Dirty Linen - p.65
"OLD-TIME PICKIN' showcases Stanley's influential picking on a variety of old-time songs and lightning-fast instrumentals."
Personnel: Ralph Stanley (vocals, banjo); Roy Lee Centers, Ricky Lee (guitar); John Rigsby (mandolin); Curley Ray Cline, James Price (fiddle); Jack Cooke (bass instrument).
After the explosion of interest in Appalachian music in the 1990s and early 2000s--and particularly after his stirring version of "O Death" for the O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU soundtrack--Ralph Stanley cemented his status as one of the greatest Appalachian singers of the 20th century. True as that may be, this uptick in popularity overshadowed his mastery of the clawhammer banjo. While Earl Scruggs took the bluegrass world by storm in the '50s with his three-fingered arpeggios, Stanley stayed true to the old-time style and dug his heels even deeper when he went solo after his brother's 1966 death. OLD-TIME PICKIN' collects three decades (1971-2000) of performances that foreground Stanley's banjo ferocity and the delights of old-time bluegrass played decidedly non-progressively. The highlights are many--"Shout Little Lulie," and the title track, to name two--but hearing clich‚d numbers such as "Little Birdie" come alive in his hands is alone worth the sticker price. Various line-ups of the Clinch Mountain Boys--featuring such legends as Curly Ray Cline, John Rigsby, and Ricky Lee--accompany him throughout the 18 tracks.