Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy (1970)

FrontCover1The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is an American country rock band formed in 1966. The group has existed in various forms since its founding in Long Beach, California. Between 1976 and 1981, the band performed and recorded as the Dirt Band.

Constant members since the early times are singer-guitarist Jeff Hanna and drummer Jimmie Fadden. Multi-instrumentalist John McEuen was with the band from 1966 to 1986 and returned during 2001, staying 16 years, then departing again in November 2017. Keyboardist Bob Carpenter joined the band in 1977. The band is often cited as instrumental to the progression of contemporary country and roots music.

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The band’s successes include a cover version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles”. Albums include 1972’s Will the Circle be Unbroken, featuring such traditional country artists as Mother Maybelle Carter, Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff, Doc Watson, Merle Travis, and Jimmy Martin. A follow-up album based on the same concept, Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two was released in 1989, was certified gold, won two Grammys, and was named Album of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards.

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Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy is the 1970 album from The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band that contains the hit song “Mr. Bojangles”. The album reached No. 66 on US charts. Three singles charted: “Mr. Bojangles” reached No. 9, “House at Pooh Corner” reached No. 53, and “Some Of Shelly’s Blues” reached No. 64. In Canada, the singles reached No. 2, No. 30, and No. 56.

The 1994 CD version has the title Uncle Charlie And His Dog on the spine. (wikipedia)

Singles

The first album issued by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band after they had temporarily disbanded in 1969, this greatly expanded their pop audience, due primarily to the Top 10 hit cover of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles” (which actually wasn’t a hit until early 1971). The group moved into a more accessible rock-oriented fusion of country, bluegrass, pop, and rock & roll, relying primarily on smartly chosen covers of tunes by the likes of Walker, Mike Nesmith, Randy Newman, and Kenny Loggins. Few bands had incorporated instruments more commonly associated with country and bluegrass, particularly mandolin and banjo, as comfortably into a rock setting prior to this release, and their well-crafted harmonies help put the songs over for those not-steeped-in backwoods sounds.

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It was an extremely diverse program for a country-rock album, too, moving from rustic instrumentals and snippets of tapes of elderly musicians performing rural Americana to the Buddy Holly cover “Rave On.” The group were actually at their best, though, when doing softer, melodic pop tunes. “Mr. Bojangles” was a deserved huge success in that regard, but Nesmith’s “Some of Shelley’s Blues” and Loggins’ “House at Pooh Corner” were almost as catchy and appealing. (by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
Jimmie Fadden (guitar, harmonica, washtub bass, vocals, drums)
Jeff Hanna (guitar, drums, washboard, percussion, vocals)
Jimmy Ibbotson (guitar, keyboards, drums, percusion, accordion, vocals)
John McEuen (banjo, mandolin, guitar, accordion  pedal-guitar, vocals)
Les Thompson (bass, mandolin, guitar, vocals)
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Ralph Barr (guitar, vocals)
Byron Berline (violin)
Bill Cunningham (bass)
Chris Darrow (guitar, violin, vocals)
Jim Gordon (horns, keyboards)
Russ Kunkel (drums on 13.)
John London (bass)
Maurice Manceau (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Mike Rubini (piano on 13.)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Some Of Shelly’s Blues (Nesmith) 3.14
02. Prodigal’s Return (Loggins/Lottermoser) 3.10
03. The Cure (Hanna) 2.11
04. Travelin’ Mood (Waynes) 2.39
05. Chicken Reel (Traditional) 0.55
06. Yukon Railroad (Loggins/Lottermoser) 2.17
07. Livin’ Without You (Newman) 2.04
08. Clinch Mountain Backstep (Rakes) 2.30
09. Rave On (Petty/Tilghman/West) 2.55
10. Billy In The Low Ground (Thompson) 1.15
11. Jesse James (Traditional) 0.50
12. Uncle Charlie Interview (Uncle Charlie) 5.21
13. Mr. Bojangles (Walker) 3.36
14. Opus 36, Clementi (Clementi) 1.40
15. Santa Rosa (Loggins) 2.24
16. Propinquity (Nesmith) 2.19
17. Uncle Charlie (Fadden) 1.48
18. Randy Lynn Rag (Scruggs) 1.47
19. House At Pooh Corner (Loggins) 2.38
20. Swanee River (Foster) 0.37
21. Uncle Charlie Interview #2 / Spanish Fandango” (Traditional) 2.38
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22. Mississippi Rain (Lottermoser) 3.06
23. What Goes On (Lennon/McCartney/Starkey) 2.14

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More from The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band:
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The official website:
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