EARL SCRUGGS, DOC WATSON, RICKY SKAGGS The Three Pickers (Rounder) Rating: NNN
Assembled for a Public Television special not unlike A Mighty Wind, the Three Pickers concert brings together bluegrass bango icon Earl Scruggs with folk great Doc Watson and bluegrass guiding light Ricky Skaggs. But what's meant to be an informal "front porch" picking session turns out to be a stodgy stroll through quaint renditions of some old spirituals. Scruggs and Watson still have their chops, but there's really no flash or fire in this artificially staged affair, and very little in the way of exciting exchanges. You get a feel for how restrained the playing really is once Skaggs brings out his Kentucky Thunder hombres and they kick up the energy level by a factor of 10, leaving Watson and Scruggs in the dust.