4-CD boxed set (LP-size) with 15-page book, 112 tracks. Playing time approx. 294 mns.
The 5-star reviews for this set showed that Flatt & Scruggs are far from forgotten since they split up in 1969. Here we have their complete Mercury recordings as well as the Columbia recordings from 1950-1959. Of course, this set includes the original version of Foggy Mountain Breakdown, but it's no exaggeration to say that every one of the 112 tracks is a gem. Titles include Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms, Jimmie BrownThe Newsboy, Tis Sweet To Be Remembered ,Earl's Breakdown, Flint Hill Special, Dim Lights Thick Smoke, Foggy Mountain Chimes, and Six White Horses. Bluegrass music comes no purer or finer.
So thisis what it took to bring bluegrass to prime time. Between 1962 and 1971, 'The Beverly Hillbillies'were just about unavoidable. In the top-rated sitcom, family patriarch Jed Clampett discovers oil on his land somewhere in the South, sells up, and moves to Beverly Hills with his ragtag clan. Series creator Paul Henning used a lot of place names from the Ozarks, because that's where he was from. He also wrote the theme song, and, after going to see Flatt & Scruggs at Ash Grove in Hollywood, decided that they'd be the guys to sing it. Music supervisor Perry Botkin approached Flatt & Scruggs' business manager, Louise Scruggs, but she was leery, thinking that it made fun of their audience (or part of their audience, anyway...
Flatt & Scruggs were starting to play campuses and spots like the Ash Grove). Botkin and Henning showed Louise a pilot and assured her that the hillbillies outsmarted the city slickers every time. Earl Scruggs was still leery, saying later, "We'd worked so hard to get away from what you might call the hillbilly image." Introducing the song later, Flatt would say, "Here's one we weren't all that crazy about when we recorded, but after it sold a hundred thousand copies, why, we just learned to love it." Before the series aired, the theme song was re-recorded with a more mainstream vocal by Jerry Scoggins, formerly of the Cass County Boys who'd backed Gene Autry on his 'Melody Ranch'shows in the 1940s. By 1962, Scoggins was working as a stockbroker and only sang on weekends.
Flatt & Scruggs backed Scoggins and played on commercials for two of the sponsors, Kellogg's and Winston cigarettes. Later on, they made a few guest shots on the show. Henning's melody was generic and probably owed more of a debt to Woody Guthrie's talking blues than to anything in the bluegrass canon. The show began airing on September 26, 1962 and Louise Scruggs pressured Don Law to release The Ballad Of Jed Clampett when it was clear that the show was a hit. It charted on December 8, the day that Flatt & Scruggs played Carnegie Hall, and in January 1963, it became the first bluegrass song to ever top the country charts. For all the great music they recorded, Flatt & Scruggs' two biggest hits were The Ballad Of Jed Clampett and a spinoff song, Pearl, Pearl, Pearl.