Doug Dillard, the crossover bluegrass star of the 60s, died earlier this month, though the Times just ran an obit over the weekend. He’s best known, in these quarters at least, as being the rootsy yin to Gene Clark’s hippie yang in Dillard & Clark, the cosmic American music concern which Clark started subsequent to the Byrds.
The Byrds’ druggy, jangly forays into traditional American country, together as solo artists, and with enablers from more conventional country backgrounds, are rightly and enduringly revered by generations of indie rock bands (see Teenage Fanclub’s “Gene Clark“). I first heard Dillard & Clark via a cover, by Velvet Crush, of “Why Not Your Baby,” from The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark (1968; strings, about which some YouTube commenters are ambivalent, arranged by Van Dyke Parks). How did Dillard get swift, expert banjo picking to sound so sad?
And, sure, the Velvet Crush version (underrated band, that):