Ralph Stanley

Ralph Stanley

Real Name:
Ralph Edmond Stanley
Born February 25, 1927 in Big Spraddle Creek, Virginia. Died June 23, 2016 at his home in the same mountains of southwestern Virginia where he was born. Brother of Carter Stanley, father of Ralph Stanley II, grandfather of Nathan Stanley.

Growing up in rural southwestern Virginia, Stanley learned to play the banjo, claw-hammer, style from his mother. It was her inspiration, coupled with Stanley's natural ability, which led Ralph and his older guitar-playing brother Carter, to form the their band, the Clinch Mountain Boys, in 1946. Drawing heavily on the musical traditions of the area - the holiness singing of the Primitive Baptist Church and the sweet down home family harmonies of the Carter Family- the Stanleys began honing their own special style of music by singing at local events in the early 1940s.

Ralph and Carter performed as The Stanley Brothers with their band, the Clinch Mountain Boys from 1946 to 1966. After Carter's death in 1966, Ralph Stanley continued to perform, eventually reviving the Clinch Mountain Boys. Larry Sparks, Roy Lee Centers, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, and Charlie Sizemore were among those with whom he played in the revived band. Stanley has maintained an extensive touring schedule, with dates scheduled through 2007. Known in the world of bluegrass music by the popular title, "Dr. Ralph Stanley" (after being awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee in 1976), Stanley was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1992 and in 2000, and became the first person of the new millennium to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

In 2006, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. Stanley's work was also featured in the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, in which he sings the dirge "O Death." With this song, Stanley won the 2002 Grammy Award in the category of Best Male Country Vocal Performance. He's featured in the Josh Turner hit "Me and God," released in 2006.

Ralph created a unique style of banjo playing, sometimes called "Stanley Style". This style evolved from Scruggs style, which is a three finger technique. "Stanley style" is distinguished by incredibly fast "forward rolls," led by the index finger, sometimes in the higher registers of his instrument utilizing the capo.
In Groups:

Ralph Stanley Discography


Stanley Brothers And The Clinch Mountain Boys* Featuring Ralph Stanley Stanley Brothers And The Clinch Mountain Boys* Featuring Ralph Stanley - Hard Times (Album) Mercury US 1963 Sell This Version
SLP 1503 Ralph Stanley Something Old, Something New, Some Of Katy's Mountain Dew(LP, Album) Rebel Records (3) SLP 1503 US 1971 Sell This Version
SLP 1508 Ralph Stanley Old Country Church(LP, Album) Rebel Records (3) SLP 1508 US 1972 Sell This Version
SLP-1530 Ralph Stanley A Man And His Music(LP, Album) Rebel Records (3) SLP-1530 US 1974 Sell This Version
SLP 1544 Ralph Stanley Let Me Rest On A Peaceful Mountain (Hills Of Home)(LP, Album) Rebel Records (3) SLP 1544 US 1975 Sell This Version
Ralph Stanley Old Home Place (Album) Rebel Records (3) US 1976 Sell This Version
Jimmy Martin And Ralph Stanley Jimmy Martin And Ralph Stanley - First Time Together (Album) Gusto Records (2) US 1980 Sell This Version
REB 1657 Ralph Stanley I'll Answer The Call(LP, Album) Rebel Records (3) REB 1657 US 1988 Sell This Version
Ralph Stanley Saturday Night & Sunday Morning (Album) Freeland Recording Company US 1992 Sell This Version
FRC-CD642 Ralph Stanley And Joe Issacs* Ralph Stanley And Joe Issacs* - A Gospel Gathering(CD, Album) Freeland Recording Company FRC-CD642 US 1995 Sell This Version
REB-CD-1770 Ralph Stanley & Friends* Ralph Stanley & Friends* - Clinch Mountain Sweethearts(CD, Album) Rebel Records (3) REB-CD-1770 US 2001 Sell This Version
Ralph Stanley Ralph Stanley (Album) DMZ (2), Columbia Europe 2002 Sell This Version
REB-CD-1810 Ralph Stanley Shine On(CD, Album) Rebel Records (3) REB-CD-1810 US 2005 Sell This Version
82796 93629 2 Ralph Stanley A Distant Land To Roam (Songs Of The Carter Family)(CD, Album) DMZ (2), Columbia 82796 93629 2 US 2006 Sell This Version
reb-cd-1840 Ralph Stanley A Mother's Prayer(CD, Album) Rebel Records (3) reb-cd-1840 US 2011 Sell This Version
REB-CD-1850 Ralph Stanley & Ralph Stanley II Ralph Stanley & Ralph Stanley II - Side By Side(CD, Album) Rebel Records (3) REB-CD-1850 US 2013 Sell This Version
BLRCD017 Ralph Stanley Live At The Bottom Line (June 12th, 2002)(CD, Album) BFD BLRCD017 US 2017 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

CSK 59413 Ralph Stanley Limited Edition Bonus Disc(CD, Single, Promo) DMZ (2), Columbia, Sony Music CSK 59413 UK 2002 Sell This Version
TSQ 22527 Ralph Stanley Single Girl(10", Mono, Ltd) Tompkins Square TSQ 22527 US 2012 Sell This Version
45-6252 Ralph Stanley Let's Go To The Fair / Hills Of Home "A Tribute To Carter"(7", Single) King Records (3) 45-6252 US Unknown Sell This Version


REB-CD-1114 Ralph Stanley Bound To Ride(CD, Comp) Rebel Records (3) REB-CD-1114 US 1991 Sell This Version
0221 Ralph Stanley Classic Stanley(CD, Comp) Freeland Recording Company 0221 US 1995 Sell This Version
AUD-CD-8169 Ralph Stanley The Very Best Of...(CD, Comp) Audium Records, Koch Records AUD-CD-8169 US 2002 Sell This Version
75517476312 Dr. Ralph Stanley* O Bluegrass Celebration(CD, Comp) BMG Special Products 75517476312 US 2003 Sell This Version
ITEM # AV 26112, 2DJY1 Ralph Stanley And Friends* With Bluegrass Stars Ricky Skaggs And Keith Whitley Ralph Stanley And Friends* With Bluegrass Stars Ricky Skaggs And Keith Whitley - Ralph Stanley And Friends(CD, Comp) Direct Source Special Products Inc., Disque Americ ITEM # AV 26112, 2DJY1 USA & Canada 2003 Sell This Version