People Who Like Banjo Music

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.

Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, the way I remember them appearing on The Beverly Hillbillies in the '60s. Click here to watch Steve Martin and Earl Scruggs performing Foggy Mountain Breakdown on Letterman.

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. 

A rare shot of me 'pickin' & grinnin' with friends at a Christmas party in 1977. Oh my....

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.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kelvin says:

    Yes, he was really something. Back in the mid-eighties when I was on the Johnny High Country Music Review, two of their band members came on the show. We got to perform with them playing. It is one of my favorite memories from being on those Opry shows in the metroplex.

  2. dan gary says:

    Very Good Blog and you really could pick or rather strum that Banjo!

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