The April 2020 issue of Banjo Newsletter has reprinted Eric Weissberg’s letter “Setting the Record Straight” from 2005. Originally published in Bluegrass Unlimited, the letter contains EW’s explanation of his recording of “Dueling Banjos” for the movie “Deliverance.” It also recounts the failure of Elektra Records to give credit to Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe, and others for the authorship of several tunes included on the 1963 landmark album “New Dimensions in Banjo and Bluegrass,” by Weissberg and Marshall Brickman, and the reissuing by Warner Brothers of most of the ND album as “DUELING BANJOS, from the original soundtrack DELIVERANCE,” in order to capitalize on the popularity of the movie. Warner also failed to credit Scruggs, Monroe, and others with authorship of the relevant tunes. This all occurred without EW’s knowledge or participation.
Thanks to Donald and Spencer Nitchie for reprinting the letter in Banjo Newsletter. It is an important document in the recent history of the 5-string banjo and shows how an innocent (naive?) musician’s reputation was damaged by the incompetent or unscrupulous actions of recording companies.
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