There Is A Time

Whenever The Darlings -- that would be the Pa, Briscoe, his four silent sons and sometimes his daughter, Charlene -- came down from the mountain into Mayberry, it meant trouble for Sherriff Andy Griffith and his stalwart but bungling duputy, Barney Fife. The occasion also meant some good music for the viewing audience of The Andy Griffith Show because The Darlings were in fact, The Dillards, a genuine bluegrass group whose considerable talent was discernable even through the Hee Haw outfits and cornpone high-jinx the band had to endure on TV, all the way to the bank.

I'm not sure if this song premiered on television, but it probably found its widest audience there. So below you have two different takes on the tune as performed by The Dillards. The first is a video excerpt from the TV episode in which the song appeared with Charlene (played by Maggie Peterson, who was not a regular member of The Dillards) on the lead vocal. Then you'll hear the song as performed by The Dillards off-screen.

The Dillards, with Maggie Peterson, sing There Is A Time on The Andy Griffith Show

Another Dillards performance of There Is A Time, from their album Live!!!! Almost!!!

Those versions of the song offer it up at a tempo native to the bluegrass idiom, which is to say, pretty dern fast. And most often that's how the tune has been covered. Here's one other along those lines, a Nashville-slick treatment from Country singer Alan Jackson with both a mandolin (Adam Steffey) and a dobro (Rob Ickes) break. This is from Jackson's 2013 bluegrass album titled, well what do you know, The Bluegrass Album.

Alan Jackson's cover of There Is A Time


But before you go gettin' your overalls in a tangle over the tempo these pickers take the tune at, allow me to crank that metronome down a few clicks. The song is well enough crafted that it invites any number of different readings. For our part, we'll slow it down a bit but keep enough of the bluegrass essentials in place that if you want to break it out in the parking lot of your favorite fest next summer, you can. But feel free to graft the song to new root stock if you're so inspired. The g'Earls of Uncle Earl were, and here's the Progressive Old Time proof of it.

Uncle'Earl takes a fresh look at There Is A Time.