Great High Mountain

Great High Mountain

by Ralph StanleyRalph Stanley


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Thanks to his long career and numerous musical milestones, Ralph Stanley has become an institution and then some. Indeed, if he'd done no more than play his role in the legendary Stanley Brothers with his brother Carter, his rep would've been sealed. But Stanley seems to have more musical lives than a hip cat, with his latest ascension following O Brother, Where Art Thou? Great High Mountain isn't so much a follow-up to Stanley's O Brother work as a short retrospective, perhaps designed for the bluegrass fan unfamiliar with the span of his musical legacy. This is at least Rebel's third compilation of Stanley's music, and while it's quite enjoyable, one starts to imagine that a box set -- and not another compilation -- is what's really needed. The real problem with Great High Mountain, though, is that it barely scratches the surface of Stanley's work at Rebel. Indeed, the album is only 37 minutes long, meaning that it could've been twice as long and still fit on one disc. Rebel sweetens the package by adding one unreleased cut from 1976, "I'm Lonesome Without You." Great High Mountain isn't a bad place for the Stanley novice to start, but one might also consider other classic albums like Saturday Night & Sunday Morning.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/03/2004
Label: Rebel Records
UPC: 0032511113023
catalogNumber: 111130
Rank: 118182

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ralph Stanley   Primary Artist,Banjo,Vocals,Tenor (Vocal)
Ricky Skaggs   Fiddle
Keith Whitley   Guitar,Vocals
Junior Blankenship   Guitar
Curley Ray Cline   Fiddle
Jack Cooke   Bass,Vocals,Baritone (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal),Double Bass
Ed Ferris   Bass,Double Bass
Danny Marshall   Guitar,Bass (Vocal),Vocals
Roy Lee Centers   Guitar,Vocals,Baritone (Vocal)
Charlie Sizemore   Guitar,Vocals
Steve Sparkman   Banjo
James Alan Shelton   Guitar
James Price   Fiddle
John Rigsby   Mandolin
Ralph Stanley   Guitar
Keith Whitely   Guitar,Vocals,Baritone (Vocal)
Ricky Lee   Guitar,Bass (Vocal),Vocals
Chester "Pops" Marshall   Vocals

Technical Credits

Bill Monroe   Composer
Peter Rowan   Composer
Ralph Stanley   Arranger,Composer
Keith Whitley   Composer
William Shakespeare Hays   Composer
Carter Stanley   Composer
G.B. Grayson   Composer
Rick Stanley   Composer
Marvin Davis   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Ruby Rakes   Composer

Customer Reviews

Great High Mountain 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Playing Time – 37:33 -- Bluegrass music doesn’t get much more lonesome than Ralph Stanley’s. G. B. Grayson’s “I’ve Always Been a Rambler” is a good choice of song to open this album and set the stage for a collection of classic bluegrass music at its finest. “Great High Mountain” is a compilation of Ralph Stanley favorites recorded between 1971-1996. “Wild Geese Cry Again” (recorded in 1996) is the only previously unreleased number, with all the others appearing on various Ralph Stanley albums on the Rebel Records label. Four tracks are pulled from the album, “Old Home Place” (Rebel-1562). Besides Stanley’s own mournful vocals, other vocalists featured include Jack Cooke, Keith Whitley, Danny Marshall, Charlie Sizemore, Roy Lee Centers, Ricky Lee, and Chester “Pop” Marshall. The choice of material is arranged with a diverse array of vocal solos, duos, trios and quartets. A favorite instrumental, “Clinch Mountain Backstep,” breaks up the overall set at track #7. After Ralph frails his banjo on “I’ve Got a Mule to Ride,” the album closes with a spiritual quartet, “Amazing Grace,” and reflective duet, “Home in the Mountains.” Stanley’s music has always placed primary importance on the singing, and the 2004 Virginian of the Year stresses that “the instruments are there to bolster up the singing.” “Great High Mountain” clearly illustrates how lyrics, music and feeling in mountain music work together to get it as lonesome as you can get it. On the surface, old-time traditional sounds may appear simplistic. In reality, you’ve got to feel the old-time way to play it correctly. Stanley once said , “I really think that bluegrass if it’s sung right and done right and the proper feeling put to it is the hardest music in the world to play.” That is what this album epitomizes. “Great High Mountain” embodies an old-time mountain bluegrass sound that reaps a bountiful harvest. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)