Friday Five: Earl Scruggs

Juli Thanki | January 6th, 2012

Earl Scruggs turns 88 today, so to celebrate the five-string legend—who is also a mighty fine guitar player and singer—we reached out to a few of the myriad banjo players he’s has influenced over the past sixty-plus years and asked them to select their favorite Scruggs tune. Give a listen to the four songs below while you check out the Tennessean‘s Scruggs photo gallery, and tell us: what’s your personal favorite Earl Scruggs song? This morning, mine is “Ground Speed.”

 

Eric Gibson: My favorite is “Flint Hill Special” because Earl’s recording of it on the Carnegie Hall album is what hooked me on banjo. His playing was electric and the crowd’s reaction sent a chill up my spine. I love how he and the band obliged and played through the song again. Earl knew how to tickle your ear with his playing, and I think “Flint Hill Special” is a perfect example.

 

Joe Newberry: Banjo: “Pike County Breakdown.” I love the insistent nature of this tune. It has great lead lines, and also showcases his great back up playing while other breaks are happening.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Kh81X2XZpg

 

Guitar: “You Are My Flower.” Because, next to Maybelle Carter, it’s the best.

 

Lee Marcus: My personal favorite Earl Scruggs tune is “Reuben.” It is one of the simplest, yet most soulful banjo instrumentals written thus far. And no one can play it with more soul than Mr. Scruggs.

1 Ping

  1. [...] from the Tennessean and New York Times, remembrances from Terry Baucom and Mac Wiseman, and a Friday Five from our archives in which we asked a few banjo players to pick their favorite Scruggs tune. A [...]
  1. Steve Timmes
    January 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    All of His songs are of equal greatness but one of my most favorites is his playing on Fireball Mail.

  2. Bill Hare
    January 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Flint Hill (first cut), GroundSpeed, the list is endless, like Earl’s talent!

  3. Bill Hare
    January 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Flint Hill, Randy Lynn, GroundSpeed.

  4. Nathan Green
    January 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    My favorite is ” My Little Girl In Tennessee” and “Down the Road” the breaks and mostly the backup of Scruggs is awesome. Never putting my banjo down because of Earl Scruggs. Thank you so much.

  5. Paul W Dennis
    January 7, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Probably “Song of The South” with Tom T Hall and the original recording of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” as recorded for Mercury in 1949

  6. Phil
    January 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    My favourite is Old Salty Dog

Tagged In This Article

// // //

Current Discussion

  • mrsandy: Also worth noting: Priscilla Mitchell was Jerry Reed's widow.
  • Leeann Ward: Wow! My heart goes out to Allison Moorer. She's had so many terrible things happen in her life. It's too …
  • Leeann Ward: I must have this audio book!
  • Juli Thanki: Ha! Same thing happened at Sturgill Simpson's show I went to last month, only he was singing "I Never Go …
  • Dave D.: On the topic of Lee Ann and dark songs, the funniest moment at this year's Americana Fest was during her …
  • Jonathan Pappalardo: I love Lori McKenna. Coming from Massachusetts, she's our local girl. I've been fortunate to see her in concert a …
  • bll: I suss her re-recording her hits for 'Gwendolen records' means she can stop MCA from releasing her hits against her.
  • Greg Judy: Cooler festivals and marching bands at the football games!
  • kevin ilinger: Fall colors bluegrass and apple cider
  • luckyoldsun: If I was a "long-time fan" of Trisha, I'd probably spring for the CD.

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton
  • sturgillsimpsonmetamodern
  • raypricebeautyis