On This Day #64 – The Bluegrass Cardinals On Stage In Nashville

On this day …

On April 2, 1987, The Bluegrass Cardinals recorded On Stage In Nashville (BGC Records, BGC 1001) at the Station Inn, Nashville, Tennessee. 

The Bluegrass Cardinals were from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1974 with original members: Don Parmley (banjo), his guitar-playing son, David (who was 15 at the time), Randy Graham (mandolin) and Bill Bryson (bass). They moved to Virginia in 1976. 

For the first release on their own label – BGC Records – the now five-piece group decided to record a live album.

At this time the band comprised Don Parmley (banjo, baritone vocals); David Parmley (lead and rhythm guitar, lead vocals); Larry Stephenson (mandolin, lead and tenor vocals); Dale Perry (bass, bass vocals); and Mike Hartgrove (fiddle).

David Parmley reflects …

“A lot of fun, good time in my life.

We rehearsed two days before and did the show. It was recorded directly to two-track. 

The only overdub was an a cappella Gospel song [I Want To Go To Heaven].”

Larry Stephenson adds some detail …. 

“Don and David Parmley, Dale Perry, myself, and Mike Hartgrove. Glen Duncan was the guest harmony fiddle player. Lance LeRoy introduced us. 

Don, David, Dale, and myself stayed at Lance’s house in the bus, and we rehearsed all week. Mike was at Glen’s house all week working on the fiddles. The last couple of days, we all got together and rehearsed.

We had a packed house; a lot of fans and friends came in for the weekend. My Mom and Dad even drove down from Virginia.

The Station Inn was always a good date for us, and the Cardinals were the first professional touring band to ever play there in the early 1980s.”

While the LP cover indicates that Tom Skinker, (Mobile Control Room) was responsible for the recording, Richard Adler states … 

“I actually did all the live recording at the Station Inn for this project. The project was recorded and mixed live to two-track digital tape.

We did a few ‘overdubs’ at Tom’s place. I did not work with Tom a lot, but he had the best set up to do the few overdubs that David Parmley wanted to do.”

Adler goes on to add that there were many challenges to doing live recordings … 

“Artists and bands want studio quality from ‘live’ recordings. This required a lot of gear, and often setting up an entire stage with microphones in addition to the mics being used for ‘house’ sound reinforcement. Often the mixing console used for house mixes and monitors was completely bypassed for the recording signal path.”

The Bluegrass Cardinals On Stage in Nashville …… 

Track listing … 

Introduction by Lance LeRoy / Big Mon / A Friend in California / Close By / Sweethearts Again / Love and Wealth / True Life Blue / I Want To Go To Heaven / Virginia Darlin’ / Sunny Side Of The Mountain / Wake Up / Back Away / White House Blues. 

(released 1987)

On Stage in Nashville with New & Old Favorites was released on CD in 2006. 

PS: Dale Perry was born on this day in 1962. Happy Birthday Dale!

Share this:

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.