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Classic Album Review: Earl Scruggs / Doc Watson / Ricky Skaggs | The Three Pickers

The generation-spanning trio stroll the back roads of American mountain music.


This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


The first one revolutionized bluegrass banjo playing. The second is a legend on the flat-picked guitar. And the last one has dedicated most of his career to carrying the torches lit by the other two.

In other words, you’d be hard-pressed to put together a more respected lineup of bluegrass greats than Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs. Or to put together a more impressive set than their combined effort The Three Pickers. The companion album to a celebratory PBS documentary, this hour-long live disc finds the generation-spanning trio strolling amiably and nostalgically through the back country of American mountain music, reeling off ancient numbers (Down In The Valley To Pray, Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down) and retelling old stories with equal amounts of grace, skill and easygoing jocularity. The only thing missing from the CD version: Watching their fingers work the magic. Bring on the DVD.


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