24 June 2016

Ralph Edmond Stanley, 1927-2016

The International Bluegrass Music Association sends the sad news that Dr Ralph Stanley died yesterday at the age of 89. John Curtis Goad has contributed a major review of Ralph Stanley's career on Bluegrass Today, and many tributes have already appeared on his Facebook.

Ralph Stanley's career in music spanned seventy years - twenty with his brother Carter and nearly fifty continuing to lead the Clinch Mountain Boys. The Stanley Brothers' band was the first to adopt the style of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, to which they also brought their 'old-time mountain music' sound, Carter's outstanding songwriting, and such developments as high baritone harmony and the cross-picking guitar style of the late George Shuffler.

After Carter's death, Ralph took the band's sound further in an 'old-time' direction - distinguished by his unique tenor voice - and was chiefly responsible for bringing a cappella quartet singing into the bluegrass repertoire. His citation for induction into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame can be read here.

Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys played in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin, in November 2003 - about the same time as a tour of Ireland by the stunning band led by James King, who died a month ago.

Update 25 June: Dr Stanley's funeral will be next Tuesday (28 June) and will be open to the public; details are on Bluegrass Today.

See Pat Kelleher's comment, below.

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At 9:51 am, Anonymous Pat Kelleher said...

I've been exposed to Ralph and Stanley Brothers music with over 40 years and he (they) certainly carved a uniqueness in the bluegrass genre and left a legacy that will be referenced for a long time to come. RIP Ralph Stanley.


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