The musical performances, however, are exemplary and close to damn-near perfection as you could get. Patriarch Bill Monroe may've "invented" bluegrass and the Stanley Brothers were hard-core keepers of the flame, but Flatt & Scruggs were likely most responsible for bluegrass' international popularity. (Of course, it didn't hurt that F&S performed the theme for the Beverly Hillbillies and even appeared on the massively popular, enduring CBS sitcom.) On these programs, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and their ace combo performed traditional fiddle and banjo tunes, country hits, gospel hymns, breakneck secular bluegrass, and later into the '60s, contemporary folk songs. (Scruggs' penchant for the latter clashed with the notions of the more trad-minded some might say reactionary Flatt, eventually leading to their breakup.) Humorous shtick is at a minimum, musicianship is stunning, and their close vocal harmonies cut to even this agnostic's soul. Attention collectors and fanboy/girl: There's footage of Earl playing some excellent guitar, and the a cappella rendition of "Precious Memories" was not recorded by F&S commercially! Whether you're a casual bluegrass fan or a devoted Americana-ologist, these DVDs are the shit and quite essential.