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Dickel Brothers

Volume One – 1999 (Empty)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Dickel Brothers

Do you remember an old magazine ad that showed Merle Haggard in an old-timey bathtub, holding a glass of whiskey? The caption was something like "Water's for dippin', George Dickel's for sippin' " Well, the Dickel Brother's first album is for diving right into.

With one caveat.

If you like country singers who fly onto the stage and light their drum sets on fire you're going to have a real problem with the Dickel Brothers. Heck, even if your taste runs more to George Jones and Lefty Frizzell, these guys might still be too country for you. The Dickels are a string band (guitar, fiddle, bass, banjo, mandolin and washboard) who play old-time (old old-time) Southern dance music. Stuff like "My Wife Went Away and Left Me" originally done by Charlie Poole and the NorthCarolina Ramblers, and "The Farmer's Daughter" from the Skillit Lickers. These songs run the gamut from heartbreaking ("Goodbye Liza Jane" and theepic folk tragedy "House Carpenter") to hilarious ("Hungry Hash House" where "They feed on chicken pie, if you eat it you will die / The meat you cannot cut it with a sword / All the undertakers hanging round / Cause there's work there to be found.")

There are a couple of original tunes here as well, and it's a tribute to the Dickel's songwriting that they can come up with lyrics like "With Roosevelt in charge, things won't be so hard / I'll be drunk and happy in my grave" (from "When I Die") that the Skillit Lickers woulda been proud to call their own.