Clinch Mountain Echo

The Stanley's Take First Prize!* (See Update below!)

Stanley Brothers WCYB Radio transcription disc gets most votes!

WCYB Radio transcription disc
Side One Side Two

Well the voting for the Virginia Association of Museum's "Top 10 Endangered Artifacts" is now over, and thanks to a last minute spurt the Stanley's acetate has got 5,932 votes, putting it in first place!

Since voting began on the 15th Jan 2018, up until the last few hours on the 24th, the 18th Century merchant ship had largely led the race to get $4-$5,000 grant towards restoration. However thanks to Stanley fans across the world, there was a last minute spike in votes for the Stanley Brothers acetate and the merchant ship came second with 5,533 votes by the deadline of midnight.

Thanks to everyone who voted, re-voted, shared facebook posts etc. I suspect that without Jeanie Stanley's efforts, the results would have been much different, so huge kudos to Jeanie...

According to the Cybergrass article that broke the news about the competition, the winners will be recognised by a special reception at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, Virginia, on 21st February 2018 and additionally acknowledged at VAM's Statewide Annual Conference on March 12, 2018 during an awards luncheon.

The Birthplace Of Country Music museum is planning to restore the audio from the Stanley's recording using the non-destructive IRENE process developed by the Northest Document Conservation Center.

From a recent Facebook post by Urban Haglund, the acetate was donated by to the museum by Glen Harlow. Photographs of the labels, confirm the track list as:-

  1. We'll Be Sweethearts In Heaven
  2. Little Maggie
  3. The Nine Pound Hammer
  4. Are You Waiting Just For Me
  5. That Lonesome River
  6. Pike County Breakdown
  7. Lee Highway Blues
  8. I'll Have A New Life
  9. The Prisoners Song

I hope that the digitisation process goes well and that Birthplace Of Country Music museum are able to make the recordings publically available in some form!

You can see all the results on the Virginia Association of Museums webpage:

(*) And as the old Stanley joke goes, let's hope they don't make 'em give it back...


After delivery to the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, Massachusetts, the IRENE process was used to restore the audio using non-destructive optical techniques and computer processing. (For details of the process see The results were then given back to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and disc was given it's first public airing on 13th February 2019 as a prelude to the live 'Farm and Fun Time" broadcast on WBCM - Radio Bristol.

From an audio file of the internet streamed broadcast, it looks like one 'channel' was much quieter and had more noise, so I've taken the liberty of duplicating the louder channel and reducing some of the hiss. Unfortunately the live feed included some audience noise...

Use the controls below to listen to the set:-

Or click on the link to download the file:- Download MP3 file (23.5Mb)


The acetate probably dates to late 1950, as Carter mentions that they'd recently recorded The Lonesome River, which was cut in Nov. 1950, whilst We'll Be Sweethearts In Heaven is introduced as their 'latest release' and was recorded in Nov. 1949.

We'll Be Sweethearts In Heaven is very similiar to the version cut by the Stanley's except that the first verse isn't repeated at the end. During the song's introduction Carter says "Friends we're gonna try and sing a duet number for you on the program, Ralph & myself. This is our latest release on Columbia Records. If y'all like to have it when you get home, we'll you can find it in any record store. Go down and ask 'em about it, maybe the'd be glad to play it for you I'm sure. It's entitled "We'll Be Sweethearts In Heaven".

The second track, Little Maggie, is introduced with an exchange between Carter and Ralph:-

Carter: Friends the next number here on the program has kindly been a trademark with the Clinch Mountain Boys around all the country. It's one we introduced here on 'Farm & Fun Time' and Ralph made a record of it, about, how long ago Ralph?
Ralph: Oh about three years ago, I guess
Carter: Alright, let's see if you can sing it the way you did then, "Little Maggie"

The version although similar to the Stanley's recording for Rich-R-Tone, has some minor lyric differences (eg In the first verse Ralph sings "drinking down her troubles" instead of "away her troubles" & in the second "bright moonlight" is inserted into the line "A shining in the moonlight". The penultimate verse (which usually starts "I'm going down to the station, with a suitcase in my hand" is also completely different, i.e.:

"I'm a going to live in the country
I'm tired of living in town
Pretty women have caused me to ramble
Little Maggie will settle me down".

This rare third verse can also be heard on two 1956 shows, that were reissued on Stanley Series, Vol. 2 No. 3 and Vol. 3 No. 1.

Nine Pound Hammer is a fairly fast rendition, which speeds up quite a bit at the end. This is the earliest recording to surface of the Stanley's performing the number, and follows similar lyrics to the 1956 after-gig studio session captured on Old Time Songs/An Evening Long Time Ago.

Next up is a version of Ernest Tubb's 1949 Are You Waiting Just For Me[1] which is heavily modelled after Bill Monroe. Carter introduces the song saying: "Friends right here is a duet number now on the program for you today. I do hope you enjoy this one. I know a lot of fans have been asking for us to try to sing it. Here it is, "Are You Waiting Just For Me".

The Stanley's had yet to record this song (and didn't do so until mid 1952 after their association with Columbia had ended & they recorded the RRT-1055 78 on Rich-R-Tone). Lyrically the broadcast version is closer to Ernest Tubb's original, whereas the later Rich-R-Tone 78 has the last two verses & one line swapped over.

WCYB Acetate:-

"You've never given me a cause to doubt you
You have always been so true and kind
But my spirit keeps on sinking lower
For fearing that a new love you might find

"Now maybe it's just the way I'm feeling
That makes me write these letters to you dear
But my spirit keeps on sinking lower
For losing you love is my greatest fear

Now maybe it's just the way I'm feeling
That makes me write these letters to you dear
But somehow I just can't sleep tonight dear
For losing you love is my greatest fear"

You've never given me cause to doubt you
You have always been so true and kind
But somehow I just can't sleep tonight dear
For fearing that a new love you might find"

Side Two of the disc opens with That Lonesome River. Carter introduces the song by saying:- "Right now friends, here's a trio number we just recorded on Columbia Records not so long ago. Hope you enjoy this one it's of our own numbers entitled That Lonesome River". The rendition is very close to the studio version.

Next up are a couple of instrumentals, with a brief romp through of Bill Monroe's Pike County Breakdown which speeds up somewhat as the number progresses, followed by Lester Woodie featured on the fiddle favourite Lee Highway Blues.

The penultimate cut is the gospel quartet I'll Have A New Life, which the Stanley's didn't get to record. This seems to have also been fashioned after Bill Monroe, as he is said to have featured the song on his Opry broadcasts in the '40s and cut an unreleased version for Columbia which remained in the vault until 2002. The hymn was written by Luther G. Presley.

To close out the show, Pee Wee Lambert emulates Bill Monroe on The Prisoner's Song (aka Meet Me Tonight/Meet Me By The Moonlight).

I hope the set does get released officially!


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