Clinch Mountain Echo

Ralph II Stanley & John Rigsby - Clinch Mountain Echoes

Songs In The Stanley Tradition

(Copper Creek CCCD-0151) 1996

Clinch Mountain Echoes
CD Tray

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The bulk of this album was recorded at Maggard Sound Studio in Big Stone Gap, Va. on 28th March 1996, with Let Me Be Your Friend and How Mountain Girls Can Love cut a few weeks later on 26th April.

Featuring the full Clinch Mountain Boys line-up, the songs are almost all drawn from the Stanley Brothers repertoire, with Medicine Springs picked from Ralph's early solo days, and Bill Monroe's Poor White Folks being the only non-Stanley related track.

Ralph II was only 17 when this album was recorded, but he'd already been singing lead vocal with the CMB's for about a year. During this phase of Ralph's career Ralph either handled the majority of lead vocals himself, or released albums featuring guests, so it is quite nice then to have a whole set with Ralph II singing lead.[1]

John Rigsby, who turned 21 the day after the first session, plays some fine mandolin throughout. He also gets to sing lead on Ralph's largely ignored classic, Medicine Springs, and takes the fiddle lead on the instrumental Poor White Folks. According to Gary B. Reid's liner notes John learnt the latter from John Sloas of The Sloas Brothers,[2] who seem to have been a big influence on his playing.

Again according to the liner notes, Ralph Stanley plays banjo on 'several tracks', but is only credited as singing tenor on two. Chester Robinette, who plays rhythm guitar was Ralph II's teacher - once Ralph II had become a full-time CMB, Ralph had arranged for him to have his leasons with a 'home-bound' teacher.[3]

(a) Ralph Stanley sings tenor on (5) and (9)

(Say) Won't You Be Mine

C. Stanley
We'll Be Sweethearts In Heaven

C. Stanley
Mother No Longer Awaits Me At Home

R. Stanley / C. Stanley
Daybreak In Dixie

Bill Napier
The Lonesome River

C. Stanley
Let Me Be Your Friend

C. Stanley
How Mountain Girls Can Love

Ruby Rakes
Medicine Springs

Bill Grant / R.Stanley
The Angels Are Singing In Heaven Tonight

C. Stanley
Memories Of Mother

C. Stanley
Poor White Folks

Bill Monroe
Little Glass Of Wine

C. Stanley

Go To Top Of Page [1] Penny Parsons interview with Ralph 'Bluegrass Unlimited' May 1995 (p.21). "Ever since Carter passed away I've been advised by a lot of people wo do more (lead) singing... I held back some, I guess, and stayed pretty close to the tenor singing. I've been asked lots of times and lots of places, why don't you sing, so I've tried to do that. I did a lot of the lead singing on 'Saturday Night/Sunday Morning'." On Ralph's studio albums between 1996 and 2005, Ralph II is only featured on lead on about eight tracks, although he also is featured on Jeanie Stanley's - Baby Girl.
[2] The Sloas Brothers can be heard performing Poor White Folks on Live At Lost Acres. See that entry for more details of the background behind the song.
[3] Penny Parsons interview with Ralph 'Bluegrass Unlimited' May 1995 (p.22). "I've got a boy I hope he'll keep the tradition. He's doing extra well for his age - 16 - playing and singing. He wants to make it a living. He's going regular with me now. I've got him a home-bound teacher that comes to the house and teaches him. He's a full time Clinch Mountain Boy. He loves it. I think he's doing wonderful."