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Early Recordings: The Complete Rich-R-Tone 78s

The Stanley Brothers

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Album Review

This collection gathers the Stanley Brothers' earliest recordings; 78s they cut for the Rich-R-Tone label between 1947 and 1952. Included are traditional gospel songs, breakneck-paced bluegrass ("Molly and Tenbrooks"), and songs of their own that would later become staples ("Little Maggie"). There's some variation in the sound quality, but it isn't bad overall: a light hiss and some mild distortion of the high levels is as bad as it gets. Historic and wonderful, this Stanley Brothers release is a must-have for fans.

Biography

Formed: 1947 in Virginia

Genre: Country

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s

If you even think you know bluegrass, you have to know Ralph (born 1927) and Carter Stanley (born 1925), the Stanley Brothers. Parallel to Flatt & Scruggs and Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, though not with their renown, were Virginians Ralph and Carter, mountain boys who took those mountains and their traditions and their songs and wove them into a traditional bluegrass sound of utter purity, simplicity, and astonishing beauty. Their first band, formed around 1947, played more of a mountain/folk...
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