Clinch Mountain Echo

Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys

(Stanley Family 8829559048) 2017

Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys
Rear Cover

Average Album Rating: 3
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This is the first album by Ralph II to be released after his inheritance of the "Clinch Mountain Boys" band name.

Reviews seem to have been pretty positive with 'Bluegrass Today' saying it "...has the potential of being one of the best traditional bluegrass records of the year" and 'Bluegrass Unlimited' in their Oct. 2017 edition saying "...if you let go of expectations, you'll find this is a very good album and a very good band with a style that is both its own - and its legacy."

In a way the CD straddles a bit of the old and the new... the version of Henry Brown is very much in the 'Stanley' tradition (and although co-credited on the artwork to Ralph II, the original is on his Dad's 1978 Down Where The River Bends LP credited to David Marshall - and 1978 was a little before Ralph II's time!). Elsewhere there's a few other tracks with connections to the 'Stanley' back catalogue:- Mary, Merry Christmas was a song Carter wrote the lyrics for in late 1966 during his final days in hospital. Ralph II recorded it on his 'Listen To My Hammer Ring' first 'solo' debut CD back in 1998 and this new recording was cut on 1st Dec 2016, fifty years to the day since Carter died. Also featured is Cannonball Blues which Dr. Ralph had said was his favourite tune and the old-time No More The Moon Shines On Lorena which had been performed once or twice by the Stanley Brothers.

Other songs on the album mark more of a departure from the 'Clinch Mountain / Stanley' sound that Ralph and Carter originated, and I guess I'm having trouble adjusting to it. There's some decent songs and with Alex Leach and John Rigsby, Ralph II has two of the finest trad-grass sidemen, but it feels more like generic bluegrass/country than it does the 'old' Clinch Mountain sound.

The CD is packaged in a neat 3-fold digi-pack with the front cover showing the band on the old original stage from Ralph's 'Hills Of Home' festival, and has an introductory liner note by Larry Sparks.

Henry Brown

David Marshall
Road Going Home

Rickey C. Graves
On Boot Hill

Rick Lang / Stan Keach
Wave On Old Glory

Rickey C. Graves
Fortune Fame Freedom

Jonathan Tully Rigsby / Lisa Rachelle Rigsby
Don't Point Your Finger

Williams Lewis Castle
Goin' Round This World

Ralph Edmond Stanley II / Alex Leach / Joe Rose
Life To Go

George Jones
Raining In My Heart

Ralph Edmond Stanley II / Alex Leach / Joe Rose
Mary Merry Christmas

C. Stanley
No More The Moon Shines On Lorena

A.P. Carter
Cannonball Blues

A.P. Carter

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