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Jun 24, 2024 - 7:56:46 PM
126 posts since 4/14/2024

So, apparently, anyone who is anybody in the BG banjo world, by a large majority, says that this album is THE album for study/practice.
Not questioning that but am really curious as to why? If I remember correctly that album came out in 1961....F & S had a couple dozen albums before and after that, so why this one? My only criticism of this album is that for some reason it doesn't have Foggy Mountain Breakdown on it. (cliche, I know, but I LOVE that song) Would really appreciate if you all could help me to understand..thanks

Jun 24, 2024 - 8:50:01 PM

3063 posts since 2/12/2005

If you want to learn "Scruggs Style" and the common phrases (licks) that Earl Scruggs popularized, it's a good choice. Actually, you could probably pick any F&S pet milk/Martha White live show and learn all those songs and you'd "know" the Scruggs Style and the common phrases too.

Actually, I think it's because the album artwork has that nice gap in his teeth. /s

Jun 24, 2024 - 10:35:11 PM

693 posts since 2/21/2005

Foggy Mountain Banjo is a Columbia release while Foggy Mountain Breakdown was recorded earlier in 1949 on the Mercury label. Foggy Mountain Banjo is a good album to learn from but IMO, Scruggs’s earlier work on Mercury is a much better source for learning his signature licks. It includes his exquisite backup to vocals and is the absolute textbook of his style. If you can master his breaks and backup to the songs Cabin in Caroline and Why Don’t You Tell Me So, you’re learning the essence of Scruggs style. Unfortunately, most of the songs recorded for Mercury, including Foggy Mountain Breakdown, are in G# which makes it a bit of a challenge but worth the effort.

Jun 24, 2024 - 10:53:20 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

72301 posts since 10/5/2013

re: Cabin in Caroline ,,, don’t learn the lick at 1:29-30 ,, I’ve always wondered if Earl never wanted to listen to that recording. ;-)

youtu.be/41pOgrValkk?si=Vr_eQ0Hcx4cEW80l

Jun 25, 2024 - 1:57:12 AM
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736 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Patrick1962

So, apparently, anyone who is anybody in the BG banjo world, by a large majority, says that this album is THE album for study/practice.
Not questioning that but am really curious as to why? If I remember correctly that album came out in 1961....F & S had a couple dozen albums before and after that, so why this one? My only criticism of this album is that for some reason it doesn't have Foggy Mountain Breakdown on it. (cliche, I know, but I LOVE that song) Would really appreciate if you all could help me to understand..thanks


Hi @Patrick1962

You seem to struggle accepting advice from others. Constantly asking for more then doubting the advice your given. The reason we study Earl Scruggs is because he is our benchmark our datum point our hero and it's his style of banjo playing most banjo players would like to emulate as a precursor whilst we study and develop our own style. Ask any three finger style pro banjo player and they will tell you, study Earl amd JD Crowe who also studied Earl.  The Mercury Recordings contain almost all of Earls signature licks. This for any banjo player who wants to play bluegrass is the ABC of bluegrass banjo language. Besides the Mercury Recordings you should also study Flatt & Scruggs Grand Ole Opry/ Martha White TV Shows and Live at Carnegie Hall. 

Jun 25, 2024 - 2:34:29 AM

736 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by FenderFred
quote:
Originally posted by Patrick1962

So, apparently, anyone who is anybody in the BG banjo world, by a large majority, says that this album is THE album for study/practice.
Not questioning that but am really curious as to why? If I remember correctly that album came out in 1961....F & S had a couple dozen albums before and after that, so why this one? My only criticism of this album is that for some reason it doesn't have Foggy Mountain Breakdown on it. (cliche, I know, but I LOVE that song) Would really appreciate if you all could help me to understand..thanks


Hi Patrick1962

You seem to struggle accepting advice from others. Constantly asking for more then doubting the advice your given. The reason we study Earl Scruggs is because he is our benchmark our datum point our hero and it's his style of banjo playing most banjo players would like to emulate as a precursor whilst we study and develop our own style. Ask any three finger style pro banjo player and they will tell you, study Earl amd JD Crowe who also studied Earl.  The Mercury Recordings contain almost all of Earls signature licks. This for any banjo player who wants to play bluegrass is the ABC of bluegrass banjo language. Besides the Mercury Recordings you should also study Flatt & Scruggs Grand Ole Opry/ Martha White TV Shows and Live at Carnegie Hall. 

 


Jun 25, 2024 - 6:48:38 AM
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4867 posts since 3/28/2008

I agree with Bronx banjo that much of the earlier material gives a fuller representation of Scruggs' playing, because it allows us to hear him backing up vocals. While the Mercury material is great, don't ignore the Columbia sessions from late 1950 onward. One of my favorite examples of Earl's backup is on "I'll Go Stepping Too", where he weaves in and out with Benny Martin's fiddle.

Another reason why people go to "Foggy Mountain Banjo" is that it was released AS AN ALBUM. At the time it came out, lots of the great F&S material was still available only on 45 and 78 singles, but you could get 12(?) tunes on a single disc when you bought "Foggy Mountain Banjo". (Was it the first F&S album released as an album? I'm not sure. I think, at any rate, there was an earlier album that had been compiled from previously released singles.)

Jun 25, 2024 - 7:19:21 AM
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Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

1885 posts since 10/15/2019

Don't forget Earl's work on the 45-48 Monroe stuff either. It's all there. All you have to do is put it in your ears, and out your fingers. Easy, right? ;)

Jun 25, 2024 - 7:25:15 AM
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126 posts since 4/14/2024

Ira=thanks bro..that's the kind of insight I was looking for
Fred, Fred, Fred..I'm beginning to wonder if English is your second language as you clearly didn't read my post when I said "Not questioning that but am really curious as to why?" and later said "Would really appreciate if you all could help me to understand..thanks" Had absolutely nothing to do with me accepting or rejecting anyones advice...near as I can tell the people who recommend this album are smart people who have been playing banjo for a very long time..I simply want to understand their rationale..nothing more, nothing less...I cant know for sure but I think you are the only one who interpreted my post that way...now run along and find somebody else to screw with for a while

Jun 25, 2024 - 12:15 PM

736 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Patrick1962

Ira=thanks bro..that's the kind of insight I was looking for
Fred, Fred, Fred..I'm beginning to wonder if English is your second language as you clearly didn't read my post when I said "Not questioning that but am really curious as to why?" and later said "Would really appreciate if you all could help me to understand..thanks" Had absolutely nothing to do with me accepting or rejecting anyones advice...near as I can tell the people who recommend this album are smart people who have been playing banjo for a very long time..I simply want to understand their rationale..nothing more, nothing less...I cant know for sure but I think you are the only one who interpreted my post that way...now run along and find somebody else to screw with for a while


wink

Jul 1, 2024 - 7:11:06 AM
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phb

Germany

4072 posts since 11/8/2010

I always thought that it was for two reasons:

#1: no voices to interfere with the banjo playing which is the star of the album
#2: better recording quality than the older material

Both of which make it easier to learn by ear which happened to be the only method back then. I don't see much point in learning the selection of instrumentals on the album from tabs. They are as good as any others when learned from tabs.

Jul 5, 2024 - 8:35:42 AM

3837 posts since 4/5/2006

I think it's fair to say, every dedicated BG banjo player based their style on Earl Scruggs. Many of us have a vast collection of F&S recorded material that we learned from.

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