January 12, 2018

Earl Scruggs: I Saw The Light With Some Help From My Friends

Columbia KC-31354

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1972
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Bluegrass
A1 Lonesome And A Long Way From Home: Earl Scruggs Revue (2:33)
A2 Silver Wings: Linda Ronstadt (3:25)
A3 It's A Picture From Life's Other Side: Arlo Guthrie (3:36)
A4 Motherless Child Blues: Tracy Nelson (4:29)
A5 Some Of Shelley's Blues: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (2:44)
B1 Never Ending Song Of Love: Earl Scruggs Revue (2:44)
B2 Rock Salt And Nails: Linda Ronstadt & Tracy Nelson (3:20)
B3 The Banks Of The Ohio: Arlo Guthrie (3:25)
B4 Ring Of Fire: Linda Ronstadt (2:11)
B5 Propinquity: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (2:17)
B6 I Saw The Light: Guest Artists (3:43)
Earl Scruggs (banjo) Linda Ronstadt, Arlo Guthrie, Tracy Nelson, Gary Scruggs, Jeff Hanna (lead vocals) Norman Blake (dobro) Vassar Clements (fiddle) Les Thompson (mandolin) Bob & Pauline Wilson (piano) Jody Maphis, Karl Himmel (drums) The Earl Scruggs Revue, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Stacey Belson & Arloff Boguslavaki
Producer: Don Law, Designer: Bill Barnes, Photographer: Slick Lawson, Engineer: Charlie Bragg
When Earl Scruggs split with longtime collaborator and fellow Foggy Mountain Boy Lester Flatt in 1969, it was evident who of the pair had the more commercial aspirations. While Flatt remained firmly rooted in the bluegrass tradition, Scruggs, much like similar-minded artists such as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Johnny Darrell, and the Dillards, sought to bridge the gap between pop, folk, and the old-timey sounds of yesteryear. I Saw the Light With Some Help from My Friends may sound like it was culled from the buckle of the "Bible Belt" (there are indeed a few spirituals), but the "friends" referenced in the title are merely saviors of the late-'60s/early-'70s country-folk movement. Scruggs gathered both family -- sons Gary, Randy, and Steve -- and contemporaries like Linda Ronstadt, Arlo Guthrie, Vassar Clements, Tracy Nelson, Norman Blake, and the aforementioned Dirt Band, to flesh out an album of covers both sublime (Merle Haggard's "Silver Wings") and surprising (Monkee Michael Nesmith's "Some of Shelley's Blues"). The musicianship is top-notch and the vocals, especially Ronstadt and Nelson -- Arlo Guthrie will always be an acquired taste for some -- are warm and soulful, resulting in one of the more lucid and enjoyable examples of the crossover genre. (by James Christopher Monger)

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