Thursday, March 29, 2012

R.I.P. Earl Scruggs

Earl Scruggs revolutionized banjo playing, when he developed the 3 finger picking style of banjo playing- at age 10.  Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs wrote "Foggy Mountain Breakdown". Check out this version with Scruggs, Steve Martin, & friends, playing Earl's song.

A tune he wrote, titled: "Earl's breakdown":

Vintage Flatt & Scruggs " Cripple Creek"

Earl recently passed away, of natural causes at age 88. Somehow, you just know he's enjoying a Bluegrass jam in heaven.


Lockwood said...

Don't know if you've seen Steve Martin's eulogy, but it's well worth reading. I grew up in SE Ohio, northern Appalachia, and didn't quite realize until I heard the news how much Scruggs has been a part of my life since the day I was born. He'll be missed, but his legend and legacy- along with his commitment to humanity- remain to inspire and console us.

Lockwood said...

Oops, forgot to add link.

Fran said...

Lockwood! That is a sweet tribute, so thanks for sharing it. Scruggs was a musical genius, but even when he made it "big time", he remained true to his roots, and seemed like a humble man. Never let the fame get to his head. His innovation lives on.

Excerpt from the linked article:

"Earl is now eighty-eight, and it’s been seventy-eight years since he first shouted, “I’ve got it!” and reinvigorated the banjo. Picking with Earl at his home in Nashville is a holy anointment, and playing Earl’s banjo, the one he recorded “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” on in 1949, well, that’s like holding the Grail. Sometimes on these special evenings, everyone will sit around playing their instruments, and the tunes will glide easily from one to another, like it has on the porches and living rooms of America for hundreds of years. But then Earl will settle in, playing backup or taking the lead, and you hear the sound, the one you heard when you first fell in love with the banjo, and you can’t help but have a slight intake of breath. Unmistakable. That’s Earl Scruggs. The five-string banjo could not have had a better genius."

Read more

Lulu Maude said...

Pick on, Earl!