ralph stanley


O, Death
O, Death

Won’t you spare me over til another year
Well what is this that I can’t see
With ice cold hands takin’ hold of me
Well I am death, none can excel
I’ll open the door to heaven or hell
Whoa, death someone would pray
Could you wait to call me another day
The children prayed, the preacher preached
Time and mercy is out of your reach
I’ll fix your feet til you cant walk
I’ll lock your jaw til you cant talk
I’ll close your eyes so you can’t see
This very hour, 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

O, Death
O, Death

Won’t you spare me over til another year
My mother came to my bed
Placed a cold towel upon my head
My head is warm my feet are cold
Death is a-movin upon my soul
Oh, death how you’re treatin’ me
You’ve close my eyes so I can’t see
Well you’re hurtin’ my body
You make me cold
You run my life right outta my soul
Oh death please consider my age
Please don’t take me at this stage
My wealth is all at your command
If you will move your icy hand
Oh the young, the rich or poor
Hunger like me you know
No wealth, no ruin, no silver no gold
Nothing satisfies me but your soul

O, Death
O, Death

Wont you spare me over ‘til another year
Wont you spare me over 'til another year
Wont you spare me over 'til another year

Singer and banjo player Ralph Stanley, the bluegrass pioneer who has been making records for more than 60 years, died yesterday. He was 89 years old.
Stanley first started recording in the late 1940s, as the younger half of the Stanley Brothers.  His brother Carter died in 1966. Starting in 1967, Ralph performed with his group the Clinch Mountain Boys – and in 2002, two years after receiving the Living Legend medal from the Library of Congress, Ralph Stanley finally recorded and released his first solo album. Today we’ll salute him by listening back to a conversation he had then with Terry Gross, in 2002.

If there’s a recording for which Ralph Stanley may be most famous, it’s his contribution to the Grammy-winning, platinum-selling soundtrack album of the Coen Brothers 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou? Stanley’s haunting solo performance won the Grammy that year for best male country vocal performance – and, like its title, it’s even more haunting to hear, sixteen years later, as part of his obituary. The name of the song is “O Death.”

Hear an excerpt of his 2002 interview. 


you’ll never leave harlan alive - the ruby friedman orchestra // calling the maker - aimee allen // black river killer - blitzen trapper // hard time killing floor blues - chris thomas king // i will never die - delta rae // devil’s spoke - laura marling // cherry tree - the national // devil’s backbone - the civil wars // bartholomew - the silent comedy // bottom of the river - delta rae // o death - ralph stanley // rocks and water -  deb talan // arsonist’s lullabye - hozier // you are my sunshine - jamey johnson, twiggy ramirez & shooter jennings // the preacher - jamie n commons // o children - nick cave & the bad seeds // riverside - agnes obel // wolf - first aid kit // judgement day - blues saraceno // old number seven - the devil makes three // like a mountain - timber timbre // old time religion - parker millsap // oh darlin’ what have i done - the white buffalo


Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley | “Can’t You Hear Me Callin’”

Dear #BlueLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter, which demographic is the biggest threat to the police? You guessed it...

There seems to be this pervasive LIE that Black Lives Matter (or Black people in general) perpetuates and provokes violence towards the police. Because asking for police to stop killing unarmed Black people is clearly a sign of aggression (that’s sarcasm btw). In order to annihilate and obliterate that falsehood, below is a short list I’ve compiled of biggest killers of police. So, who is the biggest threat to law enforcement? Here’s a hint: They’re CAUCS. Enjoy!

  • Trent Forster (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Jayson P. Eggenberg (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Andrew Howard Brannan (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Charles E. Smith (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Joseph Christopher Garcia, Randy Ethan Halprin, Larry James Harper, Patrick Henry Murphy, Jr., Donald Keith Newbury, George Angel Rivas, Jr. & Michael Anthony Rodriguez (WHITE COP KILLERS) 
  • Eric Michael Clark (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • George Timothy Williams (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Timothy Russell (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Daniel E. Raines (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Boyd Matthew Meekins (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • James Allen Beck (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Larry Peck (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Steven Bixby (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Kyle D. Joekel, Terry Lyn Smith & Derrick Smith (WHITE COP KILLERS)
  • Stephen Kessler (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Brian Butler & Jerid Eldridge (WHITE COP KILLERS) 
  • Earl Flippen (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Matthaeus Jaehnig (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Ralph James “Bucky” Phillips (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Jacob D. Robida (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Michael Kennedy (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Richard Poplawski (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Ryan David Frederick (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Dennis Eugene Gurney (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Jerry Kane, Jr. & Joseph Kane (WHITE COP KILLERS) 
  • David Michael Knick & Robert Duston Strong (WHITE COP KILLERS)
  • Randy Gilbert Newberry (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Brian Lyn Smith & Kyle David Joeke (WHITE COP KILLERS) 
  • Evan Ebel (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Eric Matthew Frein (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Brian Fitch, Sr. (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • David Risner (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Jerad & Amanda Miller (WHITE COP KILLERS) 
  • Brandon Goode & Alexandria Hollinghurst (WHITE COP KILLERS)
  •  Robert Lewis Dear (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Herschel Ray Jones, III (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Evan Dorsey (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Charles Lee Lambert (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Martin Wirth (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Curtis Ayers (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Cory Lee Henderson (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Michael Vance (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Joseph Moreno (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Brian Keith Stalans (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Donald Curtis Hornsey (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Douglas S. Nitek (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Scott Michael Greene (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Jason Michael Stoker (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Ralph Stanley Elrod (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Michael Cwiklinski (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Ben Sebena (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Jason Hamilton (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Randy Coward (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • John Pettit (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Jason Robison (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Robert Lewis Dear, Jr. (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Jason Brown (WHITE COP KILLER) 
  • Joshua Cummings (WHITE COP KILLER) 
Ralph Stanley

Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys
High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass

Gospel Sunday.

Shape note and a cappella singing were both traditional singing styles in churches of the mountain south.  As Dr. Stanley explains at the start of this track, Primitive Baptist churches didn’t allow instruments.

I can picture the sounds of worn, joyful voices echoing among the rafters of some church in the hollow of an Appalachian Gap.

I’m not religious, but there’s something spiritual about that, and that same spirituality is what attaches me to bluegrass gospel.  Tradition, Honor and Family.


The Stanley Brothers - Mountain Dew


Vanity Fair - The Country & Western Music Portfolio


‘Paths of Glory’, Stanley Kubrick (1957)

There are few things more fundamentally encouraging and stimulating than seeing someone else die.