RALPH STANLEY 'Ralph Stanley Story'
(DVD) THE RALPH STANLEY STORY This excellent 82-minute documentary was originally issued as a VHS format videocassette: now that it is in DVD format it is worth another mention. There have been several Stanley videos made, but this is the one to get if you’re getting only one. It is very nicely shot and edited by Herb Smith of Appalshop—the eastern Kentucky Cooperative that specializes in documenting Appalachian life. The film covers Ralph’s career of over 50 years, from his early days with brother Carter to the present. There is some home movie footage of Carter & Ralph in their mother’s kitchen as well as excerpts from shows with Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakum and the late Curly Ray Cline. Smith also captured a neat recording studio sequence where Ralph and Patty Loveless cut their classic version of PRETTY POLLY for the Ralph Stanley and Friends CD. There are parts or full versions of 26 songs here, some accompanied by lovely, stunning images of the mountains which Stanley has always called home. It’s all tied together very nicely with well-chosen, well-edited interview segments with Stanley himself, as well as Jack Cooke, Patty Loveless, Charlie Sizemore and others. Shot at many different locals and venues, this is a wonderful work that deserves to be in the collection of any fan of traditional Bluegrass and mountain music.