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Apr 16, 2018 - 12:20:14 PM
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5062 posts since 3/6/2006

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.

Apr 16, 2018 - 12:33:24 PM
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10935 posts since 10/30/2008

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

The Chordettes

That was record company marketing in the early 1960s!

Edited by - The Old Timer on 04/16/2018 12:36:27

Apr 16, 2018 - 12:36:44 PM
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5062 posts since 3/6/2006

I think I remember on some other thread there was speculation that Earl just borrowed that banjo as a prop for the photo.

Apr 16, 2018 - 12:36:48 PM
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980 posts since 4/13/2009

The same album appeared in the US. It was a collection of various singles.

Apr 16, 2018 - 12:55:05 PM
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1160 posts since 11/15/2010

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

Apr 16, 2018 - 1:10:29 PM
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13 posts since 1/29/2007

Hey guys
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.


Apr 16, 2018 - 1:14:45 PM
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585 posts since 12/2/2013

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!

Apr 16, 2018 - 1:46:03 PM
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1602 posts since 1/10/2004

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.

Apr 16, 2018 - 1:56:59 PM
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34295 posts since 10/5/2013

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.

Edited by - chuckv97 on 04/16/2018 13:57:25

Apr 16, 2018 - 3:07:24 PM
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1545 posts since 9/10/2003

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.


Apr 16, 2018 - 6:26:28 PM

313 posts since 4/26/2016

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


Apr 16, 2018 - 7:11:31 PM

10935 posts since 10/30/2008

Gordon Reid thanks for the background (and foreground) on that banjo!

Apr 16, 2018 - 7:37:44 PM

1490 posts since 9/12/2016

I remember reading something about Earl thinning the rim on the raised head he sold Mark

Apr 17, 2018 - 8:23:43 AM
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10040 posts since 2/12/2011

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.

Apr 17, 2018 - 8:39:13 AM
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176 posts since 5/9/2017

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.

Apr 17, 2018 - 8:57:02 AM



1804 posts since 11/29/2005

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.

Apr 17, 2018 - 10:21:59 AM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


21024 posts since 6/25/2005

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.

Apr 17, 2018 - 10:34:57 AM



3598 posts since 8/20/2016

That's not Bluegrass Laurence

Apr 17, 2018 - 11:07:06 AM
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5062 posts since 3/6/2006

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

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