14 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though Ralph Stanley II (son of bluegrass deity Ralph Stanley) had already been singing and playing guitar in his father's band, The Clinch Mountain Boys, for years by the time of this album's release, Side By Side marks the first time that the two shared star billing. The most immediately striking aspect of this record is the 86-year-old patriarch's unerring pitch; his voice has recognizably roughened with age, but he nails every note dead-on. His high-lonesome harmonies with his brother Carter on The Stanley Brothers' '40s and '50s recordings are burned into the annals of bluegrass legend, but listening to the two Ralphs sing together here is like having a historic circle drawn to completion before your very ears. The younger Stanley's pipes take the lead on the lion's share of the tracks here, but when the elder statesman steps to the fore on tunes like "I've Still Got 99," "Wild Bill Jones," and the chilling, a cappella murder ballad "Don't Weep for Me," it's just about the most authoritative sound in all of country music.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though Ralph Stanley II (son of bluegrass deity Ralph Stanley) had already been singing and playing guitar in his father's band, The Clinch Mountain Boys, for years by the time of this album's release, Side By Side marks the first time that the two shared star billing. The most immediately striking aspect of this record is the 86-year-old patriarch's unerring pitch; his voice has recognizably roughened with age, but he nails every note dead-on. His high-lonesome harmonies with his brother Carter on The Stanley Brothers' '40s and '50s recordings are burned into the annals of bluegrass legend, but listening to the two Ralphs sing together here is like having a historic circle drawn to completion before your very ears. The younger Stanley's pipes take the lead on the lion's share of the tracks here, but when the elder statesman steps to the fore on tunes like "I've Still Got 99," "Wild Bill Jones," and the chilling, a cappella murder ballad "Don't Weep for Me," it's just about the most authoritative sound in all of country music.

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