Clinch Mountain Echo

Gary B. Reid - The Music Of The Stanley Brothers

(University of Illinois Press ISBN: 978-0-252-08033-3) 2015 (Paperback) / (ISBN: 978-0-252-09672-3) (E-book)

Gary B. Reid - The Music Of The Stanley Brothers

This is the definitive book on The Stanley Brothers music, a labour of love, which Gary B. Reid has been researching and compiling for the last 39 years. For newcomers looking to discover the music, it is a perfect guide, and for any Stanley fans who want to dig deeper, the level of detail and background info is simply mind-blowing.

Beginning with a brief overview of the brothers early years, their childhood and family life, the book then follows a session by session tour of their recordings between 1946 to 1966... and it is packed with first hand information from those involved with the band, including many details you won't find elsewhere.

Each session includes commentary including quotations from Ralph and Carter, former Clinch Mountain Boys, songwriters and friends of the band and their contemporaries. In many cases there are brief biographical details of individual Clinch Mountain boys, and often illuminating anecdotes behind many of the songs.

The story of The Stanley Brothers is complex, with frequent and often confusing changes in sidemen, not to mention working in different locations and Radio stations, and recording for several record labels. It is therefore quite remarkable that Gary has managed to piece together all pieces of the jigsaw, into one coherent picture.

The book is though, essentially a discographical resource, with detailed chronological session listings and US releases by Record Label, along with details of the live recordings which have been released. (The bulk of which we also have Gary to thank for).[1]

The many quotations and source information are fully referenced, and in addition to a general index, there is also a useful 'Song' index, making it easy to look up both the recording details, and background information to any song the Stanley's caught on tape. There are also about 49 black & white pictures of album sleeves and single labels, often with location and date details, or with comments on variations in label design etc.

It doesn't cover the plethora of CD re-issues and repackaged material completely, but does list those CD's which provide anthologies of The Stanley Brothers recordings for individual labels, and any significant compilations which include previously unreleased material. I was a bit surprised that the Old Homestead CD reissues of 'A Beautiful Life' and 'An Empty Mansion' aren't listed, or that Pickin' The Five String on the V/A - 'Mountain Folks Song Concert Bluegrass Style' (Palace M 720) LP isn't mentioned... But that's really just nitpicking.[2]

This 286 page guide is simply the essential book for any Stanley Brothers fan!

Go To Top Of Page [1] Gary was behind the stellar 'Stanley Series' live albums, the Copper Creek 'Shadows Of The Past' album and no doubt helped with many of Ralph's Stanleytone releases, not to mention the 'On Air' / 'Live Again - WCYB Bristol Farm And Fun Time' Rebel releases or the reissues of the Wango LPs.
[2] Pickin' The Five String is just Ralph's banjo instrumental Holiday Pickin' given a different name.