Rounder to reissue Stanley-Sizemore tracks

Ralph Stanley - Can't You Hear The Mountains CallingCan’t You Hear the Mountains Calling is the title Rounder Records has given to a reissued Ralph Stanley CD that has risen from humble beginnings.

It was originally released as Sixteen Years on cassette tape in 1985 on Stanley’s Rivertracks label, intended for regional distribution, and then re-released ten years later on Copper Creek. Accompanying Ralph was one of the choice editions of The Clinch Mountain Boys, with Charlie Sizemore on guitar and lead vocals, Junior Blankenship on lead guitar, Curly Ray Cline on fiddle and Jack Cooke on bass.

Gary Reid of Copper Creek, an historian of the music of Ralph Stanley, speaks quite highly of this recording, and had at one time planned a repacked reissue on his label.

“I always thought this was one of the best efforts Charlie Sizemore did with Ralph.”

Rounder has now remastered the original recording and will release it yet again on September 22. Songs include:

  • Don’t Wake Me Up
  • Can’t You Hear the Mountains Calling
  • Won’t You Be Mine
  • That Happy Night
  • Little Willie
  • When You Go Walking After Midnight
  • This Weary Heart You Stole Away
  • Cotton-Eyed Joe
  • Sixteen Years
  • With Whiskey and Wine
  • Dickenson County Breakdown
  • In Despair

Charlie Sizemore contributes some remembrances of this session in the liner notes, saying that it was recorded in the “old time way.” All the tracks were cut live on a single day in the studio, with all mixing completed on the next. He then tackles the question of why this recording succeeds so well in capturing the Stanley sound.

“While not entirely comfortable with the recording process, during the making of this record he almost seems to be having fun. Curly Ray Cline and Jack Cooke, veterans both, are on top of their game. Nevertheless, the configuration of this band is relatively new. Despite the long hours, complacency is not an issue. And if it has any designs on this recording session, Ralph makes short work of thwarting it ‚Äì not only by example, which is customary, but also with direct, spoken exhortations and admonitions, which is rare. At times he urges the band, in so many words, to stay alert. So part of the answer may lie here.

Or it could matter that Ralph produced and initially released this recording on his own rather than for a record company. Under no deadline and with no one looking over his shoulder, so to speak, he has no one to please but his fans and himself. Perhaps this freedom provides a lack of self-consciousness, at once energizing and relaxing him.”

This is one I will be eagerly anticipating.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.