Clinch Mountain Echo

Ralph Stanley - Lonesome And Blue

(Rebel REB 1647) 1986

Lonesome And Blue
Rear Cover Side One Side Two Ralph in the Maggard Studio 2nd April 1986 - picture by John Wright.

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Recorded on the 2nd April 1986, only a month or so after the Sings Sixteen Years album. This is a good solid effort, and it's suprising that the album has never been reissued on CD.

As the 'Bluegrass Unlimted' review said:- "'d have to be pretty picky not to think this is one of the better albums of the year."[1]

From the Stanley Brothers' back-catalogue we get re-workings of Lonesome And Blue and So Blue. The later is credited to Ralph, although Ralph's second wife Peggy may have had a hand in writing it.[2]

Mountain Rosa Lee had previously been recorded in 1959 by Don Reno & Red Smiley and originated with The York Brothers who cut it for King in 1947.

John Brenton Preston, who contributed Wicked Wine also had a number of other songs recorded by other bluegrass artists including Sammy Adkins and Jim & Jesse. Ralph had previously recorded his I've Just Seen The Rock Of Ages (Clinch Mountain Gospel) and Walking Up This Hill On Declaration Day (I'll Wear A White Robe). He later recorded two more of John B. Preston's songs Old Man Death and Snap A Finger, Jesus on the Pray For The Boys album. Later still Wicked Wine (as Red Wicked Wine) was re-cut with Elvis Costello for the Cracker Barrel Man Of Constant Sorrow CD. Preston had been convicted of consipring to rob a bank in 1961, he was parolled in 1971 and died in 2013.[3]

Candie Randolph was in the family band The Lost Kentuckians, who recorded three albums and appeared at Ralph's Hills Of Home festival in McClure between 1979 and 1985. Some of her songs had earlier been recorded by Ralph on his 1981 Stanley Sound Today album. She also co-wrote three songs on the Jim Lauderdale & Ralph Stanley - Lost In The Lonesome Pines CD in 2000.

Old Richmond Prison related the true story of the murder of Deputy Sheriff Eulis Breeding from Buchanan County Sheriff's Office by Dewey Lee Barton on 9th Sept 1964. The song was written by Dewey whilst he was serving his 18 year prison sentance for the murder which took place near the Dickenson County / Buchanen County line. Presumably he didn't serve the full sentance, as Dewey L. Barton is listed as one of the Barton Brothers who first recorded the song on their 'Virginia Bluegrass' LP (Jalyn JLP 139) in 1973 as by The Barton Brothers & The Big A Mountain Boys.[3]

Ralph later re-recorded Room At The Top Of The Stairs on his 2004 sessions for Sings His Favorites Now and Then.

The Gene Autry comedy number, True Blue Bill was later reissued as part of Ralph's Old-Time Pickin clawhammer collection.

Side One:
Mountain Rosa Lee

Leslie York
Lonesome & Blue

C. Stanley
True Blue Bill

Gene Autry
Wicked Wine

John B. Preston
Take Me Home With You Tonight In A Song

Jimmy Skinner
Room At The Top Of The Stairs

Randall Hylton
Side Two:
Who's In Your Heart

Candie Randolph / R. Stanley
Somebody Loves You, Darling

Old Richmond Prison

Emmett Jr Barton / James Roy Barton
Blue Moon Of Kentucky

Bill Monroe
Hot Night In August

Randall Hylton
So Blue

R. Stanley / Peggy Stanley

Go To Top Of Page [1] Feb. 1987 edition (p.38)
[2] David W. Johnson's book "Lonesome Melodies - The Lives And Music Of The Stanley Brothers" (p.179)
There is also a nice clip of him playing some great harmonica on youtube from 2010:
[2] Liner notes to 'Reno & Smiley - Early Years 1951-59' (Gusto GT7-0959-2) 2009 and
[3] Various sources: