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Clinch Mountain Echo

The Stanley Brothers - Little Benny / Old Love Letters

Little Benny / Old Love Letters Oct 1960


Little Benny
Old Love Letters

This 7" was recorded during the sessions for the Stanley's In Person LP, which was released the following month.

'Billboard' magazine reviewed the single in their 31st Oct 1960 edition, giving Little Benny four stars and describing it as:- "This unusual country song implores an irate father not to whip 'Little Benny' for using nasty language. Tune has an authentic folk charm." The flip-side, Old Love Letters garnered three stars and was described as:- "Burning old love letters and retracing the love that is no more is the key to this country weeper. Good wax here."[1]

Little Benny seems to have been a regular at the Stanley's live performances around the time, with live versions from 21 May 1961 (New River Ranch), 18 Jun 1961 (Watermelon Park) and 30 Aug 1962 (Ash Grove) resurfacing on Stanley Series, Vol. 1 No. 1, The Legendary Stanley Brothers Recorded Live, Vol. 2 and Stanley Series, Vol. 2 No. 4. On the Ash Grove performance, Carter introduces it as "We're going to do 'Little Benny' I believe. That's kind of a story there that I've always liked, I hope you enjoy it." The song is credited as 'traditional', but I've not been able to find any earlier versions or information on it's source.

Old Love Letters also seems to have been a popular number live, with renditions appearing on the 28 May 1961 (Oak Leaf Park), 4 July 1961 (Oak Leaf Park), 27 Aug 1961 (New River Ranch) and 21 Sept 1962 (Berkeley) recordings found on Stanley Series, Vol. 2 No. 2, Stanley Series, Vol. 4 No. 2, Riding That New River Train and Berkeley Ca respectively. Although credited to 'Stanley-Bence' on the label, it was in fact written by Johnny Bond and seems to have been recorded first by Joe Maphis & Rose Lee in 1955.[2] Johnny also recorded it in the mid sixties and his version can be found on youtube.

Both sides of the single can be found on The King Years, 1961-1965 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 111-114 and 150.

Track:
Title:
Time:
Date:
Original Release:
Guitar:
Banjo:
Fiddle:
Mandolin:
Bass:
Lead guitar:
A-1
Little Benny
02:07
11 Jul 1960
King 5415 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Vernon Derrick

George Shuffler
Curley Lambert

P.D.
B-1
Old Love Letters
02:36
11 Jul 1960
King 5415 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Vernon Derrick

George Shuffler
Curley Lambert

Johnny Bond

Go To Top Of Page [1] https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=PSAEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA60&lpg=PA60&dq=king+5415+old+love+letters+billboard&source=bl&ots=wXTHzMX1KL&sig=au6cLvLONe3CI3bEzICJS6gMDX4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjmqOnC5a7VAhVlCsAKHY6FDwAQ6AEIOjAD#v=onepage&q=king%205415%20old%20love%20letters%20billboard&f=false
[2] See: http://www.45cat.com/record/421427 and http://www.45worlds.com/78rpm/record/21427