The Dillards

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This article is about the band. For the department store chain, see Dillard's.
The band in 1977.

The Dillards are an American bluegrass band from Salem, Missouri, popularly known for their appearance as "The Darlings" on The Andy Griffith Show.[1]

Band members[edit]

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).[2]

The Andy Griffith Show[edit]

Though The Dillards were already an established bluegrass band,[citation needed] their biggest claim to fame is performing musically as members of the fictional Darling family on The Andy Griffith Show, introducing bluegrass to many Americans who had never heard it.[1] 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.[citation needed] 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.[1]

On the October 1963 episode "Briscoe Declares for Aunt Bee", the Dillards performed the first wide scale airing of the 1955 Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith composition Feudin' Banjos (Dueling Banjos).

Pioneering Influences[edit]

The Dillards are notable for being among the first bluegrass groups to have electrified their instruments in the mid-1960s.[3] 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.[4] In 1972, The Dillards joined Elton John on his first American tour.[1]

Current members[edit]

Rodney Dillard has recorded Don’t Wait for the Hearse to Take You to Church and I Wish Life Was Like Mayberry on the Rural Rhythm Records label with his wife Beverly.[1]

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."[1]

Jim Glaspy has won the Texas State Flat Picking competition twice.[1]

George Giddens plays both the mandolin and the fiddle.



YearAlbumUS Top 200Label
1963Back Porch BluegrassElektra
1964Live!!!! Almost!!!
1965Pickin' and Fiddlin' (with Byron Berline)
1968Wheatstraw Suite
1972Roots and Branches79Anthem
1973Tribute to the American DuckPoppy
1977The Dillards vs. The Incredible L.A. Time MachineFlying Fish
1978Mountain RockCrystal Clear
1979Decade WaltzFlying Fish
1980Homecoming and Family Reunion
1991Let It FlyVanguard
1992Take Me Along For The Ride
1999A Long Time Ago: The First Time LiveVarèse Sarabande
2006Early Recordings - 1959


1976Country TracksElektra
1986I'll Fly AwayEdsel
1991There Is a Time (1963-70)Vanguard
1995The Best of The Darlin' Boys
1996Roots and Branches/Tribute to the American DuckBeat Goes On
2001Back Porch Bluegrass & Live!!!! Almost!!!Warner Strategic Marketing
2004Pickin' and Fiddlin', Wheatstraw Suite & Copperfields
2005Let The Music Flow: The Best of the Dillards 1963-1979Raven


YearTitleBillboard Hot 100AlbumLabel
1963DooleyBack Porch BluegrassElektra
Hootin' Banjo [Duelin' Banjo]
1965Nobody Knowssingles onlyCapitol
1966The Last Thing On My Mind
1968Reason To BelieveWheatstraw SuiteElektra
1969Listen To The Sound
Close The Door Lightly
One Too Many Morningssingles onlyWhite Whale
Comin' Home Again
1971It's About TimeNo. 92Anthem
1972One A.M.No. 111Roots and Branches
America (The Lady Of The Harbor)single only
1973Hot Rod BanjoTribute to the American DuckPoppy
1975Stones Throw Awaysingle onlyUnited Artists
1977The PoetThe Dillards Vs. The Incredible L.A. Time MachineSonet


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Rifkin, Carol (2012-03-02). "From Mayberry to Black Mountain: The Dillards play mighty fine bluegrass". Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  2. ^ Billy Constable: Bluegrass Musician, Blueridge National Heritage Area, retrieved 15 May 2012 
  3. ^ Liner Notes for The Dillards' Wheatstraw Suite
  4. ^ Wolff, Kurt, and Duane, Orla "The Dillards", Country Music: The Rough Guide, p. 215

External links[edit]