Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Remembering Earl Scruggs

Two sites are likely to provide the bulk (but definitely not all) of the material driving this blog. They are free and legal places to get some great music:


Both offer up [legally free] free music. Many - but not all - of the songs in each repository are available for download. Some are only there for online listening/streaming. |In either case, the musicians concerned are on board and are among those that believe that music should belong to the people.

Certainly, other resouces are likely to appear over time, both through your input and as a result of my own research. However, the above should provide more than enough to get us started.

To get started, I offer up some banjo music. I'll call it an homage to Earl Scruggs, who passed away March 28, 2012. Another master of the banjo, Bela Fleck, paid tribute to Earl Scruggs both by attending the funeral, and then later including a solo banjo medley at his April 1st Omaha concert with the Flecktones.

In the Omaha concert Bela Fleck apparently included a medley of Scruggs tunes (I was miles away, so I rely on media reports). I would assume that he included The Balad of Jed Clampett - probably Mr Scrugg's best known piece. To me, this week's first file/recording from a concert in 2000 at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans tells it all: for the first minute or so, Fleck "jazzes" it up -various free-form interpretations of Beverly Hillbillies. He hits a final off key (but not really) chord that is followed by a brief but seriously authentic rendition of the recognizable tune.

The second song in this posting is a duet featuring Bela Fleck and Earl Scruggs together. The short version file linked here has been extracted from a 3 hour Scruggs-related recording of the March 30, 2012 "Out Of The Woods" radio show on WSCS out of Colby Sawyer College in New Hampshire. The DJ tells us the recording is from Tales from the Acoustic Planet The Bluegrass Sessions v.2 and it's called Foggy Mountain Special.

Bela Fleck: Balad of Jed Clampett (Live New Orleans, May 2000)
[Original copy at]

Bela Fleck/Earl Scruggs: Foggy Mountain Special
[Full Radio Show @]

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