On This Day #57… Stanley Brothers Gospel 

On November 22, 1964, the Stanley Brothers began a few days of recording in Baltimore for radio personality Ray Davis. 

Over a three-day period the Stanley Brothers committed 22 Gospel songs to tape. They were released on two albums on the Wango label (#105 and #106). Davis, who owned the label, suggested many of the songs that were recorded, having taken them from old shape note hymnals that he possessed. 

As the Stanley Brothers were under contract to another record label at the time, these albums were released using the pseudonym of John’s Gospel Quartet, named after John Wilbanks, who was the sponsor for Ray Davis on his WBMD radio programs. 

Four of the songs (Somebody Touched Me, Paul and Silas, Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? and I Saw the Light) were recorded several months earlier but, were included on the first of these LPs. 

They were accompanied by fiddler Harold “Red” Stanley. Bass player Barry Glickman was not present for all three days and it is thought that guitar player Jack Cooke wasn’t either. 

John’s Gospel Quartet 

Wango #105 (released in 1966)

Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand / When I Lay My Burdens Down / In Heaven We’ll Never Grow Old / Somebody Touched Me / Lord, I’m Coming Home / Give Me The Roses While I Live / Swing Low, Sweet Chariot / Paul and Silas / Gathering Flowers For The Master’s Bouquet / The Old Country Church (instrumental) / Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? / I Saw the Light / Where Could I Go? 

Re-issued in 1976 as Stanley Brothers of Virginia. Vol. 4 (County 754).

Songs of Mother and Home 

Wango #106 (released in 1965)

Little Old Country Church House / Nobody Answered Me / Shake My Mother’s Hand For Me / I Heard My Mother Call My Name In Prayer / Mother’s Not Dead, She’s Only Sleeping / Shake Hands With Mother Again / Hide Ye’ In The Blood / Give Me Your Hand / In The Land Where We’ll Never Grow Old / Leaning On The Everlasting Arms / Angel Band / Are You Washed In The Blood? /  

Re-issued in 1973 as Stanley Brothers of Virginia. Vol. 1. That Little Old Country Church House (County 738).  

Originally Ray Davis sold the albums over the air and they were housed in plain cardboard sleeves.

Neither are available on CD at present.


Somebody Touched Me, Paul and Silas and I Saw the Light were recorded for Davis’s radio shows in December 1963 and feature duets pairing George Shuffler with Ralph Stanley. 

The quartet number Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? was recorded on December 14, 1963, with George Shuffler (lead guitar) and Henry Dockery (bass) accompanying the brothers. 

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.