Clinch Mountain Echo

Ralph II Stanley - Stanley Blues

(Rebel REB-CD-1775) 2002


Stanley Blues
Rear Cover CD Tray Inner CD Tray

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Ralph II's third 'solo' CD is another decent effort and again features backing from the core of the CMB's at the time. As with his earlier releases there's a dollop of reworkings from the Stanley catalogue, with four of the twelve tracks being songs associated with either Dr. Ralph or the Stanley Brothers.

Ralph II wrote or co-wrote three tracks: Stanley Blues which kicks off the CD in a country style; Homeward Bound with John Rigsby; and the instrumental Taylor Brooke. It's unusual for Ralph II to include an instrumental and it makes a nice change. It's also kind of neat that it's named after his infant daughter, in the same way Dr. Ralph named and recorded Lisa's Joy after Ralph II's eldest sister.

The highlight of the CD for me is the Ozzie Thorpe / Sam Wilson apocalyptic Four Horsemen. Ozzie aka Osburn Thorpe had several songs recorded by Dr. Ralph and other bluegrass acts,[1] but I've not heard anyone else do this song, and it's a real treat. Sam Wilson had also recorded with Dr Ralph and filled in occasionally on lead vocals for the band.[2]

One of the most popular numbers on the album, judging by live recordings, was Daddy's Dinner Bucket which related a true story about a mining accident in the late '80s at the South Mountain coal mine about 15 miles from the Stanley home place. In an interview with Country Standard Time, Ralph II said that Jack Cooke knew the writers and brought the song to him, which Ralph II then adapted.

In the same interview, Ralph II also comments that rather than record everything live, as they had done in the past, for this CD the instrumental parts were recorded first over two days, and then spent another two days recording the vocals.

A couple of the tracks have more of a country feel to them, but with Steve Sparkman's banjo and James Price / James Alan Shelton they still retain an element of the CMB sound. Ralph II's obviously got a big country influence in his vocal style, so I guess it's not surprising.

I'm not sure about the version of Kenny Rogers' big hit Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town though.

NB: (a) Ralph II plays lead guitar in (9); Jack Cooke plays bass on (6); Terry Eldredge sings tenor on (1), (5) and (11); Ralph Stanley sings tenor on (6) and (12)..

Track:
Title:
CD:
(34:11)
1
Stanley Blues

Ralph Stanley II
2
We'll Be Sweethearts In Heaven

C. Stanley
3
When They Free Me From These Chains

Steve Sparkman
4
Daddy's Dinner Bucket

Roy Dockery / Bill Jones
5
Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town

Mel Tillis
6
Ship Gone Astray

Jim Mills
7
Jealousy

Candace K. Randolph / R. Stanley
8
Homeward Bound

Ralph Stanley II / John Rigsby
9
Taylor Brooke

Ralph Stanley II
10
Keep My Love With You

R. Stanley
11
Tennessee Truck Driving Man

Kenneth R. Pickett / R. Stanley
12
Four Horsemen

Ozzie Thorpe / Sam Wilson

Go To Top Of Page [1] See the Ralph Stanley - The Bluegrass Sound Of... LP for more info on Osburn Thorpe.
[2] See the Ralph Stanley and Sam Wilson - What About You cassette for more info on Sam Wilson.