"Here we have the first 78s the Stanley Brothers recorded for the Rich-R-Tone label between 1947 and 1952. The songs bridge the gap between the old-school mountain string-band music that Ralph and Carter Stanley grew up with and the new, breakneck bluegrass Bill Monroe had already pioneered. Where Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys had jazzy virtuosity down pat right from the get-go, the Stanleys and their five-piece band the Clinch Mountain Boys were a tad more soulful and keening, and the songs they gravitated towards were writ large with melodrama. This may be the sound of the group finding their feet, but as such there's quite a variety here, from trembling and ethereal gospel numbers such as ""Death Is Only a Dream"" to terrifyingly real murder ballads like ""The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake."" It's astonishing they were just in their early twenties for this recording of ""Little Maggie""; they sound decades older. Some of the sound quality is a tad rough, but it's actually never sounded better thanks to expert digital restoration. Nearly all of it is magnificent, worthy of the attention of more than just fans and scholars."