I always enjoy situations where I have an opportunity to be around folks who were 'there' during the early days of bluegrass. Having missed all that myself (coming on board in '73), it is a real kick to get a glimpse into what must have been pretty heady days.

Often during these gatherings of 'old-timers,' the topic of "Favorite Earl Stories" pops up. I suppose that our esteemed Mr. Scruggs was a fairly colorful character since there seem to be no shortage of tales to tell.

Here's my favorite from those I have heard:

Winnie Winston told this at a workshop I attended some years back. Winnie - if you're still out there - maybe you can verify and/or elaborate....

Apparently, a great many pickers in the 50's wore their banjo over one shoulder, influenced by Earl's manner of doing so. Many theories were floating around as to why he did it from 'it makes it easier to bear down with his right hand' to 'it is easier to move around a single mike.'

Winnie told of finally asking Earl why he wore the banjo over a single shoulder. Earl looked a bit puzzled and then answered "I do it so I can put my banjo on and off without having to take off my hat."

And we all were looking for cosmic significance! :)



John Lawless
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