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Henry LeeRalph Stanley
Ralph Stanley - Henry Lee
I was expecting Nick Cave, but didn’t know this was a traditional murder ballad first. Very good.
Ralph Stanley - O Death
from O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
In 2009, the Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance was given to international pop star Brad Paisley. In 2008 and 2006, it went to Nicole Kidman’s boyfriend Keith Urban. In 2002, it was awarded to Ralph Stanley, the 75 year old bluegrass singer, for this a cappella performance of an Appalachian funeral dirge. He deserved it.
Partially speaking in the voice of a man on death’s door, partially as death itself, the song takes its power from its unflinchingly physical depiction of the end of life. In so many country songs, death is a welcome respite from pain; here, it’s a horrifying prospect, the transformation of a person from something alive and vibrant into a collection of cold, moist flesh and bone.
I’ll fix your feet til you can’t walk
I’ll lock your jaw til you can’t talk
I’ll close your eyes so you can’t see
This very air, come and go with me
I’m Death, I come to take the soul
Leave the body and leave it cold.
To draw up the flesh off of the frame
Dirt and worm both have a claim.
Children Go Where I Send Thee
Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys
Lester Flatt’s Mount Pilot Bluegrass Festival
Pinnacle, NC June 1978
The Lonesome RiverBob Dylan Feat. Ralph Stanley
The Lonesome Road - Bob Dylan and Ralph Stanley
great harmony from two legends.
this little light of mineralph stanley
ralph stanley - this little light of mine
(THP tweet -nick cave nabbed him to do wettest county soundtrack. hot damn!)