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New audio of Earl playing his hits solo on YouTube

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Apr 22, 2019 - 2:15:42 PM
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967 posts since 7/12/2004

YouTube link 

This was apparently just posted to YouTube two days ago. Earl plays through a bunch of his most important tunes, solo and slowly. Down The Road, Bugle Call Rag, Cripple Creek, Home Sweet Home, Pike County Breakdown, Flint Hill Special, and others. It's a gold mine for any student of Scruggs. There's a little conversation, but out of 12 minutes of footage there's about 10 minutes of Earl playing.

Edited by - Texasbanjo on 04/22/2019 15:07:46

Apr 22, 2019 - 3:08:19 PM
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2 posts since 11/27/2014

Dear Friends,

I think I can shed some light on this wonderful recording. The person talking with Earl is Chicago-based banjoist Fleming Brown. This was recorded in Gary, Indiana, in June 1960 by Tom Clark. Fleming gave me his tape collection, and this recording information appears in his tape log. The tape, posted at Youtube, comprises the whole of the encounter and occurs in this same sequence. I don't know who posted this recording, but perhaps a friend of the recordist, or someone who knew Fleming. Fleming first met Earl at the inaugural Newport Folk Festival where they both performed in 1959. All best, Stephen Wade

Apr 22, 2019 - 3:20:01 PM



586 posts since 5/17/2007

WOW! This was recorded just a few weeks before I was born! Thanks for posting!

Apr 22, 2019 - 4:51:58 PM

53 posts since 1/16/2017

Cool! Thanks for sharing Rich

Apr 22, 2019 - 7:01:21 PM



1412 posts since 6/20/2014

Originally posted by roydsjr

WOW! This was recorded just a few weeks before I was born! Thanks for posting!

Thanks for making me feel positively

Apr 22, 2019 - 8:16:34 PM

991 posts since 10/5/2008

smwade what other recordings do you have in that collection?!?

Apr 22, 2019 - 8:41:17 PM



6690 posts since 8/20/2016

That was great, thanks.

Apr 22, 2019 - 9:46:13 PM

126 posts since 2/5/2014

This really is an amazing find. No question that it's Earl: the timing, intonation...everything is "Earl." He must have played these tunes exactly the same way a thousand times. This would have made a wonderful Scruggs-style banjo tutorial. Maybe that's what Fleming Brown (who I met a few times at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago) had in mind, since Earl plays each snippet in slowed-down fashion. Thanks to Stephen Wade, Fleming's famous banjo acolyte, for identifying the source of these historically important recordings.

Edited by - Bob Sayers on 04/22/2019 22:01:03

Apr 23, 2019 - 3:36:05 AM

149 posts since 12/16/2012

Great recording! Thank you Rich

Apr 23, 2019 - 4:00:21 AM

2422 posts since 2/16/2017

This recording is incredible! Thanks for posting.

Apr 23, 2019 - 6:02:47 AM
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1647 posts since 9/11/2004

This is great stuff!
It should be in the Smithsonian if it isn't already.

Apr 23, 2019 - 7:15:46 AM
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11835 posts since 10/30/2008

I heard a bootleg of this tape years and years ago, and was of course THRILLED. Also I was fascinated by the dedication to the old friend of 17-18 years in the Navy "Turk Bowden" pronouned "Bo-den". A lot of folks mispronounce my name that way (we pronounce it "Bough-den" like most other right-thinking people), so I always perked up my ears at that name. If anyone out there knows who Turk Bowden is/was, please let me know.

My uncle Abe Bowden was a Navy lifer, Chief Bosun's Mate, mostly out of Coronado/San Diego. He loved country music but wasn't a banjo fan as far as I ever knew. He played guitar and liked old country music, a la Ernest Tubb.

But, once again, doesn't this tape illustrate what a "nice guy" Earl was? Accomodating to a fault. Us bluegrass banjo pickers are lucky that Earl was so approachable.

Edited by - The Old Timer on 04/23/2019 07:24:43

Apr 23, 2019 - 9:07:37 AM
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2350 posts since 11/15/2003

Anybody besides me......"not miss the rest of the Foggy Mt Boys?"

I wonder if that is where he got the idea for recording the Foggy Mt Banjo album? i was thinking this recording pre-dates it?

The big thing that sticks out to me in this recording is all the "subtle inflections"in his picking, and roll timing that we as students miss, and still can't get right today, and i just wonder how many people really " Listen to what he is doing" and want to try and go back and learn it that way, it's possibly the best example of his mature roll and timing, from the Martha White era, but it is slow enough to hear what we are missing in our rolls!

It's enough to make you want to quit!

Apr 23, 2019 - 9:17:31 AM
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6690 posts since 8/20/2016

While listening to this entire tape, I couldn't help but thinking..."that's not how Earl played it"

Apr 23, 2019 - 9:42:45 AM



193 posts since 2/8/2019

What a treasure! Thanks for the heads up and the link waystation !!

Apr 23, 2019 - 4:07:38 PM

967 posts since 7/12/2004

It's exciting to come across something like this every once in a while. I've been listening to some of my older tapes including stuff I recorded myself like the Scruggs/Monroe reunion at Bean Blossom in 1979. I'll make it YouTube worthy and put it up sometime soon.

Many thanks to my student Peter Casey for finding this one on YouTube and pointing it out to me two days after it was posted.

Apr 23, 2019 - 5:47:59 PM

4929 posts since 10/13/2007

Rich, I would love to hear the reunion. Man that is some serious bluegrass history!

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