28 May 2021

The Earl Scruggs banjo songbook (*UPDATES*)

Early last month the BIB relayed the news that John Lawless had put on Bluegrass Today about The Earl Scruggs banjo songbook: selected banjo tab accurately transcribed for over 80 tunes, details for which are shown on the website of the publishers, Hal Leonard.

John Lawless, as well as co-founding the original Bluegrass Blog and co-directing Bluegrass Today, is a banjo-player and founder of Acutab Publications. In April he wrote: 'This is a book that every banjo player will want to own, and could become the ultimate reference point for students and historians of the music of the one and only Earl Scruggs.' He has now confirmed this on Bluegrass Today:

We can recommend The Earl Scruggs banjo songbook unreservedly as a career-wide overview of the great man’s music. It is available for $29.95 from Hal Leonard online, and from retailers everywhere who specialize in acoustic or bluegrass music. Don’t be without a copy.

Update: When this post was first published earlier today, Amazon.co.uk was showing the book as available in paperback for £10.66, reduced from a RRP of £21.24, but not deliverable to Dublin. Now (6.00 p.m.) the price appears as £19.99, and the book is predicted to be in stock by 1 July, with free delivery by 15 July.

The low price offered earlier on Amazon may have led some to suspect a connection with reports we have heard (but can't confirm) of an early issue of the book that was withdrawn because of faults in the published transcriptions. This no longer seems likely. The May 2021 Banjo News Letter says only that 'unexpected delays' put publication back from February to May.

Update 10 June: The book has now been reviewed in the June 2021 issue of Banjo News Letter by Bob Piekiel, who confirms that some early-issued copies had defects which are now corrected. He concludes: 'Every Scruggs fan needs a copy of this book.'

© Richard Hawkins

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