Posted by: Jim E | March 29, 2012

Earl Scruggs…The Banjo…Bluegrass…Bonnie And Clyde…And Jed Clampett…

My Oh My…Earl Scruggs is dead at 88…born January 6, 1924…in North Carolina…there are no words to tell his importance to bluegrass music…and to country music as a whole…in reading his obits in a number of places, all share in this description…he was born during the Depression and his story really comes out of that time…raised in a musical family and learning to play the banjo early in his life…and developing a three finger style that is now called the Scruggs Style…

When you watch a YouTube video later in this post you will see his style in play…you know, many of you will say, “I never saw him or know his music.”…but even though you don’t know him, you know his music…just listen to his style coming through the Beverly Hillbillies theme…so if you have ever watched or know of “The Beverly Hillbillies”, a sitcom for the 1960’s…its still in syndication …Scruggs wrote and played, along with Lester Flatt, “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” for that series…but also, if you have every seen “Bonnie and Clyde”…and enjoyed that “chase scene”…that music is Earl Scruggs “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”…and all of these songs plus so many others, you would recognize…let’s let you see the video of Earl Scruggs and Friends playing “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”…his Friends?…Vince Gill on the mandolin, Jerry Douglas on the Dobro guitar and others you may or may not know…(if you go through some of the YouTube videos, you will find Steve Martin teaming up with the “Friends”)…enjoy…

I mean, what did you think about that???…do you remember the scene from “Bonnie and Clyde”???…but what is more important…its what I remember…getting in my “Way Back Machine”, I remember a time in the 50’s or 60’s and when others were going another direction…I heard “Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys”…they had formed a group after they left Bill Monroe’s “Blue Grass Boys” (where the term Bluegrass comes from)…anyway, I loved their music…and how can you not…some thought I was crazy…but how can you listen to that music and not first, tap your foot…then smile…and at the end,  just laugh out loud with the joy of it!!!…

And a generation later, the Coen brothers Depression-themed movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”…the Coen’s named their band “The Soggy Mountain Boys”…no doubt a tribute to the “Foggy Mountain Boys”…and much of the movie was filled with many of the “Friends” of Earl Scruggs and their music…

So it may or may not be important to you but “greatness” passes from the scene everyday…great talent, great people…or “just folks” like you and me…the question always is, what have we done with our lives and have we lived our lives in a way that will honor the One Who made us…and I think in his own way, Earl Scruggs did that very thing…what a talent…I for one am happy we have so much of his work recorded…and can enjoy it…Kudos, Earl Scruggs…

And how about one more version of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”…not quite as good, well maybe as exciting, as the one above in my book but good none the less…here is Earl Scruggs and Steve Martin plus, Jerry Douglas, Vince Gill and many other friends…



  1. We love his music here. The girls are always watching Beverly Hillbillies.

    I think one of our favorite Earl Scrubbs is 3 Pickers that we recorded off of PBS some years back, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, and Ricky Skaggs.


    • Cheryl…happy to hear you love that music…you know, what’s not to love…just watching them pick that music off those strings…it’s fun just watching them do it…and the music is so upbeat…I just “feel good” while I listen…like I said…by the time their done, you just “laugh out loud for the joy of it”…thanks Cheryl…Jim E

  2. You’re right Jim, so many people who’ve brightened our lives are passing from the scene these days, it’s sad but it’s also a great thing to remember their contributions. Thanks!

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