RALPH STANLEY & THE CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS, “Can’t You Hear the Mountains Calling,” 12 tracks.

Ralph Stanley is an American legend now. At age 82, he’s been performing   bluegrass and mountain soul for 63 years and, if his career ended today, he would have left quite a legacy.
Stanley is still making music today, but Rounder Records has resurrected a little-known album from 1986 to give fans another chance to hear Stanley in his prime.

Charlie Sizemore, one of the better singers in bluegrass today, was the band’s 25-year-old lead singer. Junior Blankenship was on lead guitar; Curly Ray Cline, fiddle; and Jack Cooke, bass.

And Stanley, of course, was playing banjo.

The album was originally a cassette called “16 Years” on River Tracks Records. It was re-released as a CD on Cooper Creek Records in 1995. And now, 14 years later, it’s out again with a wider distribution.

A lot of bluegrass albums today are mixture of styles — bluegrass, country, gospel, rockabilly, jazz, Cajun and other influences.
But people searching for pure, unadulterated bluegrass need look no further than “Can’t You Hear the Mountains Calling.”

There’s a lot of uptempo heartache here — the broken lives of “When You Go Out Walking After Midnight,” the loss of a spouse after “16 Years” of marriage, watching the one you love with another man on “”With Whiskey and Wine.”

There’s a lot of joy too — the rousing “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” the hard-driving “Dickenson County Breakdown.”

This is Stanley and his band at or very near their prime. Fans will definitely want to check it out.

Can’t find it in stores? Try www.rounder.com.

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