Lost Treasures: The Hillmen – “Copper Kettle”

Our first Lost Treasures for 2020 comes from bluegrass group The Hillmen. The traditional tune “Copper Kettle” is a bonus track on the 1995 re-issue of this classic first released in 1969. The song & album were recorded & produced by Jim Dickson in 1963-64 to secure a contract with Elektra Records, who rejected it.  The group’s only album was finally released by Together Records in ’69.  Originally known as the Golden State Boys, when departing member Hal Pointdexter was replaced by 17-year old mandolin prodigy Chris Hillman, the group changed it’s name to the Hillmen.  The band’s other members were Vern Gosdin, who had a successful solo career as a country artist right up to his passing in 2009, his songwriting brother Rex, & Don Parmley.  The Hillmen played many gigs in southern Calif. during their existence from 1962-64. The short-lived bluegrass group disbanded when Chris Hillman joined the Byrds to become that groups bass guitarist, having been recruited by Jim Dickson.  Eventually as the Byrds moved closer toward country music, Hillman again got featured on many songs playing mandolin having become a contributing songwriter for the group.  Chris Hillman has had a very successful career which includes his current recordings as a solo artist.  After leaving the Byrds, he founded the Flying Burrito Bros. with fellow ex-Byrds Gram Parsons and Michael Clarke, then formed Manassas with Stephen Stills in the 70’s, and in the 1980’s The Desert Rose Band with Herb Pedersen & John Jorgenson. Enjoy this inspiring piece of bluegrass as we embark on a wet & stormy weekend here in the Northwest.

Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

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