Clinch Mountain Echo

Ralph Stanley - A Mother's Prayer

(Rebel REB-CD-1840) 2010

A Mother's Prayer
Rear Cover Booklet Picture Booklet Picture

Average Album Rating: 3.4
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Another Gospel release that I presume was recorded in 2010 as the liner notes are dated September 2010 and Steve Sparkman left the band in November. It was recorded at Maggard Sound Studios in Big Stone Gap, Va. and released in 2011.

John Rigsby and Shelton Feazell guest on the album, with John mostly singing tenor and mandolin, and Shelton singing bass on four cuts. Shelton had previously sang on Back To The Cross, Saturday Night / Sunday Morning and Christmas Time With....

John Rigsby sings lead on one track - That Home Far Away, which The Stanley Brothers recorded for King, and which is probably one of the best tracks on a rather uneven album.

He Suffered For My Reward features Nathan Stanley on guitar who wrote the song and recorded it with his 'paw-paw' in 2007 on He Suffered For My Reward.

The liner notes by Colin Escott won him an IBMA award. He had previously written liner notes for the Echoes Of The Stanley Brothers CD, and the Early Classics: The King Recordings compilation.

In the liner notes Colin reveals that the story behind Come All Ye Tenderhearted was based on a true event c1872, when Frances Jane Ratliff McCormack from Carter County, Ky. lost her two children in a house fire. Someone wrote a ballad about the tragedy, which was picked up as The Carter County Fire Ballad or Two Little Girls before The Stanley Brothers picked it up from an old hymn book.[1] The version here is perfomed more or less solo, with Ralph's rather ragged voice accompanied by bowed bass-fiddle.

Prince Of Peace an old obscure hymnal, Blind Willie Johnson's John The Revelator and That Wonderful Place are all similarly performed unaccompanied by Ralph.

Lift Him Up, That's All had previously been recorded by Ralph in 2002 for his Ralph Stanley CD. Colin Escott writes that it's composer Washington Phillips was an African American farmer and storefront preacher from Freestone County, Tx, who was recorded singing the song in 1927 in a Dallas Hotel room. The version here is again performed solo, with some picked guitar accompaniment in the choruses by James Alan Shelton.

Some of the tracks are written by contemporary bluegrassers. The title track A Mother's Prayer was written by the Lonesome River Band's Ronnie Bowman and Terry Smith from The Grascals helped compose Let It Go.

Dewey Brown, the CMB's fiddler since 2005, wrote Let Him Into Your Heart and Ralph's sister-in-law Floda Neal contributes That Wonderful Place.

Rebel released a 6 minute video to help promote the release of the album which can be seen on youtube. This also includes a couple of brief snippets of Ralph and the CMB's from a gig in Pound, Va circa 1971/72.

(*) Nathan plays on one track, He Suffered For My Reward.

That Home Far Away

Ruby Rakes
It's Time To Wake Up

Marvin E. Morrow
Come All Ye Tenderhearted

P.D. arr R. Stanley
Let Him Into Your Heart

Dewey Brown
A Mother's Prayer

Ronnie Bowman / Shawn Lane
Prince Of Peace

P.D. arr R. Stanley
Are You Washed In The Blood

Elisha Hoffman
Lift Him Up, That's All

Washington Phillips
He Suffered For My Reward

Nathan Stanley
Let It Go

Sara Evans / Billy Smith / Terry Smith
That Wonderful Place

Floda Neal
I'll Not Be Afraid

Marvin E. Morrow
John The Revelator

Blind Willie Johnson
What Kind Of Man

Larry Sparks / R. Stanley

Go To Top Of Page [1] Carter's introduction to the song on 'Folk Festival - University Of Chicago 1961 & 1965' (Stanleytone ST-CD-5003) 2001.