Clinch Mountain Echo

The Stanley Brothers - The Complete Columbia Stanley Brothers

(Columbia CK-53798) 1996


The Complete Columbia Stanley Brothers
CD Tray Newport 1964 L-R: Red Stanley (fiddle), Ralph, George Shuffler and Carter. Newport 1964 L-R: George Shuffler, Carter and Ralph

Average Album Rating: 0

  • 5 star
  • 4 star
  • 3 star
  • 2 star
  • 1 star

Please rate this album:

This is an essential Stanley CD consisting of all 22 songs the brothers cut for Columbia. The sound quality is excellent, with the masters being digitally de-noised, and the tracks are sequenced in the same order they were recorded.

The Stanley's signed to Columbia on 14th October 1948, building on from the regional success of Little Glass Of Wine, and the new label offered the brothers a much wider distribution, better recording facilities and the chance at the big league. Due to a musicians union dispute, however, they couldn't record immediately, and had to wait until 1st March 1949 before they could cut their first session.

The delay, however, may have been beneficial in the long run, as the band's sound was still evolving. In mid 1948, when they cut Molly And Tenbrook for Rich-R-Tone, Ralph was just beginning to get to grips with his three-finger roll. On the Columbia sessions, his banjo work seems to be more self-assured. Carter too was also blossoming as a songwriter, making the band less reliant on material by other acts, and giving the Stanley's their own repertoire. Also, Art Wooten who was with the band when they signed to Columbia, suggested using the innovative 'high baritone' part to their harmony singing. With Carter singing lead, Ralph tenor and Pee Wee Lambert high-baritone. This made songs like The White Dove, Lonesome River, The Fields Have Turned Brown and A Vision Of Mother stand out in a market full of slick country sounds.

For the first session in March 1949, Bobby Sumner, the bands first fiddler rejoined and James 'Jay' Hughes played bass. Of the eight tracks, six were new compositions by Carter including the durable classic The White Dove with a re-recording of Little Glass Of Wine (presumably to take advantage of the wider distribution), and the gospel favourite Gathering Flowers For The Master's Bouquet.

All eight tracks were released on 78s, with White Dove released on 4th April 1949, and although they didn't sell particularly well, they did find a niche audience among people like Porter Wagoner who wore out his copy of White Dove, and set the seeds for a wider audience further down the line.

A second session followed in November 1949, with session bass player Ernest Newton and Les Woodie on fiddle. All six cuts were Carter compositions, including The Fields Have Turned Brown, Too Late To Cry and I Love No One But You. A further three 78s were released, but presumably these also didn't sell particularly well.

For their third session in March 1950 the 'high baritone' vocal blend was again featured on the plaintive The Lonesome River but the session also included two solo vocals by Ralph:- I'm A Man Of Constant Sorrow and Pretty Polly, and the upbeat Hey! Hey! Hey!. Perhaps, Columbia were trying to boost sales, by varying the sound?

At the end of 1950/early 1951, gigs had dried up. Ralph was exhausted and he and Pee Wee went back home to Smith Ridge to try their hand at farming. Shortly afterwards, Carter as a Blue Grass Boy played with his hero, Bill Monroe. He helped record half a dozen songs with Bill in July 1951. Short of a banjo player, Ralph also filled in on a few gigs, but in August, returning from a gig with Bill Monroe he and Pee Wee Lambert had a bad car accident.

Toward the end of 1951, Pee Wee Lambert, needing money to keep his family, took up regular construction work. Ralph and Carter put together a new-line up of Clinch Mountain Boys and back to went work.

By the time of their last session for Columbia in April 1952, George Shuffler was with the band and Art Wooten had rejoined on fiddle. Only four songs were recorded at this last session. Sweetest Love which features a duo vocal between Carter and Ralph (another key element in the Stanley sound), and The Wandering Boy featuring a solo vocal by Carter, were coupled on a 78. The other two tracks:- A Life Of Sorrow (a not too successful re-hash of Man Of Constant Sorrow), and Let's Part The Best Of Friends weren't released. Shortly afterwards the brothers were dropped from the label.

Times must have looked bleak for the brothers... but their creative zenith was still to come!

Playing time on the CD is 60:06 mins, and it has a 12 page booklet with liner notes by Charles K. Wolfe. It is a must for any Stanley fan!

For much more detailed information on these sessions, check Gary B. Reid's The Music Of The Stanley Brothers book, pages 20-29, 32-33, and 36-38.

Track:
Title:
Time:
Date:
Original Release:
Guitar:
Banjo:
Fiddle:
Mandolin:
Bass:
1
A Vision Of Mother
02:58
01 Mar 1949
Columbia 20647 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Bobby Sumner
Pee Wee Lambert
James 'Jay' Hughes

C. Stanley
2
The White Dove
03:12
01 Mar 1949
Columbia 20577 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Bobby Sumner
Pee Wee Lambert
James 'Jay' Hughes

C. Stanley
3
Gathering Flowers For The Master's Bouquet
02:48
01 Mar 1949
Columbia 20577 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Bobby Sumner
Pee Wee Lambert
James 'Jay' Hughes

M.E. Baumgardner
4
Angels Are Singing (In Heaven Tonight)
03:02
01 Mar 1949
Columbia 20617 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Bobby Sumner
Pee Wee Lambert
James 'Jay' Hughes

C. Stanley
5
It's Never Too Late To Start Over
02:30
01 Mar 1949
Columbia 20617 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Bobby Sumner
Pee Wee Lambert
James 'Jay' Hughes

C. Stanley
6
Have You Someone (In Heaven Waiting)
02:40
01 Mar 1949
Columbia 20647 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Bobby Sumner
Pee Wee Lambert
James 'Jay' Hughes

C. Stanley
7
Little Glass Of Wine
02:57
01 Mar 1949
Columbia 20590 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Bobby Sumner
Pee Wee Lambert
James 'Jay' Hughes

C. Stanley
8
Let Me Be Your Friend
02:42
01 Mar 1949
Columbia 20590 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Bobby Sumner
Pee Wee Lambert
James 'Jay' Hughes

C. Stanley
9
We'll Be Sweethearts In Heaven
02:37
20 Nov 1949
Columbia 20735 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Les Woodie
Pee Wee Lambert
Ernest 'Ernie' Newton

C. Stanley
10
I Love No One But You
02:36
20 Nov 1949
Columbia 20697 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Les Woodie
Pee Wee Lambert
Ernest 'Ernie' Newton

C. Stanley
11
Too Late To Cry
02:57
20 Nov 1949
Columbia 20697 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Les Woodie
Pee Wee Lambert
Ernest 'Ernie' Newton

C. Stanley
12
The Old Home
02:17
20 Nov 1949
Columbia 20667 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Les Woodie
Pee Wee Lambert
Ernest 'Ernie' Newton

C. Stanley
13
The Drunkard's Hell
02:36
20 Nov 1949
Columbia 20735 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Les Woodie
Pee Wee Lambert
Ernest 'Ernie' Newton

C. Stanley
14
The Fields Have Turned Brown
02:30
20 Nov 1949
Columbia 20667 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Les Woodie
Pee Wee Lambert
Ernest 'Ernie' Newton

C. Stanley
15
Hey! Hey! Hey!
02:41
03 Nov 1950
Columbia 20770 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Les Woodie
Pee Wee Lambert
Ernest 'Ernie' Newton

C. Stanley
16
The Lonesome River
02:43
03 Nov 1950
Columbia 20816 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Les Woodie
Pee Wee Lambert
Ernest 'Ernie' Newton

C. Stanley
17
I'm A Man Of Constant Sorrow
02:55
03 Nov 1950
Columbia 20816 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Les Woodie
Pee Wee Lambert
Ernest 'Ernie' Newton

R.D. Burnett
18
Pretty Polly
02:49
03 Nov 1950
Columbia 20770 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Les Woodie
Pee Wee Lambert
Ernest 'Ernie' Newton

P.D.
19
A Life Of Sorrow
02:42
11 Apr 1952
The Stanley Brothers Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Wooten

George Shuffler

C. Stanley
20
Sweetest Love
02:21
11 Apr 1952
Columbia 20953 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Wooten

George Shuffler

C. Stanley
21
The Wandering Boy
02:13
11 Apr 1952
Columbia 20953 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Wooten

George Shuffler

R.S. Hanna
22
Let's Part The Best Of Friends
02:19
11 Apr 1952
The Stanley Brothers Vol. 2 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Wooten

George Shuffler

C. Stanley

Go To Top Of Page