Man of constant sorrow : my life and times

by Stanley, Ralph.

Format: Print Book 2009
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction ML420.S8115 A3 2009
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  ML420.S8115 A3 2009
Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 781.642092 S
Location  Monroeville Public Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  781.642092 S
A giant of American music opens the book on his wrenching professional and personal journeys, paying tribute to the vanishing Appalachian culture that gave him his voice.

He was there at the beginning of bluegrass. Yet his music, forged in the remote hills and hollows of Southwest Virginia, has even deeper roots. In Man of Constant Sorrow , Dr. Ralph Stanley gives a surprisingly candid look back on his long and incredible career as the patriarch of old-time mountain music.

Marked by Dr. Ralph Stanley?s banjo picking, his brother Carter?s guitar playing, and their haunting and distinctive harmonies, the Stanley Brothers began their career in 1946 and blessed the world of bluegrass with hundreds of classic songs, including ?White Dove,? ?Rank Stranger,? and what has become Dr. Ralph?s signature song, ?Man of Constant Sorrow.? Carter died in 1966 after years of alcohol abuse, but Dr. Ralph Stanley carried on and is still at the top of his game, playing to audiences across the country today at age eighty-one. Rarely giving interviews, he now grants fans the book they have been waiting for, filled with frank recollections, from his boyhood of dire poverty in the Appalachian coalfields to his early musical success with his brother, to years of hard traveling on the road with the Clinch Mountain Boys, to the recent, jubilant revival of a sound he helped create.

The story of how a musical art now popular around the world was crafted by two brothers from a dying mountain culture, Man of Constant Sorrow captures a life harmonized with equal measures of tragedy and triumph.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* Ralph Stanley, to whom the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? brought great fame late in his career, represents the conservative strain of bluegrass. Whereas the music's founder, Bill Monroe, was, Stanley points out in this shining memoir, always an innovator despite scorning electric instruments and drums, Stanley always adhered to the most venerable traditions he knew. Unlike the vast preponderance of bluegrass banjoists, he still uses pre-bluegrass techniques in performance, and he has clung to the hard-shell Primitive Baptist hymn-singing manners he learned in childhood. It helps his deliberate archaism that he sounds like a 100-year-old man and did at age 8, said his father. His is simply one of the most distinctive singing voices ever recorded, and by now his gentle, Virginia Appalachian spoken vernacular is becoming equally distinctive as men like him vanish. With music journalist Dean's help, Stanley has put his speech on paper. Every word about his hardscrabble upbringing, how he and his brother, Carter, built livings in music; his perseverance after Carter's untimely death in 1966; the many personalities he has worked with and admired; and much more, is vibrant with it. Perhaps in the future this lovely book will occupy a position in American autobiography like that of Huckleberry Finn among American novels, as the great vernacular example of its kind.--Olson, Ray Copyright 2009 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Stanley's life spans the history of recorded bluegrass and country music, but his high, lonesome voice encompasses human suffering throughout time. Born in 1927, Stanley and his brother and first singing partner, Carter, grew up in the mountains of southwestern Virginia where Stanley learned old-time music in a Primitive Baptist church and from his mother, who picked the banjo clawhammer style. As a young man he often doubted his future as a musician, farming and working briefly in a sawmill, before committing himself to the music business. He stuck with it after Carter's alcohol-accelerated death in 1966 even though his career did not prove lucrative until very late in life when he was featured on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. He won the 2001 Grammy for best male country vocal performance, besting the likes of young commercial country star Tim McGraw, of whom Stanley writes, "[W]ouldn't know a real country song if it kicked him in the ass." Stanley's plainspoken narrative is told in a rural diction as though he were sitting in the front seat of an old Ford headed down the mountain for his next show. His story is a comprehensive and endearing cornucopia of authentic mountain music, place, family, friends, rivals, faith, love, life, death and the road. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Stanley, Ralph.
Bluegrass musicians -- United States -- Biography.
Publisher New York :Gotham Books,2009
Contributors Dean, Eddie, 1964-
Language English
Description viii, 452 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN 9781592404254 (hardcover)
1592404251 (hardcover)
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