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RALPH STANLEY II

  
RED SOVINE Hollywood HCD 116 Giddy-Up-Go ● CD $8.98

 
LARRY SPARKS Rebel 1107 Classic Bluegrass ● CD $15.98
18 tracks drawn from various Rebel albums by this outstanding bluegrass singer - Tennessee 1949/ John Deere Tractor/ A face In The Crowd/ Six More Miles/ Smokey Mountain Memories/ You Could Have Called/ Great High Mountain, etc

 
LARRY SPARKS Rebel 1654 Silver Reflections ● CD $15.98
One of the most traditional sounding singers and guitarists in bluegrass, Larry Sparks has turned out many fine records on County, Rebel, and other bluegrass labels, and this one maintains that tradition. His Carter Sanley influenced guitar (as a youngster he played with Ralph Stanley after Carter's death) and bluesy vocal approach are sure to please traditional bluegrass lovers. Includes Tennessee 1949, Kentucky Girl, You're The Girl Of My Dreams, Blue Virginia Blues, Old Faded Picture, seven more. (RP)

 
LARRY SPARKS Rebel 1694 Sings Hank Williams ● CD $15.98
An outstanding selection of interpretations of 12 Hank Williams songs by one of the most soulful bluegrass singers in the business with a voice that can do justice to the mournful quality of Hank's songs. Originally issued some 15 years ago on a County LP this is more of an acoustic country record than bluegrass with Larry accompanied by Tommy Boyd/ banjo and dobro, Ricky Skaggs/ mandolin, Chubby Wise/ fiddle and Art Wynder or Jerry Schieber/ bass. Larry has wisely chosen some of Hank's less familiar songs including No One Will Ever Know/ Someday You'll Call My Name/ Battle Of Armageddon/ Singing Waterfall/ My Heart Would Know/ Mansion On The Hill, etc. Excellent (FS)

 
LARRY SPARKS Rebel 1700 Travelin ● CD $15.98

 
LARRY SPARKS Rebel 1710 The Rock I Stand On ● CD $15.98

 
LARRY SPARKS Rebel 1745 Christmas In The Hills ● CD $15.98
Old and new Christmas songs done in traditional bluegrass styles featuring one of the genre's finest singers.

 
LARRY SPARKS Rebel 1756 Special Delivery ● CD $15.98
New album by this incredibly soulful bluegrass singer recorded with his incredibly. Mostly recent compositions along with Jimmie Davis's Nobody's Darling But Mine, Hank Williams' California Zephyr and Bob Wills' California Zephyr.

 
LARRY SPARKS & THE LONESOME RAMBLERS Starday 6518 Ramblin' Bluegrass ● CD $9.98
12 tracks, 31 mins, highly recommended Larry Sparks is one of the great bluegrass singers. He served his apprenticeship playing guitar with The Stanley Brothers and subsequently singing with Ralph after Carter Stanley died. The Stanley influence is strong both in the incredibly soulful vocals and the choice of material. This was his first solo album with his own band which includes such great musicians as Mike Lilly on banjo and Wendy Miller on mandolin. Songs include dark Hollow/ A Life Of Sorrow/ Just Lovin' You/ Memories & Dreams/ Long Journey Home and others plus a couple of fine instrumentals (FS)

 
RALPH STANLEY Audium 8169 The Very Best Of ... ● CD $16.98
The Ralph Stanley flood continues! If you're wondering what all the fuss is about this excellent CD will help explain featuring 16 tracks from the greatest living bluegrass singers drawn from his lengthy tenure with Rebel Records and includes versions of some of his most famous songs - Rank Stranger/ Little Maggie/ Oh Death/ Riding The Midnight Train/ The LOnesome River/ Dad's Old Rocky Field/ Katy Daley/ Angel Band, etc.

 
RALPH STANLEY Freeland 639 Christmas Time With Ralph Stanley ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 31 mins, recommended. Some lovely Christmas bluegrass music from Ralph and the gang (Ernie Thacker, Junior Blankenship, Jack Cooke, Curly Ray Cline, Art Stamper & Shelton Faezell) recorded in 1993. New and old favorites like I'm Going Home, It's Christmas Time/ Christmas Praise/ Christmas Time's A Comin'/ The Christmas Spirit and others. Included is a spine chilling acapella version of the exquisite Bright Morning Star which is, alone, worth the price of the album. (FS)

 
RALPH STANLEY Freeland 646 Classic Gospel ● CD $15.98
17 songs with Roy Lee Centers, Ricky Skaggs & Keith Whitley from 1970 previously available as part of the two CD set Classic Stanley (Freeland 9002) - Going Up Home To Live In Green Pastures/ Bright Morning Star/ You Better Sit Down & Pray/ Death Is Only A Dream/ In Memory Of Carter Stanley/ Cry FRom The CRoss, etc.

 
RALPH STANLEY Freeland CFRC 9002 Classic Stanley ● CD $24.98
2 CDs, 34 tracks, 1 hour, 26 min; essential
Fantastic collection of recordings from festivals, rehearsal tapes and studio recordings of Ralph's band from the period 1970-76, including 16 selections from the festival season of 1971, mostly recorded live at various festivals. These recordings are significant because they marked the first summer that the youthful Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs toured as Clinch Mtn. Boys, and they, along with Ralph, band stalwarts Jack Cooke, Curly Ray Cline, and Roy Lee Centers, made some mighty bluegrass that summer, some of the most exhilerating, exciting bluegrass imaginable, marked both by its spontaneity and high polish. Even the most dedicated Stanley fans must be asking themselves at this point; Do I want yet another recording of these warhorses, which have made up the bulk of Ralph's repertoire for thirty years or more? The answer, (trust me) is a resounding yes; this is an amazing set with great sound, informative notes, and inspired versions of virtually every song and tune included. Selections include Nobody's Love Is Like Mine/ Going Up Home To Live In Green Pastures (incredible!)/ Bright Morning Star/ Stone Walls and Steel Bars/ Who Will Sing For Me/ , Cry From The Cross/ Rank Stranger et al.(RP)

 
RALPH STANLEY King K3CD 0951 Poor Rambler - His Complete King & Gusto Recordings ● CD $24.98
Three CD set featuring 48 tracks recorded by this bluegrass legend for King and Gusto. The 36 King sides were recorded between 1967 and '69 with Larry Sparks, Curly Ray Cline and others. The 12 Gusto sides are from a 1980 duet album with fellow bluegrass giant Jimmy Martin. Includes 20 page booklet with detailed notes by Gary B. Reid, photos and full discographical info.

 
RALPH STANLEY King 6102 Hills Of Home ● CD $8.98
12 fine performances including the title song - a tribute to his late brother Carter.

 
RALPH STANLEY King 6109 Over The Sunset Hill ● CD $9.98
12 tracks, 30 mins, recommended Reissue of King 1032 from 1968 featuring Ralph's first bluegrass gospel session after brother Carter's death in 1966. Ralph is joined by the superb Larry Sparks on vocal and guitar, Curly Ray Cline on fiddle and baritone vocals, Melvin Goines/ rhythm guitar & bass vocal and George Shuffler/ bass fiddle. Fine performances of A Little Soldier For Jesus/ Snow Covered Mound/ Though Long Expected Jesus/ Over The Sunset Hill, etc. (FS)

 
RALPH STANLEY King KSCD 5144 Live At The Smithsonian ● CD $10.98
13 songs and tunes recorded live at The Smithsonian in 1974 with Ralph and the boys featuring Ricky Lee, Roy Lee Centers, Curly Ray Cline & Jack Cooke. Includes Orange Blossom Special/ Bill Cheatham/ Maple On the Hill/ Tennessee Stud/ Rank Strangers/ Dark Hollow/ Ridin' That Midnight Train and others.

 
RALPH STANLEY Rebel 1109 Classic Bluegrass ● CD $16.98
A compilation of classic Stanley performances from previous Rebel and County albums, spanning the years 1971 to 1986 - plenty of Stanley Brothers favorites along with a few traditional classics. Despite the numerous changes in personnel during the 15 years covered, there is a consistency of sound throughout. And although all of these selections were previously released, this collection proves to be a fine way to trace the progression of Ralph's post-Stanley Bros. career. (GR)

 
RALPH STANLEY Rebel 1114 Bound To Ride - Vintage Mountain Bluegrass ● CD $16.98
20 tracks, 49 min; recommended
1996 marks Ralph's 50th Anniversary year as a bluegrass musician, and after years of relative neglect, he is beginning to enjoy once again the prominence he so richly deserves as a bluegrass pioneer, bandleader, and musical genius. Part of that recognition comes in the form of the recent spate of CD reissues of his early material, of which this is one. Ralph rarely makes an album on which there isn't some worthwhile material, but this particular collection is noteworthy for its inclusion of several Stanley standards by a classic band, featuring at various times Roy Lee Centers, Ricky Lee, Curly Ray Cline, Jack Cooke, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Danny Marshall, and on one cut, John Duffey. Mostly from sessions from 1971-73, songs and tunes include Shout Little Lulie/ Maple On the Hill/ What About You/ God Gave You To Me/ Rocky Island/ Will You Miss Me, and others. These mostly familiar numbers have been frequently recorded, both by Ralph's bands and by The Stanley Brothers, but these are solid, sometimes inspired versions by some of the finest pickers and singers Ralph has ever employed, at the peak of their powers. (RP)

 
RALPH STANLEY Rebel 1126 Man Of Constant Sorrow ● CD $16.98
13 tracks, 34 mins, highly recommended
A wonderful, but far too short, compilation of the greatest living bluegrass singer drawn from half a dozen of his classic Rebel albums. This compilation is issued to coincide with the release of the new Coen Brothers movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou" which features Ralph on the soundtrack and includes a stunning version of the traditional Oh Death which Ralph sings in the movie. Five of the tracks have not been on CD before and several feature the superb and hair raising second lead of the late Keith Whitley including the aforementioned Oh Death plus I Am Weary (Let Me Rest & I've Just Seen The Rock Of Ages. Other great songs include Man Of Constant Sorrow/ Old Richmond Prison/ Angel Band/ Dream Of A Miner's Child/ Poor Rambler and more. As always Ralph is accompanied by great musicians and vocalists like Roy Lee Centers, Curly Ray Cline, Jack Cooke and others. Bluegrass doesn't get better than this - every track is a gem but why coudn't those skinflints at Rebel give us another half a dozen tracks? (FS)

 
RALPH STANLEY Rebel 1499 Cry From The Cross ● CD $16.98
12 tracks, 29 mins, highly recommended
This reissue of the group's first album for Rebel in 1971 features some of the greatest bluegrass gospel you are ever likely to hear. Ralph and the boys reach back to the Primitive Baptist sounds of Ralph's youth resulting in music that is spellbinding and chilling in its intensity. And what a band - Ralph provides his distinctive tenor vocals and clawhammer banjo, Roy Lee Centers plays guitar and provides beautiful lead vocals in the Carter Stanley tradition with Ricky Skags on mandolin and fiddle, Jack Cooke on bass & baritone vocals, the ever reliable Curly Ray Cline on fiddle and Keith Whitley on guitar and bass vocals. The songs are a fine mix including several resurrected from the Stanley Brothers repertoire. There are two stunning mostlu acapella performances - Bright Morning Star and Sinner Man which are alone worth the price of this album and were to start a trend that became popular among bluegrass groups but nobody did it better than Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys. The CD reissue includes a booklet with new notes by Gary Reid. My only complaint is that this disc is too short - they should have included another of Stanley's Rebel gospel albums. (FS)

 
RALPH STANLEY Rebel 1571 Clinch Mountain Gospel ● CD $16.98
12 tracks, 36 mins, essential
Well there's no shortage of Ralph Stanley reissues these days,, but when they're as good as this, I'm not complaining. This album, originally issued in 1977 features the spellbinding lead vocals of Keith Whitley whose singing epitomizes true "country soul". Ralph provides occasional lead or spine chilling tenor harmonies and we also hear the vocal talents of bassist Jack Cooke on baritone and guest vocalist Chester "Pop" Marshall on bass. Filling out the instrumental sides are Troy Profitt on lead guitar and Curly Ray Cline on fiddle. The performances are magnificent and varied including a wonderful call and response version of Oh Death with Ralph and Keith and an acapella rendering of Amazing Grace with Ralph "lining out" the lyrics as well as superb renditions of Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem/ There'll Be None On The Other Side/ Jesus Savior Pilot Me/ I've Just Seen The Rock Of Ages/ What A Price

 
RALPH STANLEY Rebel 1657 I'll Answer The Call ● CD $16.98
Now on CD. All Gospel album from Ralph and the boys including, as usual, Ralph's bright ringing banjo and soulful vocals. Curly Ray Cline's old timey styled fiddling, Jack Cooke's leather lunged harmonies, plus some nice lead singing by rhythm guitarist Sammy Adkins and some tasty lead guitar by Junior Blankenship. There are two a capella quartet numbers and an outstanding version of Hazel Houser's Praying , with a moving lead vocal by Blankenship. Nothing new here, and that's one of the nice things about the record. Ralph and his band remain one of the few remaining strong links to the beginnings of bluegrass, and for that reason, we should treasure every record he puts out. (RP)

 
RALPH STANLEY Rebel 1687 Pray For The Boys ● CD $16.98

 
RALPH STANLEY Rebel 1735 Short Life Of Trouble - Songs Of Grayson & Whitter ● CD $16.98
12 tracks, 29 minutes, highly recommended
At age 70 Ralph Stanley shows no signs of slowing down and he continues to set the standard for traditional bluegrass. This fine album, a tribute to the music of Gilliam Grayson and Henry Whitter is an excellent example. Although their career was tragically cut short by Grayson's death in 1930 they produced an amazing body of work which remains highly influential. Both Stanley Brothers were aware of their songs as young men and listened to their records. Included in this collection are well known tunes associated with the duo like Handsome Molly and Nine Pound Hammer, as well as lesser known but equally worthy numbers including the hard driving Train 45, Rose Conley, Nobody's Darling, and the title tune. Stanley's voice has aged and mellowed beautifully over the years and he is more effective than even in interpreting this material. While not present on every track, his banjo playing is undiminished in strength whether he is playing in the older claw hammer style or more contemporary picking. James Sheldon on lead guitar and James Price on fiddle turn in particularly strong instrumental backing. This is an excellent album, full of the yearning, tragedy, and mournful harmonies that comprise true mountain music. Really my only complaint is that it is a little on the short side. (DP)

 
RALPH STANLEY Rebel 1765 While The Ages Roll On ● CD $16.98
12 tracks, 38 mins, highly recommended
While the ages roll on, Ralph Stanley rolls on with them - 73 years old and still one of the finest exponents of bluegrass gospel. His voice has lost some of the edge it used to have but few can match him for sheer soulfullness. He is joined by his stellar Clinch Mountain Boys with John Rigsby, Jack Cooke, Steve Parkman, James Price and James Allen Shelton who provide outstanding instrumental and vocal support. There are occasional guest musicians including his son Ralph Stanley II who contributes rhythm guitar and two superb lead vocals. The songs are a mix of traditional and more recent compositions and includes three stunning acapella quartet performances. Songs include Dad's Old Rocky Field/ Gone Away With A Friend/ While The Ages Roll On/ The Day Is Past & Gone/ One Drop Of Water/ Waiting For Me and others. (FS)

 
RALPH STANLEY & FRIENDS Rebel 1770 Clinch Mountain Sweethearts ● CD $16.98
16 tracks, highly recommended
Well, Ralph may be 74 years old but he has no trouble getting the girls - 15 of them in fact on this collection of duets. Ralph's voice may have faded a bit but he still sings with an unparalleled soulfulness. He is joined by a fine selection of female singers from the country, bluegrass and folk fields including old timers like Melba Montgomery, Jeannie Sealey, Dolly Parton and Joan Baez and some of the younger stars like Iris Dement, Gillian Welch, Gail Davis and Chely Wright. Most of the material is drawn from the Stanley Brothers songbook though one of the highlights is the duet with Melba Montgomery on Hank Williams' You Win Again - one of the few times he has recorded a Hank Williams song. Other highlights include the version of Angel Band with Chely Wright, Rank Stranger with Gail Davis and Oh Death with Gillian Welch. The duets with Joan Baez and Kristi Stanley are probably the weakest here. Backup by the Clinch Mountain Boys is impeccable and the set comes with an attractive booklet with notes on the project and the individual performances. (FS)

 
RALPH STANLEY Rebel 4001 Ralph Stanley And The Clinch Mountain Boys, 1971-1972 ● CD $64.98
4 CDs, 96 tracks, 4 hours, 3 min; highly recommended
 Contains all the material from the six Rebel LPs recorded during this period, plus King Bluegrass LP 522 and an album's worth of material recorded in Japan in 1971 that to my knowledge has never been available domestically until now. Musically, this was a rich period for Ralph and The Clinch Mountain Boys; included here is the classic
Cry From The Cross album featuring the wonderful lead vocals of Roy Lee Centers, eerily reminiscent of Carter Stanley, plus (mostly) Jack Cooke on bass and vocals, Ricky Skaggs, mandolin and vocals, Keith Whitley, guitar and vocals, Curly Ray Cline, fiddle,and Ralph himself playing both bluegrass and oldtime banjo and adding his haunting vocals. This set includes classic versions of I Am The Man/ Take Your Shoes Off/ Bright Morning Star/ Cry From The Cross, and more. The remainder of the material in the box is of similarly high caliber; almost all of it is classic Ralph Stanley, mixing Stanley Brothers material with other great traditional material, both gospel and secular, showcasing wonderful trios and quartets on both a cappella gospel songs and numbers with instrumental accompaniment. Of particular note are such items as Ralph's cover of Jesse Winchester's Brand New Tennessee Waltz, a gorgeous version of Going Up Home To Meet In Green Pastures, and many more. Good 16 page booklet with notes by Dick Spottswood, reviews of the original albums from the bluegrass press of the day and many photos. A must for Ralph Stanley fanatics. (RP)

 
RALPH STANLEY & JOE ISAACS Freeland 642 A Gospel Gathering ● CD $15.98
 

 
RALPH STANLEY & GUESTS Freeland  9001 Saturday Night & Sunday Morning ● CD $24.98
2 CDs, 31 Songs, 87 min, essential. A beautiful tribute to the high & lonesomest voice in bluegrass, Ralph Stanley. His voice and banjo combine with such great singers as Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Patty Loveless, Alison Krause, Larry Sparks, Jimmy Martin, Charlie Waller, Judy Marshall, Charlie Sizemore, Tom T. Hall (!), Dwight Yoakam (!!), George Jones (!!!), and the great Bill Monroe. And the best part is they meet on Ralph's terms, performing old time favorites, Stanley Brothers gems, and a few great songs from Tom T, Dwight, Bill, & Keith Whitley. The first CD, Saturday Night performs secular, though hardly honky tonkin', songs, while the 2nd, Sunday Morning, offers up the true test of bluegrass singing, gospel tunes. While the results don't plumb the depths that Ralph is uniquely capable of, as on his latest acapella offering on Rebel ( Almost Home), all 31 cuts are fine, and many are superb. Especially nice are Tom T's Waterlily & Rank Stranger, George's Wonderful World Outside (amazing!) & the classic Angel Band, Dwight's Miner's Prayer, Sailing Home with Patty & Alison, & Great High Mountain, with Emmylou & Judy. It's a real treat to hear these great voices just singing, and to feel their love for this national treasure, Ralph Stanley, who shows here why he is held in such regard. Kudos to all involved. (JM)

 
RALPH STANLEY & FRIENDS Rebel 1770 Clinch Mountain Sweethearts ● CD $16.98
16 tracks, highly recommended
Well, Ralph may be 74 years old but he has no trouble getting the girls - 15 of them in fact on this collection of duets. Ralph's voice may have faded a bit but he still sings with an unparalleled soulfulness. He is joined by a fine selection of female singers from the country, bluegrass and folk fields including old timers like Melba Montgomery, Jeannie Sealey, Dolly Parton and Joan Baez and some of the younger stars like Iris Dement, Gillian Welch, Gail Davis and Chely Wright. Most of the material is drawn from the Stanley Brothers songbook though one of the highlights is the duet with Melba Montgomery on Hank Williams' You Win Again - one of the few times he has recorded a Hank Williams song. Other highlights include the version of Angel Band with Chely Wright, Rank Stranger with Gail Davis and Oh Death with Gillian Welch. The duets with Joan Baez and Kristi Stanley are probably the weakest here. Backup by the Clinch Mountain Boys is impeccable and the set comes with an attractive booklet with notes on the project and the individual performances. (FS)

 
RALPH STANLEY & FRIENDS Rebel 5001 Clinch Mountain Country ● CD $29.98
Two CDs, 36 tracks, 103 mins, highly recommended
A sequel to Ralph's popular double set of five years ago (Freeland 9001 "Saturday Night & Sunday Morning" - $24.98) this new set teams Ralph and his great band with some of the top names in country and bluegrass. This new set is along the same lines with some artists from the previous effort returning for this one (Ricky Skaggs, Patty Loveless, Dwight Yoakam, George Jones, etc) and some are new to this collaboration (Marty Stuart, Laurie Lewis, Joe Diffie, Junior Brown, Porter Wagoner, The Whites, etc) and even a duet with Bob Dylan on The Lonesome River. Dylan's vocals are pretty bad but if it helps sell more Ralph Stanley I won't complain. Most of the songs are from the Stanley canon (How Mountain Girls Can Love/ If That's The Way You Feel/ She's More To Be Pitied/ I'll Take The Blame/ Pig In A Pen/ Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem). Apart from Dylan the performances are consistently excellent and it's hard to pick a favorite though I really like the duet with George Jones on The Window Up Above which both had recorded before individually. Laurie Lewis's vocal on Old Love Letters is particularly fine, Junior Brown is excellent on Stone Walls & Steel Bars (one of my favorite Stanley songs) and the acapella Bright Morning Star with Kathy Mattea is spine chilling. Set comes with 36 page booklet with notes on Ralph's long career and all the performances here. (FS)

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS Bear Family BCD 15564 1949-1952 ● CD $21.98
Important recordings from the Columbia vaults, unavailable on CD until now. This version of The Stanleys is contemporary with Bill Monroe's famous Flatt and Scruggs unit, and though quite different in sound to that group, they also had a profound impact on the shape of bluegrass. More old timey than Monroe's powerful group, these recordings are most noteworthy for the inspired vocal trios featuring the lead of Carter Stanley, tenor of brother Ralph, and unique "high baritone" of Pee Wee Lambert on classics like A Vision Of Mother/ The White Dove/ Gathering Flowers For The Master's Bouquet/ The Angels Are Singing/ Pretty Polly and others. Guitarist Carter Stanley's mournful singing, his ability to write original songs that sounded as old as his Clinch Mountains, the wonderful three-part harmonies, and the decidedly old time approach of banjoist Ralph, plus the other instrumentalists make these very special recordings. 24 in all, including alternate versions of The Fields Have Turned Brown/ Little Glass Of Wine, plus all the Brothers' recorded output for Columbia. Essential. RP)

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS Bear Family BCD 15681 1953-59 ● CD $41.98
2 CDs, 49 tracks; 2 hrs, 1 min; essential
After years of spotty availability of the most important recordings of this legendary band, we have recently been deluged with great Stanley Brothers reissues. This latest, featuring all their recordings from Mercury, is particularly welcome because it features a large percentage of their classic numbers, including Carter Stanley-composed songs such as This Weary Heart You Stole Away, Our Last Goodbye, Poison Lies, I Long To See The Old Folks, Nobody's Love Is Like Mine, and A Lonesome Night, all now staples of the bluegrass repertoire. The bands here are more in the traditional vein, featuring less guitar than on the later King recordings; among the musicians featured here are fiddlers Art Stamper, Joe Meadows, Ralph Mayo, and Chubby Anthony. Mandolinists include Peewee Lambert, Bill Napier, and Jim Williams. This collection also features classic recordings of the gospel number Cry From The Cross, which has become a staple of Ralph Stanley's bands, and a haunting version of the traditional Angel Band, along with a significant number of Bill Monroe compositions, including A Voice From On High, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, I Hear My Savior Calling, and Close By. Also included are two numbers recorded for the Blue Ridge label in 1959, among the Brothers' rarest recordings, the traditional songs Meet Me Tonight and Nobody's Business. Great notes and discography by Gary Reid, good sound. As always, the mournful and intense lead vocals of Carter Stanley, the chilling tenor voice of Ralph, and his ringing banjo stamp these recordings with The Stanley Brothers' inimitable sound. (RP)

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS Columbia CK 53798 The Complete Columbia Recordings ● CD $11.98
22 tracks, 59 mins, essential
If you don't already have these classic recordings on the Bear Family label now's your chance to get them at a domestic label price - less two alternate takes. This version of The Stanleys is contemporary with Bill Monroe's famous Flatt and Scruggs unit, and though quite different in sound to that group, they also had a profound impact on the shape of bluegrass. More old timey than Monroe's powerful group, these recordings are most noteworthy for the inspired vocal trios featuring the lead of Carter Stanley, tenor of brother Ralph, and unique "high baritone" of Pee Wee Lambert on classics like A Vision Of Mother/ The White Dove/ Gathering Flowers For The Master's Bouquet/ The Angels Are Singing/ Pretty Polly and others. Guitarist Carter Stanley's mournful singing, his ability to write original songs that sounded as old as his Clinch Mountains, the wonderful three-part harmonies, and the decidedly old time approach of banjoist Ralph, plus the other instrumentalists make these very special recordings. (RP)

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS Deluxe 7907 20 Bluegrass Originals ● CD $6.98
More classic sides from the wonderful Stanleys - half a dozen tracks duplicated with Hollywood 133. Includes Love Me Darling Just Tonight/ Holiday Pickin'/ Five String Drag/ Don't Go Out Tonight/ I'm A Man Of Constant Sorrow/ Stone Walls And Steel Bars/ Still Trying To Get To Little Rock/ Sunny Side Of The Mountain/ Just Because/ Wild Side Of Life, etc.

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS Hollywood HCD 127 Old Country CHurch ● CD $8.98
10 more beautiful bluegrass gospel songs - Old Country Church/ My Sinful Past/ Little Bessie/ Mother Call My Name In Prayer/ Mother's Only Sleeping, etc.

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS King 615 And The Clinch Mountain Boys ● CD $9.98
Reissue of 1959 album featuring 12 terrific performances including How Mountain Girls Can Love/ She's More To Be Pitied/ Train 45/ Think Of What You've Done/ Clinch Mountain Backstep/ Love Me Darling, Just Tonight, etc. Prime material from one of the greatest of all bluegrass groups. (FS)

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS King 645 Hymns And Sacred Songs ● CD $9.98

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS King KSCD 5106 Hills Of Roan County ● CD $8.98
Only 10 tracks but every one is a bluegrass masterpiece from the greatest bluegrass group of all - Hills Of Roan County/ Stone Walls & Steel Bars/ late Last Night/ Wild Bill Jones/ The Story Of the Lawson Family/ Six Months Ain't Long/ Fast Express Shackles & Chains/ My Main TRial Is yet To Come/ It's Raining Here This Monring.

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS King KSCD 5112 I'll Meet You In Church Sunday Morning ● CD $8.98
More classic bluegrass gospel from the masters of the form - title song + Working On A Building/ Mother's Only Sleeping/ My Lord's Gonna Set me Free/ This Wicked Path Of Sin/ Seek Jesus (He Still May Be Found) + 6 more.

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS King 5121 Complete Starday & King Instrumentals ● CD $19.98
Two CD set featuring 28 tracks of instrumental bluegrass recorded by the great Stanley Brothers for King and Starday between 1958 and 1965. Includes Lonesome Traveler/ Suwanee River Hoedown/ Train 45 (two different versions)/ Wildwood Flower/ Rang Tang/ Clinch Mountain Bacsktep/ Stoney Creek/ Midnight Ramble/ Sourwood Mountain/ Steel Guitar Rag/ Big Tilda/ Snow Deer and more.

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS Rebel 1110 Long Journey Home ● CD $15.98
Wonderful collection of recordings from the early 60s made for the Baltimore label Wango and subsequently reissued on County in the early 70s. Traditional bluegrass at its best with most of tracks just featuring Ralph, Carter and the wonderful guitarist George Shuffler. Includes I'll Be True To The One I Love/ Pretty Polly/ Two More Years And I'll Be Free/ Pig In A Pen/ Nine Pound Hammer/ Wild And Reckless Hobo/ Mountain Pickin' and others including an utterly spine chilling version of Will You Miss Me. Classic stuff! (FS)

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS Rebel 1115 On Radio ● CD $15.98
This CD reissues material first available on two LP's of radio shows sponsored by homebuilder Jim Walter in 1960. The disc is a fascinating document, complete with Carter Stanley's heartfelt pitches and the down home introductions, dedications and comedy skits. These recordings catch the Stanley's at an odd time in their careers. King Records boss Syd Nathan had taken to recording the brothers sans fiddle and mandolin, partly because he hated violins, and so mandolin and banjo player Bill Napier is featured here as lead guitarist. He proves to be an outstanding player, with a punchy, intricate style that owes a lot to his mandolin training. Syd Nathan notwithstanding, the greatly underrated fiddler Chubby Anthony is present here on many cuts, and Ralph Mayo also wields the bow on a few cuts. There are twenty-six cuts, along with two commercials and several renditions of the Stanley's theme. Most of the selections are familiar, but the live feel and unusual personnel make this a valuable addition to any collection. The singing, especially the trios and quartets, is wonderful. Songs and tunes include Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms/ Black Mountain Blues/ How Mountain Girls Can Love/ Pig In A Pen/ Uncle Pen (!)/ Heaven/ He'll Set Your Fields On Fire, the inevitable comedy skit How Far To Little Rock and many others. RP)

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS Revenant 203 Earliest Recordings ● CD $15.98
14 track collection featuring some of the earliest recordings (1947-1952) by possibly the greatest of all bluegrass groups.

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS Starday 122 Sacred Songs From The Hills, With The Clinch Mtn. Boys ● CD $9.98
When it comes to bluegrass gospel singing there was nobody better than The Stanley Brothers (actually there was nobody better for any kind of bluegrass). This reissue features 12 great songs including their utterly spine chilling version of Rank Strangers, the moving reworking of Rock Of Ages which they call Let me Hide Myself In Thee plus other great songs like The Master's Bouquet/ Praise The Lord/ The Darkest Hour Is Before The Dawn. There have been a lot of Stanley Brothers reissues over the years but you can never have too much of them. They never made a bad record and this one features them at their best!

 
THE STANLEY BROTHERS Vanguard 77018 Clinch Mountain Bluegrass ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 63 min., good
Part of Vanguard's "Newport Folk Festival Classics" reissue series, the material here is gleaned from two Newport appearances by the Stanleys. The first, in 1959, presents eight numbers (two are comedy skits) from a group that includes in addition to Carter and Ralph Stanley, the great Chubby Anthony on fiddle and Lindy Clear on bass. The performances are classic examples of familiar Stanley Brothers fare and, as such, are worth the attention of confirmed Stanley fans, as are the befuddled introductory remarks by Oscar Brand. The remaining 14 tracks are from a 1964 Newport appearance, featuring the wonderful George Shuffler on guitar, bass, and vocals, and Red Stanley on fiddle. Unfortunately, although the material is classic, the performances aren't, since Carter's lead singing is seriously impaired by a bad case of laryngitis; vocal leads are shared by Ralph and Shuffler, and those wonderful trios for which the band at that time is known are less than wonderful here. The instrumental work is uniformly fine. There is no dearth of better live versions of most of this material, but dyed in the wool fanatics will want the album for the first eight tracks and Ralph and Shuffler's picking on the remainder of the album. (RP)

 
RALPH STANLEY II/ JOHN RIGSBY Copper Creek 151 Clinch Mountain Echoes - Songs In The Stanley Tradition ● CD $15.98

 
RALPH STANLEY II Rebel 1760 Pretty Girls, City Lights ● CD $15.98
12 tracks, 35 mins, highly recommended I bet his dad is real proud! Ralph Stanley II is a terrific singer with a beautiful soulful baritone voice that sounds like a cross between his late uncle Carter and Randy Travis! On this, his second album, he is accompanied by an excellent band including Ralph senior on banjo and exquisite harmony vocals, Jack Cooke/ bass, James Price/ fiddle, John Rigsby/ mandolin and James Alan Shelton/ lead guitar. The songs are a mix of old and new - some from the Stanley Brothers canon. I particularly like All I Ever Loved Was You/ It Sure gets Cold This Time Of Year and the original I'll Remember You In My Dreams, but they're all good. (FS)

 

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