Clinch Mountain Echo

Ralph Stanley - A Distant Land To Roam

Songs Of The Carter Family

(Columbia/DMZ 82796 93629 2) 2006


A Distant Land To Roam
Rear Cover Booklet Picture CD Tray

Average Album Rating: 2
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A tribute to the original Carter Family, who arranged and recorded a treasure-trove of songs between 1927-1941 and who played in a style which would form the foundation of bluegrass, country and much of popular music since.

The Carter Family were an early influence on The Stanley Brothers, who as children listened to their radio broadcasts from the powerful XERA station on the Mexican border. Later when the Stanley's started work at Bristol's WCYB station, they became friends with A.P. Carter and perfomed at his music park/country store. He introduced them saying: "This here is the Stanley boys, Carter and Ralph... Far as I know, they're all right. They ain't done nothing wrong yet. I never heard nothing different. Not yet anyhow."[1]

A good number of songs popularised by The Carter Family were later perfomed by The Stanley Brothers or Ralph, eg. Are You Tired Of Me, Darling, East Virginia Blues, Gold Watch And Chain, I Know What It Means To Be Lonesome, I Never Will Marry, Jimmie Brown The Newsboy, Just Another Broken Heart, Let The Church Roll On, Let Us Be Lovers Again, Little Darling Pal Of Mine, Meet Me By The Moonlight, Single Girl, Maried Girl, The Wandering Boy, Weeping Willow, Where We'll Never Grow Old, Wildwood Flower, Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Will You Miss Me and (via Bill Monroe) Working On A Building.

On this CD, the band is augmented by Mike Seeger on autoharp, and Dennis Crouch handles bass... presumably to allow Jack Cooke to concentrate on backing vocals.

Most of the songs are drawn from the early Carter Family period 1927-34, with a couple (Keep On The Firing Line and Waves On The Sea) from their last session in 1941. Longing For Home is quite an unusual choice, as I don't think The Carter Family recorded it apart from the 1952 Acme session featuring Sara and A.P. Carter (but not Maybelle).

Ralph sings lead on all the tracks, performing Motherless Children solo except for some droning atmospheric fiddle from Todd Meade. On the whole the album is quite pleasant, but it's not one of Ralph's finest either...

Track:
Title:
CD:
(46:45)
1
God Gave Noah The Rainbow Sign

A.P. Carter
2
Little Moses

A.P. Carter
3
Worried Man Blues

A.P. Carter
4
Longing For Home

A.P. Carter
5
Motherless Children

A.P. Carter
6
Storms Are On The Ocean

A.P. Carter
7
Keep On The Firing Line

Sara Carter
8
Engine 143

A.P. Carter
9
I'm Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes

A.P. Carter
10
Poor Orphan Child

A.P. Carter
11
On A Hill Lone And Grey

A.P. Carter
12
Waves On The Sea

A.P. Carter
13
Distant Land To Roam

A.P. Carter

Go To Top Of Page [1] Ralph Stanley and Eddie Dean's 'Man Of Constant Sorrow' book (p.123)