06 October 2016

Carter Stanley's last show

The BIB mentioned earlier this year that 1 December will be the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Carter Stanley (on the right in the photo). John Lawless announced yesterday on Bluegrass Today that the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music (KSBTM) will be re-enacting the last show played by Carter on its fiftieth anniversary - Friday 21 October, just over two weeks from now.

The band on that show consisted of Carter and Ralph Stanley, George Shuffler (lead guitar), and Melvin 'Big Wilbur' Goins (bass). Carter's illness forced him to leave the stage after a few songs. The KSBTM team will be recreating the sound of the band from a recording of their last complete show, five days earlier (16 Oct. 1966) at the Brown County Jamboree in Bean Blossom, Indiana, where the foursome was augmented by the bass singing of Bill Monroe's elder brother Birch (1901-82).

George Shuffler died in April 2014, Ralph Stanley in June this year, and Melvin Goins a month later in July, so all that band have now passed on. All except Carter were inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame before their deaths. The anniversary of Carter's last show will coincide with the opening of this year's Bunratty Bluegrass Festival.

Update 7 Oct.: For a much more detailed (and moving) account of Carter's last two performances, see this major article by Gary Reid on Bluegrass Today.

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