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Ralph Stanley

Born in Stratton, Virginia in 1927, Ralph Stanley and his older brother Carter formed the Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys. In 1946 Ralph and Carter were being broadcast from radio station WCYB in Bristol, Virginia. The music, which was inspired by their Virginia mountain home, was encouraged by their mother, who taught Ralph the clawhammer style of banjo picking. They recorded for such companies as the small Rich-R-Tone label and later Columbia, a relationship that lasted from 1949 until 1952. These classic sessions defined the Stanleys' own approach to bluegrass and made them as important as Bill Monroe. After leaving Columbia, the Stanleys were with Mercury, Starday, and King. Leaning toward more gospel at times, Carter and Ralph made a place for themselves in the music industry. In December 1966, Carter Stanley died in a Virginia hospital after a steady decline in health. He was just 41 years old. After much consideration and grief, Ralph carried on without Carter. Already their haunting mountain melodies made them stand apart from other bluegrass bands, but Ralph expanded upon this foundation and took his own "high lonesome" vocals to a new plane.

Popular at bluegrass festivals, Ralph and each edition of the Clinch Mountain Boys grew to be one of the most respected outfits in bluegrass. As far west as California and even up in the hollers of Kentucky, people were drawn to the poignant, mournful sound of Ralph Stanley's style. Different from all the rest, Ralph's ability to hit the right notes and chords made him a singer of trailblazing proportions. Ralph continued to record for a wide variety of labels, including Jalyn, Rebel, King Bluegrass, Blue Jay, Jessup, Stanleytone, his own label, and Freeland. He was a devoted family man, but Ralph's constant touring took its toll on his first marriage, a union that produced daughters Lisa Joy and Tonya and oldest son Timothy. His second wife, Jimmie, also a singer, gave him another son late in life; Ralph II followed in both his father's and uncle's footsteps and played in the Clinch Mountain Boys with his dad.

A Bluegrass Hall of Fame member along with Carter, Ralph Stanley was an inspiration to Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, the late Keith Whitley, and even Monroe acolyte Ricky Skaggs. With his raw emotions and three-fingered banjo technique, he helped bring a mountain style of bluegrass music to mainstream audiences. A full survey of the Stanley Brothers' career, including sides they recorded for several different labels, finally appeared in 2007 with Time Life's three-disc Definitive Collection box set. Stanley's brand of bluegrass was always only a half step away from the Appalachian string band and church music of his youth, and in his autumn years he continued to do what he’d always done -- sing and play in a style that could really be called “Mountain Gospel Soul.” He marked his 40th year of recording for Rebel Records with the release of A Mother’s Prayer in 2011. ~ Jana Pendragon & Steve Leggett, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Ralph Stanley And The Clinch Mountain Boys: 1971-1973

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
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Track List: O Death (Radio Single)

Comments

The Stanley bor,s are like the carter famley and I played the needle throught the record of hanks Isaw the light LOVE IT

The real deal
Fantastic!
I hate
Great sounding Bass Solo.
beckahljoe
Love this music. You can't stop swinging your foot!
best
best bluegrass singer ever
Top Dog when I listen to Bluegrass.
Love this man's music brings a true meaning to the music
dbarker05
Great old man. Can't beat Ralph.
U cannot top this singing and music nowhere
This man is a genius and even though his doctorate is honorary he earned it is talent and experience. I saw him at his home on the mountain in Multry, VA. It rained like crazy but we all hung in and had a fantastic time.
Love it!
Ok



kristaoconno r
Through O Brother, Where Art Thou, I found Ralph Stanley here on Pandora and then, The SteelDrivers . Born and raised at the beach here in California, oh my, I am now in love with bluegrass music. Such rich tones and thoughtful reflections. Loving it!
organic12014
probably the last of the original greats of bluegrass now that doc, earl, and bill monroe have passed. this man is a treasure!!
Second that, Joe Carter. Me too, from Blown Timber WV. Ralph and Carter rule!!
joe.carter52
I grew up in the Hills of West Virginia and have always loved Blue Grass Music. Ralph you are the MAN.
hannah890.hl
Love him so much
Whoever you are, wherever you are, you can't deny it. You like this. No excuses!
Once you start listening to Bluegrass you cant help yourself I know I can't help myself listening to it this.
Corey ur a smart young man
What a gift from God for Mr. Stanley play on sir......... . t . . . . . . . . . . . .
Dont read this cause it actually workds. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tommorow will be the best day of your life. However if you dont post this you will die in 2 days. Now you`ve started reading this so dont stop. This is so scart. Put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters. This is scary cause it really works. Dont read this cause it actually works
I'm a 17 y/o teenager but I freaking love Ralph Stanley. Great music.
Great pickin
Was born with that Smokey Mountain Smoke in my eyes an that Good Ole Mountain Dew in my veins why in Gods green Earth did my ma move us north
good ole ralph:)
love this kind of music
,,,,;
theredneckdi p
Stanton VA not Stratton
Yeah Bluegrass, from one who knows it.
rdsd01
love it
wu tang!!!!
marckeast199 6
Ckvkg








Dmfcvnb
Very great down home Bluegrass music!
robby.brelan d
He was a Freemason, Rest in Peace Brother Stanley... you will never be forgotten .
charmels26
I grew up next to a couple who played this music all day. At the time, all I wanted was to hear Rock and Roll. Funny how life turns us around. Now I can't get enough of it. Ralph Stanley is amazing. Thanks to Millie and Lee where ever you are....
Biography didn't mention it, but there is a Ralph Stanley Museum in Clintwood, VA. He stays somewhere near the Dickenson County area these days, super awesome guy. He was nice enough to perform at the nursing home in Clintwood a few months ago :-)
I LOVE bluegrass!!!
That is is exactly what I think of nick
mrbgross
Born in Roaoke Va. and have relatives scatterd throughout VA, guess that's why I love bluegrass!
i was going to hang this morning
O brother where art thou!!!
One of the best
I thought I could listen to this anytime
Thank you o brother where art thou for bringing me great music!
Love it!
I just love Bluegrass and always have. Amen. :o))
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