Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Wildwood Flower

• “Wildwood Flower” set to a picture of Mother Maybelle and her autoharp on TV in 1971.

8.4 “Fantastic Country from the USA”

From their sixth album “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” (United Artists Records UAS-9801) released in October, 1972.

This was a very interesting album which saw the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – young long-haired west-coast country-rockers – seek to bridge and unite the generation cap via collaborations galore from the bluegrass old-school, including Roy Acuff, “Mother” Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, Pete “Oswald” Kirby, Norman Blake, Jimmy Martin, and others. The ambitious triple LP has much going for it, and, hey, anything bearing the name of either Maybelle, Sara or A.P. Carter is guaranteed to get my maximum attention. The output from that trio in the 1920s and 1930s was treasure-packed to the max.

Maybelle kept herself musically active for as long as she was able to – her latest solo LP was just around the corner, in fact.

For me, she steals the show here on this Nitty Gritty set – my 3 album favourites are all strummed and sung by the ever-charming lady. She positively shines on “Wildwood Flower” (lead vocals, autoharp); “Keep on the Sunny Side” (lead vocals, guitar) and “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes” (lead vocals, guitar).

Although “Wildwood Flower” is best known through performances and recordings by the Carter Family – A.P. Carter arranged it for recording in 1928 – the song predates them somewhat. The original title was “I’ll Twine ‘Mid the Ringlets” and was written in 1860, with words by Maud Irving and music by Joseph Philbrick Webster (1819-1875).

Way back in ’35 Sara, A.P. and Maybelle sang a 3-part harmony version of “Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?”

YES, will always be my unequivocal answer!

<3 <3 <3

You can check out my favoured album reviews for 1972 here.

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