Along with some of the members of Flatt & Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Boys whom Flatt retained in Nashville Grass, he soon added a 13-year-old mandolin player and singer from
The following year, Stuart, whose voice was on the verge of changing, would be front-and-center when the group appeared on the syndicated Porter Wagoner Show. Sporting a cowboy hat and long black hair (this was the early Seventies, after all), Stuart adds mandolin and echoing harmony to the traditional “Bluebirds Are Singing for Me,” which also includes a tremendous fiddle break from the great Paul Warren. Around the mark, the young musician rejoins Flatt in front but a few seconds in finds himself amused by something and nearly misses his cue to sing.
As a bonus, the above clip also features two additional performances, the first of which finds Stuart in a musical battle with musician Haskell McCormick on “Feudin’ Banjos,” the tune that would inspire “Dueling Banjos,” a hugely popular instrumental at the time this show was taped, thanks to its use in the film, Deliverance. While it’s really a mandolin-banjo stand-off here, it’s a spectacular showcase for Stuart’s young talent. He’s absent from the next performance, however, which spotlights McCormick, along with guitar legend Curly Seckler on a tune called “Country Boy.” As the clip ends Flatt introduces his band members, calling Stuart “the little-bitty one” and also noting Dobro player Charlie Nixon.
Lester Flatt died in 1979 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame with Earl Scruggs in 1985. Marty Stuart released his latest album, Way Out West, earlier this month.