Dr. Ralph Stanley

Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys
James Price, James Alan Shelton, Steve Sparkman, Ralph Stanley,
Ralph Stanley II, Jack Cooke
First time I had the pleasure to see my heroes, I have heard so many times on records. The band is very professional. They played two sets of about an hour each.

Dr. Ralph

Dr. Ralph had done some kind of surgery not too long before this so this was apparently the first time he played banjo on stage for some time. If you haven't listened to Dr. Ralph - try to get his latest Clinch Mountain Country where he has the Country Music-elite as guests. For example Vince Gill, Dwight Yoakam, Alison Krauss and many more (even Bob Dylan).

Ralph Stanley II on stage and shaking hands with Webmaster

Dr. Ralphs son, Ralph Stanley II is now the main leadsinger in the band. He has over time become better and better. Actually I think he is probably one of the best leadsingers in Bluegrass today. Some people thinks that his voice reminds more and more about his late uncle Carter Stanley. In the old days the band was called the Stanley Brothers when Ralph and Carter played together.

James Price

The band is also top-notch. During the day I had heard two versions of the fiddle showpiece Orange Blossom Special. One was better than the other and I thought I had heard the best versions I ever have heard. Then it was James Price's turn to play the tune and I thought - to bad he can't top the versions I already have heard. But - boy, could he top the other versions. He did the most amazing things I ever heard on a fiddle. Some of you know that this song is about a train that goes down to Florida. James Price made his fiddle sound just like an old steam-engine train. He started out slow and you could hear the pistons work on the train. He made the fiddle sound like a train-whistle and you could here the bells at the train-crossings. Then he slowed down the pace and you could finally here the wheels squeek on the rail when the brake was turned on. Truly amazing! He is also a great impersonator. He does a great impression of Johnny Cash!

Dr. Ralph Stanley with Webmaster (Webmaster to the left)

It seems like Dr. Ralphs is a real workaholic. We came at about 12 o'clock at noon. Ralph was already fixing things with his CD's. He then signed CD's and posters until he was supposed to play on stage. He went straight to the stage, made the one hour set and went back down to continue to sign CD's. He stayed at the record table most of the afternoon (I even saw him sit there and have dinner). He finally went up on stage at about seven o'clock at night to perform again. Finally they got on their bus to go to the next festival. Pretty hectic for a 71 year old man.

Another picture of Dr. Ralph Stanley

Dr. Ralph Stanley's bus, he seems to be doing well!

Photography by Thorsten Jakobsson & David Gregory

Copyright © 1999 Thorsten Jakobsson