Clinch Mountain Echo

The Stanley Brothers - Blue Moon Of Kentucky / I Just Got Wise

(Mercury 70453) Sep 1954

Blue Moon Of Kentucky
I Just Got Wise 78 Generic bag Blue Moon Of Kentucky (later Pressing) I Just Got Wise (later Pressing) Billboard advert 25th Sep 1954

This single combines Carter's I Just Got Wise with a rendition of Bill Monroe's Blue Moon Of Kentucky, which Monroe had persuaded the Stanley's to record in late August 1954, a month after Elvis Presley had released his ground-breaking version.

The 1966 Mike Seeger / Carter interview[1] has this to say about Elvis and the single at around the 52:50 mark:-

Mike:- Can you remember what you thought about that rock 'n' roll when it first came out in '55?
Carter:- Yeah, very well. I thought it was, er, funny and er just well, like Uncle Dave said about Bing Crosby, 'that boy will never make it' and er, (laughs) I thought the same about Elvis. So that goes to show, Mike.
Mike:- and I thought the Beatles sounded pretty bad when they first came out, but I got used to it.
Carter:- Yeah, yes sure they... Bill Monroe asked me one night, we was in Nashville to record and he said er after the 'Opry we'll go eat and he said then I want to come up to WSM studios, there's something up there I want you to hear, he had the record with him, "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" by Elvis Presley. And we had to go up there where they had the machine y'know. So he said I want you to hear something and he had never said anything like that to me before. So we went up and that's when we heard "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" by Elvis Presley, I believe that was his first number, his first record. And I... laughed a little bit, looked around and everybody else was laughing except Bill. He said you better do that number tomorrow if you want to sell some records.
Mike:- He said that?
Carter:- Yeah. He said It'd be a good idea for you to do that number tomorrow. That would have been Sunday, and we did it on Sunday and then he said I'm going to do it the next Sunday. He was scheduled to record the next week. So I guess he had some vison there that I didn't have. Of course other's probably had vision too, or they'd have never recorded that boy. It was a different sound, no doubt.
Mike:- I can tell, that guitar kind of had that kind of beat.
Carter:- It did.
Mike:- You did it with the guitar
Carter:- Yeah, well we, I think that's the first guitar we'd used, y'know lead.
Mike:- Who played the parts like that?
Carter:- Charlie Cline played that I believe.
Mike:- Mmh-huh
Carter:- Yeah they came over and that got recorded the next day, Bill and Bess. That was a fairly good seller for us, of course Elvis naturally sold the records, but it didn't hurt us.

Both side of the 7" can now be found on The Complete Mercury Recordings 2xCD set.


For a detailed breakdown and background to the Stanley's sessions, check Gary B. Reid's The Music Of The Stanley Brothers book, pages 45-49, and 71-72.

Original Release:
Lead guitar:
Blue Moon Of Kentucky
29 Aug 1954
Mercury 70453 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Bill Lowe
Lightning Chance
Charlie Cline

Bill Monroe
I Just Got Wise
30 May 1954
Mercury 70453 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Jim Williams
Lightning Chance

C. Stanley

Go To Top Of Page [1] 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).