FAME Review: Rodney Dillard & The Dillard Band - I Wish Life was Like Mayberry
Rodney Dillard & The Dillard Band - I Wish Life was Like Mayberry

I Wish Life was
Like Mayberry

Rodney Dillard & The Dillard Band

Rural Rhythm Records - RHY1068

Available from The Dillards' online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

One of the truly great TV serials was The Andy Griffith Show, there's no arguing that, and one of the pioneering influences on the SoCal folk-rock / roots movement was The Dillards, of which Rodney Dillard along with brother Doug was a founder. Such galactic names as Herb Pedersen, Byron Berline, Dewy Martin, and others moved through the ensemble, and the list of rockers who found vast inspiration in the group's sound is overpowering: The Byrds, Eagles, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Flying Burrito Bros, Fairport Convention, Ricky Skaggs, and a long long LONG list of others (and remember: when Doug left the Dillards, he formed Dillard & Clark with Gene Clark). Like Flatt & Scruggs, the Dillards are an irremovable, permanent, elemental fixture in the American music scene.

It then makes pretty damned perfect sense that Rod would want to travel back to the days and TV milieu that most embodied what his band was all about. The Dillards had appeared under the pseudonym of 'The Darlings' on the Griffith Show between 1963 and 1966, then reprised the role in the Return to Mayberry reunion. They've been pining fer them good old days ever since, and so have we all. I Wish Life was Like Mayberry is as close to achieving satisfaction in that regard as any of us is likely to get, so dive into this CD, brothers and sisters, the water's fine and it may even be a Fountain of Youth. Think not? Okay, then just wait 'til you hear the unbelievable licks in cuts like Dooley, and I do believe you'll be chawin' that doubt right on back down the road.

This is some fine fine FINE playin' 'n singin', y'all, as good as it gets, and there's a passel of fun, sarcasm, wistfulness, and down-home feel good to it all. Catch the hilarious fake Fiddling magazine cover with Rod applying channel locks to an ailing fiddle for a hint of what to expect. A number of the songs in Mayberry are taken straight out of the show's annals and re-done to a 'T', tunes the boys from Mount Pilot would envy. This CD is so overdue I can't even find words for it, and to miss the disc would be on the order of a sin, cause to be carted off to spend time in the pokey with Otis before visitin' the parson for solace. When the entire affair winds down in the surprising orchestral Wet Shoes in the Sunset—well, life don't get no better than that, Jeeter, nosiree! Makes your pore heart skip a mite and brings a tear to the eye, an' I ain't kiddin', not one little bit.

Track List:

  • Mayberry Moment (Ray / Dillard)
  • The Darlin' Boys (Dillard / Pedersen / Jayne)
  • There Goes the Neighborhood (Haynes / Dillard)
  • There is a Time (Jayne / Dillard)
  • Wicker Rocking Chair (Haynes / Dillard)
  • Dooley (Dillard / Jayne)
  • Doug's Tune (Douglas Dillard)
  • Salty Dog Blues (Morris / Morris)
  • Ebo Walker (Jayne / Dillard)
  • The Mayberry Hat (Bruce Haynes)
  • Banjo in the Hollow (Dillard / Dillard)
  • Leaning on the Everlasting Arms (traditional)
  • The Andy Griffith Show Song (A tribute to theAndy Griffith Show) (David Bellamy)
  • Wet Shoes in the Sunset (Dillard / Belling)

Bonus Cuts (spoken word)

  • Leaky Boat
  • G-Man Barney
  • Pictures
  • Goober and Roy
  • Parentring

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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