Clinch Mountain Echo

Suwannee River Jamboree - circa Nov. 1958

Suwanne River Jamboree 1959. L-R: unknown, Chubby Anthony, Ralph, Carter, Al Elliot

The Stanley Brothers moved to Live Oak, Florida early in November 1958, and began working on the weekly Saturday night 'Suwannee River Jamboree' radio show, with their first performance taking place on the 8th Nov.[1]

The jamboree, which was billed as 'The Deep South's Country Music Show', consisted of a three hour show on WNER, which spotlighted local talent. A half hour portion of the show, was also taped and syndicated to 15 other Radio stations around the region.

After 12 years working in and around their home turf, The Stanley's needed to work new territory and soon after moving to Florida, they had also signed a sponsorhip deal with 'Jim Walter Homes'. This gave them some must needed stability, with a regular income, local TV shows, local gigs and the headlining spot on the Saturday night radio show.

One track from a performance in late 1958, Gonna Paint The Town, was later included on the Various Artists - More Music from the Florida Folklife Collection CD. Intended to publicise the Florida state archives, this is not easy to find, but fortunately it's also now available as a free 320kbps MP3 download from the Florida state archives. The CD also features performances by Bill Monroe, Doc & Merle Watson, Etta Baker and Jean Ritchie.

A 30 min portion of the show taken from a tape used in the shows syndication, and featuring the Stanley Brothers, is also available as a free MP3 download. Although this is lower quality (128kbps), it is still an interesting spotlight on the band, which at the time included:-

In addition to Gonna Paint The Town, and the opening/closing theme song, the tape also includes a version of Bill Monroe's 1947 Gospel number That Home Above. I think this is the only recording of the song to appear by either The Stanley Brothers or Ralph.

The running order on the tape is as follows:

  1. Stanley Brothers - Theme Tune
  2. Stanley Brothers - Gonna Paint The Town
  3. Commercial for Ford Harvester (hoedown with the CMB's)
  4. Sandy Flowers - I Could Not Keep From Crying (*)
  5. Lamar Rogers - I Am A Pilgrim (*)
  6. Leroy McDaniel - Coconut Grove (*)
  7. Commercial for Ford Diesel Tractor
  8. ???? - Golden Slippers
  9. Cheryl Thompson - Pretty Words (*)
  10. Stanley Brothers - That Home Above
  11. Stanley Brothers - Comedy Routine with Bill Napier & Carter
  12. Claude Bedenbaugh - Cotton Eyed Joe (*)
  13. Commercial for Ford Flex-o-Hitch
  14. Gordon Jackson - Waltz Of The Angels (*)
  15. The Cheerleaders - Your Cheating Heart (*)
  16. Stanley Brothers - Theme Tune

(*) introduced by Carter.

Ralph, Paul 'Moon' Mullins and Carter - early 1960s

The recordings are also significant, as I think it's the only one to surface with Paul 'Moon' Mullins. He, of course, went on to become a reknowned DJ, as well as playing with The Boys From Indiana and Traditional Grass. (You've probably also heard of his son Joe...)

On the 7th Sept. 1958, when the band played New River Ranch, Maryland, they were without a fiddler and Pete Kukendall filled in.[2] Paul Moon Mullins, joined sometime later that month. He had gotten out of the Army in 1958, and met the Stanleys at a gig in Monticello, Ky. organised by Carl Story. "It was really slim right there for a while when I first started with them in September of '58. We lived at Bristol and we'd go over into Kentucky or North Carolina and play. We did some double shows with the Brewster Brothers and Webster brothers. They had a band called the Four Brothers, or something like that. One of the Webster Brothers got sick before the show one night, and Bud Brewster said, 'It's that ole meat and cheese, that's what made you sick'. That's what we were eating, baloney and cheese, and they were, too. It was kinda slim right then."

Although in the band, Paul did not take part in The Stanley's recording sessions for their classic 'King 615' LP on 30th Sept/1st Oct 1958, when Ralph Mayo was drafted in for the sessions. This probably was due to Paul, having just joined the band, and still settling in.

Paul:- "I was nervous, I could play all right off stage, but we'd get on stage and I had stage fright so bad that I went all to pieces".

As it turned out Paul's stay with the band was brief. Over Christmas Carter had returned home. Paul:-"Carter had come back home to see his family and ran into Chubby Anthony in Bristol. He was hungry and broke and didn't have a job, and Carter knew I could play the bass. I didn't want to play the bass, but I worked until January of '59".[3]

Go To Top Of Page [1] I've sourced info from a mix of resources including Gary B. Reid's book 'The Music Of The Stanley Brothers' (p.93-94); David W. Johnson's book 'Lonesome Melodies' (chapter 13); Ralph Stanley and Eddie Dean 'Man Of Constant Sorrow' (p. 201-205)... and the picture credit from the Time-Life 3xCD set 'The Stanley Brothers - The Definitive Collection' (Time Life M19303DIGI) 2007.
[2] See the 'Stanley Series Vol. 3 No. 4' CD (Copper Creek CCCD-5512)
[3] Bluegrass Unlimited, Dec. 1975 'Paul Mullins: Musician, Disc Jockey And Bluegrass Influence' by Frank and Marty Godbey. (p.20-25)