Dillards @ Wikipedia
A few good links active September 2003:
Apparently supposed to be their official website. Had been inaccessible, but as of August 2003 back up with basic information, discography, current booking contact and a list of a few good links. However, as of July 2008, no contact or performance info.
Includes bio. and photos.
But all about Rodney.
Website of a fan in Vienna, Austria (really). Very extensive, interesting and informative including very detailed discography.
Originally a Geocities site, resurrected as "reocities" and working as of October 2013.
This site does not work well with Netscape 4.7; use IE 5.5+
As of September, 2003, website www.gallagher-assoc.com not found. A copy of the text without the graphics was retrieved from the Wayback Machine as: Old Dillards web page from their (former?) management, Gallagher and Associates.
As of 2006, the Dillards were still touring including international venues and releasing records but around 2009 Doug entered semi-retirement and passed away in May of 2012. More later.
Mitch Jayne passed away in 2010. See Mitch Jayne at findagrave.com
As of 2013, Rodney Dillard continues to perform, occasionally with Maggie Peterson ("Charlene Darlin'"). See Rodney Dillard / The Dillard Band
After a long and successful career, Doug Dillard passed away May 16, 2012 at the age of 75. Following are a few tributes. Also: Doug Dillard at findagrave.com
May 18, 2012
By Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times
Bluegrass banjo pioneer Earl Scruggs answered a knock at the door of his Nashville home in 1953 to find an eager-looking banjo enthusiast on the porch asking Scruggs to put a set of his special tuner keys on the young man's instrument.
"He was so gracious," Rodney Dillard said of the reception his older brother, banjo player Doug Dillard, received that day from the father of the bluegrass banjo. "He sold him the tuners, then sat down at his kitchen table and installed them on the spot."
Doug Dillard, who died Wednesday at 75, put those tuners and Scruggs' influence to good use over a long career as a founding member of the Dillards bluegrass band, as a solo artist and in collaboration with numerous other country, bluegrass, rock and pop musicians.
He and the band helped popularize bluegrass in the 1960s through regular appearances on "The Andy Griffith Show," and they were important figures in the creation of what would become known as country rock music.
Dillard, who suffered a collapsed lung several months ago, recently developed a lung infection and died in a Nashville hospital, his brother said.
His declining health prompted Dillard to give up touring about two years ago. Yet he still played occasional recording sessions and isolated concert performances, including when the Dillards were inducted in 2009 into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in Owensbo ro, Ky., by the International Bluegrass Music Assn.
"I would put him at the very top level of proficiency on the banjo, right up there with Earl Scruggs," Chris Hillman, a founding member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, said Thursday. "He was a great musician, and he greatly influenced me."
Actor and comedian Steve Martin, who has focused in recent years on his career as a bluegrass banjo player, said in a statement: "Doug Dillard was a banjo icon. He, along with his group, the Dillards, influenced so many players.... He was fast, clean and a melodic player with his own style."
Born March 6, 1937, in Salem, Mo., in the Ozark Mountains, Douglas Flint Dillard was one of three sons of Homer and Lorene Dillard. Music ran in the family: Homer played fiddle, their mother was a guitarist and the eldest sibling, Earl, played keyboards.
Doug Dillard never forgot how Scruggs affected him the first time he heard him. "I was driving down the road with the radio on," Dillard recalled. "All of a sudden I heard this incredible banjo music. I got so excited that I drove off the road and down in to a ditch. I had to be towed out."
He started on guitar, got his first banjo at 15 as a Christmas present and promptly wrote a letter to Scruggs asking whether 16 was too young to learn the banjo. Scruggs wrote back encouraging his interest in the instrument, cementing Dillard's love for t he banjo. By 19 he was performing regularly on a Salem radio station. He and Rodney were members of the Ozark Mountain Boys from 1956 to 1959.
But as teenagers in the '50s, the Dillard brothers were also exposed to the sounds of rock 'n' roll, which they wanted to incorporate into their music. Doug earned an accounting degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and Rodney, five years younger, said he "quituated" from studies at Southern Illinois University to pursue their passion for playing music.
When they were ready to seek a wider audience, "we decided we wanted to go to Los Angeles, because we felt people were more open-minded, creative-wise," Rodney Dillard said Thursday. "Nashville was formula cut-and-dried at that time."
Shortly after arriving in L.A., the Dillards were signed to the burgeoning folk-rock label Elektra Records, which issued their major-label debut album "Back Porch Bluegrass."
"When they hit town, they completely blew everybody away," Chris Hillman, a founding member of the Byrds, said Thursday. The Byrds later enlisted the Dillards as an opening act after their own career took off.
"It wasn't the old bluegrass thing," Hillman said. "Doug Dillard was the only bluegrass banjo player who actually smiled on stage. He really enjoyed himself. Their entire approach was very entertaining. And Doug was an amazing player."
The Dillards also departed from strict bluegrass tradition as one of the first acts to use amplified instruments.
Their music and faces became familiar nationwide starting in 1963, when they began appearing on "The Andy Griffith Show" as a band called The Darlin' Boys. Griffith encouraged them to use their original songs as often as possible on his show. Their popula rity led to guest spots on musical variety shows hosted by Judy Garland, Tennessee Ernie Ford and others.
"Because of 'The Andy Griffith Show' and the exposure that music brought, it gave an introduction to bluegrass to a lot of people who never ever would have gotten to it," Rodney said. "They found others like Flatt & Scruggs and the Osborne Brothers, and f ound this whole world of the classic form of traditional music."
One of those was contemporary banjo innovator Bela Fleck, who first heard the Dillards when he was growing up in New York City. "It was one of the few bluegrass bands you could see on TV. Flatt & Scruggs were on 'The Beverly Hillbillies' pretty rarely."
Living and working in Southern California in the 1960s, the Dillards were in on the birth of what would become known as country rock.
"They were living in the real world playing this music, and that world was very different than what it was to be playing in Flatt & Scruggs' time," Fleck said. "They were trying to figure out how to bring that music to the audience that was there, so they were open to everything…. They really had a unique band sound, and Doug was at the center of it — he came up with a variation on the Scruggs style that was hard-driving but intelligent. It wasn't like the old mountain stuff. "
The Dillards were invited to open shows on a two-week tour by the Byrds, which was at the forefront of blending country, rock and folk strains. After he left the Dillards, Doug joined the Byrds on their European tour.
In the 1970s Dillard joined ex-Byrds member Gene Clark in the Dillard and Clark band. With Doug pursuing solo and other interests, the Dillards continued with Rodney at the helm. The Dillards' only album to chart on Billboard, 1972's "Roots and Branches," was recorded without Doug.
The brothers had toured together again in recent years until Doug's health declined to the point where he could no longer handle the rigors of the road.
Besides his brothers Rodney and Earl, Dillard is survived by his wife, Vikki Sallee.
Doug Dillard dies at 75 email@example.com
Banjo player and TV performer Doug Dillard, who gained fame for his appearances on "The Andy Griffith Show" with musical group the Dillards (known on the TV series as the "Darlings") has died following a lengthy illness. A family spokesperson tells The Bo ot that Dillard was taken to a Nashville emergency room on Wednesday night (May 16) and died shortly thereafter.
Doug Dillard was born in Salem, Mo., in 1937 and was playing guitar by age 5. He received his first banjo as a teenager and soon began performing with various bands on radio and TV. He had been encouraged to pursue his instrument by banjo legend Earl Scr uggs. According to his official bio, at 16, Dillard wrote a letter to Scruggs and received a positive reply. He then pestered his parents into driving him to Scruggs' home in Madison, Tenn., some five hundred miles away from Salem. Doug brazenly walked up to the front door and rang the bell, introducing himself and asking the iconic banjo picker to install Scruggs' tuners on his banjo.
Along with his brother Rodney, Doug soon formed the Dillards. Their folk-bluegrass blend became popular on college campuses and elsewhere, which led to their move to California and resulted in a recording contract and their stint on the hit CBS series st arring Andy Griffith. After parting ways with the Dillards, Doug joined folk-rock group the Byrds on their first European tour. After the tour, Doug teamed up with former Byrds member Gene Clark, forming the influential Dillard & Clark, one of the first a cts to popularize the country-rock sound that would include other artists such as Gram Parsons and the musicians who would later form the Eagles. Comedian and banjo player Steve Martin recently told The Boot that Doug Dillard was among the first influence s on his banjo playing.
A Grammy-nominated instrumentalist, Doug's distinctive banjo can also be heard on albums by everyone from Hoyt Axton, Johnny Cash, Arlo Guthrie and Linda Ronstadt to Kay Starr, Glen Campbell, the Monkees and the Beach Boys. In 2009, the Dillards were ind ucted into the IBMA's Bluegrass Hall of Fame.
Donations in the musician's honor, to help defray final expenses, may be made to the Doug Dillard Legacy Fund, P.O. Box 90537, Nashville, TN 37209
Doug Dillard Dead: Bluegrass Banjo Great Dies at 75 Posted May 16th 2012 10:30PM by Stephen L. Betts theboot.com
By PETER KEEPNEWS
Published: May 27, 2012 The New York Times
Doug Dillard, a banjo virtuoso who began the 1960s by helping to introduce a generation of listeners to bluegrass and ended the decade as an early advocate of country-rock, died on May 16 in Nashville. He was 75.
The cause was a lung infection, said Lynne Robin Green, the president of LWBH Music Publishers, which publishes his music.
Mr. Dillard rose to fame with the Dillards, a bluegrass band that also included his younger brother, Rodney, on guitar; Dean Webb on mandolin; and Mitch Jayne on bass. The Dillards’ instrumentation was traditional (except for the absence of a fiddle play er) and so was much of their repertory, but they occasionally played electrified instruments and sometimes used a drummer. This approach alienated some purists, but it also helped interest young listeners in a style that the country-music establishment ha d come to consider passé.
Mr. Dillard’s skillful banjo work, which has been cited as an inspiration by Steve Martin among many others, was another key to their success.
The Dillards stuck to the traditional approach for their guest appearances on “The Andy Griffith Show” between 1963 and 1966, on which they played members of a family band known as the Darlings. The country-music historian Bill C. Malone credited these a ppearances with introducing “Ozark humor and sophisticated musicianship to a national audience.”
In 1968 Doug Dillard left the Dillards — the split was apparently amicable, and the group continued without him — and teamed with the singer, guitarist and songwriter Gene Clark, a founding member of the pioneering folk-rock band the Byrds. Known simply as Dillard and Clark, their group, with Mr. Dillard playing guitar and fiddle as well as banjo, recorded two albums for A&M before disbanding. The albums did not sell well but have come to be regarded as among the earliest stirrings of the West Coast coun try-rock movement and an important influence on the Eagles and other bands. (Bernie Leadon, a charter member of the Eagles, had also worked with Dillard and Clark.)
Mr. Dillard later gravitated back toward traditional acoustic music as the leader of various groups. Over the years he also kept busy as a studio musician, playing on movie soundtracks (including, according to some sources, “Bonnie and Clyde”) and pop re cords by Glen Campbell, the Monkees and others.
Douglas Dillard was born on March 6, 1937, in Salem, Mo. His father, Homer, played fiddle, and his mother, Lorene, played guitar. As a child Doug performed with his parents and his brothers, Rodney and Homer Jr. Doug and Rodney later worked with the Ozar k Mountain Boys before forming the Dillards and moving to Los Angeles in 1962. Shortly after arriving, the group was signed to Elektra Records.
The Dillards were inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2009.
Mr. Dillard’s survivors include his brother Rodney.
Doug Dillard, Bluegrass Banjo Virtuoso, Dies at 75
Doug Dillard: Bluegrass Banjo Giant, Country-Rock Pioneer
May 22, 2012 bluegrasstoday.com
After the death of Earl Scruggs and the announced retirement of J. D. Crowe, the banjo world suffered another loss last week with the passing of Doug Dillard.
Having been seen by millions, perhaps 100 million, through nearly 50 years of Andy Griffith Show reruns, Doug Dillard established his place in the history of bluegrass banjo. However, because much of the mainstream bluegrass world was oriented to groups i n the eastern region in the 1960's and 70's, and Dillard explored the world outside traditional bluegrass in much of his early career, I must confess that I did not fully appreciate the magnitude of his career at the time, and did not know or understand t he contributions he made not only to bluegrass, but to other musical genres.
Born March 6, 1937 in Salem, Missouri, as the middle son of a musical family, Douglas Dillard first began playing guitar at age five. He received his first banjo as a Christmas present at the age of fifteen, and, like most young banjo players in the early 1950's, credited Earl Scruggs, Don Reno, and Ralph Stanley as his major influences. He reportedly had the oft-told experience of running his car in a ditch the first time he heard Earl Scruggs on the radio.
Doug began his musical career playing in the family band, which included his father Homer, Sr. on fiddle, his mother Lorene on guitar, and older brother Earl on keyboards. In the mid-to-late 1950's, Doug played in several groups, including the Dixie Rambl ers, which also included his younger brother, Rodney, on guitar.
Eventually, Rodney and Doug struck out on their own and formed the band that most will recall, including Dean Webb on mandolin, and Mitch Jayne on bass. This version of the Dillards played their first concert at Washington University in St. Louis in 1962, one of the earliest bluegrass concerts on a college campus, recorded and released 37 years later on a CD titled The Dillards: a long time ago, The First Time Live.
In the closest thing to an overnight success as the bluegrass world has probably ever seen, the Dillards decided the same year to relocate to the west coast, and shortly after arriving they heard about a hotspot for folk music, the legendary Ash Grove nig htclub. They went, got up on stage after the night’s scheduled entertainment had ended, were seen by a representative of Elektra Records, and by the next night were signed to a three album deal with Elektra Records — the stuff musicians’ dreams are made o f.
Their Elektra debut release was the legendary Back Porch Bluegrass, which included Dooley, Banjo In The Hollow, Old Home Place, and Doug’s Tune, among others.
The following year, they were cast in recurring roles as the Darlin Family on the Andy Griffith Show, leading to numerous other television appearances, including special shows hosted by Judy Garland and Tennessee Ernie Ford.
During this time, the Dillards appeared at numerous folk festivals, including the Newport Folk Festival at which Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers also appeared, and they toured with Bob Bylan, Joan Baez, and many others. In the mid-1960's, the Dillard s became one of the first bluegrass bands to “plug in,” electrifying their instruments which, given sound reproduction technology of the day, would have been the most practical way to produce sufficient volume to compete with the groups they were touring with at that time.
In 1968, Doug decided to strike out in a different direction and left the Dillards to join the Byrds on their first European tour. After the tour, Doug formed a group with ex-Byrd Gene Clark, the Dillard & Clark Expedition, which blended back hills countr y and rock music, with musicians that included Bernie Leadon, Don Beck, Byron Berline, and others. This new country-rock sound, blending banjo, fiddle, and other acoustic instruments with drums, electric guitars, steel guitar, and keyboards, was emulated by later groups, such as The Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco, and The Eagles.
A fact not well known: although Earl Scruggs’ recording of Foggy Mountain Breakdown was used in the movie Bonnie & Clyde, all of the remaining background music featuring banjo in the movie was recorded by Doug Dillard. The 1970's saw Doug Dillard doing a great deal of session work, commercial, and solo projects. His credits include work for 7Up, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Chevrolet, VISA, television appearances on the Dean Martin Show, an extended on screen appearance in the movie The Rose, and session work with the Monkeys, Johnny Cash, Arlo Guthrie, Glen Campbell, Michael Martin Murphey, The Beach Boys, Linda Ronstadt, and others too numerous to list.
In 1983, Doug returned to mainstream bluegrass, forming the Doug Dillard Band, which over the years featured many great musicians including Ginger Boatwright, David Grier, Kathy Chiavola, Roger Rasnake, Billy Constable, and Jonathan Yudkin. From time to t ime over the years, Doug reunited with brother Rodney for various projects and concerts, including projects with John Hartford (billed as Dillard-Hartford-Dillard) and with the original Dillards (with Mitch Jayne and Dean Webb). The dedication of their ma ny fans was evident when after agreeing to a four-concert reunion in 1990, the Original Dillards ended up doing 132 shows that year.
Doug stayed active until his death, and the past decade saw Doug, along with the original Dillards, performing a concert at Carnegie Hall with Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger. A songbook containing transcriptions of Doug’s most popular banjo works was publis hed. Fortunately before the death of Mitch Jayne in 2010, and Doug Dillard this year, the original Dillards were inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame. Doug Dillard was inducted individually into the SPBGMA Preservation Hall of Greats in 1992.
On a personal note, although I never had the pleasure of meeting Doug Dillard, what I will remember is his great playing, his trademark archtop “pop”, and his ever present smile (except when playing the somber Jebbin Darlin). His playing was interesting w ithout being unnecessarily complicated. I’ll treasure knowing that I won several contests as a young banjo player by pairing a hard driving Scruggs instrumental with a nicely contrasting rendition of Doug’s Tune.
As I always do when writing about an artist, I try to supplement my personal knowledge and experience by doing some research, and I was surprised at the wealth of source material about Doug’s career, the volume of which pays tribute to the body of work he created and the lives he touched.
The foregoing hardly scratches the surface about his work and achievements, so if you’d like to learn more, I’d suggest checking out his bio on the Flying Burrito Brothers site for an excellent year-by-year chronology of Doug’s work, as well as his websit e bio at dougdillard.net.
Douglas Dillard was a true pioneer, exploring new musical territory in the realm of bluegrass and beyond. He lived a life worthy of remembrance and celebration.