Clinch Mountain Echo

Ralph Stanley - Live At The Smithsonian Institution

(Atteiriam API-CD 1662) 1992 (also on Cassette API-C-1686). Reissued (Gusto GT-5163-2) 2006

Live At The Smithsonian Institution
Rear Cover CD Tray (early copy) CD Tray (later copy)
Cassette Inlay
Front Cover (Gusto) Rear Cover (Gusto) CD Tray (Gusto) L-R: Roy Lee Centers and Ralph backstage. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer.
L-R: Ralph Rinzler and Ralph. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer. L-R: Ralph, Jack Cooke and Roy Lee Centers. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer. L-R: Curly Ray Cline, Rickey Lee, Jack Cooke, Ralph and Roy Lee Centers. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer.
L-R: L-R: Ralph, Jack Cooke and Roy Lee Centers. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer. Backstage at the Smithsonian. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer. Backstage at the Smithsonian. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer.

Average Album Rating: 4.91
(Total votes 11)

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This recording was taken from Ralph's concert at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, on Sunday 10th March 1974.

According to the 'General Store' section of Bluegrass Unlimited (Mar. '74), the show was broadcast live nationwide, "by most member stations of the National Public Radio Network". The same issue also featured an interview with Ralph by Ralph Rinzler, who hosted the event at the Smithsonian. The concert was part of a series put on by the Smithsonian to present string band music, and also included a show featuring Bill Monroe. Both concerts included a workshop in the afternoon followed by an evening show with just the main act.

A tape of the Radio Broadcast suggests that only part of the show was broadcast including about 25 mins from the CMB's first set; followed by the taped 'highlights' of the afternoon workshop, during the show's intermission; and then part of the second set. Curiously, the running order from the Radio Broadcast, differs quite a bit from that on the CD, but only includes one additonal song: a medley of Little Maggie/Pretty Polly which opens the segment broadcast.

Click on the controls below to play or download the workshop (note quality is a bit rough).

Download MP3 File Zip file (30.9 Mb)

An shorter edit of the workshop can also be found, uncredited, on Track 18 of the Songs My Mother Taught Me & More clawhammer compilation.

Ricky Lee is quoted on the CD artwork as saying: "This show was a very special concert by Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. We did two long shows, about 30 or more numbers in all, and many were old favorites that we normally did not do on shorter performances."

The original artwork, which has many errors [1], also has a 24th track obscured by felt-tip pen. This indicates that Let's Go To The Fair was supposed to be the final track, but was presumably cut at the last minute in order to achieve a playing time under the CD 'Red Book' standard max. of 74mins. Later copies have the mention of the 24th track removed on the CD tray and but still have all the other spelling errors...

Let's Go To The Fair is, however, included on the Atteraim cassette version of the release, which also includes Tracks 14-23 from the CD, albeit with some clumsy editing. The cassette was released in both a pink & a white cover background.

Frustratingly, when the recording was reissued on King in 2001, and divided into two discs, no additonal material was added to the original Atteraim CD track list.

It's curious the Atteriam release is credited to "Rickie Lee with Ralph Stanley...". Was Rickie (sic) the source of the tape? Later copies retain the "Rickie Lee with Ralph Stanley..." front cover credit, but on the CD tray, the album was re-credited as "Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys with Rickey Lee & The Late Roy Lee Centers" and the spine credit is changed from "Rickie Lee - Live At The Smithsonian Institution" to "Ralph Stanley - Live At The Smithsonian Institution".

Despite the typo's this is another must have set for Stanley fans. The band are firing on all cylinders, and for the first half there is barely any let up in the pace. The sound is a little compressed (think FM broadcast), but it does show that you really can't judge a book by it's cover...

The album was reissued on CD (Gusto GT-5163-2) 2006, with liner notes by Gary B. Reid, and a few photographs by Carl Fleischhauer from the concert. The Gusto version has a few additional seconds of Ralph Rinzler's introduction of Ralph Stanley at the start of the show, which was truncated on the King 2001 release.

Thanks to Chris Wing and Henry Torrie for the artwork scans. If anyone has a better quality copy of the Radio Broadcast, please get in touch via the Contact page.

Orange Blossom Special

Ernie T. Rouse
Lonesome Old Song

Gene Duty / R. Stanley
Bill Cheatham

Nobody's Love Is Like Mine

C. Stanley
Katy Daly

Eamon O'Shea arr Paul Mullins
Maple On The Hill

Gussie L. Davis
Tennessee Stud

Jimmy Driftwood
White Dove

C. Stanley
Rank Stranger

Albert E. Brumley
If I Lose / Kitten And The Cat

R. Stanley
Dark Hollow

Bill Browning
Hemlock And Primroses

Landon Messer / R. Stanley
Ridin' That Midnight Train

R. Stanley
Lonesome Road Blues

Bill Monroe
Man Of Constant Sorrow

R.D. Burnett
Flem Jones

Curly Ray Cline
Shout Little Lulie


R. Stanley
Cacklin' Hen

Footprints In The Snow

Bill Monroe
Hills Of Home (A Tribute To Carter)

Wendy Smith / R. Stanley
Going Up Home (To Live In Green Pastures)

Avril Gearheart / Ralph Stanley
I Only Exist

Joyce Morris / Jimmie Stanley

Go To Top Of Page [1] There are many typos (eg "Katy Daily"!) and incorrect song-titles (eg track 23 is "I Only Exist" not "Your're Long Gone This Time")