Roots and Branches is the sixth album by bluegrass group The Dillards, and their only for Anthem Records. The group is listed for this album only as "Dillards" with no "The," unless you look at the LP itself, where you will find "The Dillards." It was their most successful album, their only LP to reach the album charts (at number 79). Musically, Roots and Branches pushes further into rock territory, continuing the work of its two predecessors, 1968's Wheatstraw Suite and 1970's Copperfields. The orchestras of the previous albums are absent, and emphasis is placed on the rock rhythm section. Electric guitars and drums feature on almost every song. Roots and Branches does, however, retain the Dillards' traditional roots, especially in their a cappella rendering of Man of Constant Sorrow, and the album opener Redbone Hound (though the latter features an overdriven electric guitar).
Herb Pederson, Doug Dillard's replacement and a major singer and songwriter for Wheatstraw Suite and Copperfields, left the group before this album and was replaced by bluegrass veteran Billy Ray Latham. Mitch Jayne, a longtime staple of the group, is nominally a Dillard on the album but does not play the major role he formerly did. He would soon leave the group to pursue a career as a novelist.