Earl Scruggs died last week.
For those of you who have no appreciation of bluegrass music, you probably don’t even know who Earl Scruggs is.
Only the greatest banjo picker that ever lived.
And that’s no offense to Roy Clark or Steve Martin or my friend from high school, Stan White, who played as mean a banjo as any I’ve ever heard.
But they’re not Earl Scruggs.
Maybe you remember the theme song to the movie Bonnie and Clyde, one of Earl’s best, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”
If you grew up in the sixties, or if you’ve watched syndicated television in the last 50 years, you know Earl Scruggs from this:
“Come and listen to a story ‘bout a man named Jed,
Poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed.
Then one day he was shootin’ at some food,
And up from the ground came a bubblin’ crude!
Oil, that is. Black gold. Texas tea.
Well, the next thing you know, ol’ Jed’s a millionaire.
Kinfolks said, ‘Jed, move away from there!’
Said ‘Californy is the place you oughta be,’
So they loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly…
Hills, that is. Swimmin’ pools. Movie stars.”
I loved The Beverly Hillbillies.
Loved that show and Steve Martin so much that when I was a sophomore in high school I decided to learn to play the banjo.
I took lessons for about six months from a guy who showed up in overalls every Saturday morning.
But he taught me to play “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.”
Wish I’d stuck with it.
Maybe I could’ve been a Dixie Chick.