Clinch Mountain Echo

The Stanley Brothers - The Complete Mercury Recordings

(Mercury MERC-B0000534-02) 2003


The Complete Columbia Stanley Brothers
Rear Cover CD Tray Ralph and Carter
Ralph and Carter Ralph and Carter
Ralph and Carter

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This 2xCD set contains everything The Stanley Brothers cut for Mercury, which were arguably, their finest moment. It is simply, an absolute 'must have' for any Stanley fan...

By the end of 1952 having being dropped by Columbia, and recorded their final session for Rich-R-Tone, The Stanley Brothers once again found themselves without enough income to sustain the band. To survive they had to take up jobs in Michigan at the Ford factory. Fortunately, the musical hiatus was brief, and after seeing a show by Jimmy Martin they decided to pick up the music again.[1]

Soon they had signed to Mercury, and between August 1953 and Febrary 1958, they recorded eleven superb sessions.

Ralph:- "Our first session from Mercury was one of those times when everything goes right, and you go right along with it. You don't rightly know where it comes from, and you don't ask. We had the songs, we had the musicians, and we had the sound. I believe it was the beginning of the Stanley Sound we became known for. I can't explain it too well, but there was drive in our playing we'd never had before."[1]

It is difficult to put a finger on it, and perhaps it was just the experience they'd gained over the last few years which make the Mercury sides stand out. Ralph's vocal work definitely matured as he got a little older, and his banjo playing - particularly back-up seems more prominent in the mix. Carter too was still on fine form vocally and writing classics like Nobody's Love Is Like Mine, (Say) Won't You Be Mine, Our Last Goodbye, Harbor Of Love and A Lonesome Night (the latter remarkably unissued until 1993).

In their Mercury years, they also had some stellar sidemen including Art Stamper, Ralph Mayo, Joe Meadows, and Chubby Anthony on fiddle; and on mandolin the equally talented Jim Williams, Bill Lowe, Curley Lambert and Bill Napier.

The recordings are also notable for Ralph's first banjo instrumentals, Dickenson County Breakdown (mistitled Dickson County Breakdown), Hard Times, and the under-rated Big Tilda and Fling Ding; Bill Napier's classic Daybreak In Dixie also got it's first recording and George Shuffler played his first spell on bass (with his influential walking runs).

The 2xCD set comes with a 24-page booklet with reasonable liner notes by Mary Katherine Aldin, and neatly designed CD artwork which mimic the original Black and Green Mercury label styles. The last two tracks, Maple On The Hill and Little Maggie, I think were recorded later for Starday and leased to Mercury's subsidiary 'Smash' label.

For a far more detailed breakdown and background to these sessions, check Gary B. Reid's The Music Of The Stanley Brothers book, pages 40-51, 57-58, 60-64, 66-69, and 71-85.

 

Track:
Title:
Time:
Date:
Original Release:
Guitar:
Banjo:
Fiddle:
Mandolin:
Bass:
Lead Guitar:
CD 1:
(58:52)
1
(Say) Won't You Be Mine
02:49
09 Aug 1953
Mercury 70270 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Stamper
Jim Williams
George Shuffler


C. Stanley
2
This Weary Heart You Stole Away (Wake Up, Sweetheart)
02:41
09 Aug 1953
Mercury 70217 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Stamper
Jim Williams
George Shuffler


C. Stanley
3
I'm Lonesome Without You
02:33
09 Aug 1953
Mercury 70217 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Stamper
Jim Williams
George Shuffler


R. Stanley
4
Our Last Goodbye
02:39
09 Aug 1953
Mercury 70270 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Stamper
Jim Williams
George Shuffler


C. Stanley
5
Poison Lies
02:42
25 Nov 1953
Mercury 70437 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph Mayo
Jim Williams
John Shuffler


C. Stanley
6
Dickenson County Breakdown
02:16
25 Nov 1953
Mercury 70437 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph Mayo
Jim Williams
John Shuffler


R. Stanley
7
I Long To See The Old Folks
03:06
25 Nov 1953
Mercury 70340 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph Mayo
Jim Williams
John Shuffler


C. Stanley
8
A Voice From On High
02:35
25 Nov 1953
Mercury 70340 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph Mayo
Jim Williams
John Shuffler


Bill Monroe / Bessie Maudlin
9
Memories Of Mother
02:23
30 May 1954
Mercury 70400 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Jim Williams
Lightning Chance


C. Stanley
10
Could You Love Me (One More Time)
02:37
30 May 1954
Mercury 70400 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Jim Williams
Lightning Chance


C. Stanley
11
Nobody's Love Is Like Mine
02:29
30 May 1954
Mercury 70789 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Jim Williams
Lightning Chance


C. Stanley
12
I Just Got Wise
02:35
30 May 1954
Mercury 70453 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Jim Williams
Lightning Chance


C. Stanley
13
Harbor Of Love
02:20
29 Aug 1954
Mercury 70483 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Bill Lowe
Lightning Chance
Charlie Cline

C. Stanley
14
Blue Moon Of Kentucky
02:15
29 Aug 1954
Mercury 70453 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Bill Lowe
Lightning Chance
Charlie Cline

Bill Monroe
15
Calling From Heaven
02:19
29 Aug 1954
Mercury 70483 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Bill Lowe
Lightning Chance
Charlie Cline

C. Stanley
16
Close By
02:08
29 Aug 1954
The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Bill Lowe
Lightning Chance
Charlie Cline

Bill Monroe / Robert H. Van Winkle
17
Hard Times
02:47
29 Aug 1954
Mercury 70546 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Bill Lowe
Lightning Chance
Charlie Cline

R. Stanley
18
Baby Girl
02:20
28 Nov 1954
Mercury 70886 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Bill Lowe
Lightning Chance


C. Stanley
19
Say You'll Take Me Back
02:00
28 Nov 1954
Mercury 70886 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Bill Lowe
Lightning Chance


R. Stanley
20
I Worship You
02:27
28 Nov 1954
Mercury 70546 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Bill Lowe
Lightning Chance


R. Stanley
21
You're Still On My Mind
02:02
28 Nov 1954
Country Pickin' & Singin' Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Bill Lowe
Lightning Chance


R. Stanley
22
I Hear My Savior Calling
02:12
05 Apr 1955
Mercury 70718 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Jim Williams
Bill Lowe


Bill Monroe
23
Just A Little Talk With Jesus
02:17
05 Apr 1955
Mercury 70718 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Jim Williams
Bill Lowe


Cleavant Derricks
24
So Blue
02:21
05 Apr 1955
Mercury 70612 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Jim Williams
Bill Lowe


R. Stanley / Peggy Stanley
Track:
Title:
Time:
Date:
Original Release:
Guitar:
Banjo:
Fiddle:
Mandolin:
Bass:
Lead Guitar:
CD 2:
(59:39)
1
You'd Better Get Right
02:26
05 Apr 1955
Mercury 70612 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Jim Williams
Bill Lowe


Bill Monroe
2
Tragic Love
02:29
05 Apr 1955
Country Pickin' & Singin' Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Jim Williams
Bill Lowe


Buddy Dee
3
Lonesome And Blue
02:19
05 Apr 1955
Mercury 70663 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Jim Williams
Bill Lowe


C. Stanley
4
Orange Blossom Special
02:29
05 Apr 1955
Mercury 70663 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph 'Joe' Meadows
Jim Williams
Bill Lowe


Ervin T. Rouse
5
Clinch Mountain Blues
02:04
19 Dec 1955
Country Pickin And Singin' Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Stamper
Curley Lambert
Bill Lowe


Leslie Keith
6
Will He Wait A Little Longer
02:24
19 Dec 1955
The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Stamper
Curley Lambert
Bill Lowe


C. Stanley / R. Stanley
7
Big Tilda
02:03
19 Dec 1955
Mercury 70789 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Stamper
Curley Lambert
Bill Lowe


R. Stanley
8
Angel Band
02:18
19 Dec 1955
Country Pickin' & Singin' Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Art Stamper
Curley Lambert
Bill Lowe


Jefferson Hascall / William B. Bradbury
9
Who Will Call You Sweetheart
02:56
16 Jul 1956
Country Pickin' & Singin' Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Chubby Anthony / Ralph Mayo
Curley Lambert
Doug Morris


C. Stanley / Bill Monroe
10
The Cry From The Cross
02:53
16 Jul 1956
Mercury 71135 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Chubby Anthony / Ralph Mayo
Curley Lambert
Doug Morris


Johnnie Masters
11
I'm Lost, I'll Never Find The Way
01:59
16 Jul 1956
Mercury 71064 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Chubby Anthony / Ralph Mayo
Curley Lambert
Doug Morris


C. Stanley
12
Let Me Walk, Lord, By Your Side
02:53
16 Jul 1956
Mercury 71135 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Chubby Anthony / Ralph Mayo
Curley Lambert
Doug Morris


C. Stanley
13
A Lonesome Night
02:54
16 Jul 1956
The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys 1953 - 1958 & 1959 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Chubby Anthony / Ralph Mayo
Curley Lambert
Doug Morris


C. Stanley
14
Fling Ding
02:09
27 Feb 1957
Mercury-Starday 71207 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Chubby Anthony
Pee Wee Lambert
George Shuffler


R. Stanley
15
I'll Never Grow Tired Of You
02:12
27 Feb 1957
Mercury 71302 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Chubby Anthony
Pee Wee Lambert
George Shuffler


C. Stanley
16
Loving You Too Well
02:13
27 Feb 1957
Mercury-Starday 71207 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Chubby Anthony
Pee Wee Lambert
George Shuffler


C. Stanley
17
Daybreak In Dixie
02:00
15 Nov 1957
Hard Times Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Benny Martin / Howard Forrester
Bill Napier
Curley Lambert


Bill Napier
18
If That's The Way You Feel
02:33
15 Nov 1957
The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Benny Martin / Howard Forrester
Bill Napier
Curley Lambert


R. Stanley / Peggy Stanley
19
A Life Of Sorrow
02:34
15 Nov 1957
Mercury-Starday 71258 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Benny Martin / Howard Forrester
Bill Napier
Curley Lambert


C. Stanley
20
I'd Rather Be Forgotten
02:19
15 Nov 1957
Mercury-Starday 71258 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Benny Martin / Howard Forrester
Bill Napier
Curley Lambert


E.P. Williams
21
The Flood
03:10
1 Feb 1957
Mercury 71064 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Chubby Anthony
George Shuffler
Red Malone


C. Stanley / R. Stanley
22
No School Bus In Heaven
02:51
?? Mar 1958
Mercury 71302 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph Mayo
Bill Napier
Curley King


Jack Adkins / Buddy Dee
23
Maple On The Hill
02:44
?? Mar 1959
Blue Grass Oldies But Goodies (Smash LP 27028) Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Chubby Anthony
Bill Napier
Al Elliott


Gussie L. Davis
24
Little Maggie
02:44
?? Jun 1960
Country Oldies But Goodies (Smash LP 27016) Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph Mayo

James Austin 'Audie' Webster
Curley Lambert

R. Stanley / C. Stanley

Go To Top Of Page [1] Ralph Stanley and Eddie Dean's 'The Man Of Constant Sorrow' (p. 172 - 199). In the book Ralph says "winter of 1953" but it was 1952.