To commemorate the passing of legendary and influential banjo stylist (as well as wicked guitar picker) Earl Scruggs this week at age 88, let's play this complete Martha White Flour program from June fourth, 1953. It features one of my favorite Flatt & Scruggs numbers, "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke" and many other pieces. You can also take a look at this same song performed on one of the episodes of their television show, and more, right after the jump.
I wish I could lay hands on a pithy quote from Mr. Scruggs himself, at this short notice, but I will at least pass along this story from the autobiography of Charlie Louvin of the Louvin Brothers. We join Charlie as he talks about their early pre-fame days on the radio, where they briefly went by the name "The Foggy Mountain Boys" (along with two other fellas):
"The funny thing was, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs came up with the same name later, and when they broke up, they had a lawsuit going about who owned the rights to it. Lester thought it should be Lester Flatt and the Foggy Mountain Boys, and Earl thought it should be Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys. Well, one night, I ran into Lester backstage at a show we were playing together, and I said, "Lester, what in the hell are you boys doing suing each other?"
"Well," Lester said, "Earl claims the name belongs to him because he wrote the 'Foggy Mountain Breakdown'. And I say that I came up with the name before he even wrote that song."
"Shit," I said, "it don't belong to either damn one of you."