Picks and Pans Review: Plain Dirt Fashion

updated 09/10/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/10/1984 01:00AM

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

After 17 years, 16 albums, and two name changes (to the Dirt Band and back), the NGDB seems to have settled into the country mode it first touched on in 1972 with its three-record Will the Circle Be Unbroken set. The five-man group, which began in Long Beach, Calif. in 1966 (four members have been together since 1968), is on a sort of Eagles to Oak Ridge Boys continuum that allows for side trips to Springsteen material (Cadillac Ranch), something from Steve Goodman (Video Tape) and even the Meat Loaf hit written by Jim Stein-man, Two Out of Three Ain't Bad ("I want you, I need you but there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you"). They can go traditional too, with Rodney Crowell's Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper's Dream) and their own Must Be Love. This was an easygoing group even in its more rock-oriented phase. Now it's getting into what the folks back home in California might have called mellow, in the best sense—relaxed, smooth and possessed of a gentle sense of humor. (Warner Bros.)

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