My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Original album did not include songs 22-25 from disc 2.
Brief Background: Will the Circle be Unbroken is a triple album that was recorded in 1971 and released in 1972. The album features many classic country artists (such as Jimmy Martin, Maybelle Carter, Earl Scruggs and Roy Acuff) performing traditional country and bluegrass songs along with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
What I think: I really like the idea of linking the two generations of musicians on this album, and well I think they did a great job in practice. I’m just not sure they were successful on an emotional level. Before I really learned what the album was about, I thought these songs were all done with just the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and even then I had the feeling that the band was doing a great job of documenting these classic songs. In that documenting though, there is a lack of feeling and emotion. I never felt like the songs brought me in a enveloped me the way they should. It was as if they are running through them in order to get them on tape. That being said, there always seem to be exceptions and “Keep on the Sunny Side” with Maybelle Carter and “I Saw the Light” with Roy Acuff are spine tingling brilliant and achieve exactly what the other songs are missing.
The album also could have done with some editing. Three albums is quite a bit to deal with no matter who the group is. I think some of the banter between musicians could have been cut and some of the strictly instrumental tracks could have been pared down as well. This would have shortened things down to a double, which is much more palatable.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I do think it should be here, while it isn’t completely realized I think it does achieve quite a bit.
Rating (Out of 5): 3.5
Will the Circle be Unbroken Amazon Review (Out of 5): 5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (202/265)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 76%