Clinch Mountain Echo

The Stanley Brothers - Come All Ye Tenderhearted / Choo Choo Comin'

(Starday 587) Apr 1962

Come All Ye Tenderhearted
Choo Choo Comin'

This 7" contains two tracks that had been recorded in 1959/60. Choo Choo Comin' had been released on the SEP-107 EP and Mountain Song Favorites in 1959, whilst Come All Ye Tenderhearted was previously unreleased.

'Billboard' magazine reviewed the single in their 28th April 1962 edition giving both sides four stars and describing Choo Choo Comin' as:- "This sad tune is sung in fine style by the Brothers against a fast-moving country tempo. Material is of a weeper variety, the train is taking away the boys' gal. Side also features some top-flight banjo work." The other side, Come All Ye Tenderhearted is similiarly described as:- "This is a very sad song sung and spoken in woeful terms. I???????? mother who leaves her house only to have it burn down with her children inside."[1]

Come All Ye Tenderhearted was recorded at the end of the session for their In Person LP, when the band visited Cincinnati DJ Wayne Raney. Curley Lambert:- "Wayne came out to the studio and insisted that we come out to his house that night after we got through recording. And we decided to cut a session. Why, I'll never know. But we did"[2] That night the Stanley's recorded a rather lacklustre version of Rank Stranger and an equally poor version of Come All Ye Tenderhearted. Curley: "We took about two hours to cut that thing. We laughed ourselves to death, you see. Carter was trying to do the recitation on it. Me and Shuffler and Ralph and maybe Vernon Derrick or Chick or somebody. I forget who all was there. We got so tickled we couldn't do a thing for laughing. So finally we got it cut. Wayne, he was sitting back in the studio, you know, working the knobs, big tears running down his cheeks. I never thought it would be released. So some years later I was listening to the radio and heard it. I said 'Now this just can't be what we done in Cincinnati...' It was! They put it on one of those package deals, Starday. Oh lord it was the worst thing I've ever seen in my life. Everybody was just dying laughing trying to get it cut. It really was a messs. That's the story on that now."

Whilst Come All Ye Tenderhearted got issued, first on this 45 and then on the Mountain Music Sound Of The Stanley Brothers LP, the version of Rank Stranger cut on the session remained unreleased until The Early Starday/King Years, 1958-1961 4xCD box set.

The Stanley Brothers had performed Come All Ye Tenderhearted live on occasion, as a superb solo vocal piece by Carter. The earliest example I know of is the 1956 Larry Ehrlich recordings that were released as Old Time Songs/An Evening Long Ago. At the start of that performance, Larry asks Carter where he learnt the tune, to which Carter replies:- "From an old baptist hymn book, an old time song book, Larry, many years ago." Another good live recording resurfaced on Live At New River Ranch 1960 where Carter describes the song saying:- "...that's an old-timer there... I learned that from some of the old-time revival meetings many years ago down in the backwoods country." There's also an excellent live version from the 1961 University Of Chicago Folk Festival, which appears on the Folk Festival 2xCD and Friends Of Old Time Music compilation.

Ralph also later cut a solo vocal / part recitation rendition of the song on his A Mother's Prayer CD in 2010. In the liner notes, Colin Escot revealed that it 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.

The flipside, Choo Choo Comin' by Corbet 'Cuddles' Newsome, is another of those classic 'Stanley' songs which, although not written by Carter or Ralph, they definitely made their own. Ralph would later cut two live versions on his Live In Japan and Live! At McClure albums, plus a third with Sammy Adkins on their You're Still To Blame release. The song was originally released by (Estill Stewart &) The Flat Mountain Boys - Choo Choo Coming / I Could Love You (All The Time) (Arrow 2530) c1954, with Kenny Baker on fiddle and Jack Cooke on guitar. The Stanley Brothers recording, with Chubby Anthony's shuffling fiddle, is for me the definitive version.

Both side of this 7" can be found on The Early Starday/King Years, 1958-1961 4xCD box set.


For a detailed breakdown and background to the Stanley's sessions, check Gary B. Reid's The Music Of The Stanley Brothers book, pages 96-98, 115-116, 141 and 150.

Original Release:
Lead Guitar:
Come All Ye Tenderhearted
11 Jul 1960
Starday 587 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley

George Shuffler
Curley Lambert

Choo Choo Comin'
Summer 1959
Starday SEP-107 Carter Stanley
Ralph Stanley
Chubby Anthony
Bill Napier
Al Elliot

Corbet 'Cuddles' Newsome

Go To Top Of Page [1] https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=IhYEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=billboard+starday+587+stanley&source=bl&ots=ZByhOl7l1A&sig=7r_5YLiG3RYYLr1GzxizoZfQnbs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjh2MPX77LVAhWLbhQKHWhoC_AQ6AEIOzAD#v=onepage&q=billboard%20starday%20587%20stanley&f=false
[2] A 1977 interview with Curley Lambert by Doug Gordon and Roy Burke III, quoted in the liner notes to The Early Starday/King Years, 1958-1961 4xCD box set.