Clinch Mountain Echo

Ralph Stanley - Live In Japan

(Seven Seas SR 690/691) 1971 / (Rebel REB 2202) 1986


Live In Japan
Front Cover with OBI Rear Cover Inner Gatefold Inner Gatefold
Side One Side Two Side Three Side Four
Dick Freeland's Tour Programme Cover Photo from Birdree LP Japan 1971 Signing Autographs - photo by Nobuharu Komoriya
Clawhammer Demonstration - Kobe Japan Arriving at Osaka Station May 1st 1971 photo by Nobuharu Komoriya
Osaka May 1st 1971 CD Cover CD Tray
Front Cover (Rebel) Rear Cover (Rebel) Side One (Rebel) Side Two (Rebel)
Side Three (Rebel) Side Four (Rebel)

Recorded in Tokyo on the 5th May 1971, this was the final concert of a ten date tour organised by Dick Freeland of Rebel Records. Dick used his distribution contacts to arrange the tour and also produced a colour tour programme.

Dick: "It was an interesting tour, it really was. It was a ground breaker in a lot of ways. We weren't the first bluegrass group to go, I think Flatt and Scruggs had gone prior to that, but we were the first ones to do any business so to speak. We got to a lot of people that we ordinarily wouldn't have gotten to. While we were there we did the Japanese version of the 'Today Show'. We were the first American bluegrass group to do that national TV in japan. Of course that was good publicity. We worked San Francisco and Oklahoma City on the way back. It was a nice little tour, maybe ten days all together."[1]

The album was initially only issued as a double LP in Japan, but subsequently was reissued on vinyl by Rebel in 1986, and again on CD in 1997.

Regarded by many fans as a classic... The band were firing on all cylinders at this time, completing not only this live LP, but also the John Henry LP the following day. Indeed 1971 resulted in a total of twelve albums one way or another (if you count the Curly Ray and Whitley/Skaggs LPs).

In some respects the recording sounds a bit 'formal' compared to unofficial 'Stateside' live recordings, but is definitely a must-have item.

After the band returned to the 'States, they played San Francisco, with a set broadcast on the KPFA Radio from Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, Ca. on the 7th May. [2]

Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley, were still finishing school at the time, so they had to miss the trip (and I guess the added expense of flights etc may have figured into the equation too).

It's interesting that Ralph played a flathead rather than an archtop banjo on this tour, presumably not wanting to risk any in-flight damage to his old Gibson... Bluegrass Unlimited - 'Notes & Queries' (December 1989) later reported:-

"The banjo... is indeed a flathead... on loan from the late Elmer Harr, an instrument collector and trader from Bristol Tennessee. Harr bought the instrument from bluegrass singer Al Jones, who had put it together from parts from various sources. The unusual neck with carved All American style headstock and matching carved resonator were made by banjoist Johnnie Whisnant and Jones did the finish and inlaywork. Harr later sold the banjo back to Jones, who resold it to a musician in northern Virginia. It's current whereabouts are not known"

Track:
Title:
Side One:
(17:33)
1
How Mountain Girls Can Love

Ruby Rakes
2
Leather Britches

P.D.
3
Sitting On Top Of The World

P.D.
4
Love Me Darling Just Tonight

M.H. 'Red' Malone / Ruby Rakes
5
Clinch Mountain Backstep

Ruby Rakes
6
Uncle Pen

Bill Monroe
7
Memories Of Mother

C. Stanley
Side Two:
(18:46)
1
Little Maggie

P.D.
2
Listen To The Mockingbird

P.D.
3
Ridin' That Midnight Train

R. Stanley
4
Baby Girl

C. Stanley
5
Sourwood Mountain

P.D.
6
I Saw The Light

Hank Williams
Side Three:
(20:38)
1
Orange Blossom Special

Ervin T. Rouse
2
Blue Moon Of Kentucky

Bill Monroe
3
Long Journey Home

P.D.
4
Pretty Polly

P.D.
5
Daybreak In Tokyo

Bill Napier
6
All The Good Times Are Past And Gone

P.D.
7
How Far To Little Rock

Ruby Rakes
8
Mountain Dew

Bascom Lamar Lunsford / Scotty Wiseman
Side Four:
(26:15)
1
Rank Stranger

Albert E. Brumley
2
Walkin' In My Sleep

P.D.
3
Man Of Constant Sorrow

R.D. Burnett
4
I Hear A Choo Choo Coming

Corbet 'Cuddles' Newsome
5
Old Country Church

J.W. Vaughan
6
Hard Times

R. Stanley
7
White Dove

C. Stanley
8
Old Time Pickin'

R. Stanley

Go To Top Of Page [1] Liner notes to the Rebel CD reissue. Flatt & Scruggs had played in Japan in 1968.
[2] http://ia601407.us.archive.org/7/items/RalphStanleyAndTheClinchMountainBoys1971-05-07FreightAndSalvageBerkeleyCA/RalphStanleyAndTheClinchMountainBoys1971-05-07FreightAndSalvageBerkeleyCA.mp3?cnt=0
or
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MyyIn6HMQg