Live! From Austin City Limits: The Earl Scruggs Revue

Rating: 80%

earlscruggs.jpgSo looking through the Country music section at an antique store, I came across the Earl Scruggs Revue “Live” released in 1977. I figured “What the Hell!, I picked up two Lester Flatt records last weekend.” Lester Flatts and Earl Scruggs did release several albums together. The record features Randy Scruggs on guitar and fiddle, Gary Scruggs on bass and vocals, Steve Scruggs on piano, Jody  Maphis on drums, Jim Murphy on steel guitar and the legendary banjoist himself, Earl Scruggs.

The performance itself is very good.  The musicianship is excellent. The track listing on the record blends country, bluegrass, rock n’ roll, blues and some progressive music together like no other country band has done before.

The first side features some really good faster tempo music. Earl’s banjo is situated in the forefront of it all. Lot’s of good bass lines, drumming and guitar work. The steel guitar is exceptional. The vocals to me are out of place with the music. I just can’t seem to put my figure on it. It’s almost like listening to Vince Gill mixed with Grandpa Jones, which is why I gave this record a just above average rating. Don’t get me wrong, it all blends in well, and the music is fine.

Upon turning the record over to the second side, the bluesy and yet jazzy song “I Just Can’t Seem To Care” begins to play. It has some very fine saxophone and piano work that is mixed with harmonica, banjo and guitar work. After that song, “Black Mountain Blues” is the second song that goes right back into traditional bluegrass. “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven” is the third song on the second side that goes back into traditional blues. It’s very mellow and sounds great. The banjo, steel guitar and the guitar leads are very good, leaving the classic bluegrass and country behind.

Track listing:

Side One:

1 Nashville Skyline Rag
2 I Shall Be Released
3 Band Intro
4 Sally Gooding
5 Tall Texas Woman
6 Earl’s Breakdown

Side Two:

7 I Just Can’t Seem To Care
8 Black Mountain Blues
9 Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven
10 The Swimming Song
11 Stay All Night

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