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December 10th, 2009 By mbreen | Music | Posted In: Local Music

"Foggy Mountain Breakdown" Turns 60


By pure coincidence, the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the recording of legendary Bluegrass track "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs in Cincinnati's Herzog recording studio on the same evening as Earl's grandson — former BR549 member and successful Indie/AltCountry singer/songwriter Chris Scruggs — is playing just across the river at Newport’s Southgate House. Scruggs was invited to Friday's celebratory reception at the site of the recording — on the second floor of the CityBeat building at 811 Race. St., in the downtown space once occupied by the historic Herzog recording studio — but is unable to attend. (He has been extended an open invitation to visit the site of his grandpa's historic session at any time.)

Friday's celebration — starting at 5:30 p.m. — is the CUMHF's latest event in an ongoing effort to expose Cincinnati's amazingly rich musical history, which has been vital to the development of popular music as a whole. The Comet Bluegrass All-Stars will perform "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" (among other selections) to honor the 60th anniversary of the seminal sessions. Plans are also in the works to record the All-Stars playing the song with a set-up similar to what Herzog used.

"Foggy" was recorded on Dec. 11, 1949, at Herzog and the song (written by Earl Scruggs) has since become perhaps the most renowned Bluegrass composition of all time. Five years ago, the recording was one of 50 chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.

Just last month, the CUMHF helped get an historical marker erected at the Herzog site, where Hank Williams also recorded, laying down seminal cuts like "Lovesick Blues" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry."

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