World of Bluegrass

September 16, 2013

Banjos feud and duel on 'Bluegrass for Beginners'

"Feudin' Banjos," memorably plagiarized as the "Deliverance" movie song "Dueling Banjos," is our sixth installment of "Bluegrass for Beginners."

And now our pre-IBMA “Bluegrass for Beginners” countdown enters contentious territory with “Feudin’ Banjos,” a 1955 hit for Don Reno and Charlotte’s own Arthur Smith.

In 1972, this was plagiarized into “Dueling Banjos” from the Burt Reynolds movie “Deliverance,” and the song got to No. 2 on the pop charts. Smith didn’t take kindly to having his song lifted without credit (or payment), and he successfully sued. Here is a 1970s-vintage version by Lester Flatt & Nashville Grass, featuring a teenage Marty Stuart on mandolin. But also check out the Smith/Reno original.

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