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Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys | Live in Seattle - 1969

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Live in Seattle - 1969

by Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys

Classic Live Bluegrass Recording By One Of The Greatest To Ever Play Bluegrass
Genre: Country: Americana
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Pig in a Pen (Live)
2:27 $0.99
2. Lost Train (Live)
4:35 $0.99
3. Don't Step over an Old Love (Live)
4:45 $0.99
4. Little Maggie (Live)
2:30 $0.99
5. Long Journey Home (Live)
3:10 $0.99
6. Black Mountain Blues (Live)
3:09 $0.99
7. Going up Home to Live in Green Pastures (Live)
3:11 $0.99
8. What Kind of Man (Live)
2:26 $0.99
9. I Only Exist (Live)
3:59 $0.99
10. My Long Skinny Lanky Sarah Jane (Live)
2:30 $0.99
11. Clinch Mountain Backstep (Live)
3:05 $0.99
12. Songbook Sales Pitch (Live)
4:26 $0.99
13. How Mountain Girls Can Love (Live)
2:31 $0.99
14. Hemlock and Primroses (Live)
3:04 $0.99
15. Little Birdie (Live)
5:49 $0.99
16. Daybreak in Dixie (Live)
2:49 $0.99
17. Rank Stranger (Live)
3:17 $0.99
18. Gonna Paint the Town (Live)
3:21 $0.99
19. Hard Times (Live)
2:26 $0.99
20. Angel Band (Live)
2:49 $0.99
21. Big Tilda (Live)
1:25 $0.99
22. Stone Walls and Steel Bars (Live)
3:42 $0.99
23. Orange Blossom Special (Live)
3:50 $0.99
24. How Far to Little Rock (Live)
3:49 $0.99
25. Pretty Polly / Wild Bill Jones (Live)
4:42 $0.99
26. I'm a Man of Constant Sorrow (Live)
2:43 $0.99
27. Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms (Live)
3:37 $0.99
28. Roanoke (Live)
1:02 $0.99
29. Closing Remarks (Live)
0:38 $0.99
30. Think of What You've Done (Live)
2:30 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
A notice in the May 22, 1969, edition of the West Seattle Herald announced: “Ralph Stanley String Band - The Seattle Folklore Society and the UW Anthropology Department will present this group in concert Tuesday, May 27, in room 354 of the HUB at 8:30 p.m.” Ralph’s appearance in Seattle was part of a western excursion that included dates in Hollywood and Santa Barbara, California, and La Grande, Oregon. The Seattle concert was the next to the last stop on the tour.

The Seattle Folklore Society was a co-sponsor of the date in Washington State, with the University of Washington providing space in their Hub Auditorium.

Phil Williams, a driving force in Washington bluegrass for 50 years, noted that “Stanley drove up to our door in a station wagon with Larry Sparks, guitar and vocals, and Curly Ray Cline, fiddle. He asked us to find him a bass player for the concert, and we recruited Barney Munger, who played bass and banjo with Tall Timber.” Also along for the ride was Ralph’s wife, Jimmi. Williams was a multi-instrumentalist who, along with his fiddling wife Vivian, also performed in Tall Timber. Ralph’s bass player of the last three and a half years, Melvin Goins, was mentioned on the tape as being sick; coincidentally, it was in May of 1969 that Melvin joined his brother Ray to revive the Goins Brothers band.

In addition to helping to flesh out the Clinch Mountain Boys with local talent, Williams also served as the evening’s recording engineer. In contrast to the majority of live field recordings that were made in the 1950s and ‘60s – in mono – by various recordists, this Seattle concert was recorded in true stereo. Vivian Williams noted, “That was Phil's doing because he was actually a pioneer in stereo recording in the Northwest. He had done some stuff a few years earlier in Portland... I think it was the Portland Symphony. I can't remember all the details, but that was like the first live stereo recording made in the Northwest and this was in the late '50s when he was a student at Reed College. So, he was really into that.”

The clarity of the recording, and the separation of the instruments, makes for some excellent listening. Curly Ray had one microphone practically to himself. Vivian recalled that “Curly Ray Cline was just fabulous. I mean, that was inspiring. He was really something.”

Bass player Barney Munger recalled that “Ralph came into town and he needed a bass player and apparently Phil suggested me and we were on. It was that simple. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, it was a high point in my bluegrass music thing all these years. I can remember almost being on the verge of saying “no,” you know, “I'm not up to it really.” They didn't know what I knew, but I'd sure as hell listened to Ralph enough to where I was able to fit in ok. For a couple of sets of solid stuff... wow! Great tune choices.”

Munger discovered bluegrass in 1962 while living in his native Cincinnati. He had occasion to see the Stanley Brothers, and later Ralph Stanley, on numerous occasions. By the time of the Seattle concert, he was no stranger to Stanley’s music. He allowed that “Carter had the voice for me. When Larry Sparks showed up… I hadn't listened to too much of Larry. But to hear him sing, and the places where he could get next to Carter, was pretty cool for me.”

The normally reserved Ralph Stanley was in an uncharacteristically talkative mood. Through two sets of excellent music, he gave interesting set-ups to the songs and tunes, bantered with various band members, and spun a heartfelt pitch for his latest albums and a just-released song/picture folio.

Of the songs and tunes featured on the program, there weren’t a lot of surprises. But, they were a nice sampling of Stanley fare. Ralph featured his ever popular standards such as “Little Maggie,” “Little Birdie,” “I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow,” and a medley of “Pretty Polly” and “Wild Bill Jones.” Instrumentally, he shone on “Daybreak in Dixie,” “Hard Times,” and “Clinch Mountain Backstep.” Curly Ray Cline used old favorites like “Lost Train,” “Black Mountain Blues,” and “Orange Blossom Special” to showcase his prowess on the fiddle. Then there were gospel songs such as “Rank Stranger” and “Angel Band.” Larry Sparks reprised the latter day Stanley Brothers favorite “Don’t Step Over an Old Love” as his part of the program and then teamed up with Ralph for a series of duets on “Pig in a Pen,” “Long Journey Home,” “How Mountain Girls Can Love,” and the show-stopping finale “Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms.”

Most of the songs were holdovers from Ralph’s days as part of the Stanley Brothers. But a few were ones that he introduced as part of his newly developing repertoire. The first solo album he recorded in 1967, shortly after the passing of Carter Stanley, contained “Hemlock and Primroses,” an Irish-ballad-turned-bluegrass that became a long-time favorite of Jimmi Stanley. From his 1968 Over the Sunset Hill gospel album came “Going Up Home to Live in Green Pastures” and “What Kind of Man.” Two songs had yet to be recorded: “My Long Skinny Lanky Sarah Jane” and Jimmi Stanley’s lament of her protracted journey to becoming Mrs. Ralph Stanley, “I Only Exist.” Both songs appeared a short time later on the 1969 Hills of Home album on King/Starday.

In a way, this Seattle concert caught Ralph Stanley in a state of transition. It had been a short two and a half years since the demise of the Stanley Brothers and Ralph worked diligently to establish himself as a solo entertainer. The trio of Curly Ray Cline, Melvin Goins, and Larry Sparks were the bedrock on which Ralph began building his new career. But changes were afoot. Melvin had already left and Sparks would be gone by the end of the year. The next decade would find Ralph riding the crest of the wave of the booming bluegrass festival movement. Ralph Stanley in Seattle in 1969 showed a masterful artist ready to take the plunge.



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