The Foggy Mountain Boys was an American bluegrass band. The band was founded by guitarist Lester Flatt and banjo player Earl Scruggs and is viewed by music historians as one of the premier bluegrass groups in the history of the genre. The band was originally formed in 1948 by Flatt, who had been a member of Bill Monroe's bluegrass band. Flatt brought Scruggs with him shortly after leaving Monroe.
Flatt and Scruggs and The Foggy Mountain Boys (in various forms and line-ups) recorded and performed together up until 1969. The Foggy Mountain Boys are seen as one of the landmark bands in bluegrass music. Although it featured various casts, during the years of The Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs Grand Ole Opry Show, notably sponsored by grain and flour producer Martha White, the band showcased fiddle player Paul Warren, a master player both Old-Time and Bluegrass fiddling styles, whose technique reflected all qualitative aspects of 'the bluegrass breakdown' and fast bowing style; dobro player Uncle Josh Graves, an innovator of the advanced playing style of the instrument now used in the genre, stand-up bass player Cousin Jake Tullock, and mandolinist Curly Seckler. Scruggs is widely considered the most influential player of the bluegrass banjo who ever lived. Playing since the age of five, Scruggs gained his initial spotlight when he played briefly with Bill Monroe, considered by many as the father of bluegrass music. His lightening fast syncopation and virtuosity wove themselves into an innovative three finger picking style that became the standard for mastering the instrument.
Lester Flatt worked for Monroe at the time Earl Scruggs was considered for Bill Monroe's band, the Blue Grass Boys, in 1946. The two left that band early in 1948, and within a few months had formed the Foggy Mountain Boys. Scruggs' banjo style and Flatt's rhythm guitar style as well as his vocals, gave them a distinctive sound that won them many fans. In 1955, they became members of the Grand Ole Opry. Many of the songs on their albums are credited to "Certain and Stacey". These songs were in fact written by Flatt, Scruggs, and various other members of the Foggy Mountain Boys. Certain and Stacey are the maiden names of the wives of Flatt and Scruggs (Louise Certain, wife of Earl Scruggs, and Gladys Stacey, wife of Lester Flatt).
Scruggs, who had always shown progressive tendencies, experimented on duets with saxophonist King Curtis and added songs by the likes of Bob Dylan to the group's repertoire. Flatt, a traditionalist, did not like these changes, and the group broke up in 1969. Following the breakup, Lester Flatt founded the Nashville Grass and Scruggs led the Earl Scruggs Revue. Flatt died in 1979, at the age of 64. Flatt and Scruggs were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985.
In 2003, they ranked No. 24 on CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music, one of only four non-solo artists to make the list (The Eagles, Alabama, and Brooks & Dunn are the others).
In the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the band formed by the heroes is called the "Soggy Bottom Boys" as a tribute to the band.
Scruggs died from natural causes on March 28, 2012, in a Nashville hospital.
Lester Flatt (guitar),
Earl Scruggs (banjo, guitar),
Paul Warren (fiddle),
John Ray "Curly" Seckler (mandolin, guitar),
Josh Graves (Dobro, bass),
English P. "Cousin Jake" Tullock (bass),
Chubby Wise (fiddle),
Jim Shumate (fiddle),
Benny Martin (fiddle),
Benny Sims (fiddle),
Howdy Forrester (fiddle),
Art Wooten (fiddle),
Howard Watts aka "Cedric Rainwater" (bass),
Charles Johnson aka "Little Jody Rainwater" (bass),
Frank "Hylo" Brown (bass, guitar),
Charles "Little Darlin'" Elza (bass),
Joe Stuart (bass),
Ernie Newton (bass),
Bob Moore (bass),
Everette Lilly (mandolin),
Jim Eanes (guitar),
Mac Wiseman (guitar),
Billy E. Powers (guitar),
Johnny Johnson (guitar),
Earl Taylor (mandolin and harmonica),
Billy Constable (banjo),
"Foggy Mountain Breakdown" - an instrumental originally released in 1949 and used in many rural car chase movie sequences, notably in Bonnie and Clyde. It has won two Grammy awards. Parts of the song can be heard in the Monty Python's Flying Circus "Killer Sheep" sketch in the episode entitled "The Attila The Hun Show.",
"The Ballad of Jed Clampett" (listen) - used as the theme for the Beverly Hillbillies television series. The song reached No. 42 on the record charts during the series' debut season of 1962. The song hit No. 1 on the country charts in January 1963, and was the only number one hit song of their career. The song is one of only two TV theme songs to ever reach No. 1 on the country charts, the other was Waylon Jennings' "The Good Ol' Boys," the theme from The Dukes of Hazzard.,
Martha White jingle (still used in advertising today).