It's difficult to even imagine modern bluegrass without the refinements that Lester Flatt
and Earl Scruggs
brought to the form, and it would be tough to find a contemporary bluegrass banjo player anywhere who didn't owe half of what they did on the instrument to the way Scruggs
tore at it. This set combines two of Flatt & Scruggs
' Columbia albums, 1962's Folk Songs of Our Land
and 1964's The Fabulous Sound of Flatt and Scruggs
, on one disc, and the two albums fit together very well, since both downplay the bluegrass elements for a more varied and folk-based feel, although don't worry, it's still bluegrass. Highlights include a haunting version of the traditional murder ballad "Ellen Smith," the nicely rendered Woody Guthrie
gem "Philadelphia Lawyer," and nice, guitar dominated takes on Southern folk standards "The Train That Carried My Girl from Town" and "Georgia Buck."