Further into rock territory: Rediscovering the Dillards’ blazing ‘Roots and Branches’ 1972 album

Rodney Dillard and Dean Webb recall the bluegrass outfit’s ballsy mainstream rock bid with “Roots and Branches,” produced by Three Dog Night-Steppenwolf-Alice Cooper collaborator Richard Podolor. The Dillards also opened for Elton John on his fourth American tour and had first crack at cutting Cat Stevens’ “Wild World” until Stevens’ A&M record label halted the proceedings. In the accompanying still a green branch protrudes from a tree root on the sepia-toned cover of the fifth studio album unleashed by the Dillards. The rock-influenced LP debuted June 10, 1972, reaching a career Billboard high of No. 79 POP. Standing are mandolinist Dean Webb, banjoist Billy Ray Latham, and drummer Paul York. Seated are lead singer-guitarist Rodney Dillard and doghouse bassist Mitch Jayne. Photography by Ed Caraeff / Universal Music Group