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Earl Scruggs and Friends

By Mansfield
August 28, 2001

Earl Scruggs and Friends (3 out of 4 Stars)

Though Earl Scruggs almost single-handedly created a lead-instrument role for the banjo first in the 1940s as a member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, later with Flatt & Scruggs and the Earl Scruggs Revue he has always preferred to share the spotlight. On his first album in 17 years, Scruggs welcomes picking buddies such as Elton John, Melissa Etheridge and Sting, all of whom revisit their catalogs, plus Dwight Yoakam and Vince Gill, who bring new tunes. Only the title and a couple of instrumentals one an all-star version of Scruggs' classic Foggy Mountain Breakdown featuring Leon Russell, Albert Lee and Steve Martin suggest that Scruggs is this disc's central figure, but, even after half a century of other pickers stealing his licks, his unique three-finger style is unmistakable. Mansfield

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