Ralph Stanley has surrounded himself with some of the most talented young voices in bluegrass since the death of his brother Carter in 1966. Though they’re all great vocalists themselves, it’s Ralph’s voice that consistently comes through, planting itself deeply inside and holding on.
This new compilation, featuring some of his best singing partners, highlights material recorded for Rebel Records. Though Stanley has recorded over 30 albums with Rebel, the 13 choice tracks on this release represent material from eight albums recorded from 1971 to 1986, when Stanley’s sound, and his band, were at a peak.
Stanley’s voice rings out clearly from the first cut, “Man Of Constant Sorrow”, to the last, the gospel “I’ve Just Seen The Rock of Ages”. When he and Keith Whitley take turns singing lead on “Oh Death” the result is haunting. And Stanley’s old-time banjo playing on the instrumental “Hard Times” captures the joy and magic in this mountain music that has kept it alive for decades.