Clinch Mountain Echo

Ralph Stanley - Over The Sunset Hill

(King 1032) 1968

Over The Sunset Hill
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Gusto / Starday Front Cover Rear Cover
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Average Album Rating: 4.1
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This album was recorded on the 21st February 1968 one week after Ralph had cut The Bluegrass Sound Of... LP for Jalyn.[1]

George Shuffler couldn't make the session, but overdubbed the bass at a later date. He was due to sing on the session too, so Melvin Goins had to handle George's vocal parts:- "they called me Brother Birch Monroe. They'd say 'Sing 'er Birch, you're getting it right.' That was about the funniest thing. Ralph would start something and then Curly Ray would just add gas to the fire, he'd keep on going with it. I only had one night to rehearse and get ready. We was staying at Jack Lynch's in Dayton (and) I was up about all night trying ot learn the bass parts on that gospel album. I was scared half to death (because those were) big shoes to fill."[2]

Syd Nathan, the head of King records, died within a fortnight of the recording session.[3] The company was subsequently sold to Starday in October 1968[4], and later copies of the LP have the King 'crown' logo blocked out / replaced with a Starday-King logo/catalogue number.

One curiosity - both J.D. Jarvis and Ralph Stanley have BMI song credits for What Kind Of Man (Jesus Is). J.D. recorded his version with Rusty York on 'Bluegrass Gospel Songs' (Rural Rhythm RRJD-195) 1968. They're pretty much identical, though the Jarvis version has less lyrics. Ralph later helped J.D. record his More Bluegrass Gospel Songs LP in 1969 and in 1971 cut two of J.D.'s songs on his Cry From The Cross album.

I Want A Clear Record is co-credited to Ralph and 'Arvil Gearheart'. The song had previously appeared on a 1966 Bluegrass Gospel LP 'Father Hold My Hand' by Arvil Gearhart & The Southern Gospel Band (Starlite LP-1001 / Cabot LP-1001). On the 7" taken from the LP, Going Up Home (To Live In Green Pastures) (King 6179), Arvil is also given co-credit for the arrangement of Going Up Home.... From the liner notes to a later LP, Arvil seems to have been based in Mansfield, Ohio & also recorded for Jalyn.[5]

Ralph's Jesse James Prayed was inspired by the first movie that Ralph and Carter saw - the 1939 highly romanticised version of 'Jesse James' with Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda. Ralph:- "We could really identify with the James brothers... the way Frank and Jesse stuck up for each other, no matter what... us against the world..."[6]

The album has been reissued at least a couple of times on CD, with sleeves showing the CMB's at a photo shoot for the cover of Brand New Country Songs. (Larry was playing Carter's Martin D-45 guitar... and had Carter's boots too.)[7]

The three albums Ralph cut for King are 'top drawer' and the 3xCD set Poor Rambler, is highly recommended.

Side One:
Over The Sunset Hill

R. Stanley
Going Up Home To Live In Green Pastures

H.W. VanHoose
What Kind Of Man

R. Stanley / Larry sparks
I Want A Clear Record

Avril Gearheart / R. Stanley
Prepare Me O Lord

R. Stanley
I Wanna Go Home

R. Stanley
Side Two:
A Little Soldier For Jesus

Osburn Thorpe / R. Stanley
Jesse James Prayed

R. Stanley
Snow Covered Mound

I'll Be With Dad And Mother

Melvin Goins / R. Stanley
Thou Long Expected Jesus

R. Stanley
Be Ready To Go

C. Stanley / R. Stanley

Go To Top Of Page [1] John Wright's "Travelling The High Way Home" book (p252).
[2] Liner notes to the 3xCD set 'Poor Rambler' (King K3CD-0951) 2002.
[4] Jon Hartley Fox's book "King Of The Queen City: The Story Of King Records" (p.183)
[5] Liner notes to Arvil Gearhart & Kelly Stamper and The Southern Gospel Band - Reunion In Heaven (SGB 30421) 1973.
[6] Abridged quote from Eddie Dean and Ralph Stanley's book 'Man Of Constant Sorrow' (p.65)
[7] Ralph Stanley / Eddie Dean's book "Man Of Constant Sorrow" (p.257-258)