The widely-anticipated Stanley Brothers collection from Time-Life which we told you about earlier this year, is scheduled for release later this week. The Stanley Brothers – The Definitive Collection (1947-1966) will ship on April 19, a three CD set with a 40 page, color booklet, which includes selections that span their entire recording career.
This is a very attractive package, with much to offer to long-time Stanley aficionados, while providing a grand introduction to younger bluegrass fans just discovering their music. The photography is beautifully reproduced, and Gary Reid’s extensive notes are not to be missed. Folks, this is one you don’t want to download online.
The booklet also contains a detailed discography with original label and release date information for each track. I was especially taken by the inclusion of so many of the original cover images in the booklet, as well as their songbooks from the period.
Of course, the music is the main attraction, and I have enjoyed these CDs from start to finish – many times. The remastering of the original audio is top notch, and the sequencing of songs allows you to savor the music as it progressed chronologically. Several rare and a few previously unreleased tracks are featured, including live performances.
I don’t imagine that it is possible to overstate the importance of The Stanley Brothers in the history and development of bluegrass music. Any serious student of bluegrass who is not intimately familiar with this material has an incomplete education. Do yourself a favor and add this fine collection to your music library.
Audio samples for all 60 tracks can be found on the Time-Life site. The CD set should be available later this week wherever bluegrass music is sold, or directly from Time-Life.