"Foggy Mountain Breakdown" is a bluegrass music instrumental written by Earl Scruggs and first recorded in 1949 by the bluegrass artists Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys. It is a standard in the bluegrass repertoire.
It is used as background music in the 1967 motion picture Bonnie and Clyde, especially in the car chase scenes, and has been used in a similar manner in many other films and television programs, particularly when depicting a pursuit scene in a rural setting. In 1968, both the 1949 Mercury records version and a newly recorded Columbia version were listed at one position of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #55.
In 2002, Scruggs won a Grammy award for a 2001 recording which featured Steve Martin on second banjo, Albert Lee, Travis Tritt, and Vince Gill on guitars, Marty Stuart on mandolin, and Paul Shaffer on piano, among others.
Which leads to...
Bonnie Elizabeth Parker (October 1, 1910 – May 23, 1934) and Clyde Chestnut Barrow (March 24, 1909 – May 23, 1934) were well-known outlaws, robbers, and criminals who traveled the Central United States with their gang during the Great Depression. Their gang was known as the "Barrow Gang" which included Bonnie and Clyde, and at times Buck Barrow, Blanche Barrow, Raymond Hamilton, W.D. Jones, Joe Palmer, Ralph Fults, and Henry Methvin. Their exploits captured the attention of the American public during the "public enemy era" between 1931 and 1934. Though known today for his dozen-or-so bank robberies, Barrow in fact preferred to rob small stores or rural gas stations. The gang is believed to have killed at least nine police officers and committed several civilian murders. The couple themselves were eventually ambushed and killed in Louisiana by law officers. Their reputation was cemented in American pop folklore by Arthur Penn's 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.
Even during their lifetimes, the couple's depiction in the press was at considerable odds with the hardscrabble reality of their life on the road—particularly in the case of Parker. Though she was present at a hundred or more felonies during her two years as Barrow's companion, she was not the machine gun-wielding cartoon killer portrayed in the newspapers, newsreels, and pulp detective magazines of the day. Gang member W. D. Jones was unsure whether he had ever seen her fire at officers. Parker's reputation as a cigar-smoking gun moll grew out of a playful snapshot found by police at an abandoned hideout, released to the press, and published nationwide; while she did chain-smoke Camel cigarettes, she was not a cigar smoker.
Author-historian Jeff Guinn explains that it was the release of these very photos that put the outlaws on the media map and launched their legend: "John Dillinger had matinee-idol good looks and Pretty Boy Floyd had the best possible nickname, but the Joplin photos introduced new criminal superstars with the most titillating trademark of all—illicit sex. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were young and unmarried. They undoubtedly slept together. Without Bonnie, the media outside Texas might have dismissed Clyde as a gun-toting punk, if it ever considered him at all. With her sassy photographs, Bonnie supplied the sex-appeal, the oomph, that allowed the two of them to transcend the small-scale thefts and needless killings that actually comprised their criminal careers."
Which leads to...
Know that in a former time
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime.
--William Blake, 'A Little Girl Lost'
or lack of focus
the stream of consciousness
what does it mean to us
waiting on the further bank
what gods & demons
do we thank
for this life's living history
for love our greatest mystery
Flatt & Scruggs perform "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" from 1965 at the Ryman Auditorium, featured on the Grand Ole Opry Vintage Classics DVD. Visit www.opry.com to find out more!