The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was founded around 1966 in Long Beach, California, United States, by singer-guitarist Jeff Hanna and singer-songwriter guitarist Bruce Kunkel who had performed as the New Coast Two and later the Illegitimate Jug Band. Trying, in the words of the band’s website, to “figure out how not to have to work for a living,” Hanna and Kunkel joined informal jam sessions at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Long Beach. There they met a few other musicians: guitarist/washtub bassist Ralph Barr, guitarist-clarinetist Les Thompson, harmonicist and jug player Jimmie Fadden, and guitarist-vocalist Jackson Browne. As Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the six men started as a jug band and adopted the burgeoning southern California folk rock musical style, playing in local clubs while wearing pinstripe suits and cowboy boots. Their first paying performance was at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, California.
Browne was in the band for only a few months before he left to concentrate on a solo career as a singer-songwriter. He was replaced by John McEuen on banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and steel guitar. McEuen’s older brother, William, was the group’s manager, and he helped the band get signed with Liberty Records, which released the group’s debut album, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band during 1967. The band’s first single, “Buy for Me the Rain,” was a Top 40 success, and the band gained exposure on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, as well as concerts with such disparate artists as Jack Benny and The Doors.
A second album, Ricochet, was released later during the year and was less successful than their first. Kunkel wanted the band to “go electric”, and include more original material. Bruce left the group to form WordSalad and Of The People. He was replaced by multi-instrumentalist Chris Darrow.
By 1968, the band adopted electrical instruments anyway, and added drums. The first electric album, Rare Junk, was a commercial failure.
Rare Junk is the third album from The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, released in 1968. In an attempt to update their sound the band included electric instrumentation on the record, but it still was a commercial failure. (by wikipedia)
This, the group’s third album release, was actually an odds-and-sods type compilation of leftover tracks and singles that formed a respectable 10-song 30-minute plus LP. As a sign of just how strong the band was, it still represented a step forward from their second album, and is one of the great unknown albums of 1968. (by Bruce Eder)
indeed … a real pretty good album from the early days of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Ralph Barr (guitar, clarinet)
Chris Darrow (guitar, mandolin, violin, fiddle, bass)
Jimmie Fadden (tube, jug, mouth harp, harmonica, washtub bass, drums)
Jeff Hanna (washboard, tambourine, drum, guitar, harmonica …and other rare junk)
John McEuen (piano, banjo, five string banjar)
Les Thompson (guitar, mandolin, bass, tambourine, banjo)
Rodney Dillard (dobro guitar)
Paul Hornsby (piano)
Bernie Leadon (guitar on 09.)
Johnny Sandlin (drums)
01. Mournin’ Blues (Sbarbaro) 3.23
02. Collegiana (McHugh/Fields) 2.35
03. Willie The Weeper (Rymal/Melrose/Bloom) 2.22
04. Cornbread And ‘Lasses (Sassafrass Tea) (George/Sullivan) 2.29
05. These Days (Browne) 3.09
06. Sadie Green The Vamp Of New Orleans (Wells/Dunn) 2.22
07. Dr. Heckle And Mr. Jibe (McDonough) 2.34
08. End Of Your Line (Farrel) 2.20
09. Reason To Believe (Hardin) 2.53
10. Hesitation Blues (Oh! Baby Must I Hesitate?) (Smythe/Middleton/Gillham) 3.24
11. A Number And A Name (Gillette/Campbell) 3.18