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Lonesome Melodies: Stanley Brothers

Bat Goddess 09 Apr 13 - 02:11 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 09 Apr 13 - 05:55 PM
Janie 09 Apr 13 - 08:53 PM
Midchuck 10 Apr 13 - 03:31 PM
GUEST 28 Apr 13 - 01:35 AM
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Subject: Lonesome Melodies: Stanley Brothers
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 02:11 PM

I don't think anyone has announced here at Mudcat the publication of a new biography of the Stanley Brothers, "Lonesome Melodies: The Lives and the Music of the Stanley Brothers" by David W. Johnson.

You can find out more information here -- Lonesome Melodies

and a good review is here --

Dave's a friend, but I'd recommend it even if we didn't know each other.


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Subject: RE: Lonesome Melodies: Stanley Brothers
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 05:55 PM

I am just half way through this book. Having already read the two previous books on Ralph and find there to be some extra information here which makes it well worth purchasing if you are interested in the Stanleys and bluegrass/mountain music.


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Subject: RE: Lonesome Melodies: Stanley Brothers
From: Janie
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 08:53 PM

I'll definitely seek it out. Taking nothing away from Bill Monroe, but I always have had a strong preference for the Stanley Brothers, and later, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. The Central Appalachian influence has always been much stronger in the Stanleys' music and voices, and being a central Appalachian hillbilly myself, am much more drawn to the central to south-central Appalachian mountain voice and harmonies. Have never been as fond of straight-on bluegrass with those stronger influences of jazz, western country, southern blues, and midwestern influences. Not surprising the sounds are so different, and a fair amount of the music recorded by the Stanley Brothers and Ralph Stanley I would tend to classify as mountain music strongly influenced by bluegrass rather than as bluegrass music. Often thought the same of such artists labeled bluegrass as Hazel Dickens.

Not surprising. Bill Monroe was from the bluegrass region of Kentucky. The Stanley Brothers, Keith Whitley, etc, were from the Appalachian mountain and plateau areas of southwest Virginia and eastern Kentucky. Hazel, of course, was from the southern coalfields of West Virginia. Start shading down into the southern Appalachians of Tennessee and North Carolina, start looking at family patterns of migration from colonial times up into and across the mountains and the disbursement of family geneological lines from there, and the common thread as well as the regional differences that evolve are apparent and fascinating when one contemplates our musical heritages, and our musical tastes when it can be agreed that regardless of taste, talent is equal.

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Subject: RE: Lonesome Melodies: Stanley Brothers
From: Midchuck
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 03:31 PM

A paragraph I cut and saved many years ago:

"Perhaps the most dramatic moment in all the Stanley Brothers' hundreds of recordings occurs in the chorus of "Rank Strangers." After Carter sings the verse, Ralph enters with the words 'Everybody I met/ Seemed to be a rank stranger' in a voice that stabs like an icepick. He raised the tension in the Stanley Brothers' music to the nearly unbearable: singing above Carter's melody, he would hang on a dissonant note in anticipation of the chord that was about to arrive. Over time, these harmonies became wilder, more edgy and attention-getting - a separate drama that didn't cozy up to the melody but defied it before an ultimate reconciliation."

- David Gates, The New Yorker, Aug. 20-27, 2001


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Subject: RE: Lonesome Melodies: Stanley Brothers
Date: 28 Apr 13 - 01:35 AM

Dear folks,

I appreciate your interest in the Stanley Brothers and my recent biography of them. Special thanks to Linn for starting the thread on Mudcat.

David W. Johnson

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