Ralph Stanley

Mountain Preacher's Child

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Ralph Stanley, both with his brother Carter in the Stanley Brothers and as a solo artist, is perhaps the most respected surviving member of bluegrass' first generation of performers. Indeed, he has few peers within bluegrass, and his latest revival as a member of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? cast is just a reminder of a long string of fine recordings that date back to the 1940s. Mountain Preacher's Child collects material recorded with the Clinch Mountain Boys between 1979 and 1985 (with one exception), and as the title reveals, centers on religious material. The other focal point for this collection is Stanley's band, which featured singer Charlie Sizemore, lead guitarist Junior Blankenship, fiddler Curley Ray Cline, and bassist Jack Cooke during these years. Stanley and Sizemore's vocals create a lovely blend on cuts like "Troublesome Waters," and Cooke adds a third voice to the vocal blend on selections like "The God That Never Fails." The odd-song out on Mountain Preacher's Child is a 1975 recording of "Looking for a Stone" with lead singer Keith Whitley. At around 36 minutes, Mountain Preacher's Child is short, but it nonetheless serves as a solid introduction to a great band at the top of its game.

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