View Full Version : Saw Ralph Stanley II and Clinch Mountain

May-14-2006, 10:39pm
I got to see Ralph II and the Clinch Mountain Boys and they had no Mandolin player. I checked their Website and they have none listed. Broke my heart. LOL.

I enjoyed them but I thought they were more country than Bluegrass. It was my first Bluegrass festival and I really had a good time. Talk to a Mando player with an F-4 Gibson. It had such good sound. Looking forward to many more.


May-14-2006, 11:51pm
His son plays mando, maybe it was a school night.

May-15-2006, 9:11pm
the mando player is like 14 or so

Jonathan Reinhardt
May-15-2006, 10:21pm
James S. plays mandolin, just not when he's playing guitar for the band.

Dennis Schubert
May-16-2006, 9:28am
I have always believed that one of the keys to the Stanley sound was the very deliberate use of lead guitar, and minimal mandolin, to distinguish themselves from the mando-heavy Monroe sound. Flatt & Scruggs featured the Dobro out front and not much of the tater-bug, so you'd always know it was them. Marketing folks call that "product differentiation."

May-16-2006, 9:37am
ironweed, that was a commercial decision by Syd Nathan and King about 1960. Before that with Rich-R-Tone, Columbia, Mercury and early King they heavily featured mandolin. Listen to Angel Band from the O Brother soundtrack, or Daybreak in Dixie (Bill Napier!), or the great King "The Stanley Brothers" LP/CD with Keep a Memory etc.

Jonathan Reinhardt
May-16-2006, 1:52pm
definitely pre-60 had great and prominent mandolin. Curly Lambert for one - mid 50's. his contribution to Angel Band is classic.

May-16-2006, 4:22pm
His son plays mando, maybe it was a school night.
Actually Nathan Stanley, who has been playing mandolin with the Clinch Mountain Boys for the last year or so, is Ralph II's nephew. He is 13 or 14 - can't remember which. #Lately he has been handling much of the emcee-ing as well.

jim simpson
May-16-2006, 5:19pm
Born August 16, 1992 Nathan Stanley is the oldest grandson of Ralph Stanley.
From Dr. Stanley's website

John M. Riley
May-19-2006, 3:20pm
Its correct that Nathan is Big Ralph's grandson and Ralph II's nephew and currently plays mandolin for Big Ralph and sometimes for Ralph II. John Rigsby played mandolin for the clinch mountain boys for several years, until they needed a fiddle player, then he switched to fiddle. Last year at the Stanley festival, John quit the group directly after the show and went to play with Melvin Goins. They really dont feature the mandolin alot since John left...and I guess they never really have featured it much. Even when Ricky Skaggs played the mandolin for Ralph, there was alot of songs that he never took a break on. Most of Ralph's stuff has always relied heavily up the banjo and fiddle....and the guitar cross picking and fiddle always covered most of the slow stuff.

John M. Riley
May-19-2006, 3:24pm
By the way, I only live about 20 miles from Ralph II and my brother and I go and jam with him from time to time. He never has seemed interested in the mandolin...always seems to like the fiddle, guitar and banjo....Or maybe I just cant play good enough to get his attention. By the way, anyone going to the Stanley festival at the old homeplace in the hills of Coeburn, VA. I'll be there.

jim simpson
May-19-2006, 8:15pm
"Or maybe I just cant play good enough to get his attention."

Tradional - Keep on practicing, you'll get his attention!
I was impressed to hear how much Ralph II's singing has improved! Do you he took singing lessons? Must be fun to jam with him.

John M. Riley
May-20-2006, 12:25pm
i didnt know he took singing lessons.....i thought he just listened to alot of keith whitley tapes...

Ralph II and his Dad are playing some double shows this week and the clinch mountain boys cant be in two places at once, so Ralph II got my brother(Jonas Riley) to go play the banjo with him and my neighbor to drive for them. They tried to get me to tag along since Im not working today, but I have to babysit.
Last time they played a double show, Ralph II borrowed my tour bus and asked my brother to play banjo with him. I went with them up in Ohio somewhere...he ended up asking me to play with them, but only about an hour before they went on. I had to decline on the offer...I didnt want to get up there and mess them up.
Yeah, II is fun to jam with....Someone else that is up II's house alot is Junior Blankenship....he's is definately fun to play with. The best rhythm guitar player ever.

Dennis Schubert
May-21-2006, 7:55am
Swampstomper, thanks for the observation. I hadn't thought about it in terms of years & labels.

May-22-2006, 1:19am
Ironweed, always my pleasure to draw attention to the early Stanley sound. Just thinking of those Curley Lambert and Jimmy Williams breaks in the Mercury days gives me goosebumps. And PeeWee Lambert back in Rich-R-Tone and early Columbia was more Monroe than Mon himself. I highly recommend the reissue of the Mercury recordings MERC-00534-CD ($22.50 from County Sales) with Jim Williams, Curley Lambert and of course Bill Napier on the ORIGINAL "Daybreak in Dixie" (aka Ralph's Banjo Special) recently revived by Sam & Dave.

May-22-2006, 9:48pm
I heard Ralph II at Amelia, VA on Saturday and was really impressed with his sound. Not quite as Old Time as His Dad but more straight ahead traditional Country sounding, at least the set I heard. I heard Ralph three weeks ago at Warsaw, VA and Nathan was definately playing mandolin and acting as emcee for his Granddad. He did a fine job too IMO.

John M. Riley
May-23-2006, 11:35am
my brother played the banjo for him in amelia, va...he was the tall one