Ben Fitzgerald's 10 Essential CDs


I’ve taken the challenge you presented on air! After initially deciding that the task was impossible, I narrowed the criteria. So here’s a list of ten bluegrass albums that “may well indeed find themselves in a top ten list but are a good place to start for someone looking to get into bluegrass music.” Anyway you look at it, these are all great albums, each having had a considerable influence on bluegrass music – except perhaps the Ricky Skaggs CD – which I included due to the fact that I think it’s one of the best live bluegrass albums from the past ten years.

Best regards – keep up the exceptionally good work,

Ben Fitzgerald

And (in no particular order) the selections are:


  1. JD Crowe and the New South – Self Titled (AKA Rounder 0044)
  2. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Will the Circle be Unbroken
  3. Flatt & Scruggs – Foggy Mountain Banjo
  4. Tony Rice – Manzanita
  5. Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder – Live at the Charleston Music Hall
  6. Del McCoury – Family
  7. Larry Sparks – John Deere Tractor
  8. Doc Watson – Southbound
  9. Bill Monroe – Live Recordings 1956 – 1959 (Smithsonian Folkways)
  10. The Stanley Brothers – Angel Band: Classic Mercury Recordings