Will The Circle Be Unbroken Vol II is, obviously, the follow up to the 1971 album. If you’re not familiar with the two, they were a pair of albums released by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band that featured a roomful of guest stars. The original album gave us names like Roy Acuff, Merle Travis, Vassar Clements etc.
Volume II continued the tradition. Some wonderful names are on this release. Here we find, Johnny Cash, Sam Bush, Bruce Hornsby, EmmyLou Harris, Levon Helm, John Denver (Before he made a big splash), John Hiatt, John Prine, Rosanne Cash, Randy Scruggs, Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman.
Johnny Cash opens the album with “Life’s Railway to Heaven.” On this song, Randy Scruggs played Mother Maybelle Carter’s old Gibson L5. John Prine gives us “GrandPa was a Carpenter.” Levon Helm adds “When I Get My Just Rewards.”
I really like Bruce Hornsby’s ‘bluegrassy’ version of “The Valley Road.” Of course, the album finishes with “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and “Amazing Grace.”
Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Vol II reached #5 on the Billboard Top 100 Album Country Chart and #95 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart.
Two Grammy’s were awarded. Bruce Hornsby/Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for Best Bluegrass Record (The Valley Road) and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for Best Country Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocal (Album Award)
It was named the Country Music Association’s Album of the Year.
Check out Levon Helm’s track and then a spectacular version of Will The Circle Be Unbroken. It’s PURE Americana!
- Life’s Railway to Heaven (Traditional) 4:39
- Grandpa Was a Carpenter (Prine) 3:24
- When I Get My Rewards (Kennerley) 4:25
- Don’t You Hear Jerusalem Moan (Traditional) 3:56
- Little Mountain Church House (Jackson, Rushing) 3:32
- And So It Goes (Overstreet, Schlitz) 3:54
- When It’s Gone (Fadden, Schlitz ) 2:34
- Mary Danced With Soldiers (Kennerley) 3:07
- Riding Alone (Carpenter, Hanna, Hathaway)3:09
- Sitting on Top of the World (Chatmon, Vinson) 3:10
- Lovin’ on the Side (Carlson, Ibbotson, Waltner) 2:57
- Lost River (Murphey) 3:26
- Bayou Jubilee (Hanna) 3:01
- Blues Berry Hill (Carpenter, Fadden, Hanna, Ibbotson) 3:26
- Turn of the Century (Knobloch, Tyler) 3:39
- One Step Over the Line (Hiatt) 4:30
- You Ain’t Going Nowhere (Dylan) 3:53
- The Valley Road (Hornsby, Hornsby) 4:13
- Will the Circle Be Unbroken (Carter) 5:39
- Amazing Grace (Newton) 1:48