Our friend Dennis Jones at WNCW in Charlotte, NC shared with us the news that Horace Scruggs, older brother of Earl Scruggs, passed away on July 19.
Many stories have been told of how the Scruggs brothers would practice as boys, starting a song together in the front yard, and then walking around on opposite sides of the house, until they could meet in the back still playing in time.
Earl wrote in his book, Earl Scruggs And The 5-String Banjo, of their learning to play together.
“My brother, Horace, and I used to spend many happy hours picking away on the banjo and guitar. The combination of the two worked out very well. We would pick on rainy days when we couldn’t work on the farm, and especially on winter nights after we had studied our school lessons.”
Horace’s friend Dr. Bobby Jones, who performed with him in the band Flint Hill, wrote a tribute to Scruggs when he was named recipient of the 2006 Heritage Bridge Award.
Although Horace never made his living as a musician, he certainly had the opportunity. Being Earl’s brother, he was in jam sessions through the years with folks like Bobby Osborne, Marty Stuart, Del McCoury or John Hartford. At one back stage session, no less a critic than Bill Monroe singled him out for his rhythm playing, proclaiming "that’s the way it needs to be." In spite of his more famous connections, though, Horace was always equally at home playing with his less well known Cleveland County friends who loved to pick bluegrass music, (at least if they kept good time.) The famous still call too, though, and Little Roy Lewis always asks Horace to join him on the stage when he plays shows in the area. A lot of folks wondered why Horace never went on the road. Once I asked him, and his reply was simply, "Well, I always had a job to do."
You can read that tribute in its entirety online.
Dennis Jones recalls that Horace was a regular listener to Goin’ Across The Mountain each Saturday on WNCW, and would often have his wife call in requests.
“He was one of the good ones. My heart is kinda heavy right now.”
Services for Horace Scruggs will be held on Saturday, July 21 at First Baptist Church in Boiling Springs, NC, with visitation from 1:30 until 3:00 p.m., and a funeral to follow.
Bluegrass Todays sends our condolences to the Scruggs family and Horace’s many dear friends.