The Dillards originally consisted of Douglas Flint "Doug" Dillard (born March 6, 1937, Salem, Missouri - May 16, 2012) on banjo, Rodney Adean "Rod" Dillard (born May 18, 1942, Salem, Missouri) playing the guitar, and dobro, Roy 'Dean' Webb (born March 28, 1937, Independence, Missouri) on mandolin, and Mitchell Franklin "Mitch" Jayne (July 5, 1928, Hammond, Indiana – August 2, 2010) on double bass. In 1968, Doug Dillard left to form Dillard and Clark.
As of 2012 the lineup includes Rodney Dillard and his wife Beverly Cotten-Dillard (clawhammer banjo, vocals), Shane Lail (guitar), Jim Glaspy (banjo, guitar), and George Giddens (fiddle, mandolin, harmony vocal).
Other members of the band have included Dewey Martin (drums), Herb Pedersen (banjo, guitar), Billy Ray Latham (banjo, guitar, electric guitar), Ray Park (fiddle), Paul York (drums), Jeff Gilkinson (bass, cello, harmonica, banjo), Douglas Bounsall (electric guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle), Byron Berline (fiddle), Irv Dugan (bass), Bill Bryson (bass), Glen D. Hardin (keyboards), Seth Papas (drums), Buddy Blackmon (banjo), Rick McEwen (bass), Ric Williams (drums), Joe Villegas (bass), Eddie Ponder (drums), Pete Grant (banjo, steel guitar), Steve Cooley (banjo, guitar, upright bass), Wilbur Pace (banjo, fiddle, Richard Godfrey (drums), and Billy Constable (guitar).
The Andy Griffith Show
Though The Dillards were already an established bluegrass band, their biggest claim to fame is playing the fictional bluegrass band "The Darlings" on The Andy Griffith Show, introducing bluegrass to many Americans who had never heard it. This was a recurring role and the Dillards were led by veteran character actor Denver Pyle as their father and jug player, Briscoe Darling. Maggie Peterson played Charlene Darling, their sister and the focus for the attentions of character Ernest T. Bass, played by Howard Morris. The appearances of the Dillards as the Darlings ran between 1963 and 1966. In 1986, the Dillards reprised the role in the reunion show Return to Mayberry. As part of their current tour, Rodney Dillard answers questions about the TV series. He says the songs such as "Dooley" are about people the family knew.
The Dillards are notable for being among the first bluegrass groups to have electrified their instruments in the mid-1960s. They are considered to be one of the pioneers of the burgeoning southern California folk rock, country rock and progressive bluegrass genres, and are known to have directly or indirectly influenced artists such as The Eagles, The Byrds, and Elton John. In 1972, The Dillards joined Elton John on his first American tour.
Beverly Cotten-Dillard is a native of Morrisville, North Carolina who performed with Janette Carter, Ola Belle Reed, Tommy Jarrell, and Doc and Merle Watson. She has appeared on Hee Haw and the Disney Channel and at Carnegie Hall. Her 1981 album Clog-In 'is considered an American folk classic."
George Giddens plays both the mandolin and the fiddle and is one of the best pickers to be found.
|Year||Album||US Top 200||Label|
|1963||Back Porch Bluegrass||—||Elektra|
|1965||Pickin' and Fiddlin' (with Byron Berline)||—|
|1972||Roots and Branches||79||Anthem|
|1973||Tribute to the American Duck||—||Poppy|
|1977||The Dillards vs. The Incredible L.A. Time Machine||—||Flying Fish|
|1978||Mountain Rock||—||Crystal Clear|
|1979||Decade Waltz||—||Flying Fish|
|1980||Homecoming and Family Reunion||—|
|1991||Let It Fly||—||Vanguard|
|1992||Take Me Along For The Ride||—|
|1999||A Long Time Ago: The First Time Live||—||Varèse Sarabande|
|2006||Early Recordings - 1959||—|
|1986||I'll Fly Away||Edsel|
|1991||There Is a Time (1963-70)||Vanguard|
|1995||The Best of The Darlin' Boys|
|1996||Roots and Branches/Tribute to the American Duck||Beat Goes On|
|2001||Back Porch Bluegrass & Live!!!! Almost!!!||Warner Strategic Marketing|
|2004||Pickin' and Fiddlin', Wheatstraw Suite & Copperfields|
|2005||Let The Music Flow: The Best of the Dillards 1963-1979||Raven|
|Year||Title||Billboard Hot 100||Album||Label|
|1963||Dooley||—||Back Porch Bluegrass||Elektra|
|Hootin' Banjo [Duelin' Banjo]||—|
|1965||Nobody Knows||—||singles only||Capitol|
|1966||The Last Thing On My Mind||—|
|1968||Reason To Believe||—||Wheatstraw Suite||Elektra|
|1969||Listen To The Sound||—|
|Close The Door Lightly||—|
|One Too Many Mornings||—||singles only||White Whale|
|Comin' Home Again||—|
|1971||It's About Time||No. 92||Anthem|
|1972||One A.M.||No. 111||Roots and Branches|
|America (The Lady Of The Harbor)||—||single only|
|1973||Hot Rod Banjo||—||Tribute to the American Duck||Poppy|
|1975||Stones Throw Away||—||single only||United Artists|
|1977||The Poet||—||The Dillards Vs. The Incredible L.A. Time Machine||Sonet|
- Rifkin, Carol (2012-03-02). "From Mayberry to Black Mountain: The Dillards play mighty fine bluegrass". Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
- "Billy Constable: Bluegrass Musician", Blueridge National Heritage Area, retrieved 15 May 2012
- Liner Notes for The Dillards' Wheatstraw Suite
- Wolff, Kurt, and Duane, Orla "The Dillards", Country Music: The Rough Guide, p. 215