Travelin’ that last mile to St. Peter’s gate

American music — not country music, not bluegrass music, but American music — lost a giant this week in the passing of banjo great Earl Scruggs. His style was as authentic as North Carolina moonshine, and it packed just as much wallop.

The video below gives you a nice peek at the three-fingered picking style that Scruggs made famous, but it also highlights the trait found in almost every song he plays. The man may crack just the barest hint of a smile, but his playing reveals a great sense of humor. He sets up the story beautifully, leading you to think you know what’s coming and then wham, here comes the punchline and he takes you in another direction entirely. It brings a smile to my face every time I hear it.

Rest in peace, Mr. Scruggs, and thank you.

– Jay Bookman

166 comments Add your comment

JOE COOL~DoWnToWn THUG

March 30th, 2012
3:47 pm

Have a good weekend Jay…. if you not here Monday, we know you won Mega Millions.

skipper

March 30th, 2012
3:57 pm

Wow! We agree on something! Earl Scruggs was an original, for sure, and his innovation affected many. I hope his family finds peace. Even though he made it to 88, it is tough to lose someone, especially a parent.

Logical Dude - Music Man

March 30th, 2012
3:57 pm

Don’t know much of his stuff off the top of my head, but I’m sure I’ve heard something of his.

josef

March 30th, 2012
3:57 pm

A modest fellow who played with just about anybody who was or was not somebody…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icMTVV5Lwaw

josef

March 30th, 2012
3:58 pm

Would that Hillbilly Deluxe were with us this p.m.

They BOTH suck

March 30th, 2012
3:59 pm

Good choice Jay

Now Turn it UP………

Mr Roy Clark………

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhiKgeJV3k0

They BOTH suck

March 30th, 2012
4:04 pm

josef

righteous choice……… that was great

Soothsayer

March 30th, 2012
4:04 pm

carlosgvv

March 30th, 2012
4:05 pm

He was the best. Have any of you ever seen Buck Trent play the electric banjo?

JamVet

March 30th, 2012
4:12 pm

Soothsayer

March 30th, 2012
4:12 pm

More notes than ants on a Tennessee anthill!

They BOTH suck

March 30th, 2012
4:13 pm

Herman's Cane

March 30th, 2012
4:14 pm

The best thing about the Beverly Hillbillies was the theme song.

RIP Mr. Scruggs. Damn were you good.

Soothsayer

March 30th, 2012
4:14 pm

josef

March 30th, 2012
4:18 pm

BOTH

Thanks for that Roy Clark…I never saw that performance before…if I had to pick a single cut that I relate to beyond words, it would be Clark’s version of Malaguena…

Soothsayer

March 30th, 2012
4:20 pm

They BOTH: thanks for playing that wonderful Gospel song. I hadn’t heard that one before. WONDERFUL!

They BOTH suck

March 30th, 2012
4:26 pm

josef

Roy can flat out play………. I always try to change it up a little after JB selects his tune, so I figured I had to step it up today……….

Sooth

No problem…… I’m not even Christian, however that song along with many other Gospel songs are great tunes

josef

March 30th, 2012
4:28 pm

like I said…any and everybody…second cut on this video is pretty good, too, for a view of just how wide his interests were…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWXulD-gxuw

JamVet

March 30th, 2012
4:29 pm

Sooth, I always liked that Lovin’ Spoonful song.

A buddy of mine was really into this Canadian band…

Wherever you are and whatever became of you, this one’s for you Tony…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc4F-XCLc78&feature=related

stands for decibels

March 30th, 2012
4:31 pm

They BOTH suck

March 30th, 2012
4:31 pm

Soothsayer

March 30th, 2012
4:36 pm

JamVet

March 30th, 2012
4:38 pm

jonix, that ‘the Paganini of the banjo’ with the Byrds was insanely cool…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=fvwp&NR=1&v=DUzVUNJKiDc

Soothsayer

March 30th, 2012
4:41 pm

Fred ™

March 30th, 2012
4:41 pm

Well let’s not forget Redneck convert and his family tonight………

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myhnAZFR1po

josef

March 30th, 2012
4:43 pm

BOTH

I’m not a Christian either, but when it comes to my “soul music,” it’s bluegrass gospel…

They BOTH suck

March 30th, 2012
4:43 pm

Wade Hampton

March 30th, 2012
5:06 pm

Earl Scruggs wasn’t an hypocritical Obama faux anti-war patriot.
.
You Obama-bots should look in the mirror…Try not to gag.
.
God bless the REAL principled Americans.
This took courage back in 1971.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGDp–0SbX8

josef

March 30th, 2012
5:10 pm

WADE

You beat me to it…there’s Charlie Daniels in there, too…

(and for the Obamabots…don’t let Wade’s snip turn you off to it…a good link…)

They BOTH suck

March 30th, 2012
5:11 pm

“You Obama-bots should look in the mirror…Try not to gag.”

Try it yourself sometime without the rose colored glasses…….. Might not be as inviting as you have brainwashed yourself to believe

But have a great weekend

They BOTH suck

March 30th, 2012
5:16 pm

josef

It actually was a good link, but not really into simpletons calling others simpletons

I will switch gears and leave you with this great song……… Yes from one of my fav bands that I’ve only linked 100 or so clips of in the past

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmUfP37d8yU

Everyone have a great night and and even better weekend

Peace

Matti the Resistance Fighter in the War on Women

March 30th, 2012
5:19 pm

Wade Hampton,

Thanks for sharing that! Awesome. (Hint: You don’t have to be a d!*k to share a nice piece. FNM is about common ground.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrlqQ1_vZVE

josef

March 30th, 2012
5:20 pm

godless heathen

March 30th, 2012
5:24 pm

And with none other than Alvin Lee.

http://youtu.be/0lU7XyqiSsA

MountainDawg

March 30th, 2012
5:26 pm

Jay, thanks for posting nod to the late, great Earl Scruggs…the best banjo picker of all time!

godless heathen

March 30th, 2012
5:31 pm

For Mr. Scruggs, play a train song.

http://youtu.be/B90sCOd5IzI

Wade Hampton

March 30th, 2012
5:40 pm

I apologize for the snippets.
.
The R versus D mentality is gonna destroy us all.
The reality is Washington crooks versus decency.
.
One day ya’ll will understand.
Hopefully, it won’t be too late.
.
Peace……………….FreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeBird.
.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbUL4zC70Wo&feature=related

Tom Middleton

March 30th, 2012
5:41 pm

Growing up in the South was something, Jay, for among other things, we had the Wilborn Brothers (with Loretta Lynn), Porter Wagoner (with Dolly Parton), and, of course, Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys (with special guests), in back-to-back programs every Saturday afternoon. What a music education it was.

But here’s a video I’ve been watching off and on for several years now of Earl with the great Chieftains doing “Sally Goodin’.” Somehow it seems to get even better every time I watch it, especially now!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByYSkRGrMqw

godless heathen

March 30th, 2012
5:57 pm

Tom Middleton: That was a real toe-tapper. Thanks!

josef

March 30th, 2012
5:59 pm

My @ 5:20

Go toward the end…Earl Scruggs and Bob Dylan calling on Joan Baez…

WADE
@ 5:40

Now THAT’s some Friday Night redemption! Thanks for the link… :-)

TOM
@ 5:41

Yep. American by birth and Southern by the Grace of G-d…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ows8tBIfiI

:-)

TaxPayer

March 30th, 2012
6:01 pm

Soothsayer

March 30th, 2012
6:01 pm

Tom: that tin whistle gave me goose bumps!

Soothsayer

March 30th, 2012
6:06 pm

josef

March 30th, 2012
6:07 pm

and besides all that, the bajo’s just plain fun…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNEA4pamt0A

pogo

March 30th, 2012
6:07 pm

The Earl Scruggs Revue “Bold and New” album was excellent. Earl was a musician.

And goodbye Keith Oblerman and may we never see your bitter face again gracing our TV’s when we are changing channels. Even Gore’s struggling and unwatched Current TV ditched the liberal loser. I love the fact that these liberal networks like Oprah and Current are hemorrhaging money because nobody watches them.

josef

March 30th, 2012
6:18 pm

SOOTH
@ 6:01

Now, THAT’s not something you hear every day, is it! Great…I’m with one of the comments, “my love of bagpipes and banjoes has been vindicated!” :-)

josef

March 30th, 2012
6:21 pm

pogo

Do you need a hug…? Cheer up, it’s Friday…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nx8FdRMRKYs

Don't Forget

March 30th, 2012
6:24 pm

Both 4:43 Great choice!

josef

March 30th, 2012
3:57 pm

A modest fellow who played with just about anybody who was or was not somebody…

That’s not an uncommon trait amongst bluegrass players, one of the reasons I like it.

And nothing against singers and dancers but I’ve always gravitated to musicians who were exceptional at playing instruments.

One of my favorites, yea roll on buddy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u964a0f38s

Matti the Resistance Fighter in the War on Women

March 30th, 2012
6:32 pm

I’ve posted this before, and the regulars enjoyed it, so… if you’re in the mood for redundancy, or just want to see an awesome use of hairspray… heh…. Here y’all go:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1omSJq06jJ8

josef

March 30th, 2012
6:40 pm

MATTI

In honor of your tonight’s tag,,,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGgaKTR8f5M

Don't Forget

March 30th, 2012
6:44 pm

Not exactly bluegrass but some amazing dueling fiddles, besides, she’s hot

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8hBCzPTvB8

Paul

March 30th, 2012
6:44 pm

Jay

I like how you honor the greats when they pass. This is a very nice tribute.

Banjos… and harmonicas. Both say “American music” to me.

Hope AmVet makes it in. And Hillbilly Deluxe. He’s been too long gone.

josef

March 30th, 2012
6:49 pm

Don't Forget

March 30th, 2012
6:57 pm

Well there never was a hoss like the Tennessee stud

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5c1k949Zn4&feature=related

Matti the Resistance Fighter in the War on Women

March 30th, 2012
7:04 pm

josef,

That was really cool, thanks! I had heard of her, but it’s been a long time. I’ve always thought of myself as a lover, not a fighter, but resurgence of blatant misogyny in our government demands that someone take a stand. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4m9M6CYulM

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 30th, 2012
7:11 pm

godless heathen

March 30th, 2012
7:12 pm

Don’t Forget

March 30th, 2012
6:44 pm

Not exactly bluegrass but some amazing dueling fiddles, besides, she’s hot

Not this hot.

http://youtu.be/qHsxmjpkeFI

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 30th, 2012
7:13 pm

To my conservative friends:

This would be funny if it weren’t so sickenly true !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Czo5Vf8KZs

Soothsayer

March 30th, 2012
7:14 pm

“The defining dramatic moment in the film occurs just after Morpheus invites Neo to choose between a red pill and a blue pill. The red pill promises ‘the truth and nothing more.’ Neo takes the red pill and awakes to reality – something utterly different from anything Neo, or the audience, could have expected. What Neo had assumed to be reality turned out to be only a collective illusion, fabricated by the Matrix and fed to a population that is asleep, cocooned in grotesque embryonic pods. In the Matrix world, true reality and perceived reality exist on entirely different planes.”

– Richard K. Moore, Escaping the Matrix

Aw shyte! I forgot it was Friday Night Music! Sorry!

josef

March 30th, 2012
7:14 pm

BOTH, Don’t forget

Hmmm… let’s see…bluegrass, Tennessee, master musicians and our Friday Night visit from…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k0uPCTChpg&feature=related

Soothsayer

March 30th, 2012
7:20 pm

godless heathen

March 30th, 2012
7:21 pm

“our Friday Night visit”

2 thumbs up!!

Don't Forget

March 30th, 2012
7:23 pm

Heathen, that was AWESOME! Not gonna concede though :P

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_fwgkpghtM

josef

March 30th, 2012
7:24 pm

MATTI

“…you can’t afford to turn it down, cause now I’ve got…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DcdONaKSQM

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 30th, 2012
7:25 pm

Soothsayer:

Haven’t seen you on here for a couple of days. This is a follow up to your question from the other night.

Do you support this quote ?

“If in the opinion of the People, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of GOOD (emphasis added), it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”

O.K. The quote is by George Washington and it basically means this:

There is a process to change the Constitution. It’s called an amendment.
To make the Constitution say something it doesn’t (even for a good purpose) is to
usurp it and by doing that you cheapen it and make it easier for despots to ignore it
in the future.

Soothsayer

March 30th, 2012
7:28 pm

Scout: if you are asking if I favor a Constitutional amendment as a means to change the Constitution, then I would have to agree.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 30th, 2012
7:37 pm

Soothsayer:

Good ………. then you agree with Washington that to change it by usurpation is a danger to free governments.

“usurpation: “an act of usurping; wrongful or illegal encroachment, infringement, or seizure.”

Unfortunately, various Suprem Courts (conservative and liberal) have failed in this regard throughout our history and each time they do so the Constitution is weakened.

JamVet

March 30th, 2012
7:38 pm

Matti and Wade, nice. Just nice as can be.

Gonna go back and check out some earlier stuff.

From the Todd Rundgren channel on Pandora,

You won’t mind if I kiss you now

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEu5PkGBHRc

Don't Forget

March 30th, 2012
7:38 pm

Josef, funny thing is I live in Knoxville. Love that song unless it’s played by a freakin marching band, that just aint right. Looks like I won’t be in Tennessee much longer though, in a few months I’ll probably be “goin to Carolina……..”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEC5s3nzVzo

josef

March 30th, 2012
7:44 pm

Y’all didn’t think you’d get by without being reminded there’s a few of them still here and pickin the banjo…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMJgEPkEYl0&feature=related

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 30th, 2012
7:50 pm

JamVet

March 30th, 2012
7:52 pm

“I live in Knoxville”

Sweet, DF.

I love how this really is a regional forum. Miami to Texas to NC to Tennessee. And the ultra cool Popeye even blogged in from Portland.

And Blue Sky just proves how great this FNTM thing is. I have to wonder how many other organic things like this have appeared around the country on the Intertubes. (Not many, I suppose.) (Thank you, Al Gore!)

Saw this banjo player at Music Midtown…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q50xzhDO9lI

josef

March 30th, 2012
7:56 pm

Don’t Forget

“…and signs that might be omens…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99RuZPCGQrg

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 30th, 2012
7:57 pm

Stay With It For The Performance !!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dhEgKOUubw

…………. and at the end the way “that song” should be played !!

josef

March 30th, 2012
8:04 pm

Matti

BTW…Boadicea was one helluva woman…I knew about her as a kid…it was one of my Grandfather’s “pet names” (ha!) for his mother in law…the one who well, let’s just say for sake of brevity here, had an axe to grind with the invaders of her generation! :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2i-wuQvc2FU

godless heathen

March 30th, 2012
8:04 pm

From dueling banjos to dueling hot violin playing babes…….

Don’t Forget: I believe I’ll have to concede the Hotness crown to Ms. Calhoun but I’ll give a slight edge to Ms. Micarelli in violin sawing. But what do I know?

http://youtu.be/e_-7yfBrgeM

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 30th, 2012
8:05 pm

josef:

I’m sure you’ve heard this one !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yeg1f-7-New

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 30th, 2012
8:09 pm

godless heathen:

Beat this one ………….. Last of the Mohincans theme ……………….. :o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVbu8bh7SWk&feature=related

godless heathen

March 30th, 2012
8:14 pm

Jam,

“Béla Fleck and the Flecktones – Big Country” Thanks for introducing me to them. Going on my watch list. Any group that has a bassoon is cool. Love the winds.

Finn McCool (Class Warfare === Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 30th, 2012
8:14 pm

Christi says he will be ready in 2016. Dude won’t be alive in 2016 if he don’t chill on the snacks.

JamVet

March 30th, 2012
8:14 pm

JOE COOL~DoWnToWn THUG,

Some of the monikers here are pretty funny.

heathen, from Alvin Lee to that crazy violin heavy rock stuff. Sweet…

DF, also saw Widespread Panic at Music Midtown (different year). So much big talent in Georgia, huh?

Don't Forget

March 30th, 2012
8:15 pm

signs that may be omens …….. good line

those mountains should suit me well, just hope they’ve got some soulshine, I know they’ve got the moonshine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDIQ7Otf1mw

Finn McCool (Class Warfare === Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 30th, 2012
8:16 pm

Last of the Mohicans? Have you been to Chimney Rock park in western NC? You get to walk right by where that fight and suicide were filmed. They have an elevator too, for you conservatives who don’t like to work.

godless heathen

March 30th, 2012
8:18 pm

0311: She can pull her bow over my strings anytime. More grog!

Finn McCool (Class Warfare === Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 30th, 2012
8:18 pm

I think the Friday the 2nd week of November won’t be this communal. Let’s love it while we cann.

Don't Forget

March 30th, 2012
8:19 pm

Jamvet, you said it. Panic is about the best thing out there for my taste these days and Jimmy Herring, whoa that guy’s the real deal.

Don't Forget

March 30th, 2012
8:21 pm

Finn McCool (Class Warfare === Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 30th, 2012
8:18 pm

I think the Friday the 2nd week of November won’t be this communal. Let’s love it while we cann.

We can work it out
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jlXnQEgbuw

Don't Forget

March 30th, 2012
8:25 pm

Finn, chimney rock is very cool. was there about 20 years ago but didn’t know that.

Ever heard of the Brown mountain lights, quite the mystery.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gftfwM9_J0g

godless heathen

March 30th, 2012
8:26 pm

Banjo story. In the small country town that I grew up in, they would occasionally have a talent show at the grade school. This guy, Horace Green, would come with his very worn banjo. He could play one song, or about 8 measures of one song. He would sit up there and play and play and play. The same 8 measures until they came and got him. He wasn’t bad, but he needed some diversity in his act.

JamVet

March 30th, 2012
8:26 pm

Matti the Resistance Fighter in the War on Women

March 30th, 2012
8:26 pm

josef,

Looks like Loretta finally thwarted her invader as well! Hahaha!

josef

March 30th, 2012
8:29 pm

Scout

Yep…wanted to slit my wrists.., :-)

********

And the multicultural banjo? Try this one on for size…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJMd2cFrHOY

Finn McCool (Class Warfare === Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 30th, 2012
8:34 pm

Have you folks been to the newly released – FOR FREE – Alan Lomax songs?

OMG, there is soooooo much there. This dude was like the first NPR story. Amazing what he caught.
http://research.culturalequity.org/audio-guide.jsp

Listen to anything you can by Ledbelly, then go rent the movie about him!

Finn McCool (Class Warfare === Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 30th, 2012
8:35 pm

The Mississippi prison recordings are really good!

TaxPayer

March 30th, 2012
8:36 pm

godless heathen

March 30th, 2012
8:37 pm

I’ll be heading to Savannah on Sunday to watch the submarine races.

http://youtu.be/M_PcyibEPao

Don't Forget

March 30th, 2012
8:37 pm

Godless, I’ll take that. Wish I’d learned to play the fiddle now, lol.

You mentioned bela fleck, this is probably my favorite of theirs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9XDUBDMNuk

back later

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 30th, 2012
8:41 pm

josef:

You may slit your wrists over this one too !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pfCFU3Mqww&feature=related

Finn McCool (Class Warfare === Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 30th, 2012
8:47 pm

Dang, 1801, were you raised on the Abbot and costello movies too? Man I was. I sooooo want to see the whole oyster stew skit again – guess I should look for it on youtube.

godless heathen

March 30th, 2012
8:48 pm

CD recommendation is Chimes of Freedom -The Songs of Bob Dylan – Honoring 50 years of Amnesty International.

The aforementioned Lucia Micarelli and Steve Earle rendition of “One More Cup of Coffee” is exceptionally good.