Clinch Mountain Echo

Ralph Stanley - The Essential Masters

(Varese Sarabande 302-066-843-2) 2007


The Essential Masters
Rear Cover CD Tray

Average Album Rating: 4
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This is a compilation of Ralph's King era material, with four tracks from Brand New Country Songs, four from Over The Sunset Hill and ten from Hills Of Home.

Of course all three albums had previously been reissued in 2003 as part of the 3xCD Poor Rambler set, which also has detailed liner notes by Gary Reid & as a bonus, includes the 1980 material recorded by Ralph and Jimmy Martin for their First Time Together LP.

This compilation seems to have recycled three pictures from the Poor Rambler set, showing Ralph with his Style-5 on the front cover and what looks to be a Bacon & Day Ne Plus Ultra (or Silver Bell) banjo on the CD tray artwork. As with the Poor Rambler, this picture has been flipped Left-Right so Ralph appears to be holding a Left-handed instrument! The picture of Ralph and Jimmy Martin dates from I guess 1980 (or later) so isn't particularly relevant to this compilation, although Jimmy did play rhythm guitar and mandolin on the Hills Of Home LP.

The CD also credits Darling Brown Eyes and I Only Exist as being performed by Ralph and Jimmy Martin, which is kind of erroneous. Both are from the 1969 Hills Of Home sessions, with that take of Darling Brown Eyes also cropping up on First Time Together, whilst I Only Exist was re-recorded for that joint album.

Another slight nit-pick is that three of the tracks are listed as being taken from the King Singles (King 6113), (King 6139) and (King 6179), but these single versions are exactly the same take/mix as the LP versions...

Soundwise the quality is ok, although the levels jump rather significantly at times (e.g. between the first couple of tracks). Of course, all the early King material is top drawer stuff, and with 18 tracks and a playing time of over 42 mins, the CD is fairly good value.

 

Track:
Title:
Time:
Date:
Original Release:
Banjo:
Fiddle:
Guitar/Lead vocal:
Guitar:
Bass:
Mandolin:
1
My Long Skinny Lanky Sarah Jane
02:01
14 Jul 1969
Hills Of Home
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Jimmy Martin
Jim McCall
Jimmy Martin

R. Stanley
2
What Kind Of Man
02:18
21 Feb 1968
Over The Sunset Hill
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Melvin Goins
George Shuffler


R. Stanley / Larry sparks
3
Hemlock And Primroses
03:01
19 May 1967
Brand New Country Songs
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Melvin Goins
Jim McCall
Earl Taylor

Landon Messer
4
Lost Train
02:12
19 May 1967
Brand New Country Songs
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Melvin Goins
Jim McCall
Earl Taylor

Curly Ray Cline[6]
5
Darling Brown Eyes
02:11
15 Jul 1969
Hills Of Home
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Jimmy Martin
Jim McCall
Jimmy Martin

Osburn Thorpe / R. Stanley
6
Let's Go To The Fair
01:49
15 Jul 1969
Hills Of Home
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Jimmy Martin
Jim McCall
Jimmy Martin

R. Stanley
7
That Beautiful Woman
02:49
19 May 1967
Brand New Country Songs
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Melvin Goins
Jim McCall
Earl Taylor

Gene Duty / R. Stanley
8
Jesse James Prayed
01:58
21 Feb 1968
Over The Sunset Hill
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Melvin Goins
George Shuffler


R. Stanley
9
Poor Rambler
03:04
24 Oct 1967
Brand New Country Songs
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Melvin Goins
Jim McCall
Earl Taylor

Curly Ray Cline / R. Stanley
10
Dug-Gunn Shame
01:51
15 Jul 1969
Hills Of Home
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Jimmy Martin
Jim McCall
Jimmy Martin

Curly Ray Cline / R. Stanley
11
Over The Sunset Hill
02:47
21 Feb 1968
Over The Sunset Hill
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Melvin Goins
George Shuffler


R. Stanley
12
I Only Exist
03:21
14 Jul 1969
Hills Of Home
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Jimmy Martin
Jim McCall
Jimmy Martin

Joyce Morris / Jimmie Stanley
13
I Wanna Go Home
02:08
21 Feb 1968
Over The Sunset Hill
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Melvin Goins
George Shuffler


R. Stanley
14
Medicine Springs
02:43
14 Jul 1969
Hills Of Home
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Jimmy Martin
Jim McCall
Jimmy Martin

Bill Grant / R. Stanley
15
Coosy
01:59
15 Jul 1969
Hills Of Home
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Jimmy Martin
Jim McCall
Jimmy Martin

R. Stanley
16
Midnight Storm
02:28
15 Jul 1969
Hills Of Home
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Jimmy Martin
Jim McCall
Jimmy Martin

C. Stanley / R. Stanley
917br /> The Kitten And The Cat
01:59
14 Jul 1969
Hills Of Home
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Jimmy Martin
Jim McCall
Jimmy Martin

C. Stanley / R. Stanley
18
Hills Of Home
01:58
15 Jul 1969
Hills Of Home
Ralph Stanley
Curly Ray Cline
Larry Sparks
Jimmy Martin
Jim McCall
Jimmy Martin

Wendy Smith / R. Stanley

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