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Dry Branch Fire Squad

Thirtieth Anniversary Special – 2007 (Rounder)

Reviewed by C. Eric Banister

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CDs by Dry Branch Fire Squad

It is not uncommon these days to go to a bluegrass festival and hear a band playing old time music, the kind that pre-dates Bill Monroe's shaping of the sound into bluegrass. It was uncommon in 1977 when Dry Branch Fire Squad, led by founder Ron Thomason, made their first appearance on the scene. Over time the membership has changed, but Thomason's vision of preserving bluegrass' roots has remained.

This collection acts as a great collection for fans and a perfect introduction to those unfamiliar with the group. Although the title cites 30 years, the songs only reach back 20, avoiding overlap with 1988's "Tried & True," which celebrated DBFS's first decade.

The songs included cover the wide spectrum that Dry Branch Fire Squad represents. There are straightforward bluegrass, like the seldom heard Carter Brothers tune "Rollin' on Rubber Wheels" and "Do You Ever Dream of Me?" classic country tunes like "Golden Ring," traditional old time tunes represented by songs such as "Distant Land to Roam" and "The Honest Farmer" and several great gospel tracks like "Over in the Glory Land," "Church by the Road" and a fantastic previously unreleased instrumental version of "How Great Thou Art."