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RALPH STANLEY 'Mountain Preacher's Child' REB-7517-CD

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Ralph Stanley is probably the most prolific of all the first generation Bluegrass artists, surely if you include the many recordings he made with his brother as the Stanley Brothers, before Carter's death in 1966. So it is quite easy to lose track of some of the wonderful songs he put out on a number of albums that were caught in the industry's transition from LP to CD in the mid and late 1980s. For this superb disc, Rebel has pulled some of the gems that have never before made it to compact disc, and this is indeed a powerful album from start to finish. There is much to recommend this new compilation, besides the bargain price of just $ 10 (for 14 songs). Most of the lead singing here is done by Charlie Sizemore and any listener will come away with a huge appreciation for his singing. There are 4 lovely a cappella songs including the classic SNOW COVERED MOUND. Two of the songs --the title song and the much requested WALKING UP THIS HILL ON DECORATION DAY --demonstrate a sorrowful and pessimistic outlook that is very unusual in today's gospel music, but they beautifully reflect the stoic resignation and sadness that is very much a part of life in Stanley's part of the country. Any fan of this great artist will welcome this wonderful collection that includes such songs as LITTLE OLD CHURCH BY THE ROAD, OAK GROVE CHURCH, JUST OVER THE STARS, THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE, I'LL WEAR A WHITE ROBE and LOOKING FOR THE STONE.