Earliest Recordings: The Complete Rich-R-Tone 78s 1947-1952

Earliest Recordings: The Complete Rich-R-Tone 78s 1947-1952

by The Stanley Brothers
     
 

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Between 1947 and 1952, the Stanley Brothers evolved from an old-timey band into a hard-driving, pacesetting modern bluegrass outfit. That growth was documented on the brothers' first recordings, made for the Johnson City, Tennessee–based Rich-R-Tone label and distributed only to a four- or five-state area before going out of print by the late '50s. In collecting…  See more details below

Overview

Between 1947 and 1952, the Stanley Brothers evolved from an old-timey band into a hard-driving, pacesetting modern bluegrass outfit. That growth was documented on the brothers' first recordings, made for the Johnson City, Tennessee–based Rich-R-Tone label and distributed only to a four- or five-state area before going out of print by the late '50s. In collecting all 14 tracks the Stanleys cut for Rich-R-Tone, this set fills an important gap both in bluegrass history and in the recorded annals of one of the genre's most important groups. In addition to Carter and Ralph Stanley, various configurations of the Clinch Mountain Boys are featured, including the exceptional mandolin picker Pee Wee Lambert, who appears on all but four cuts. As well, during the span of time represented here, Ralph Stanley asserted himself as one of the top banjo players in the business, and these recordings chart his stylistic evolution from evocative two- and three-finger styles to the moment he perfected a propulsive claw-hammer style. The tunes traverse the gospel and secular realms: a pair of rustic traditional hymns from the Stanleys' first recording session in early '47 ("Death Is Only a Dream" and "I Can Tell You the Time"); several eloquent Carter Stanley originals; a toe-tapping rendition of Ernest Tubb's "Are You Waiting Just for Me?"; and, of course, a couple of Bill Monroe gems, such as the sizzling original recording of "Molly and Tenbrook," which showcases Ralph's red-hot, three-finger picking clinic. The spirit and style of Monroe looms over the earlier recordings, but the later years find the Stanleys and their bandmates speaking their own, classic bluegrass language, a journey succinctly described in Gary B. Reid's superb liner notes. All in all, it's quite a trip, ascending from antiquity into a boldly envisioned future.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Joslyn Layne
This collection gathers the Stanley Brothers' earliest recordings: 78s they cut for the Rich-R-Tone label between 1947 and 1952. Included are traditional gospel songs, breakneck-paced bluegrass ("Molly and Tenbrooks"), and songs of their own that would later become staples ("Little Maggie"). There's some variation in the sound quality, but it isn't bad overall: a light hiss and some mild distortion of the high levels is as bad as it gets. Historic and wonderful, this Stanley Brothers release is a must-have for fans.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/12/2005
Label:
Rounder / Umgd
UPC:
0011661111028
catalogNumber:
611110

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