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Dickel Brothers

The Recordings of the Dickel Brothers: Volume Two – 2000 (Empty)

Reviewed by Brad San Martin

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CDs by Dickel Brothers

After pouring over dozens of reissues of arcane old-tyme music, here's a band that actually - by virtue of music, audio fidelity, image, and packaging - seeks the obsolescence that there forefathers strove to escape. Done up in a mock-up of a County Records reissue, the grooves contain some spirited banjo/fiddle romps. But why? Their influences (noting earth-shattering: Carter Family, Riley Puckett, Charlie Poole, etc.) have albums of their own readily available. The answer lies in the source.

Empty is a label more associated with punk and various offshoots thereof. Combine this with the blatantly derivative music (all original versions are referenced, along with the addresses of record labels that specialize in vintage reissues), and the goal of the Dickel Brothers becomes very apparent. They are not necessarily a musical endeavor - though the music is pleasant. (In fact, the two originals here are the most inspired of the lot.) The Dickels are here to introduce mountain music to a new audience, reestablish its relevance and awaken America to its own roots. And that is entirely admirable. They've got the tools - the chops, vigor, and (most importantly) the record collection. Buy this. Then track down the originals.

(The vinyl version contains two bonus tracks. Whether a tribute to their influences' medium or a demonstration of punk snottiness, it makes for a frustratingly short program on the CD. Empty, Box 12034, Seattle, WA 98102)