Reviews of Dixie Darlin's Tapes

    as published in the Ozarks Mountaineer Magazine
    reviews by Dr. William K. McNeil

    released in spring of 1996
    reviewed in the October/November 1997 issue

    "This second tape by the all-female stringband, Dixie Darlin's, includes a mix of classical music with vaudeville numbers, ballads from the British Isles, nineteenth century pop songs, and traditional fiddle tunes. "Red" is a combination of the melody usually called "The Red Hills Polka" (the title supplied by The Indian Creek Delta Boys who, to my knowledge, were the first to record it) and a portion of Gioacchino Rossini's "William Tell Overture" (the segment usually associated with The Lone Ranger radio and television show). Apparently, this arrangement is unique to the Darlin's and is one of the more interesting selections here. Another is the title piece, which is often known in England as "A Job of Journeywork," although other titles are also associated with the melody. In the spirited rendition here it is combined with the classic fiddle tune, "Liberty." This is followed by "Polly's Waltz," the outstanding selection on this tape. Beautifully and tastefully executed, this selection alone is well worth the price of the tape. One other selection, "Jock O'Hazeldeen," merits mention here. This 1816 Sir Walter Scott song is rarely heard on stringband recordings today. This reading of it is evidence that the ballad deserves greater exposure. "Over the Waterfall" demonstrates the versatility of the Dixie Darlin's...."

    released in spring of 1997
    reviewed in the February/March 1998 issue

    "DeeAnn Gillispie plays fiddle with the all-female stringband The Dixie Darlin's (named after Joplin Native Percy Wenrich's pop song) who, along with guests Albee and Cindy Tellone, provide backup on this recording featuring Gillispie on fiddle and, in a few instances, viola. Most of the 16 selections are old, very traditional tunes, although the late Pat Shaw's "Levi Jackson Rag" and "Miss De Jersey's Memorial," both of which date from the 1970's, are included. Tunes are about equally divided between American and British Isles numbers, with one Canadian item, the seemingly ubiquitous "Ookpik Waltz," thrown in for good measure. There is a good deal to praise about this excellent recording, not the least of which is that considerable thought has gone into it's production. Tunes are presented so that one doesn't hear two numbers of essentially the same tempo back to back. What's more, the arrangements are not the same hackneyed treatment too often accorded the traditional material found here. Most important, of course, is the playing, which is energetic and strong. The backup work, especially the banjo playing of Karen Kraft, is appropriately complementary; that is, it aids the lead instrument rather than overriding it. Standout cuts on side one are "Growling Old Man and Grumbling Old Woman" and "Miller's Reel." "Cotton Patch Rag," "Hungarian Hornpipe" and "Gypsy Waltz" are the highlight selections on side two. All of the other numbers, however, are skillfilly done, the result being a most enjoyable tape."

    released in fall of 1995
    reviewed in the June/July 1996 issue

    "Deb Mullins, who has appeared on numerous recordings with various partners, is featured here on her first solo effort. Here repetoire here includes a heavy dose of Irish and Scottish music, some Carter family songs, nineteenth century pop numbers, a semi-religious number, "How Can I Keep From Singing," said to be derived from the Society of Friends, who are commonly known as Quakers, and two instrumentals. The latter features DeeAnn Gillispie who plays the stately sounding "Airs and Graces" as a violinist but she reverts to the fiddle format for the traditional tune "Kitchen Girl." Mullins has selected 12 pieces that are very tuneful and not overly recorded. Indeed, her rendition of Harrison Millard's 1875 "Whippoorwill" that many will recall from Bradley Kincaid's 1933 recording (as"The First Whippoorwill's Song") is the only recent recording of this piece. Her voice is pleasant and smooth, making for easy listening, and while always good, is most successful with the Carter Family Songs, "Winding Stream" and "Give Me Your Love." She is ably backed up by the Dixie Darlin's... Given the fact that many of these numbers are infrequently recorded it would have been nice to see some liner notes discussing, at the very least, how Mullins learned them. That omission will not bother many people, though, because there is some excellent music on this tape.

    For more information, please visit
    the Sound Samples link, or send us a message here

    The Official Dixie Darlin's Web Site
    Our Web site Awards Page
    The Deb Carbone Colonial Living History Page
    The DeeAnn Gillispie Fiddle Music Page
    The Beci Fuller Banjo Page
    The Sound Samples page
    Links to Old-time Music Sites
    Schedule of Dixie Darlin's Performances

Hosted by