Randy Scruggs, Buck Graves, Earl, Jody Maphis, Gary Scruggs. The Earl Scruggs Revue. Thunderbird Bar, Placitas, NM. ©1972 by DavidButterfield.com. Earl Scruggs is a hero. In 1969, he broke with Lester Flatt and formed the revue with sons Randy and Gary. Dobro great, Buck Graves left Flatt and Scruggs with Earl.
The Revue, 1972 Live at Kansas State U. With VASSAR CLEMENTS fiddle, Bob Wilson, piano.
Earl Scruggs broke all the molds and conservative political ties in 1960s Nashville when The Revue played the Vietnam Moratorium in Washington, DC. He quietly paved the way for a more open-minded American music and was quickly followed by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Commander Cody and a tidal wave of hippies with banjoes.
My band, Heart, played several weekend dates at the Thunderbird, in the Sandia foothills east of Bernalillo, halfway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Steve, Barry and Peaches of the Placitas commune (Geodesic domes still there. Barry and Peaches still there) opened the Thunderbird in 1969. It was a wild place in the early 70s. Pappy & Harriet’s, my local saloon is very reminiscent of the T-Bird. Middle of nowhere road house with live music, hippies, bikers. T-Bird began to book national touring acts in 1972, after they enlarged the music room, seen in the photo. I also saw Freddie King on this stage. Sadly my photos were bad. Freddie had one of the best blues bands ever. Thunderbird Bar burned to the ground around 1975. Placitas is a ritzy McAdobeMansion suburb now but the dome people still reside surrounded by the upscale Pueblo Moderne.
Earl Scruggs Revue was a delight. I’ve always called Earl, The Country Gentleman. He was for the banjo what Doc Watson was for the guitar. Naturally one of my favorite records is Flatt and Scruggs with Doc Watson -Strictly Instrumental.