Ralph Stanley - Live at Eddie's Attic

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That, ladies and gentlemen, is false advertising.  I admit I'm not a Ralph Stanley fan.  I hadn't heard his name or his music before this show.  I'm a music enthusiast, though, offered a quite affordable evening out.  I like some bluegrass music but not enough to know the history of it.  It's easy to research that Dr. Stanley holds an esteemed position within that genre, beginning with The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys.  Accolades include a National Heritage Award from President Reagan, National Medal of Arts by "W" Bush, a member of the Grand Ole Opry, inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame... etc.   

This was his 6th annual appearance at Eddie's attic.  There was an enjoyable opening act who played 6 or 7 Christian songs on solo acoustic guitar, thankful for the opportunity to play at Eddie's for several days.  Next was a bluegrass band whose name I didn't catch but who had received the Dove Award, a music award specific to Christian music.  They were pretty good, but played too many songs for a second opening act.  The leader of the ensemble had recounted a story of being two years old, on stage and holding the leg of his "paw paw" then played a song about him.

And, after he called his "paw paw" to the stage, it still took more than a few seconds to realize that this was the Clinch Mountain Boys and "paw paw" was Dr. Stanley, though noted to be a little under the weather and with recent stomach surgery... but he wanted to be there for his fans... 

Well, there he is, singing "Man of Constant Sorrow," a song he popularized in the 1950's.  I'll have to say that I'm glad to have heard him sing it, even it was less than a two minute version.  The next couple songs I don't recall, but both required his grandson to kick start his memory of the verses.  Then it was time for the intermission which invited quite a line of people seeking his autograph and photo. They're the purists called out for an event like this, a chance to see an 88 year old legend.  We had seats in the front row and decided they would be better enjoyed by others who desired to be closer to greatness.  Er, it was a work night.

The first half, at least, did not have any Christmas music either.  Maybe the second half did.  The Clinch Mountain Boys were an enjoyable, talented group though, with three of the members having released their own CDs.  I know I'd enjoy it more with Alison Krauss on lead vocal.

It was a pleasant evening, but going forward, they should advertise the Clinch Mountain Boys and note a possible appearance of Dr. Stanley.  I have no disrespect for the performance, but none of us anticipated his present infirmities, which appears to have advanced significantly in the last two years based on YouTube videos.  

... which actually doesn't fare too poorly against a young Bob Dylan in his first televised performance in 1963.

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