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Earl Scruggs and Friends

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Album Review

Earl Scruggs practically invented the word banjo, and perhaps because of that he can count some of the most elite musicians among his "friends": Elton John, Sting, Melissa Etheridge, Don Henley, Johnny Cash, John Fogerty, and the list goes on. In a career that spans 50 years, Scruggs' five-string banjo stylings have helped to define American music. Here, on this 12-track compilation produced by son Randy, those banjo stylings can be heard in the same folk-based music he's known for, and also combined with a fresh and unequaled range of material that comes with having so many varied and dissimilar artists involved. Every song has a unique story to tell, but is always brandished with that distinctive Scruggs polish.

Customer Reviews

The Most Interesting Name

This album is incredible to listen to as much for its quality as its celebrity participation. But, of its celebrity participants the most interesting one isn't even mentioned. Steve Martin, who was known for carrying his banjo with him during standup in the 70's, delivers a banjo solo in Track 7 that won him a Grammy in 2003. Maybe they didn't list him on the front fearing that people would buy it expecting a comedy routine, but that banjo he's been carrying is anything but a prop. The man can play! The rest is great too, but it's Track 7 that will add to your appreciation one of America's foremost Renaissance men-actor, playwright, novelist, comedian, essayist, art expert and all around brilliant guy, Steve Martin.

I'm With Bob....

I agree! Where are the HUGE props to Steve Martin?

Foggy Mountain Fireworks!

Of all the many times it's been recorded and artists who've done it, I consider the "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" that appears on this album to be THE definitive version. Nearly five minutes in length, this dazzling performance also features--in addition to Scruggs himself--the awesome talents of Glen Duncan (fiddle), Earl's sons Randy (acoustic) and Gary (harmonica), Marty Stuart mandolin), Jerry Douglas (dobro), Steve Martin (2nd banjo) and Vince Gill (electric) among other. Just...WOW! Aside from this blockbuster track, there are many other fine songs in this collection as well. Of particular note is the vocal pairing of Vince Gill and Roseanne Cash on the beautiful "I Found Love" and "Blue Ridge Mountain Blues" where Scruggs supports vocalist John Fogerty as he pines for the ol' Blue Ridge homestead. The final track is a fun instrumental, with Scruggs and Marty Stuart further exploring the funky musical peaks and recesses of Foggy Mountain. If you haven't already purchased this album yet, do it! You'll be happy you did.


Born: January 6, 1924 in Flint Hill, NC

Genre: Country

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Earl Scruggs was to the five-string banjo what Paganini was to the violin. As part of the Foggy Mountain Boys and later Flatt & Scruggs (both with Lester Flatt), he created the sound of bluegrass and helped bring it to national recognition through radio shows, recordings, television appearances, and concerts. During the '40s, the group added "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" to the bluegrass canon, and during the '50s and '60s, they became the most visible bluegrass act in the country, performing often...
Full Bio

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