Evening Long Ago: Live 1956

Evening Long Ago: Live 1956

5.0 2
by The Stanley Brothers
     
 

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Recorded in a Bristol, Virginia, radio station studio in 1956, after a long day of picking and singing at various functions, An Evening Long Ago captures the Stanley Brothers at a creative peak. In a casual setting, free of commercial concerns, the towering duo essay a clutch of traditional songs as well as some of their piercing originals. With the infallibleSee more details below

Overview

Recorded in a Bristol, Virginia, radio station studio in 1956, after a long day of picking and singing at various functions, An Evening Long Ago captures the Stanley Brothers at a creative peak. In a casual setting, free of commercial concerns, the towering duo essay a clutch of traditional songs as well as some of their piercing originals. With the infallible support of Curly Lambert and Ralph Mayo, Ralph and Carter Stanley reach back in time for heart-tugging stories such as "Dream of a Miner's Child" and for working-class tales such as the fiddle-rich "Nine Pound Hammer." The Ralph Stanley–arranged "John Henry" explodes in instrumental exhilaration, with furious banjo and acoustic guitar trade-offs that echo the style of Flatt & Scruggs. The Stanleys' haunting harmonies are ever-present, most effectively on reflective, introspective fare such as the solemn interpretation of Claude Moody's cautionary spiritual observation, "Drifting Too Far from the Shore," and their own account of mass murder, "The Story of the Lawson Family." On the other hand, Ralph's chilling adaptation of "Come All You Tenderhearted," a mind-numbing tale of death and spiritual torment, gains its power from his unadorned solo vocal, supported by minimal, discreet instrumental punctuation. Some of this material has heretofore been available only on long-out-of-print Stanleys recordings, and this disc itself was once available as a private pressing sold at their concerts. Its return to general circulation is most welcome, and it occurs not a minute too soon -- the themes remain as topical as the music remains vibrant.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Larry Ehrlich was at end of a long day in a studio in Bristol, VA. Carter and Ralph Stanley as well as Ralph Mayo and Curley Lambert entered the studio in front of one microphone, and Ehrlich, after seeing them play hog callings, a couple of radio shows, and a barn dance, asked the band to sing some of the traditional songs they had been recording for the past 16 years. The results, completely unearthed until now, are no less than stunning. This is the Stanleys as listeners have never heard them: laid-back, relaxed, and full of recollection and goodwill, singing and playing songs as familiar to them as their upbringing. These are country and bluegrass songs to be sure, but also some of the old folk ballads that had come out of the Southern mountains along with some Anglo and Celtic ballads from the days of yore. A number of these tracks represent the only available live versions of songs from their repertoire, and a few more are almost impossible to come by in any other way. At least one cut, "Drifiting Too Far from the Shore," was closely associated with Bill Monroe, and a pair are co-written originals, the harrowing murder ballad "The Tale of the Lawson Family" (once or twice covered by the Louvin Brothers) and the beautiful mountain love song "Meet Me Tonight." Ralph wrote a good many others here, or at the very least created original adaptations: "Come All You Tenderhearted," "East Virginia Blues," and "Bound to Ride" among them. But it is on the old songs that the Stanleys shine the brightest: "Poor Ellen Smith," "Dream of a Miner's Child," and their "John Henry" are deeply affecting. The fidelity is good throughout, but the feeling of the mix is what grabs the listener and won't let go. This is a welcome and necessary addition to the Stanley Brothers catalog.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/04/2009
Label:
Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC:
0886974902225
catalogNumber:
749022
Rank:
65149

Tracks

  1. Handsome Molly
  2. East Virginia Blues
  3. The Story Of The Lawson Family
  4. Dream Of A Miner's Child
  5. Come All You Tenderhearted
  6. Poor Ellen Smith
  7. Darling Do You Know Who Loves You
  8. Shout Little Lulie
  9. Bound To Ride
  10. Meet Me Tonight
  11. My Long Skinny Lanky Sarah Jane
  12. Little Bessie
  13. Train 45
  14. John Henry
  15. Little Birdie
  16. Drifting Too Far From The Shore
  17. Orange Blossom Special
  18. Nine Pound Hammer
  19. Feast Here Tonight
  20. Tragic Love

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