Just to add to our current discussion of the Mercury Foggy Mt.
Breakdown, I might add some comments that Sonny Osborn made to me
during an interview I did here in Okla. for, but never published in,
Banjo Newsletter back in 1976.
I had asked him about a comment he made earlier in Bluegrass
Unlimited to "Learn every thing Earl Scruggs ever did and then start
thinking about playing the banjo" He was expanding on that comment
when he said the following.....
"......it'll take you about four or five years, and if you do
everything that Scruggs did from, I'd say 1949 or so, when they got on
Mercury, whenever Foggy Mt. Breakdown came out, which incidentally, is
the greatest instrumental that's ever been,you know, especially the
old Mercury record of it."
I said,"Yeah, he recorded it twice later, and it's just not quite
Sonny responded,"It didn't come off at all, as far as I'm concerned,
but that's not saying he didn't do it well, but for my liking, it
didn't, you know. But that old Mercury record was the only way to go,
man, that was it"
I said,"There's something magic about it--it's hard to pin down"
Sonny said, "It's just perfect, that's what's magic about it, it's
perfect, just damn perfect, you can't get any better.
Some interesting comments from someone who should know. I also asked
him what his three favorite instrumentals were and after some urging,
he came back with...."well all right, Bugle Call Rag from the Foggy Mt
Banjo album, Foggy Mt Breakdown, the old Mercury record of it,and Dear
Old Dixie, I like awful well. That's a good instrumental. It would be
between that or Flint Hill Special or Pike Co. Breakdown, the way
Scruggs played it or the way J.D. plays it. I could name a few more,
but I won't. There's a bunch of good ones."
Thanks to Joel Burkhart for this info.