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Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012

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pdq 28 Mar 12 - 08:05 PM
Guy Wolff 28 Mar 12 - 08:12 PM
Nancy King 28 Mar 12 - 08:15 PM
katlaughing 28 Mar 12 - 08:15 PM
GUEST,BanjoRay 28 Mar 12 - 08:16 PM
Desert Dancer 28 Mar 12 - 08:38 PM
GUEST,kendall 28 Mar 12 - 08:52 PM
Jeri 28 Mar 12 - 08:57 PM
SINSULL 28 Mar 12 - 08:58 PM
Dan Schatz 28 Mar 12 - 09:26 PM
Janie 28 Mar 12 - 09:29 PM
Ross Campbell 28 Mar 12 - 10:59 PM
catspaw49 28 Mar 12 - 11:05 PM
ChanteyLass 28 Mar 12 - 11:23 PM
Amos 28 Mar 12 - 11:24 PM
Lonesome EJ 28 Mar 12 - 11:29 PM
Desert Dancer 28 Mar 12 - 11:45 PM
alanabit 29 Mar 12 - 02:54 AM
GUEST,Mike Rogers 29 Mar 12 - 03:25 AM
GUEST,Roger Knowles 29 Mar 12 - 03:54 AM
fat B****rd 29 Mar 12 - 03:56 AM
Dave Hanson 29 Mar 12 - 04:04 AM
GUEST,JohnnyBeezer 29 Mar 12 - 04:23 AM
Bat Goddess 29 Mar 12 - 07:12 AM
Wesley S 29 Mar 12 - 08:07 AM
Charley Noble 29 Mar 12 - 08:12 AM
voyager 29 Mar 12 - 08:22 AM
Dave Hanson 29 Mar 12 - 08:33 AM
Beer 29 Mar 12 - 08:44 AM
Haruo 29 Mar 12 - 09:08 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 29 Mar 12 - 10:10 AM
glueman 29 Mar 12 - 10:54 AM
Amos 29 Mar 12 - 11:03 AM
pdq 29 Mar 12 - 11:06 AM
Cool Beans 29 Mar 12 - 12:39 PM
Steve Parkes 29 Mar 12 - 01:13 PM
topical tom 29 Mar 12 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,Seamus Kennedy 29 Mar 12 - 01:28 PM
Desert Dancer 29 Mar 12 - 01:48 PM
gnu 29 Mar 12 - 02:21 PM
Gurney 29 Mar 12 - 03:51 PM
GUEST 29 Mar 12 - 04:16 PM
Dave the Gnome 29 Mar 12 - 05:58 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 29 Mar 12 - 06:38 PM
Janie 29 Mar 12 - 08:15 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 29 Mar 12 - 10:04 PM
Desert Dancer 30 Mar 12 - 11:08 AM
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Uncle Phil 30 Mar 12 - 12:29 PM
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Subject: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88)
From: pdq
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 08:05 PM

Please post testimonials as they become available.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88)
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 08:12 PM

I just saw this on line and came home here to see if a thread had been started. What a large place this wonderful man took up in so many of our lives . I cant thank him enough for all the joy he brought to my days here on earth . Warm thoughts to his whole family .. Guy


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88)
From: Nancy King
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 08:15 PM

Definitely one of a kind. RIP, Earl.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88)
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 08:15 PM

What a sad day for his family, friends, and fans. I agree, Guy, what an impact he made and for so long.

Condolences to all,

kat


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88)
From: GUEST,BanjoRay
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 08:16 PM

Nobody could do it like Earl - a great great player. He enriched us all......


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 08:38 PM

Not an obituary, but a fine recent tribute.

~ Becky in Tucson

The Master from Flint Hill: Earl Scruggs

Posted by Steve Martin
New Yorker, Culture Desk blog
January 17, 2012

Some nights he had the stars of North Carolina shooting from his fingertips. Before him, no one had ever played the banjo like he did. After him, everyone played the banjo like he did, or at least tried. In 1945, when he first stood on the stage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and played banjo the way no one had ever heard before, the audience responded with shouts, whoops, and ovations. He performed tunes he wrote as well as songs they knew, with clarity and speed like no one could imagine, except him. When the singer came to the end of a phrase, he filled the theatre with sparkling runs of notes that became a signature for all bluegrass music since. He wore a suit and Stetson hat, and when he played he smiled at the audience like what he was doing was effortless. There aren't many earthquakes in Tennessee, but that night there was.

As boys in the little community of Flint Hill, near Shelby, North Carolina, Earl and his brother Horace would take their banjo and guitar and start playing on the porch, then split up and meet behind the house. Their goal was to still be on the beat when they rejoined at the back. Momentously, when he was ten years old, after a fight with his brother, he was playing his banjo to calm his mind. He was practicing the standard "Reuben" when found he could incorporate his third finger into the picking of his right hand, instead of the his usual two, in an unbroken, rolling, staccato. He ran back to his brother, shouting, "I've got it, I've got it!" He was on the way to creating an entirely new way of playing the banjo: Scruggs Style.

He was only twenty-one when he was in on the founding of bluegrass music, adding the Scruggs' banjo sound to Bill Monroe's great blend of guitar, bass, fiddle, mandolin, and Monroe's iconic high, lonesome voice, singing, "It's mighty dark for me to travel." He had already been playing Scruggs style for eleven years. On the Grand Ole Opry's Ryman Auditorium stage, the banjo had been played well, but mostly in the old style, and mostly by comedians, prompting Uncle Dave Macon, a beloved regular, to say about Earl from the wings, "That boy can play the banjo, but he ain't one damned bit funny."

It was at the Ryman, in 1946, that he met his future wife, Louise. They made eye contact while he was performing as she sat in the third row, stage left. Ten years later, when it became obvious that Earl was not only famous but verging on a legend, Louise, exhibiting country firmness and gumption, became his gate-keeper, defending the soft-spoken Earl from celebrity abuse, ill-advised contracts, and too many free dates or dubious honors. But Earl always obliged the youngsters and amateurs (including this writer, whom Earl showed how to play "Sally Goodin'," his way, when I was twenty-two).

Sometime after Monroe denied him songwriting credit on "Bluegrass Breakdown," Scruggs left Monroe, changed the F chord in "Bluegrass Breakdown" to E minor, and wrote "Foggy Mountain Breakdown. " It became, arguably, the most famous banjo instrumental, a song that speeds along at a clip of eleven notes per second. It is known by most people as the theme from the movie "Bonnie and Clyde," and also supplied Earl with an income for life.

The banjo lends itself to showing off: it's often played fast and thrillingly, fingers flying up and down the neck, the right hand connecting to the left with seemingly impossible accuracy. But Earl always remembered his mother's advice when he was a boy: "Play something that has a tune to it." His first and last priority was to make music, which keeps his sound melodic and accessible. Yet, even professional players today say, "How did he do that?" It is not easy to make the melody note land in the right place when rolling three fingers over five strings, but Earl could syncopate, "bend" a string—which caused one note to move unbroken into another—and he could audibly retune the banjo in the middle of a song, leading to the invention of a mechanical device called "Scruggs' pegs." Earl knew when and how to surprise the heck out of the listener.

After he left Monroe, in 1948, Scruggs teamed up with Lester Flatt, who had also left Monroe, and Earl maintained his position, unassailed, as the greatest and most influential banjo player who ever lived. They toured the rough backroads of the bluegrass circuit, where jarring potholes knocked their instruments haywire, and they tuned each night to Flatt's G string on his guitar—which, over the months, crept up in pitch. By the end of the tour, they were often a half-step too high, which they soon learned suited Flatt's baritone voice.

The long zigzag march through the clubs and radio stations of America counted, though, and Monroe was annoyed as Flatt and Scruggs became as famous as he was. In 1962, they headlined the Newport Folk Festival, sold out Carnegie Hall, and, one year later, Earl's banjo helped send "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" to No. 1 on the country charts. Then the Bob Dylan revolution and Beatles revolution hit almost simultaneously. At one point, a producer convinced the band to incorporate this new music into Flatt and Scruggs, persuading Flatt to sing, unbecomingly, "Everybody must get stoned." Earl split with Lester Flatt in 1969 for a hundred reasons, but one among them was he had never approved of Flatt's onstage joke in reference to a raucous member of the band: "He's got a mouth on him like Martin Luther King."

In the late nineteen-sixties, Earl continued to be introduced to new sounds through his musical sons Randy and Gary, and also by drop-ins to his Nashville house: Bob Dylan, the Byrds, and others who wanted to pick with the famous Earl Scruggs. Ravi Shankar came by with his sitar, and, after their unlikely jam session, they satisfied Ravi's mystical craving for Kentucky Fried Chicken by sharing a bucket. Eventually, Earl grew his hair a bit long, joined Randy and Gary to create the Earl Scruggs Revue, and added drums to the band—a bluegrass no-no. A few years later, he released a solo album featuring songs by Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. When he showed up at a Washington, D.C., anti-Vietnam War protest, the country-music world from which he sprang wondered if he had blown a gasket.

A grand part of American music owes a debt to Earl Scruggs. Few players have changed the way we hear an instrument the way Earl has, putting him in a category with Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Chet Atkins, and Jimi Hendrix. His reach extends not only throughout America, but to other countries, including Japan, where bluegrass bands, strangely, abound, as well as Australia, Russia, the U.K., Italy, Germany, and the Czech Republic, which boasts not only bands but banjo makers. Most, if not all, of the banjo players play Scruggs style.

Earl is now eighty-eight, and it's been seventy-eight years since he first shouted, "I've got it!" and reinvigorated the banjo. Picking with Earl at his home in Nashville is a holy anointment, and playing Earl's banjo, the one he recorded "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" on in 1949, well, that's like holding the Grail. Sometimes on these special evenings, everyone will sit around playing their instruments, and the tunes will glide easily from one to another, like it has on the porches and living rooms of America for hundreds of years. But then Earl will settle in, playing backup or taking the lead, and you hear the sound, the one you heard when you first fell in love with the banjo, and you can't help but have a slight intake of breath. Unmistakable. That's Earl Scruggs. The five-string banjo could not have had a better genius.

The author (Steve Martin) wishes to thank Gary Scruggs, Pete Wernick, and Tony Trischka for confirming facts and contributing memories to this article.

Foggy Mountain Breakdown (on Soundcloud, as embedded in the article)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88)
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 08:52 PM

He was one of the greats alright. probably influenced more banjo pickers than anyone else.

Was it Frank Profitt who said, "I'd like to be able to play like Scruggs, then not."?


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88)
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 08:57 PM

I saw him in 1979 at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, TX with my mother. My mother's gone, the Armadillo's gone, and now Earl's gone too. I'm pretty sure me and Austin are still here.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88)
From: SINSULL
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 08:58 PM

Banjo players are sexier...I could have done without this news. RIP
SINS


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88)
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 09:26 PM

Earl Scruggs was arguably one of the most influential musicians in American cultural history - as much or more so than Bill Monroe himself. It's a great loss, and that's all there is to it.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88)
From: Janie
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 09:29 PM

Very nice tribute from Steve Martin. Thanks for linking to it Becky.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 10:59 PM

A working link:- Foggy Mountain Breakdown - Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and The Foggy Mountain Boys


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 11:05 PM

I agree Janie......and my thanks as well Becky.

I remember a discussion we had here 10 years or so back about Bluegrass. Basically we talked about the beginnings of various musical forms. While it is very hard to come up with a moment in time when jazz or rock or even classical or whatever began, with Bluegrass it began the first time Earl Scruggs played with Bill Monroe. Bill Monroe had the style already but the true trademark of the genre came with Earl Scruggs.

Thanks Earl.......


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 11:23 PM

Oh, sad.

Obits
http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/obit/story/2012-03-28/earl-scruggs-banjo-legend-bluegrass-dies/53841194/1

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2012/03/earl-scruggs-remembering-a-bluegrass-and-american-music-legend.html

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-03-28/earl-scruggs-banjoist-who-invented-scruggs-style-dies-at-88

I am sure there will be many more.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Amos
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 11:24 PM

JUst got the word from old Mudcatter Banjoest who talked to Earl's son Garry. A great man has passed on. May he pick forever in his own kind of heaven.


A


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 11:29 PM

A long life, well lived. There should be a Constellation named after him.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 11:45 PM

Thanks for the link fix, Ross.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: alanabit
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 02:54 AM

Thanks for linking that Steve Martin article Becky. I have probably heard his influence every time I have heard banjo in a bluegrass band. Obviously there is a long life of achievement for his family, friends and many admirers to celebrate.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: GUEST,Mike Rogers
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 03:25 AM

Another Grand Old Man of Music done gone.
Nobody did it better.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: GUEST,Roger Knowles
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 03:54 AM

A great loss to the world of American music. One of my first heroes.
Sleep well, Earl, you'll be missed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: fat B****rd
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 03:56 AM

So sad, RIP Mr.Scruggs.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 04:04 AM

He's probably jammin with Vassar Clements, John Hartford and Lester by now.

RIP Earl.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: GUEST,JohnnyBeezer
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 04:23 AM

Whew, what to say!

RIP Banjoman.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 07:12 AM

Saw him along with Lester Flatt at a Schlitz summer free concert in Milwaukee in 1967.

Here's the obit in the NY Times -- NY Times Scruggs Obit

Linn


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Wesley S
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 08:07 AM

He was like the pebble that first hits the pond. The ripples go on and on and on.....


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 08:12 AM

So do they give out banjos at the Pearly Gates or do you need to bring your own?

Somehow I just can't imagine Earl playing the harp.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: voyager
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 08:22 AM

Lonesome EJ got it right....Earl Scruggs is a guiding light in the sky.

Nashville Tennessean

voyager


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 08:33 AM

If Earl played the harp, he'd raise the standard it a few levels and in a few weeks they'd all be doing it.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Beer
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 08:44 AM

He will be sadly missed in the Bluegrass circle. Lets hope that he is still playing and with his friends who have passed on as well.
Sympathies to his family, fans and friends.
Adrien


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Haruo
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 09:08 AM

I just posted an entry on him in the Esperanto Wikipedia (pretty much all translated from the English, but I added a couple of YouTube links):

Earl Scruggs

I keep promising to do an article there on Blugreso (Bluegrass) in general, maybe in April?


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 10:10 AM

Earl was unique in being not only the originator of a style, but the unquestioned master of it. Other instrumental styles have been created by single innovative players, but those styles have been taken to their highest levels by others. Earl's bandmate Josh Graves arguably invented modern bluegrass Dobro, but Jerry Douglas has taken it way beyond what Graves did. But nobody has ever played Scruggs style banjo better than Earl.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: glueman
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 10:54 AM

Sad news but he wrote his name in music history. A remarkable talent.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Amos
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 11:03 AM

That banjo is going to ring all over Hebben.

A


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: pdq
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 11:06 AM

Here is a nice discussion of Earl Scruggs life with some fine videos:

http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/arts-entertainment-living/get-rhythm/32436-earl-scruggs-1924-2012


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Cool Beans
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 12:39 PM

RIP, Earl Scruggs

In bluegrass music heaven, where all good pickers go,
On the sunny side of the mountain, by the banks of the Ohio,
Somewhere up on Rocky Top, in the sweet, sweet by and by
If my walking shoes still fit me, gonna go there when I die...


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 01:13 PM

I'm glad he was among us for so many years. There will never be another.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: topical tom
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 01:21 PM

The music world has lost a great innovator. Flatt and Scruggs have left a wondrous legacy of bluegrass music. Heavenly music can only improve by the addition of Earl to the heavenly choir. I ghrew up listening to the music of Flatt and Scruggs and The Foggy Mountain Boys, hence my love of bluegrass today. RIP, Earl. You gave us all a musical legacy never to be forgotten.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: GUEST,Seamus Kennedy
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 01:28 PM

This just in: All the harps in heaven now have Scruggs tuners, and are to be played with thumb pick and fingerpicks.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 01:48 PM

No, Seamus, no!

~ Becky in Tucson, clawhammer player


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: gnu
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 02:21 PM

RIP andf thanks for the great tunes.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Gurney
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 03:51 PM

A tongue-in-cheek note: An announcer on our local radio said "Scruggs took the music of Scotland and Ireland and made it an art-form."


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 04:16 PM

RIP EARL


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 05:58 PM

My introduction to bluegrass - Lester Flat and Earl Scruggs - Theme from the Beverley Hillbillies - But that was an English kid in the 60's!

Definitely a sad day.

DtG


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 06:38 PM

RIP Earl! You will live forever in the legacy that you left behind!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Janie
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 08:15 PM

One of my earliest memories of TV, and of music on TV was the 15 minute Flatt & Scruggs show, broadcast live every Thursday night at 6:00 pm from WSAZ, Huntington, WV. Daddy would not miss it, even if it meant supper got cold on the table.

Having fantasies - of Daddy seeing Earl arrive in his heaven and thinking, "Dang, I didn't know it could get even better!"


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 10:04 PM

I cannot express what Earl's banjo music has meant to me, ever since the day in 1956 when a fellow picker played me some dubs of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and two or three other cuts, and a passion for 3-finger picking began insinuating itself into my life.

There has never been anything like it! And I've loved exploring among the antecedents, Snuffy Jenkins and the others who inspired him, and tracing this way of playing back through the years into the traditional roots where it all came from in the first place.

Thanks for so much fine music, Earl, and may heaven ring with your work.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 11:08 AM

The New York Times has a nice video: Remembering Earl Scruggs.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 11:54 AM

My Earl story: He was booked to play a spring festival at the university shortly after he broke up with Lester. The show was cancelled or rescheduled or something because it conflicted with the big spring training football game. No one told Earl, but no fuss, no superstar tantrum. Eventually five or six of us showed up for the show. We chatted with Earl and the band while they set up, and then sat around the edge of the bandstand while they played their entire show for us.
- Phil


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 12:29 PM

That last was me. #$^%* cookie!
- Phil


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 01:10 PM

Dave Holt posted this story on Facebook:

Earl Scruggs was a quiet reserved man and when I was interviewing him for LEGACY I wanted him to tell the story about how much he helped Doc back in 1966. Doc was happy to tell the story but Earl just didn't want to blow his own horn and didn't want it told at that time. I talked to Doc this morning and he said, "Now is the time to tell it."

In 1966 Flatt and Scruggs invited Doc to record an album with them...to be called "Strictly Instrumental." Doc and Merle traveled to Nashville and were staying in a motel the day before recording was to start. Doc woke up that morning feeling very sick. Earl insisted they go to the doctor and the doctor immediately put Doc in the hospital with a ruptured appendix. At one point they gave Doc a 5% chance of surviving.

Doc said that in those days "he didn't have nickel." Earl realized this and explained Doc's financial situation to the Opry Fund and made a case that they should help this fine young musician from North Carolina. Doc was not well known at the time nor was he a close personal friend of Scruggs and yet Earl went to bat for him and was able to get the money to pay Doc's medical bills.

Doc was forever grateful to Earl for helping in this dire time. When Doc was well enough to leave the hospital Earl flew him home in his plane, and let Doc try his hand at flying. After this, Doc and Earl were friends for life. And when Strictly Instrumental was finally recorded and released it became an instant classic.


~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Rex
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 01:19 PM

Mark Gardner and I got to meet with Earl back in '06. He was still hot on the banjo and was playing his great classics like Pike County Breakdown. It seemed like he was playing even faster than on the old recordings. We were like five year old kids fawning over our hero and telling him how he inspired us to take up the banjo. Mark observed that he probably heard that a lot. Earl said, "well I might have heard that a time or two." There aren't many who have changed the direction of an instrument or a kind of music so clearly as he did. Thank you Earl for the great music and inspiration.

Rex


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 03:46 PM

Paul Brown has an item on NPR online: A Look Back At The Hidden Earl Scruggs

Excerpted:
In Scruggs' case, when you gently peel back the banjo layer of his musical persona, you find a guitar player as impressive as the banjo picker, as well as a gospel singer the equal of any in the finest Southern traditional quartet.
...
If you think at times you're hearing a trademark three-finger Scruggs banjo roll on the guitar, you are — it's incredible — while his baritone singing is solid, straightforward, unassuming. "God Loves His Children" serves as audible proof that Scruggs not only had heard traditional church music as a kid in rural North Carolina, but was fully steeped in it. He knew it in his soul.

More at the link, as well as audio of the song.

Also, on NPR's Fresh Air today, they are re-airing this: "Earl Scruggs: The 2003 Fresh Air Interview

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: banjoman
Date: 31 Mar 12 - 09:27 AM

I feel a bit of a fraud using the name banjoman and will gladly admit that Earl was and always will be the true BANJOMAN


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Subject: RE: Obit: Earl Scruggs (age 88) Mar. 28, 2012
From: Joe_F
Date: 31 Mar 12 - 06:01 PM

When I was in high school (Putney, VT, 1950-54), Mr Scruggs's name was often mentioned, but I was imperfectly aware that it was that of a human being. Primarily, it meant three-finger banjo picking. As such, it will live a long time.


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