A brand new CD from Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys in 1982 was released last weekend at the Coal Miner Appreciation Festival in McClure, VA at the Hills of Home. This show was from my personal, private collection of live material from the last 30 years, and holds a special place in my heart.
The show was recorded live at the Greenwich Coonhunters Club in Greenwich, OH. It was one of the first festivals my dad ever took me to as a child, which was started in 1979 by Pearl Hamilton Jr. The family migrated north in the ’50s to find work and brought their love of music and home to the Willard, OH area. The festival was always a homecoming of sorts for people from Eastern Kentucky, Southwest Virginia, West Virginia, Michigan, and Ohio. Ralph played the event for 2 days every year, and always considered it one of his favorite festivals.
This CD is something that I have poured my heart into for about the last year and a half. It was recorded on a handheld tape player by somebody in the audience. The audio was pretty rough when I received the cassette tape years ago. I had my heart set on releasing this album because it has some very obscure material, and the boys seem to be on fire during this particular show! Ralph had just released the Memory of Your Smile album in the spring, so they did quite a few cuts from the album on this show.
The Clinch Mountain Boys at that show were Curly Ray Cline on fiddle, Jack Cook on bass, Junior Blankenship and Charlie Sizemore on guitar, along with special guest Larry Efaw on mandolin.
With today’s technology and software, and with the help of Randy Leab, Logan Leab, and Tom Feller, we were able to get the audio cleaned up really good. I spent a lot of time trying to find pictures from the exact date of the show, and also with the help of the folks at Bluegrass Unlimited, found the original flyer for the weekend. The show was taped on the evening set August 14, 1982. Flattop Graphics was responsible for the layout and all the artwork on the CD.
I couldn’t be more proud of how this project turned out. It took me back to the days of my youth. The Greenwich Bluegrass Festival was always such a special place for people like Ernie Thacker, Ralph II, Tracy and Todd Evans, and myself. It wasn’t a festival that people wanted to go to, it was a festival that they had to go to. Folks as far away from Alabama and Florida attended every year. The festival is no longer running, as members of the Coonhunters Club have gotten up in age and it got to be too much for them.
The CD contains a memorial card from Ralph Stanley II. The photo on the front of the CD was taken by my dear friend, Chuck Walton. The CD will be available through Stanley Family Records and Ralph II’s record table. I will have a limited number of copies of them with me at Mansfield Jamfest August 23-28.
I hope you enjoy stopping back in time to August 14, 1982 and the third annual North Central Ohio Greenwich Coonhunters Club Bluegrass Festival.