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''Will the Circle Be Unbroken'' is a 1972 album officially by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, but with collaboration from many famous Bluegrass and country-western players, including Roy Acuff, Mother Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, Bashful Brother Oswald, Norman Blake, Jimmy Martin, and others. It also introduced fiddler Vassar Clements to a wider audience.
Its title comes from a song by Ada R. Habershon (famously re-arranged by A. P. Carter) and reflects how the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was trying to tie together two generations of musicians. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was a young country-rock band with a hippie look. Roy Acuff described them as "a bunch of long-haired West Coast boys." The other players were much older and more famous from the forties, fifties and sixties, primarily as old-time country and bluegrass players. Many had become known to their generation through the Grand Ole Opry. However, with the rise of rock-and-roll, the emergence of the commercial country's slick 'Nashville Sound,' and changing tastes in music, their popularity had waned somewhat from their glory years.
Every track on the album was recorded on the first or second take straight to two-track masters, so the takes are raw and unprocessed. Additionally, another tape ran continuously throughout the entire week-long recording session, and captured the dialog between the players. On the final album many of the tracks begin with the musicians discussing how to do the song or who should come in where, and provides a rare insight into the workmanship and approach that these highly-regarded musicians used to make their music, and how they decided to work together.
Originally appearing in 1972 as a three LP album, ''Will the Circle Be Unbroken'' was remastered and re-released in 2002 as a two compact disc set.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band made two subsequent albums, ''Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. 2'' and ''Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. 3'', in an attempt to repeat the process with other historically significant musicians, but these subsequent volumes are not as widely acclaimed as the first. However, Vol. 2 won the Country Music Association's 1989 Album of the Year. In 1990, the album was celebrated on the PBS music television program Austin City Limits, which featured a performance by the full ensemble of guests on the Carter Family song, ''Will The Circle Be Unbroken'', from the original 1972 album. - Wikipedia