By David W. Johnson
Carter and Ralph Stanley--the Stanley Brothers--are equivalent to invoice Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs as vital participants of the earliest new release of bluegrass musicians. during this first biography of the brothers, writer David W. Johnson records that Carter (1925-1966) and Ralph (b. 1927) have been both vital participants to the culture of old-time nation tune. jointly from 1946 to 1966, the Stanley Brothers begun their careers acting within the schoolhouses of southwestern Virginia and increased their attractiveness to the live performance halls of Europe.
In order to re-create this post-World warfare II trip throughout the altering panorama of yankee tune, the writer interviewed Ralph Stanley, the relatives of Carter Stanley, former contributors of the Clinch Mountain Boys, and dozens of musicians and buddies who knew the Stanley Brothers as musicians and males. The past due Mike Seeger allowed Johnson to exploit his useful 1966 interviews with the brothers. remarkable old-time kingdom and bluegrass musicians resembling George Shuffler, Lester Woodie, Larry Sparks, and the overdue Wade Mainer shared their reminiscences of Carter and Ralph.
Lonesome Melodies starts off and leads to the mountains of southwestern Virginia. Carter and Ralph have been born there and had an early exposure photo taken on the Cumberland hole. In December 1966, pallbearers walked up Smith Ridge to carry Carter to his ultimate resting position. within the intervening years, the brothers played millions of in-person and radio exhibits, recorded countless numbers of songs and tunes for part a dozen checklist labels, and attempted to maintain velocity with altering instances whereas closing real to the spirit of old-time nation song. because of their accomplishments, they've got turn into a typical of musical authenticity.
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Additional info for Lonesome Melodies: The Lives and Music of the Stanley Brothers
12 When I asked him if he played banjo in the army, he said “Not too much. Special service, you know. I got a banjo from them, and just played around for my own deal. Some of the oﬃcers like to hear me pick and sing a little bit. ”13 As is often the case with Ralph’s recollections, there was more to the story. 14 They liked what they heard and promoted Ralph to mail clerk. Soon he made sergeant. “I’d play the banjo for them now and then,” he recalled. ” One day the colonel yelled over to his sergeant that orders had arrived making all soldiers who had served overseas for eighteen months eligible for discharge.
For example, J. E. and Wade Mainer were two of the most successful brothers in the early to mid-1930s, though they augmented their sound with additional personnel. 22 As happened with both the Mainer and Morris siblings, brothers would split up to start their own bands or join another musician’s group. The Stanley Brothers stayed together for twenty years, with only a couple of brief interruptions in the musical partnership. The personnel surrounding them changed frequently, yet the brothers’ sound remained consistent because Carter and Ralph’s vocal harmonies and instrumental blend were central to it.
On the contrary, the colonel wanted to send Sergeant Stanley to oﬃcers’ training school, but Ralph was not tempted. His only wish was to go home. After serving for thirty-two months, Carter was discharged in March 1946, seven months before Ralph. He returned to Smith Ridge and began playing music as a professional. Ralph was discharged from service on October 16, 1946,15 and was anxious to get his music career going, too. “I planned to start playing as soon as I got out the army,” he said. The brothers’ ﬁrst songbook biographer, James A.
Lonesome Melodies: The Lives and Music of the Stanley Brothers by David W. Johnson