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RALPH STANLEY 'Poor Rambler' (3CDs) KING-0951-CD

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This important 3-CD set contains all three of the records that Ralph Stanley made for the King label shortly after his brother Carter's death, (plus an album he cut with Jimmy Martin for GUSTO in 1980). The new group, which featured a young Larry Sparks on guitar & lead vocals, and Curly Ray Cline on fiddle, generated a healthy excitement in the Bluegrass world, as Ralph regrouped with a more old-timey sound and a lot more energy than the Stanley Brothers had exhibited in the last years of Carter's life. The King recordings were a mixed bag: the recording quality is not the best, and lacking the songwriting talents of Carter, the groups choice of material was uneven, with much of it unmemorable. Still, there were some real winners like HEMLOCKS & PRIMROSES, MEDICINE SPRINGS, MIDNIGHT STORM, POOR RAMBLER, I ONLY EXIST, SNOW COVERED MOUND, WHAT KIND OF MAN, PREPARE ME OH LORD, and GOING UP HOME TO LIVE IN GREEN PASTURES. There are also 4 previously unissued tracks here from the Jimmy Martin sessions. A 20-page booklet of notes by Gary Reid puts it all in perspective. HILLS OF HOME, LONESOME, LET'S GO TO THE FAIR, ROW HOE, etc.