Clinch Mountain Echo

Ralph II Stanley - Listen To My Hammer Ring

(Rebel REB-CD-1750) 1998

Listen To My Hammer Ring
Rear Cover CD Tray

Average Album Rating: 3
(Total votes 1)

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Ralph II's debut 'solo' CD features the regular CMB's on back-up and was recorded at Maggard Studios in Big Stone Gap, Va in Dec. 1997 and April 1988. Most of the selections are drawn from the extensive Stanley back catalogue, with Mary, Merry Christmas being an unreleased Carter Stanley original, which he wrote during his final days in hospital in Nov. 1966.

The title track, Listen To My Hammer Ring is a cover of an Aubrey Holt song which he recorded on the Boys From Indiana - 'Life On The Road' LP (Atteiram API-1638) 1985, although Charlie Moore had also previously cut the song on his 1975 LP 'The Fiddler' (Old Homestead OHS-90052). Given John Rigsby's track record of digging up obscure bluegrass records for Dr. Ralph to record, I wonder if he thought of doing this one too?

Strolling In The Moonlight is an original by Joe Isaacs, who also also adds his baritone vocal to the song and sings lead on the last verse. Joe had briefly been a CMB in 1969 and helped record two songs with Dr. Ralph and on his Clinch Mountain Country set, which was recorded just prior to Ralph II's 'Listen To The Hammer Ring'. Joe and Dr. Ralph had also collaborated on A Gospel Gathering in 1995.

The other non-Stanley track, Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, was originally recorded by Roy Acuff in 1945, and also performed by Hank Williams Snr and several others. Willie Nelson gave the song a new lease of life when he recorded it on his 1975 'Red Headed Stranger' multi-platinum blockbuster album.[1] As Ralph II's later work took on more of a country flavour, maybe this was an early indication of the times to come.

Overall this isn't too bad an album, but the performances are fairly perfunctory and Ralph II's lead vocal wobbles a bit here and there in places.

Highway Of Regret

Donald 'Chubby' Anthony
Mary, Merry Christmas

C. Stanley
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain

Fred Rose
Choo Choo Comin'

Corbet 'Cuddles' Newsome
God Gave You To Me

R. Stanley
Little Darling Pal Of Mine

A.P. Carter
Katy Daly

Eamon O'Shea arr Paul Mullins
Another Song, Another Drink

Joyce Morris
I'll Just Go Away

C. Stanley
Listen To My Hammer Ring

Aubrey Lee Holt
Jesus Savior Pilot Me

J.R. Baxter / J.R. Gould / Edward Hooper
Strolling In The Moonlight

Joe Isaacs

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