Earl Eugene Scruggs (January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012) was an American musician noted for popularizing a three-finger banjo picking style, now called “Scruggs style”, that is a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. His three-finger style of playing was radically different from the ways the five-string banjo had been historically played. He popularized the instrument in several genres of music and elevated the banjo from its role as a background rhythm instrument, or a comedian’s prop, into featured solo status.
Scruggs’ career began at age 21 when he was hired to play in a group called “Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys”. The name “bluegrass” eventually became the eponym for the entire genre of country music now known by that title. Despite considerable success with Monroe, performing on the Grand Ole Opry and recording classic hits like “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, Scruggs resigned from the group in 1946 due to their exhausting touring schedule. Band member Lester Flatt resigned as well, and he and Scruggs later paired up in a new group called “Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys”. Scruggs’ banjo instrumental called “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”, released in 1949, became an enduring hit, and had a rebirth of popularity to a younger generation when it was featured in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. The song won two Grammy Awards and, in 2005, was selected for the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry of works of unusual merit.
Flatt and Scruggs brought bluegrass music into mainstream popularity in the early 1960s with their country hit, “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” — the theme music for the successful network television sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies — the first bluegrass recording to reach number one on the Billboard charts. Over their 20-year association, Flatt and Scruggs recorded over 50 albums and 75 singles. The duo broke up in 1969, chiefly because, where Scruggs wanted to switch styles to fit a more modern sound, Flatt was a traditionalist who opposed the change, and believed doing so would alienate a fan base of bluegrass purists. Although each of them formed a new band to match their visions, neither of them ever regained the success they had achieved as a team.
Scruggs received four Grammy awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a National Medal of Arts. He became a member of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1985, Flatt and Scruggs were inducted together into the Country Music Hall of Fame and named, as a duo, number 24 on CMT’s 40 Greatest Men of Country Music. Scruggs was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts,the highest honor in the folk and traditional arts in the United States. Four works by Scruggs have been placed in the Grammy Hall of Fame. After Scruggs’ death in 2012 at age 88, the Earl Scruggs Center was founded near his birthplace in Shelby, North Carolina, with the aid of a federal grant and corporate donors. The center is a $5.5 million facility that features the musical contributions of Scruggs and serves as an educational center providing classes and field trips for students. (by wikipedia)
Gosh, I hate writing these posts. This not really an obituary, but it is. This is one of my all-time favorite records. Earl Scrcuggs Revue – Super Jammin’ I bought it originally when it came out – back in 1984, it’s not a new edition to my collection. The songs are wonderful, but what’s most impressive is the sheer number of all-time great musicians who play on it. They likely weren’t all in the same studio at the same, but this record still has what might be the largest collection of A-listers on any type Revue album. They are: Lester’s sons Gary, Steve, and Randy, Jimmy Messina, Kenny Loggins, Jim Keltner, Doug Kershaw, Loudon Wainwright III, Joan Baez, Johhny Cash, Michael Martin Murphy, Alvin Lee, Billy Joel, Willie Hall, Bonnie Bramlett, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Daniels, Leon Pendarvis, Ron Cornelius, Larry Gatlin, Dan Fogelberg, the Pointer Sisters, George McCorkle, Jerry Eubanks, and many others. (by curtiscollectsvinylrecords.blogspot)
This is a criminally underrated album by Earl Scruggs … maybe one of the best Country albums of the Eighties ….
Contains previously released material except 04. + 10.
Joan Baez (vocals on 03.)
Bonnie Bramlett (vocals on 04., 08.)
David Briggs (piano on 02., 03.)
Kenny Buttrey (drums on 02,, 03.)
Johnny Cash (vocals on 03.)
Ron Cornelius (guitar on 05.
Charlie Daniels (guitar on 05., background vocals on 10.)
Pete Drake (steel-guitar on 06.)
Jerry Eubanks (saxophone on 10.)
Dan Fogelberg (background vocals on 07.)
Larry Gatlin (guitar on 07.)
Willie Hall (drums on 04., 05., 07., 08. 10.)
Teddy Irwin (guitar on 06.)
Waylon Jennings (vocals on 04.)
Billy Joel (piano on 04., 05., 08.)
Bob Johnston (organ on 07.)
Shane Keister (piano on 06. + 10.)
Jim Keltner (drums on 01.
Doug Kershaw (fiddle on 02.)
Alvin Lee (guitar on 04., 05. + 10.)
Jack Lee (organ on 10.)
Mylon LeFevre (background vocals on 10.)
Kenny Loggins (percussion, vocals on 01.)
Jody Maphis (drums on 06., percussion on 08.)
George McCorkle (guitar on 10.)
Roger McGuinn (guitar on 04., 05., 07., 08.)
Jim Messina (guitar, vocals on 01.
Michael Murphey (vocals on 03.)
Leon Pendarvis (organ on 05., 08., piano on 07.)
Pointer Sisters (background vocals on 08.)
Earl Scruggs (banjo, vocals)
Gary Scruggs (bass, vocals)
Steve Scruggs (piano on 06.)
Randy Scruggs (banjo, guitar, slide-guitar, percussion)
Loudon Wainwright III (vocals on 02., 03.)
Tim Wipperman (trumpet on 08. + 10.))
Reggie Young (guitar on 02., 03., 05., 07., 08.)
Rusty Young (dobro, steel-guitar on 01.)
01. Banjo Man (Messina) 2.28
02. The Swimming Song (Wainwright III) 2.07
03. Gospel Ship (Carter) 2.41
04. I’ve Got My Mojo Working (Foster) 3.59
05. Bleeker Street Rag (R. Scruggs) 4.56
06. Harley (R. Scruggs) 3.35
07. Rollin’ In My Dreams (Nix) 5.01
08. Third Rate Romance (Smith) 3.29
09. Instrumental In D Minor (E. Scruggs) 2.03
10. Step Out Of Line (G. Scruggs) 3.39