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Happy Birthday, Ralph!

Gern 25 Feb 04 - 01:24 PM
open mike 25 Feb 04 - 03:33 PM
The Borchester Echo 25 Feb 04 - 03:47 PM
open mike 25 Feb 04 - 03:59 PM
GUEST,Steve Latimer 25 Feb 04 - 04:12 PM
The Borchester Echo 25 Feb 04 - 05:19 PM
The Fooles Troupe 25 Feb 04 - 06:07 PM
Steve Latimer 25 Feb 04 - 10:17 PM
Dave Hanson 26 Feb 04 - 02:36 AM
Gern 26 Feb 04 - 11:50 AM
GUEST,Steve Latimer 26 Feb 04 - 02:17 PM
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Subject: Happy Birthday, Ralph!
From: Gern
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 01:24 PM

I hate to interrupt those focused on Mel Gibson and Janet Jackson, but this is important. Today is Ralph Stanley's 77th birthday. There is no purer voice in American traditional music, and no career I know of that offers such a blend of old-time, bluegrass, Holyness singing and mountain blues. His banjo covers three-finger and clawhammer styles, and he has a bottomless trunk of old tunes. The good doctor even sounds good in a KKK outfit (for a movie role, of course) and managed to record a duet with Dylan without laughing. His voice was once described as capable of "breaking a mule's heart" (OK, that came from my book, GRASS ROOTS) and his tenor harmonies map out the modal zones of mountain music. He is that rarest of breeds in roots music, a staunch traditionalist with an original, unique artistic vision. Happy Birthday, Ralph.


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday, Ralph!
From: open mike
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 03:33 PM

on 77? i thought he turned 8o years ago!
back when he fell out of the truck and broke
his hip years ago..are you sure of the dates?


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday, Ralph!
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 03:47 PM

omigod, I thought for a minute you meant our Ralphie the Mudcatter. 'spose he's not that old yet...


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday, Ralph!
From: open mike
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 03:59 PM

Born February 25, 1927, in Stratton, Virginia, Ralph and his older brother, Carter, formed the seminal bluegrass ensemble the Stanley Brothers, who made a series of watershed recordings for Columbia Records from 1949 until 1952. Now 75 years old, Stanley has been performing professionally since he and Carter, formed their first group in their native southwestern Virginia in 1946. Between that date and 1966, when Carter died, the Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys became the most celebrated bluegrass groups in the world, ultimately rivaling in popularity such titans as Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Jim & Jesse and the Osborne Brothers. exerpt from bio here seewhat is he a dr. of?


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday, Ralph!
From: GUEST,Steve Latimer
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 04:12 PM

Happy Birthday Dr. Ralph. My alltime favourite Bluegrasser. His sound never strayed far from the Mountain.


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday, Ralph!
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 05:19 PM

OK I seem to be surrounded by true blue(grass) Americans here but I'd like to mention that on our not too revered sole hour (per week) of 'folk roots and acoustic music' on public service broadcasting here in the UK tonight I heard Ralph Stanley performing an absolutely storming version of Matty Groves.

This is a song which we here associate primarily with Fairport Convention as performed by Sandy Denny. It was interesting to hear a transatlantic version.


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday, Ralph!
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 06:07 PM

Hippo Birdies Two Ewes,
Hippo Birdies Two Ewes,
Hippo Birdies, Hippo Birdies,
Hippo Birdies Two Ewes.


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday, Ralph!
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 10:17 PM

Gern,

I'm a Dylan fan and a Stanley fan. The duet that you refer to, The Lonesome River, is one of my favourite Stanley Brothers tunes. I have to admit, the duet took some getting used to, but it is now my favourite track on the 2 CD set. Apparently Ralph's wife felt the same way.

Dylan said that working with Dr. Ralph was one of the highlights of his career. The Stanleys were among Dylan's many influences. I have recordings of Bob covering "Somebody Touched Me" and "I Am The Man, Thomas".   

Another artist on that CD said that singing with Ralph Stanley is like painting with Picasso.

I have to admit, his work with his late brother Carter is still my favourite. The harmonies that those too had were angelic.


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday, Ralph!
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 26 Feb 04 - 02:36 AM

From an earlier thread, Ralph and the Clinch Mountain Boys are on BBC4 on 27/02/03. Recorded live at the Barbican last November.
eric


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday, Ralph!
From: Gern
Date: 26 Feb 04 - 11:50 AM

Yeah there does seem to be some kind of connection between Bob and Ralph, but that duet still seems to me like classic stream-of-consciousness vocals by Bob. He recorded "Constant Sorrow" way back on his first album and is doing "Stone Walls and Steel Doors" on his latest tour.


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Subject: RE: Happy Birthday, Ralph!
From: GUEST,Steve Latimer
Date: 26 Feb 04 - 02:17 PM

Gern,

It really took me a while to get used to that one, especially since I had heard the original so many times, but it really did grow on me.

There is an hour long show featuring Ralph and The Clinch Mountain Boys here (go to show 198):

Woodsongs Showlist

There are several other great acoustic performers in the Archive.


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