I bought this Flatt and Scruggs album at a Woolworth's in London, around 1968. It was about 2 dollars. Changed my life at the time. I learned a lot of those tunes playing Earl at half speed (and an octave lower). Still amazing how smooth his timing was, even slowed down. I was wondering if these titles appeared on a single album in the US, or whether it was more of a compilation album. How it ended up in Woolworth's is a mystery - it's like finding a John Hartford album at Sears.
My mom and dad bought that exact same gray Harmony 7250 LP in the very early 60s. It is a collection of F&S's best singles from the 1950s. Columbia was just reissuing old 78s and 45s from the vaults. I still have that old copy. I always wondered what the heck model banjo that is that Earl is holding. In fact in the later 1960s I wrote a letter to Scruggs Music at 201 Donna Dr., Madison TN and asked what it was. Reply letter signed by RANDY Scruggs stated something to the effect "My father has recorded only with Gibson Mastertone banjos." Not very helpful. A flyer inside the envelope, of stuff for sale, included Earl Scruggs Model VEGA banjos (not Mastertones!).
Lester is holding his D28 with the infamous, short-lived leather pickguard. Shortly replaced by the big plastic pickguard.
In monaural (not stereo), as God intended. Instead of liner notes, the back side of the jacket just lists the songs, and then 31 other Harmony LPs that were available. Including:
Stuart Hamblen hymns
Jerry Mazanec's Bohemian Polkas
Square Dances (with calls)
Bob Wills Special
Eddie Gronet's TV Polka Party (was this like the Polka Party show on RFD tv?)
Great Speckle Bird & Other Favorites (ancient Roy Acuff records)
30 Favorites for Listening and Dancing, Clarence Williams Trio
Dancing with "My Fair Lady", the Harwyn Quartet
A Treasury of Victor Herbert
Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate
Peggy Lee Sings with Benny Goodman
Pure Delight with Danny Kaye
Bijou, Woody Herman Orchestra
Frankie Carle Piano Bouquet (all songs about flowers)
Pearl Bailey Sings!
Stouthearted Men, Nelson Eddy
Good Housekeeping's Plan for Reducing (all exercise songs)
The Exciting Jose Melis
That was record company marketing in the early 1960s!
Edited by - The Old Timer on 04/16/2018 12:36:27
I think I remember on some other thread there was speculation that Earl just borrowed that banjo as a prop for the photo.
The same album appeared in the US. It was a collection of various singles.
Laurence, I'm not surprised at all that you found that album at Woolworth's in 1968. In the late '60s, a lot of record companies were deleting albums -- even older best-selling albums -- from their catalogs. They sold these excess albums to all kinds of stores like Woolworth's, discount department stores and even grocery stores. If you had the patience to go through the closeout record racks at these stores, you could come up with some unbelievable finds. Put it this way, I saw folk and bluegrass albums on those closeout racks that I could never have found at any local record shop. The low prices on those albums allowed us all to sample kinds of music we might otherwise have never heard.
Edited by - Joe Connor on 04/16/2018 12:57:32
This banjo belongs to Mark Barnett. If i'm not mistaken this is a 28 or 29 tb3 raised head converted to 5 string by Mike Longworth. Mark's dad purchased the banjo from Earl in the 50's...
Hope this helps.
I, too, had that album, and others from the Columbia collection, many years ago. All of them, unfortunately, disappeared in several major relocations starting about 1985. If we only knew then what we know now!
Earl did buy/sell/trade Gibson banjos as I understand it. He may not have really played this banjo much if it all (raised head, fiddle cut), but shouldn't be surprised he had it around and eventually sold it so someone. Maybe it was just handy for the photo.
My dad purchased that same album also back on the day, long before I got bitten by the banjo bug when I turned 16 years old back in 1977 and raided his album collection and not even knowing that Flatt & Scruggs was his all time favorite band also. The apples don't fall very far from the tree after all. Lol.
Lester and Earl, the best of the best!
I've been finding album drops like this one all over youtube.
lots of good stuff out there.
I also learn by slowing Earl's albums way down with the slowdowner app
Gordon Reid thanks for the background (and foreground) on that banjo!
I remember reading something about Earl thinning the rim on the raised head he sold Mark
Yeah just a random collection of songs. My favorite CD's of F&S are the 2 disc series called "Tis Sweet To Be Remembered", then Foggy Mountain Banjo, and The Millenium Series. Between all these you'll have just about all their really good songs.
Originally posted by chuckv97
I had this budget Harmony album,,,I believe it’s the same as yours, Laurence? A lot of Foggy Mountain Jamboree on it. I wore it out at 16 rpm,, then got the Scruggs book and was off to the races.
I found this album last month in an antique shop in Mt. Airy NC, but I didn't get it. Looking back, I sort of wish that I would have.
If the story is true, it was a tube and plate raised head mastertone and Earl thinned out the rim as he felt the very thick rim was dampening the tone. IF the rumor is true, if anyone knows the Barnett guy they might ask or get a pic of the inside of the rim, would be interesting to see if he left it as Earl left it.
Bill Rogers (Moderator)
I have that Harmony lip still on my shelf. The cover photo is in the same “What the...?” Category as the one of Ralph Stanly with a flathead bow tie. Actually, dime stores and drug stores were the normal outlets for Harmony lps since that was Columbia’s budget label featuring singles not released on albums.
That's not Bluegrass Laurence
Photographer: Those straps make the picture look messy - get rid of them!
F&S: But how are we going to hold onto our instruments?
Photographer: Aw just stick your knee up there and act like it's normal
'SAM 1791' 2 hrs
'Hit a stumbling block' 3 hrs
'Good Tuesday Morning' 6 hrs
'arnold 5 string banjo' 8 hrs
'Banjo Stand' 10 hrs
'Shipping to Ireland' 10 hrs