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5.0 out of 5 stars Flatt & Scruggs: the story begins on Mercury, 7 Sep 2012
This review is from: Complete Mercury Recordings, The [Us Import] (Audio CD)
Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs began their Bluegrass careers with Bill Monroe as Bluegrass Boys in his Band. In truth, it was the quality of Lester Flatts vocals and Earl Scruggs innovative 3 finger banjo picking that drove the Bluegrass Boys sound in the period after World War II. Bill Monroe was therefore not best pleased when, in 1948, they left his Band taking with them Chubby Wise (fiddle) and Jake Tulloch (bass). The rift continued for many years until it was finally healed in the 1970s.
The new Flatt and Scruggs Band was named The Foggy Mountain Boys, and they secured a contract with Mercury records for whom they recorded from 1948 to 1950. This album contains the tracks they recorded, and helpfully Universal has placed them in chronological order. As an added bonus, the booklet is written by Mary Katherine Aldin, a folk historian, and its excellent.
Now some cautions. This material has been out of copyright for years, and has appeared on all sorts of compilations, some good, and some which are no better than dubbed from vinyl. Some of the songs have been done to death by this process and any prospective buyer should rightly question any reissue that revisits this material. The good news is that the sound is very good, almost Bear Family standard, and the inclusion of all their Mercury output in recording order allows you to appreciate how they developed their sound. The old chestnuts are here of course, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms, Cora Is Gone etc. but so are unconsidered songs like Pain In My Heart, written by Bobby Osborne and Larry Richardson. I also rediscovered Baby Blue Eyes, a Jim Eanes song.
During their time at Mercury, Flatt and Scruggs worked the road relentlessly, and they interacted with so many musicians that a lot of good material came their way. A lot of it is here on this album.
Hand on heart, I have to say that Flatt and Scruggs golden years lay ahead with Columbia records, but to appreciate how they reached that success, this album answers a lot of questions and is very enjoyable to listen to all the way through. Anyone looking for Flatt and Scruggs Mercury material, who isn't going to invest in the Bear Family Box sets, will find it in good sound, with great notes, all on this one CD.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flatt & Scruggs CD, 28 May 2009
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J. A. Lark - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Complete Mercury Recordings, The [Us Import] (Audio CD)
Excellent service from Amazon. CD sent as a birthday present to a friend.
Arrived on time and was most appreciated by the recipient.
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Complete Mercury Recordings, The [Us Import]
Complete Mercury Recordings, The [Us Import] by Flatt & Scruggs (Audio CD - 2003)
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