Clinch Mountain Echo

Ralph Stanley - Live At The Smithsonian Institution

(Atteiriam API-CD 1662) 1992 (also on Cassettes API-C-1662 & API-C-1686). Reissued (Gusto GT-5163-2) 2006

Live At The Smithsonian Institution
Rear Cover CD Tray (early copy) CD Tray (later copy)
Cassette Inlay Cassette Inlay
Front Cover (Gusto) Rear Cover (Gusto) CD Tray (Gusto) L-R: Roy Lee Centers and Ralph backstage. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer.
L-R: Ralph Rinzler and Ralph. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer. L-R: Ralph, Jack Cooke and Roy Lee Centers. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer. L-R: Curly Ray Cline, Rickey Lee, Jack Cooke, Ralph and Roy Lee Centers. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer.
L-R: L-R: Ralph, Jack Cooke and Roy Lee Centers. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer. Backstage at the Smithsonian. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer. Backstage at the Smithsonian. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer.

Average Album Rating: 4.91
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This recording was taken from Ralph's concert at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, on Sunday 10th March 1974.

According to the 'General Store' section of Bluegrass Unlimited (Mar. '74), the show was broadcast live nationwide, "by most member stations of the National Public Radio Network". The same issue also featured an interview with Ralph by Ralph Rinzler, who hosted the event at the Smithsonian. The concert was part of a series put on by the Smithsonian to present string band music, and also included a show featuring Bill Monroe. Both concerts included a workshop in the afternoon followed by an evening show with just the main act.

The show consisted of two sets, with 15 minutes of highlights from the afternoon workshop broadcast during the intermission. Other songs on the Radio Broadcast, which didn't make it onto the CD/cassettes include:- Sitting On Top Of The World; Will You Miss Me (including a comic 'Donald Duck' reprise); Little Maggie/Pretty Polly medley; Lonesome River; Little Birdie; and a reprise of Nobody's Love Is Like Mine.

Click on the controls below to play or download the afternoon workshop (note quality is a bit rough).

Download MP3 File Zip file (30.9 Mb)

An shorter edit of the workshop can also be found, uncredited, on Track 18 of the Songs My Mother Taught Me & More clawhammer compilation.

Ricky Lee is quoted on the artwork as saying: "This show was a very special concert by Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. We did two long shows, about 30 or more numbers in all, and many were old favorites that we normally did not do on shorter performances."

The original CD artwork, which has many errors [1], also has a 24th track obscured by felt-tip pen. This indicates that Let's Go To The Fair was supposed to be the final track, but was presumably cut at the last minute in order to achieve a playing time under the CD 'Red Book' standard max. of 74mins. Later copies have the mention of the 24th track removed on the CD tray and but still have all the other spelling errors...

Let's Go To The Fair is, however, included on the second Atteraim cassette version of the release, which also includes Tracks 14-23 from the CD, albeit with some clumsy editing. The cassette was released in both a pink & a white cover background.

Tracks 1-13 on the CD were also released on cassette, although Hemlock And Primroses and Ridin' That Midnight Train are not listed on the cassette artwork. Curiously this release only features a picture of Ricky Lee on the cover.

It's also noteworthy that the Atteriam release is credited to "Rickie Lee with Ralph Stanley...". Was Rickie (sic) the source of the tape? Later copies retain the "Rickie Lee with Ralph Stanley..." front cover credit, but on the CD tray, the album was re-credited as "Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys with Rickey Lee & The Late Roy Lee Centers" and the spine credit was changed from "Rickie Lee - Live At The Smithsonian Institution" to "Ralph Stanley - Live At The Smithsonian Institution".

Frustratingly, when the recording was reissued on King in 2001, and divided into two discs, no additonal material was added.

Despite the typo's etc. this is another must have set for Stanley fans. The band are firing on all cylinders, and for the first half there is barely any let up in the pace. The sound is a little compressed (think FM broadcast), but it does show that you really can't judge a book by it's cover...

The album was reissued on CD (Gusto GT-5163-2) 2006, with liner notes by Gary B. Reid, and a few photographs by Carl Fleischhauer from the concert. The Gusto version has a few additional seconds of Ralph Rinzler's introduction of Ralph Stanley at the start of the show, which was truncated on the King 2001 release. It doesn't however add any additional material, or correct the running order.

From the radio broadcast the correct running order should be:- Set 1: Ralph Rinzler - Intro; Orange Blossom Special; Lonesome Old Song; Sitting On Top Of The World; Will You Miss Me? (inc. reprise); Little Maggie - Pretty Polly medley; Man Of Constant Sorrow; Nobody's Love Is Like Mine (inc. reprise); Flem Jones; Shout Little Lulie; Gloryland; Katy Daly. Afternoon Workshop. Set 2: Ralph Rinzler - Intro; Lonesome Road Blues; Maple On The Hill; Cacklin Hen; Footprints In The Snow; Tennessee Stud; Lonesome River; White Dove; Hills Of Home; Rank Stranger; Going Up Home (To Live In Green Pastures); If I Lose / Kitten And The Cat; I Only Exist; Let's Go To The Fair; Dark Hollow; Let Me Rest; Hemlock And Primroses; Encores: Little Birdie; Ridin' That Midnight Train.

Thanks to Chris Wing and Henry Torrie for the artwork scans.

Orange Blossom Special

Ernie T. Rouse
Lonesome Old Song

Gene Duty / R. Stanley
Bill Cheatham

Nobody's Love Is Like Mine

C. Stanley
Katy Daly

Eamon O'Shea arr Paul Mullins
Maple On The Hill

Gussie L. Davis
Tennessee Stud

Jimmy Driftwood
White Dove

C. Stanley
Rank Stranger

Albert E. Brumley
If I Lose / Kitten And The Cat

R. Stanley
Dark Hollow

Bill Browning
Hemlock And Primroses

Landon Messer / R. Stanley
Ridin' That Midnight Train

R. Stanley
Lonesome Road Blues

Bill Monroe
Man Of Constant Sorrow

R.D. Burnett
Flem Jones

Curly Ray Cline
Shout Little Lulie


R. Stanley
Cacklin' Hen

Footprints In The Snow

Bill Monroe
Hills Of Home (A Tribute To Carter)

Wendy Smith / R. Stanley
Going Up Home (To Live In Green Pastures)

Avril Gearheart / Ralph Stanley
I Only Exist

Joyce Morris / Jimmie Stanley

Go To Top Of Page [1] There are many typos (eg "Katy Daily"!) and incorrect song-titles (eg track 23 is "I Only Exist" not "Your're Long Gone This Time")