Dueling Banjos – Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandel

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………………on March 7th of 1973 a song from the movie Deliverance called “Dueling Banjos” by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandel becomes one of the few 1970s instrumentals to be awarded a Gold record. The record had topped the Cash Box Magazine Best Sellers list and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was written and recorded in 1955 as “Feuding Banjos” by the Country star Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith. A group called The Dillards popularized the song in the mid ’60s on the folk circuit, and it was their version that the author James Dickey heard and thought would fit nicely in the film version of his novel Deliverance. This song was recorded two years before the movie was released. It was the first track on the soundtrack for the film, and the only newly-recorded song. The rest of the soundtrack was made up of songs recorded in 1963 by Eric Weissberg and Marshall Brickman and released on an album called New Dimensions in Bluegrass.By the ’70s, folk music was more of a niche genre; gone were the days when The Kingston Trio or Peter, Paul and Mary could reach the top of the charts with a true folk song. This song had tremendous nostalgic appeal to listeners who fondly remembered those days, and to younger listeners, it was a quirky and fun new sound. In Deliverance, a scene depicts Billy Redden playing it opposite Ronny Cox, who joins him on guitar. The bluegrass instrumental was also a Top 20 hit in the UK peaking at #17.