Clinch Mountain Echo

The Stanley Brothers - Mountain Dew / Old Rattler

(King 5347) May 1960

Mountain Dew
Old Rattler Mountain Dew (Promo 45) Old Rattler (Promo 45)

This 7" consists of two songs recorded for the Stanley's Sing Everybody's Country Favorites LP, which was released the following month in Jun 1960. Both songs highlight Bill Napier's nimble lead guitar work, and are quite different to how the band were sounding live at the time.[1]

Mountain Dew was originally written by amateur musician and folklorist Bascom Lamar Lunsford in 1928. At the time Bascom was working as a lawyer in North Carolina and often defended local clients facing bootlegging charges. In 1935 he sold the song to Scotty Wiseman for $25 so he could buy a train ticket from home from Chicago. Scotty then adapted the song, adding the modern chorus and altering some of the verses.[2]

Old Rattler seems to have been an old traditional song that by the folk process has evolved over decades (and possibly over 200 years).[3]

I suspect that King may have suggested both of these songs, as like others on the Sing Everybody's Country Favorites album, they had previously been released on old King 78s. Grandpa Jones for instance had also recorded Mountain Dew and Old Rattler for King in 1947[4] and he also released both songs on a single Mountain Dew / Old Rattler (King 5867) 1964.[5] Grandpa Jones 1947 version of Old Rattler can also be heard on youtube.

Both cuts on this 7" can now be found on The Early Starday/King Years, 1958-1961 4xCD box 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 100-105 and 142-144.

Original Release:
Lead guitar:
Mountain Dew
14 Sep 1959
King 5347 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley

George Shuffler
Bill Napier

Bascom Lamar Lunsford / Scotty Wiseman
Old Rattler
15 Sep 1959
King 5347 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley

George Shuffler
Bill Napier


Go To Top Of Page [1] eg Mountain Dew is played with fiddle/mandolin/banjo on the Stanley Series, Vol. 1 No. 2 show from 15th May 1960. Carter introduces the song saying "This tune we just got out on record about a week ago, I reckon".
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Old_Mountain_Dew
[3] eg see http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=2410. There's also a 1939 version in the library of congress, collected in 1939: https://www.loc.gov/resource/afc1939001.afc1939001_st0032/
[4] Mountain Dew / My Darling's Not My Darling Anymore (King 624) 1947: https://www.discogs.com/Grandpa-Jones-And-His-Grandchildren-Mountain-Dew-My-Darlings-Not-My-Darling-Anymore/release/7912059 and Old Rattler / Mountain Maw (King 668) Oct 1947:http://www.45worlds.com/78rpm/record/668
[5] https://www.discogs.com/Grandpa-Jones-Mountain-Dew-Old-Rattler/release/8095048