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Will the Cirle...Trilogy Best of, Enhanced, Box set
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2002 brought the final release of the Dirt Band's incredible Will the Circle Be Unbroken trilogy and also brought together the band and a bevy of country stars to celebrate these historic collaborations. That PBS event is here on DVD (with Rosanne Cash, Alison Krauss, Earl Scruggs and more) plus 6 CDs comprising all three Unbroken volumes. Scores of amazing performances, one amazing set.
The original Will the Circle Be Unbroken is undoubtedly a landmark country-music recording. A peace offering between rock-reared longhairs and rock-ribbed Nashville patriarchs (and one matriarch, Mother Maybelle Carter), it exposed generations of upstart pickers and singers to old-time country music and its impact is felt to this day. The organizers of the 1971 sessions that led to the initial three-LP set, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, have produced two sequels, the first in 1989 and the most recent in 2002. This six-disc collection (including an all-star concert DVD) pulls together all three Circle sessions and, naturally, captures dozens of essential performances, plus a fair number of inessentials. Anyone with an interest in country music will want the original. Its mission is clear, the performances are inspired, and its significance is undeniable. The second Circle strays far afield from the original concept, bringing in the rather lightweight likes of John Denver and Michael Martin Murphy to mix with volume one holdovers Jimmy Martin and Earl Scruggs. The final volume is also more diffuse than one would like, though eminent guest stars such as Del McCoury, June Carter Cash, and Johnny Cash help it capture the spirit of the original more frequently than does its immediate predecessor. Completists will relish having all three collections in one box, while those who think three times around the circle is two too many are advised to stick with the 30th anniversary reissue of the initial album. --Steven Stolder
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Top Customer Reviews
CDs and in this format a bonus DVD which will most likely stand as THE benchmark of music in the twentieth century. Since the issue of the third volume, many of the elder legendary artists who performed throughout the entire series have passed on, and for some, this was their last recording session. Combining a superstar cast of guests with the talented NGDB was a project born from genius. Emmylou Harris captured the true essence of this collection during her monologue prior to the track Riding Alone. She makes the observation that early in her life music was something that 'happened' as a living room gathering but the striving for technical recording perfection drove the 'living room' out of the music experience; this series, however, brings it all back home for her! For more of the same, pair this set up with the NGDB's "Dirt, Silver & Gold double CD and get prepared to be overwhelmed by greatness!
I remain in NGDB heaven with my new box set!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
No other collection of country music brings together "founders and originators" such as Mother Maybelle Carter, and the Carter Family, with their musical "children", Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, and Doc Watson, and the third generation...Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss, Tony Rice, Dwight Yoakum...some of the greatest talents of three generations and six decades of American music.
Each generation of singers and musicians remain faithful to the "roots" of this music, playing with acoustic guitars, banjos and fiddles. The mood is that of a group of talented friends, sitting in the living room, and singing and playing the songs they love the best. The feeling and heart in these performances can be felt, as well as heard.
The sound quality is exceptional. It is easy to forget these are recordings...it feels as if the musicians are sitting right next to you while they joke, chat, sing and play these songs.
This is too much music to digest in a single sitting. Instead, it is more enjoyable to select just one CD, savor it for a day or two, and then move on to another. I have no doubt that people will be listening to, and loving, this music a century from now. This will be one of the living treasures of American culture for generations to come.
It is amazing that a seven hour collection of some of the greatest music of our time is available for less than $50...less than $7 for each incredible hour of music. At this bargain price, even folks who own one or two of the previous sets included in "Trilogy" ought to buy this collection...and perhaps buy another for their children or a good friend.
I remain in NGDB heaven with my new box set!
The band was able to secure studio time with the giants of the genre, including: Roy Acuff, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, Doc Watson, and Maybelle Carter. In total, there are an incredible thirty-seven songs (thirty-eight if you count the dialogue track) - nearly all of which is indispensible material. In the years to come, the band released two subsequent volumes in the same grand tradition, sometimes even featuring younger artists such as Alison Krauss and Vince Gill. Although none quite reached the artistic heights achieved on the first volume, there are still outstanding highlights to be found on both.
In 2003, roughly a year after the release of the third volume, this complete trilogy set was released in a compact boxed set. It assembled the remastered version of the first volume (including four bonus tracks, though only one is a complete song), both successive volumes, and a DVD - comprising six discs in total. Two booklets are also included: one details the song credits and performers for each track, and the other contains an interesting essay concerning the formation of the entire project.
The DVD is perhaps the best reason to purchase this set, even if you own one or two of the albums already. It contains an outstanding hour-long concert, a brief documentary about the band, a music video for the track "The Lowlands", and three bonus concert performances not included in the final version.
One of the highlights of the concert is the performance of "Catfish John" featuring Alison Krauss. Others include a spirited rendition of the mad-cap instrumental "Earl's Breakdown" and a very fun, nostalgic performance of "Fishin' Blues" featuring Taj Mahal.
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