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CD Review

The Stanley Brothers

Review by Pat Benny

cover art



The Definitive Collection (1947-1966)


CD Review by Pat Benny


This is another in the "Legends of American Music," offered by Time/Life.  Here again, Time/Life has produced a beautifully packaged compilation of the Stanley Brothers' complete songbook.  Three discs, consisting of sixty songs by one of the most popular and innovative artists of Folk/Bluegrass music.  From their earliest recordings to their last sessions in December of 1965, every track has been reproduced with astonishing precision and clarity.


Additionally, Gary Reid's biography of the Stanley Brothers is nearly as compelling as the music itself.  Between a multitude of glossy photographs and classic record jackets, Reid gives an accurate and poignant chronicle of the lives of Ralph and Carter Stanley.  He includes interesting facts, such as their disregard for the term, "Bluegrass."  Ralph Carter is quoted as saying:  "I think anytime that you play a good song, to me its hillbilly music."  Indeed, the Carter Family played long before the term, Bluegrass, was coined.


The debate over genre titles is of little consequence when compared to the fascinating saga of these talented brothers.  Call it what you will, but lend an ear to some of the finest folk compositions, performed by two of the finest musicians ever to pluck a string.  Those who are familiar with the Stanley Brothers will appreciate the superb packaging.  Those who arent are in store for a wonderful new experience in music.


Once again, Time/Life has presented a priceless period in the continuing story of American Music. 



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