Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Remembering Earl Scruggs


My first memory of Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt was on an old valve wireless back in the early 1950s. The music coming out of that old steam radio was not what I was accustomed to listening to on the BBC Light Programme it was exciting and made me want to run and jump about. I couldn’t really understand the announcer. His voice sounded strange to my ear, I could tell some of the words were English but not like proper BBC English which our teachers tried in vein to teach us in school.

One day whilst I was off school feeling sick I discovered that our old radio had different wave bands and I could see the names of lots of cities and countries from around the world printed on a sheet of glass that would light up when I turned on the wireless.

I could see on the glass it had Long, Medium and Short Wave scales marked out in rows. Although back then I didn’t know what this all meant. My curiously got the better of me and I began twisting the knobs and hearing strange noises which later on in life I discovered was Morse code. Then all of a sudden I heard it, I didn’t know what it was but I knew right away I liked this sound. I bet you can all guess what I heard, Yes it was a Banjo.

Later on we began renting a black and white TV, I think it was for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. Then one Saturday the Beverly Hillbillies came on and for the first time I could see with my own eyes what was making that sound I heard on the wireless. Well I was hooked.

As y’ all head out to @BanjoBen 's Inaugural Bluegrass Camp at the end of this month I feel sure the presence of Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt will be in your thoughts and prayers and will give you strength to do well as you learn new skills playing the kind of music Earl and others pioneered…

R.I.P. Earl Scruggs January 6, 1924 - March 28, 2012


Outstanding Tribute to Earl. Thanks.

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Nicely written and a reminder of the days before “Google it” was the answer to every question.

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One of my favourite gospel songs.

It took me a whole minute to recognize the Earl without a banjo. Ha!