EARL SCRUGGS (born Jan 6, 1924, Flint Hill, NC - March 28, 2012)
LESTER FLATT (Jun 14, 1914, Duncan's Chapel, TN - May 11, 1979, Nashville, TN)
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Beginning in 1967, Bob Dylan and his Columbia stable-mate EARL SCRUGGS (with his long-time partner LESTER FLATT) shared a common
producer, Bob Johnston, who urged substantial changes in the Flatt & Scruggs traditional bluegrass repertoire.
"Basically, Bob Johnston, with his emphasis on the new breed of singer-songwriters (as opposed to the staunch-traditional country and bluegrass songwriters) contributed to the break-up of Flatt & Scruggs. While Earl Scruggs expressed a growing boredom with traditional bluegrass ("I was playing the same thing over and over every night. I just couldn't stand it any longer."), Lester Flatt felt uneasy with Bob Johnston: "He also cuts Bob Dylan and we would record what he would come up with, regardless of whether I liked it or not. I can't sing Bob Dylan stuff, I mean. Columbia has got Bob Dylan, why did they want me?"
Neil V. Rosenberg, Liner notes for "Flatt & Scruggs", Time-Life Records TLCW-04, 1982
Several Dylan songs were covered during their late 1960s recording sessions, until in Aug 1969, Flatt & Scruggs (following a final joint performance at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry on Feb 22, 1969)
recorded together for the last time, fulfilling their contractual obligations to Columbia Records.
- Mama, You Been On My Mind (May 16, 1966)
- Girl From The North Country (May 15, 1967 - unissued/lost)
- Don't Think Twice It's All Right (September 21, 1967)
- Blowin' In The Wind (September 21, 1967)
- It Ain't Me Babe (September 21, 1967)
- Down In The Flood (September 26, 1967)
- Mr. Tambourine Man (October 20, 1967)
- Like A Rolling Stone (July 18, 1968)
- I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (September 09, 1968)
- Rainy Day Women No. 12 And 35 (September 09, 1968 - unissued/lost)
- The Times They Are A-Changin' (September 16, 1968)
- Rainy Day Women No. 12 And 35 (September 17, 1968)
- Nashville Skyline Rag (August 21, 1969)
- Maggie's Farm (August 21, 1969)
- Wanted Man (August 21, 1969)
- One More Night (August 21, 1969)
- One Too Many Mornings (August 22, 1969)
- Girl From The North Country (August 22, 1969)
- Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance (August 22, 1969)
All tracks released on 1964-1969, Bear Family Records 6-CD set (BCD 15879).
Earl Scruggs continued to experiment with new styles and musical directions. On "Nashville's Rock" (again produced by Bob Johnston), he recorded instrumental versions of "Love Is Just A Four-Letter Word" and "Nashville Skyline Rag" (also covering the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women" and The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends" and "Something").
Some of the Bob Dylan songs covered by THE EARL SCRUGGS REVUE (a rather rock-oriented group comprising Earl Scruggs and his sons Earl, Gary and Randy) include:
and a terrific (IMO) version of
(featuring -- among others -- Johnny Cash and Ramblin' Jack Elliott).
- "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry"
- "Down In The Flood"
- "Tomorrow's A Long Time"
- "Watching The River Flow"
In Dec 1970, Dylan recorded two songs,
with Earl Scruggs and his sons Randy and Gary.
- "East Virginia Blues"
- and "Nashville Skyline Rag,"
Both songs were broadcast in an NBC Documentary in Jan 1971; "Nashville Skyline Rag" was subsequently officially released on the album "Earl Scruggs Performing With His Family And Friends" (COLUMBIA KC-30584, mid-1971).