Clinch Mountain Echo

V/A - Bluegrass Country Soul

(Time Life M19264) 2003

V/A - Bluegrass Country Soul
DVD Jacket Ralph, Jack Cooke and Keith Whitley
Ralph and The CMB's Ralph, Keith Whitley and Jack Cooke
Ralph Stanley Curly Ray Cline and Ricky Skaggs
The CMB's and the Bluegrass 45 Chubby Wise and Curly Ray Cline

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Along with Rachael Liebling's High Lonesome film, this is one of those must see 'Bluegrass' DVD's which is jam-picked with top-notch picking and an incredible jaw-dropping line-up.

Filmed at Carlton Haney's 7th Annual Labor Day Weekend Blue Grass Festival at Blue Grass Park, Camp Springs, Reidsville North Carolina in 2nd - 5th Sept 1971, the movie provides a unique view of the early bluegrass festival scene, with many of first generation musicians, and early footage of contemporary bluegrass greats like the Country Gents, J.D. Crowe, Del McCoury, Tony Rice, Sam Bush etc.

The DVD has a playing time of approx 1 hour 26 min and with exception of a few tramlines, the film has good picture quality and excellent sound. The disc also includes an optional bonus commentary option by Fred Bartenstein, which gives lots of informative background details and context to the festival. Fred worked for Carlton Haney at the festival as one of the M.C.'s and was editor of 'Muleskinner News' at the time. According to Fred's commentary the film was originally premiered at the Virginia Theatre in the Washington D.C. area on 6th July 1972. Expectations for the film were high, but unfortunately it didn't get any picked up by any national distributor and only a few prints were made. It did however become an 'underground classic' with 3rd/4th generation copies circulating... and I believe there was a poor quality VHS release as well.

Around the time of the festival, it had been a busy and eventful week for Ralph and the CMB's. They'd played the Grassroots Music Festival near Port Huron, MI the previous weekend (28th/29th Aug), recorded the Sing Michigan Bluegrass LP (30th Aug), and then Roy Lee Centers had to go home on the 31st Aug as one of his children had a bad accident and was critically ill in hospital.[1] Sadly, Roy Lee was therefore abscent from Ralph's show.

In the film Ralph can be seen singing Man Of Constant Sorrow and Curly Ray Cline is also featured quite prominently during an on stage fiddle jam with several of the fiddlers including Chubby Wise, Hsueh-Cheng 'Ryo' Liao, Tater Tate, Tex Logan, Kenny Kosek, Big Joe Greene and others.

In addition to the film the festival's sound man, Ken Alexander, luckily also made soundboard recordings of many of the acts. Ralph's set, including the Man Of Constant Sorrow used in the film, was later issued by Ralph on cassette as Volume 1 (Recorded Live In 1971) and partly on the Classic Stanley 2xCD. If memory serves, copies of about 35 hours worth of recordings from the festival started circulating on the internet in the late '90s and can still be found in MP3 format on the web at Fred Robbins site. These additional live recordings include two further sets featuring Ralph and The CMB's with the band sharing the stage with Mac Wiseman and Jimmy Martin and The Sunny Mountain Boys. Some of the other tapes include similiar 'two bands on stage' type collaborations, which was something Carlton Haney was experimenting with at the time.

The DVD seems to be out of print at the moment, but there is the possibility that a 50th anniversary newly restored high definition wide-screen DVD may be released in a special box set. According to Albert Ihde the film was originally made on a low budget and they could only afford a limited amount of film stock, so it's unlikely that the '50th anniversary' edition will contain any new footage, but just getting a restored print would be great news.

It's worth also mentioning that the Time Life DVD is Region 1 only, so if you're outside the US and don't have a multi-region DVD player, it's tough luck...

Sally Goodin - Douglas McCash

Black Mountain Rag - Lilly Brothers with Tex Logan & Don Stover

Leslie Keith
Man Of Constant Sorrow - Ralph Stanley

R.D. Burnett
Train 45 - J.D. Crowe & The Kentucky Mountain Boys

G.B. Grayson
Freeborn Man - Jimmy Martin

Keith Allison / Mark Lindsay
The White House Blues - The Bull Mountain Boys

The White House Blues - Del McCoury & The Dixie Pals

Wilbur Jones
Matterhorn - The Country Gentlemen

Fred B. Burch / Mel Tillis
Fox On The Run - The Country Gentlemen

Anthony Hazard
Matterhorn (excerpt) - The Country Gentlemen

Fred B. Burch / Mel Tillis
Roanoke - Parking Lot Jam

Bill Monroe (aka Joe Ahr)
Love Potion No. 9 - The New Deal String Band

Jerry Leiber / Mike Stoller
Big Mon - Festival Jam

Bill Monroe
Rocky Top - The Osborne Brothers

Boudleaux Bryant / Felice Bryant
Ruby - The Osborne Brothers

Cousin Emy
Fuji Mountain Breakdown - The Blue Grass 45

Tsuyoshi Otsuka
Mocking Banjo (aka Dueling Banjos) - The Blue Grass 45

Arthur Smith
Four Walls Around Me - Mac Wiseman with Blackwell & Collins and The Dixie Blue Grass Boys

Bill Stallard
Sally Goodin - Chubby Wise et al.

Heaven's Light Is Shining On Me - Festival Jam

Wabash Cannonball - Roy Acuff

A.P. Carter
Listening To The Rain - The Osborne Brothers

Donald E.J. Devaney
One Tin Soldier - The Blue Grass Alliance

Dennis Earle Lambert ? / Brian August Potter ?
New River Train - The Lilly Brothers with Tex Logan & Don Stover

Orange Blossom Special - Chubby Wise et al.

Ervin T. Rouse
Country Comfort - The Earl Scruggs Revue

John Elton / Bernard J.P. Taupin
Take Me Home Country Roads - The Osborne Brothers

John Denver
Foggy Mountain Breakdown - Onstage Jam

Earl Scruggs
Dear Old Dixie - Onstage Jam

George Thomas Stoddard


Go To Top Of Page [1] On the Volume 1 (Recorded Live In 1971) cassette, Ralph says after Little Maggie "I'd like to tell you that Roy Lee Centers, that's usually with us is er.., one of his children had a bad accident Tuesday night and is in the hospital in a real critical condition, he couldn't be with us, so Keith Whitley is standing in and doing a fine job in Roy Lee's place."