Ralph Stanley

My Life & Legacy: The Very Best of Ralph Stanley

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When Carter Stanley died suddenly in 1966 at the age of 41, his brother Ralph was left at an unenviable crossroads. Given that the Stanley Brothers were such a top-draw mountain bluegrass outfit, it almost seemed unimaginable that Ralph could continue performing at their prior level without his brother, who was the songwriting part of the duo. But continue he did, opting to stay close to the traditional Appalachian folk material he had grown up with, choosing songs that were often bone-chillingly dark and thus emotionally fitted to his ragged, weary-sounding tenor voice. That voice lost none of its poignant, weary grace as it aged. Here Stanley runs through several traditional Appalachian songs, many of which, like "Oh Death" and "Man of Constant Sorrow," have become signature tunes for him.

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