Remembering Ralph Stanley on Viking Twang
Written by Randy Black on June 28, 2016
Viking Twang Episode 91 6-28-2016
Good morning, welcome to Viking Twang Episode 91. My name is Randy Black, happy to be here yet again on a Tuesday morning.
As you know, Ralph Stanley, the last of the great pioneers of bluegrass, passed away last Tuesdayat the age of 89. Along with Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs, he and his brother Carter were the trinity of bluegrass, although Ralph never liked the term. So we’ll play plenty of his mountain music today.
The first set, we’ll play the Stanleys early in their career, in 1949 on the WYCB Bristol Farm and Fun Time radio show, The second set will have songs from a session they recorded for King Records in 1959, and we’ll finish with a sets from the Friends of the Old time concerts in the early1960s, and from legendary bluegrass DJ Ray Davis’ Wango Records.
Here’s Carter, kicking things off, with Carter on lead vocals and guitar, Ralph on banjo, Curley Lambert on mandolin, and Leslie Keith on fiddle.
1 – Turkey Red, W.C. Beck & the Portland Country Underground.
2 – Old Joe Clark.
3 – White House Blues.
4 – Standing in the Need of Prayer.
5 – The Jealous Lover.
6 – Goodbye Old Pal.
7 – Just One Way to the Pearly Gate.
This next set comes from one of the busiest times in the Stanley Brothers’ career, when they recorded for Starday and King records. This is from a session recorded on Sept, 15, 1959, in the King Studios in Cincinnati, with Bill Napier on mandolin and George Schuffler on bass.
8 – Old Rattler.
9 — I’m A Man of Constant Sorrow.
10 – Lonely Tombs,
11 – Over In The Glory Land,
12 – How Far To Little Rock; considered their one popular radio hit.
The final set comes from two places you may not have heard before. The first five are from recordings made by the legendary bluegrass disc jockey, Ray Davis, who was a long time friend and promoter of the Stanley Brothers. Ray recorded these in his basement for his own Wango Records; I got them as a premium for joining WAMU’s Bluegrass Country. The next three are from the Friends of Old Time concerts in the 1960s, and we conclude with Ralph, on his own, from his self-titled 2002 album.
13 – Wild and Reckless Hobo
14 – Train 45
15 – In The Pines
16 – The Dreams of a Miner’s Child.
17 – Life’s Railway to Heaven.
18 – Have A Feast Here Tonight.
19—Mansions for Me.
20 – Hard Times
21 – Calling You
22 – Twang Theme; Countrypolitans.