Clinch Mountain Echo

Ralph Stanley & Ralph Stanley II - Side By Side

(Rebel REB-CD-1850) 2013

Side By Side
Rear Cover

Average Album Rating: 2.5
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This album was recorded at Big Appal Studio in Paintsville, Ky and released at the end of 2013.

In a review/interview in Bluegrass Today Ralph II explains the rationale behing the recording, and gives a breakdown behind some of the song choices.

"I intended it to bring back the feel of Dad and Carter, plus the '70s; freshen it up and be up to date, and show the respect on my part for his music. I wanted to do a lot of songs that he and I never recorded, and ones that Dad hadn't recorded in many years.
I had got to thinking one day, since I've been off on my own for a few years, and with both of us getting older. It hit me that I wanted to do something extra special with him. I didn't know how it would turn out, but it went way above my expectations. I've been wanting to hear this sound again for a long time."

Former CMB's Steve Sparkman, and John Rigsby help recreate the late 60s / early '70s sound, and whilst the vocals are inevitably not in the same class as Ralph's earlier works, they are pretty good for someone 86 years young.

There are two new songs: White & Pink Flowers and the a cappella Don't Weep For Me. Both are co-written by Gerald Ellenburg and are fine songs. White & Pink Flowers, in particular is a splendid ballad, that could easily have graced one of Ralph's early 70s albums.

Just over half of the tracks are drawn from The Stanley Brothers repertoire, with Wild Bill Jones Carolina Mountain Home, Don't Step Over An Old Love, A Little At A Time, Darling Little Joe and Six Months Ain't Long taken from their King era; Nobody Answered Me from their Wango/Rimrock '60s sideline recordings and Are You Waiting Just For Me from their early days with Rich-R-Tone.

As the 'Bluegrass Today' piece mentions, Ralph II had recorded Dirty Black Coal on Ralph's Like Father, Like Son album when he was 11 years old. That recording featured Sammy Adkins on vocal, whereas here with Ralph II on vocals, the song dedicated to a hard working father are more poignant.

Walking With You In My Dreams the old Charlie Monroe song had also previously been recorded by John Rigsby on his Forks Of The Ivy CD in 1999. Similarly Battle Axe had been recorded by Ralph in 1996 and was finally released in 2008 on the Clawhammer Old-Time Pickin' collection.

Overall this is a solid album, worth seeking out.

Wild Bill Jones

Carolina Mountain Home

Len Wright / Estel Lee Scarborough
Dirty Black Coal

Earl Sykes / R. Stanley
Walking With You In My Dreams

Charlie Monroe
Don't Step Over An Old Love

Fred Stryker
Battle Ax

P.D. arr R. Stanley
Are You Waiting Just For Me

Ernest Tubb
White & Pink Flowers

Gerald Ellenburg / Shawn Lane
A Little At A Time

M.H. 'Red' Malone / R. Stanley
Darling Little Joe

A.P. Carter
Don't Weep For Me

Buddy Brock / Gerald Ellenburg
Six Month's Ain't Long

Dick Burnett / Leonard Rutherford ?
Nobody Answered Me

Albert E. Brumley
I've Still Got 99

P.D. arr. Ledford

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