Clinch Mountain Echo

The Stanley Brothers - Little Benny / Wildwood Flower

(King S-7 1613) c1961

Little Benny
Little Benny In Person - stero singles

This is one of five 7" 33⅓ stereo singles that were taken from the Stanley Brothers' In Person LP, although Little Benny had been released on regular 45; just prior to the LP (King 5415).

The singles were created for juke box use[1] and issued together with juke-box strips and a reproduction of the In Person sleeve. Most copies I've seen have been offered for sale as individual discs, but recently a complete set went on ebay for $125.

Little Benny is credited as 'Traditional', but I've not been able to find any information about it. There is another song called Little Bennie that was published in 1857 in the 'Golden Wreath: A Choice Collection Of Favorite Memories' songbook, but that bears no resemblence lyrically.

The perennial country favourite Wildwood Flower has it's roots in an 1860 parlour song I'll Twine Mid The Ringlets, which was first published by composer Joseph Philbrick Webster and lyrics attributed to Maud Irving.[2] (Although it's likely that Maud Irving was a pseudonym for poet J. William Van Namee).[3] The Carter Family's first recorded their adaptation as Wildwood Flower in 1928 and by Feb 1929 it had sold nearly one hundred thousand copies.[4] The Stanley's instrumental version, one of many in the bluegrass field, is largely a showpiece for George Shuffler and Ralph. They later re-cut the tune for the John's Country Quartet LP and in later years it was picked by Keith Whitley and Ralph on the Second Generation Bluegrass album, with other versions featuring Ralph II on Like Father, Like Son, Junior Blankenship (The Newsboy) and James Alan Shelton (Clinch Mountain Guitar).

Both sides of the single can now be found on the The Early Starday/King Years, 1958-1961 4xCD set.

PS: For aspiring guitar/banjo pickers, Wildwood Flower is featured on James Alan Shelton's 'Clinch Mountain Guitar' instruction DVD/booklet and on Ralph's Homespun DVD The Banjo Of Ralph Stanley: From Old Time To Bluegrass (where Ralph plays it with a young Ralph II).


For a detailed breakdown and background to the Stanley's session, check Gary B. Reid's The Music Of The Stanley Brothers book, pages 111-114 and 150.

Original Release:
Lead guitar:
Little Benny
11 Jul 1960
King 5415 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Vernon Derrick

George Shuffler
Curley Lambert

Wildwood Flower
11 Jul 1960
In Person Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Vernon Derrick

George Shuffler
Curley Lambert

A.P. Carter

Go To Top Of Page [1] See http://www.bsnpubs.com/stereoproject/stereo33s.html
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildwood_Flower
[3] https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=4074
[4] Mark Zwonitzer with Charles Hirshberg's book 'Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone: The Carter Family & Their Legacy In American Music' (p. 108-109 and 117)