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Clinch Mountain Echo

The Stanley Brothers - (Say) Won't You Be Mine / Our Last Goodbye

(Mercury 70270) Dec 1953


(Say) Won't You Be Mine
Our Last Goodbye (Say) Won't You Be Mine Our Last Goodbye Billboard 5th Dec 1953

The Stanley's second Mercury release features two more classics recorded at their first session for the company in August 1953.

(Say) Won't You Be Mine although credited to Carter Stanley, was partially written by Bill Monroe and completed by Carter, who told Mike Seeger:-

"Bill's had some wonderful ideas for songs that never come out and yet never will, he forgets them y'know. And I know when I, in the little short time I worked with him we would write a few songs, start to write songs together and some of 'em I would remember and I'd finish them y'know, even after I'd left him. I'd finish the songs and give him half the publishing deal on it."[1]

Monroe later recorded his version as Mary Jane, Won't You Be Mine in 1975, for his 'The Weary Traveler' (MCA-2173) LP and also for the Canadian 'Live Radio' (Country Road CR-02) album. Whilst the melody is the same in both, the songs otherwise have different lyrics in the verses and partially common words in the chorus:-

Bill Monroe:-
Meet me out in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Underneath the lonesome pine
We’ll settle down up there forever
Mary Jane won’t you be mine

The Stanley Brothers:-
Meet me out on a mountain
Underneath the lonesome pine
Where we vowed we'd love each other
Darling say won't you be mine

I don't have a copy of this single, but according to Walt Saunders, some copies feature an alternate take of Our Last Goodbye, which later appeared on the Bear Family The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys 1953 - 1958 & 1959 2xCD. On the 45 version Carter starts by singing "The nights are lonely here without you" whereas on the Hard Times LP Carter sings "Oh the nights are...".[2] Later reissues of the song on the Japanese 1974 2xLP The Stanley Brothers And The Clinch Mountain Boys, The Complete Mercury Recordings and the 3xCD Definitive Collection all use the Hard Times version.

Bilboard mentioned as the single as a new release in their 9th Jan 1954 edition, but it also featured in an advert in the mag on 5th Dec 1953.

(Say) Won't You Be Mine can now be found on The Complete Mercury Recordings 2xCD set; and Our Last Goodbye on the Bear Family The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys 1953 - 1958 & 1959 2xCD

PS: A lot of the early Mercury material features an unusual banjo lick, where Ralph chokes the middle 'G' string at the 3rd fret. A good example is in the intro to Our Last Goodbye, which can be found tabbed out on Gary Bates' (aka Stanleytone) page on the banjohangout.

 

For a detailed breakdown and background to the Stanley's session, check Gary B. Reid's The Music Of The Stanley Brothers book, 41-42 and 71.

Track:
Title:
Time:
Date:
Original Release:
Guitar:
Banjo:
Fiddle:
Mandolin:
Bass:
A-1
(Say) Won't You Be Mine
02:49
09 Aug 1953
Mercury 70270 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Stamper
Jim Williams
George Shuffler

C. Stanley
B-1
Our Last Goodbye
02:39
09 Aug 1953
Mercury 70270 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Stamper
Jim Williams
George Shuffler

C. Stanley

Go To Top Of Page [1] Mike Seeger's interview with Carter from the European tour 1966. at around 1:20 on the tape. You can hear the interview on youtube: https://youtu.be/YikIUZandsA. I've also attempted to clean some of the noise and you can download an MP3 of the result here (it's saved as a 67Mb zip file).
[2] Letter by Walt Saunders in the 1967 'Carter Stanley Memorial Issue' of the 'Stanley Standard' fan club newsletter. (p. 71)