The Complete Mercury Recordings

The Complete Mercury Recordings

by The Stanley BrothersThe Stanley Brothers


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Major label Universal, which controls the catalog of Mercury Records, has taken a welcome, if belated, interest in the recordings made for Mercury by the Stanley Brothers during their tenure there from 1953 to 1958, issuing a full-priced compilation, Angel Band: The Classic Mercury Recordings in 1995, and an entry in the midline-priced 20th Century Masters/The Millennium Collection series of artist best-ofs in 2002. Annotator Mary Katherine Aldin makes no bones about the reason for Universal's decision to plump for this two-disc set of the Stanley Brothers' complete Mercury recordings, mentioning the appearance of the track "Angel Band" on the multi-million-selling O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack in the opening paragraph of her liner notes. The success of that 2000 album has opened the reissue floodgates for more than one bluegrass act, and this is one of the happier results. The Stanley Brothers (with the varying personnel of their three-or four-piece backing group, the Clinch Mountain Boys), were still-young bluegrass veterans when they arrived at Mercury in 1953, guitarist Carter about to turn 28, and banjoist Ralph 26. Recording was not the primary element in their career; they managed only 46 tracks in 12 sessions in four-and-a-half years (the last two selections come from an undated session for Smash, a label acquired by Mercury). But that gave them time to come up with excellent original material; 37 of the songs here were written by one or both of the brothers. The cover songs include standards like "Orange Blossom Special" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky." The subject matter consisted mostly of songs of love gone wrong, with religious statements providing some relief from the romantic grief. The playing, fast or slow, is consistently impressive bluegrass picking on guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and bass, and Carter's lead vocals, with Ralph chiming in on high tenor, are the epitome of bluegrass singing. This is classic work of its type. (The collection includes four tracks previously unreleased in the U.S.)

Product Details

Release Date: 08/26/2003
Label: Mercury
UPC: 0602498010365
catalogNumber: 000053402

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Stanley Brothers   Primary Artist
Ralph Stanley   Banjo,Vocals
Benny Martin   Fiddle
Chubby Wise   Fiddle
Lightnin' Chance   Bass
Charlie Cline   Guitar
Bill Lowe   Mandolin,Vocals
Bill Napier   Mandolin
George Shuffler   Bass,Vocals
Art Stamper   Fiddle
Carter Stanley   Guitar,Vocals
Joe Meadows   Fiddle
Jimmy Williams   Mandolin
Roy Wiggins   Steel Guitar
Doug Morris   Bass
Howard Forrester   Fiddle
King Curly   Bass
Darrell "Pee Wee" Lambert   Mandolin
John Shuffler   Bass,Vocals
Red Malone   Bass
Ralph Mayo   Fiddle,Vocals
Curley Lambert   Mandolin,Vocals,Voices

Technical Credits

Bill Monroe   Composer
Ralph Stanley   Composer
Mary Katherine Aldin   Liner Notes
Andy McKaie   Producer
Ervin T. Rouse   Composer
Carter Stanley   Composer
Vartan   Art Direction
Johnnie Masters   Composer
M. Christian   Composer
Bessie Maudlin   Composer
Buddy Dee   Composer
Cleavant Derricks   Composer
Traditional   Composer
P. Stanley   Composer
Ralph & Carter Stanley   Composer
C. Derricks   Composer
R. Stanley   Composer

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