Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs were one of the most popular and influential acts in the history of bluegrass, and from 1955 to 1962 they hosted a syndicated television show that aired in a number of major markets in the South. The Country Music Hall of Fame has collected and restored a number of surviving episodes of the show, and this is the eighth DVD in a series from Shanachie that features rare performances from these vintage broadcasts. While most of the earlier discs in this series featured complete episodes of the show, The Best of the Flatt & Scruggs TV Show, Vol. 8 instead offers two "virtual episodes" compiled from numbers taped during the 1960/1961 season in order to avoid repeating songs that have appeared on other Flatt & Scruggs DVDs. (These newly assembled shows even feature the vintage Martha White Flour and Pet Condensed Milk commercials that were an integral part of every episode.) The footage has been transferred to disc in the original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and has been sourced from 16mm kinescope prints; given that this material is a generation away from the original videotapes and the prints were not always treated with care, there are more than a few visual anomalies to be found, but not enough to distract from the archival importance or excitement of this music. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Stereo with the monophonic optical tracks as their source, sounding a bit tinny but fine for the time period. The performances are in English, with no subtitles or multiple language options. A booklet with a fine essay by Jay Orr on Flatt & Scruggs' television career is the only bonus included in this edition. Casual music fans might be a bit put off by the age and occasional cornball humor of these performances, but if you love classic bluegrass and have a strong sense of history, The Best of the Flatt & Scruggs TV Show, Vol. 8 should be just your cup of sweet tea.
Black & White
The Best of the Flatt and Scruggs TV Show, Vol. 8 [DVD]