6/22/2022 Awesome Stanley Brothers Records!!!

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Another seller put out several hundred records on auction. There's delicious stuff here, dudes. There's tons of country material - including prewar records - so I want to document the ones I'm most interested in.

I swear I'm planning to make informative blog posts rather than notes about record sales. I hope this entry kinda counts. I'll write more than personal notes - I'll talk about why the records I'm spying are significant. Some bluegrass history, yo.

The Stanley Brothers Record Firsts

THE STANLEY BROTHERS - RICH-R-TONE 420 The Girl Behind The Bar / Mother No Longer Awaits Me At Home Ohohohohohohohohohoooo. I'm stoked to see a Rich-R-Tone record from the Stanleys on sale. Aside from major wear on the label near the center hole, this record appears to be in great condition. Girls don't want jewelry, girls want Rich-R-Tone Stanley Brothers 78 rpm records. And. Shocker. Even though the auction is newly listed, there are 3 bids and 18 watchers. This puppy's gonna sell high. If it doesn't, I will be upset (because that means I should've bid on it).

So what's the deal with this sucker? Well. The Stanleys formed in November of 1946. One year later, in November of 1947, the band (with Carter Stanley, Ralph Stanley, Pee Wee Lambert, Ray Lambert, and Leslie Keith - a lineup I think about often) recorded four songs: Death Is Only A Dream, I Can Tell You The Time, Mother No Longer Awaits Me At Home, and The Girl Behind The Bar. These were their first records, sold as Rich-R-Tone 414 and 420 (Rich-R-Tone 418 comes from their next session in February 1948). According to one site, 420 was their first release, period. I'm seeing the literal beginning of their recording career.

Because Rich-R-Tone was a minor, local label, there aren't many of these in existence. Considering as the Stanley Brothers are one of the Big Three foundational bands everyone reveres of first generation bluegrass, these records are in demand as much as 78 rpm bluegrass records can be in demand. I have only seen one of these go for sale before, and even in poorish condition, it sold in the several hundred dollar range.

One of the coolest things about the Rich-R-Tone era of Stanley Brothers records is how their sound leans old-time. It's delicious. The band is impressive even at this early point. Ralph's three-fingered rolling is basic but tasteful, Pee Wee Lambert's mandolin playing is high-caliber (and clearly modeled off his hero, Bill Monroe), and the band plays together with great cleanliness - cleaner than >92% of string bands I'm used to hearing.

After the Stanley Brothers recorded for the Rich-R-Tone label, releasing only a handful of sides, they were picked up by the major company Columbia. They stayed with Columbia from 1949-1952 befor the label dropped them. The auction has no Columbia era Stanley Brothers material, but has two from their following label, Mercury. Their first session with Mercury was circa June 1952, although that session did not produce any 78s or 45s. It was from their second session that their first Mercury singles were released.

THE STANLEY BROTHERS AND THE CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS - Mercury 70217 I'm Lonesome Without You / This Weary Heart You Stole Away Recorded during their second Mercury session on August 9, 1953. The band lineup was Carter, Ralph, George Shuffler (howdy there, George - but interestingly, on bass fiddle rather than guitar as he's well-known in their band), Jim Williams on mandolin, and Art Stamper on fiddle. There were four songs recorded in this session, producing Mercury 70217 and 70270. This is their first release on Mercury.

Given as I've just seen their first release on Rich-R-Tone and their first release on Mercury from the same seller, whoever was collecting these records picked exact singles with INTENTION. This is....... exactly the way I collect records. And interestingly enough, I own the Stanley's first Columbia release, so this Rich-R-Ton record and Mercury record would fill in the exact gaps I want filled. HAH. Like I'll be able to afford that. But a girl can dream.

THE STANLEY BROTHERS AND THE CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS - Mercury 70340 A Voice From On High / I Long To See The Old Folks These come from their third studio session for Mercury, which recorded four songs and gave us Mercury 703470 and 70437. I love their version of A Voice From On High. This record is tempting from a "personal taste" perspective.