News has just come across the wires of the passing of bluegrass icon Earl Scruggs at 88.
Originally a member of Bill Monroe's band, Scruggs spun off into an equally iconic combo with Lester Flatt, with whom he recorded a version of "The Ballad of Jed Clampett", otherwise known, of course, as the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies. Flatt & Scruggs would appear on Hillbillies on at least a couple of occasions, while another artist sang "Ballad" over the show's open.
Flatt & Scruggs ended their partnership in 1969, and Scruggs continued as a solo act or with his group, the Foggy Mountain Boys. He most recently headlined in LA in November, and there didn't seem to be any news of failing health at that time.
In recent years, Scruggs re-recorded one of his most famous songs, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown", along with his sons and an all-star backing group that included country & bluegrass stars Vince Gill & Marty Stuart and actor-comedian-musician Steve Martin, who has reinvented himself as a bluegrass artist of late.
Turion2005 uploaded a performance video of "Breakdown", which also features Paul Shaffer, from The Late Show With David Letterman. Shaffer & Martin are off to the sides, away from the rest of the band.
Rest in peace, Earl.