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Clinch Mountain Echo

The Stanley Brothers - Little Maggie / God Gave You To Me

(Starday 522) Oct 1960


Little Maggie
God Gave You To Me Billboard 31st Oct 1960 Little Maggie (Alt. print) God Gave You To Me (Alt. print)

This 7" was recorded at the same May/June 1960 session that was used for part of the Sacred Songs From The Hills album at Magnum Studio, Jacksonville Fl.[1]

Little Maggie was a re-recording of a song which they'd previously cut for Rich-R-Tone (RRT 423) in late 1947 or early 1948, although on the earlier version, Ralph played banjo in 2-finger rather than in 3-finger style. It is of course one of Ralph's most popular numbers and was a regular throughout his long career.

Ralph:- "One of our biggest mail pullers was 'Little Maggie'. I heard Steve Ledford do that on an old 78-rpm record I believe it may have been with the Carolina Ramblers. He was later the fiddle player with Wade Mainer and Zeke Morris in the thirties and he featured 'Little Maggie' a lot then, too. I don't know where he found the song, but it had been around the mountains for a good long while. I took to Little Maggie right off and I still play the song just about every time I'm onstage. People holler out for her wherever I play. She's a real show stopper."[2]

God Gave You To Me was introduced as a newly written song at the 15th May 1960 performance at the New River Ranch, which was captured on the Stanley Series, Vol. 1 No. 2 and Live At New River Ranch albums.[3]

Both sides of the 7" later appeared on the Mountain Music Sound Of The Stanley Brothers LP and can now be found on The Early Starday/King Years, 1958-1961 4xCD box set.

PS: For students of the 'Stanley Style' of banjo there is an accurate tab for this version of Little Maggie on Gary Bates's (aka Stanleytone) page on the banjohangout. This has got the unusual descending "F" shape lick on the 'D' string, and in my humble opinon is far better than the later version on Ralph's Homespun DVD.

 

For a detailed breakdown and background to the Stanley's session, check Gary B. Reid's The Music Of The Stanley Brothers book, pages 108-111 and 149.

Track:
Title:
Time:
Date:
Original Release:
Guitar:
Banjo:
Fiddle:
Mandolin:
Bass:
Lead guitar:
A-1
Little Maggie
02:47
?? May 1960
Starday 522 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph Mayo

Audie Webster
Curley Lambert

P.D.
B-1
God Gave You To Me
02:06
?? May 1960
Starday 522 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Ralph Mayo

Audie Webster
Curley Lambert

R. Stanley

Go To Top Of Page [1] The liner notes to The Early Starday/King Years, 1958-1961 give slightly different session dates for this album than Gary B. Reid's later The Music Of The Stanley Brothers book.
[2] Quote from Ralph and Eddie Dean's book 'Man Of Constant Sorrow' (p. 100).
Steve Ledford performed with the Carolina Ramblers Stringband, recording 20 sides in New York in 1932. Eight sides were released on 78s, after which Ledofrd returned home to marry and farm. A few years later he teamed up with Wade Mainer to record Little Maggie circa 1937. (http://www.allmusic.com/artist/ledford-string-band-mn0001425047)
I've not been able to find any evidence that the Carolina Ramblers released a version of Little Maggie but see the Rich-R-Tone RRT-423 entry for more details.
[3] On Stanley Series, Vol. 1 No. 2 the tape is cut after Cumberland Gap when Carter announces one of Lindy Clear's comedy routines, and begins again just as Carter says "...we just wrote" when introducing God Gave You To Me. The Live At New River Ranch version has an additonal edit omitting Carter's introduction of Lindy's 'Model T' car routine, and clips the song introduction further so the announcement is even less clear.