Home | Audio Reviews |Audiophile Shows | Partner Mags News

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

Best of The Flatt and Scruggs TV Show
Volumes 1 & 2

Review By Steven Stone
Click here to e-mail reviewer

  Before Hullabaloo, before Hootenany, there was the Grand Ole Opry, America's first national country music show. Of course the Opry garnered a slew of radio imitators, and when television came along folks attempted to graft the same format to this new media. One of these first attempts was the Flatt and Scruggs Grand Ole Opry TV Show. With only one advertiser the Martha White Flour Company, Flatt and Scruggs had plenty of time to play music while pitching biscuits, cakes, and pies made with Martha White's special "Hot Rize" ingredient. Almost fifty years later these shows still deliver a boatload of tasty surprises.

Broadcast from 1955 until 1969, copies of the Flatt and Scruggs Grand Ole Opry shows had all but disappeared until 1989, when 24 intact shows were found by advertising executive Bill Graham and donated to the Country Hall of Fame Museum. Then 12 more episodes were unearthed and also given to the museum. Each of these two DVD volumes features two shows. Volume 1 has August 1961 and February 1962 while Volume 2 has July 1961 and August 1961 (I have to assume the August shows are from different weeks as they have different material on them). The museum has plans to issue two more volumes in late 2007.

Both discs have simple menus that give you the option of playing the entire disc or choosing which program you want to watch. Each show has its own sub-menu so you can choose a particular song (or commercial interlude) or watch the entire program from beginning to end. Neither disc has any additional features. All the shows have a similar format; an introduction by radio announcer T. Tommy Cutrer, several songs, a Martha White "demonstration" segment, more songs, another demonstration, then another song or two before the final credits.  Each show has several "spotlight" segments. Earl Scruggs plays finger-picked guitar for at least one song, dobro virtuoso Josh Graves gets one solo number, Fiddler Paul Warren does a fiddle tune, the entire band performs a gospel vocal quartet, and bass player E.P. "Cousin Jake" Tullock and "Uncle" Josh Graves do their comedy section consisting of a bad old joke.

Picture quality is pretty decent. The original black and white shows were done on early two-inch videotape and then transferred to film for TV distribution. Although you'll see an occasional glitch or stutter, by and large the tapes survived in excellent shape. These film copies also have surprisingly good monophonic sound (although at times slightly out of synch with the picture) with only moderate roll off on the top and bottom ends of the frequency spectrum. You can hear some tape hiss, but it never gets distracting. The studio had two cameras and most of the camera work and editing consists of cutting between the two. One camera supplies medium length shots while the other delivers some nice close-ups of the players' fingers. Although the resolution isn't good enough to pick up actual notes and licks, you do get a reasonable view of Earl Scruggs' and Josh Graves' right hand techniques.

Vintage instrument aficionados will appreciate the opportunity to see Earl Scruggs' Gibson five-string banjo and Lester Flatt's Martin dreadnaught guitar in action. Mandolin players will notice that Curley Seckler played a Gibson F-4 oval hole mandolin instead of an f-hole F-5 like Bill Monroe. He also takes no mandolin solos. The most interesting instrument on the show is undoubtedly the guitar Earl Scruggs used for fingerpicking. This Martin dreadnaught featured a pickguard that covered 2/3 of its entire faceplate, shielding everything in front of the bridge in protective tortoiseshell plastic. But the oddest thing about this Martin is the trussrod cover on the headstock. Martin guitars of this vintage didn't have adjustable trussrods, so this guitar certainly didn't need a cover on the headstock to protect a nonexistent adjustment screw! Gibson envy perhaps?

Any bluegrass fan with more than a passing interest in vintage bluegrass performances will want a copy of these DVDs. While not quite as satisfying as a trip in a time machine back to the WSM's Nashville, TN, TV studios, these discs still deliver a clear picture of Flatt and Scruggs during their most musically influential period.

 

 

Picture Quality

Enjoyment:

Sound:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

Quick Links


Audiophile Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews

 

Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Preamplifiers
Amplifiers
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Ultra High-End Audio Reviews

 

Videos
Enjoy the Music.TV

 

Columns
Editorials By Tom Lyle
Viewpoint By Roger Skoff
Viewpoint By Steven R. Rochlin
Various Think Pieces
Manufacturer Articles


Show Reports
Capital Audiofest 2021 Show
The HiFi Summit Q2 2021
T.H.E. Show 2021 Report
The HiFi Summit Q4 2020
The HiFi Summit Q2 2020
Bristol Hi-Fi Show Report 2020
Florida Audio Expo 2020 Show Report
New York Audio Show 2019 Report
Capital Audiofest 2019 Show Report
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2019
High End Munich 2019 Show Report
Click here for previous shows.

 

Other
Audiophile Contests
Cool Free Stuff For You
Tweaks For Your System
Vinyl Logos For LP Lovers
Lust Pages Visual Beauty

 

Resources & Information
Music Definitions
Hi-Fi Definitions

 


Daily Industry News

High-End Audio News & Information

 

Partner Print Magazines
audioXpress
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
HIFICRITIC
HiFi Media
Hi-Fi World
Sound Practices
VALVE Magazine

 

For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics

 

Contests & Our Mailing List

Our free newsletter for monthly updates & enter our contests!

 

 

    

Home   |   Industry News   |   Equipment Reviews   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us

 

All contents copyright  1995 - 2021  HighEndAudio.com and Enjoy the Music.com
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.