Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
13 messages

Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs

19 Sep 06 - 11:11 AM (#1838330)
Subject: Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs
From: GUEST,Richie

I was wondering if anyone knows the origin of the following Ralph Stanley songs:

Bootleg John
This Weary Heart
Loving You Too Well
Sharecropper's Son

Loving You Too Well was recorded (first?)by Roy Hall and His Blue Ridge Entertainers. These songs have been recorded by other including Ricky Skaggs.

Are these traditional? Did Stanley write many songs or mostly borrow from earlier sources?



19 Sep 06 - 03:31 PM (#1838546)
Subject: RE: Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs
From: GUEST,oldhippie

Richie, I checked repertoire.bmi.com - Bootleg John writer listed as Marvin Charles Davis; This Weary Heart by Joyce Morris; Loving You Too Well by Stanley Carter; there are 4 songs listed with the sharecropper title - the oldest appears to be by Jimmie Davis. Hope this gives you some leads, I'm not familiar with any of the names, although I'm guessing Stanley Carter might be part of the Carter family.

19 Sep 06 - 04:00 PM (#1838570)
Subject: RE: Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs
From: Barbara Shaw

Stanley Carter is most likely Carter Stanley, Ralph's brother who died in 1966. He wrote many of the songs done by the Stanley Brothers, and it wasn't until after his death that Ralph became a lead singer in his own band, rather than singing tenor harmony for his brother's lead.


19 Sep 06 - 11:17 PM (#1838792)
Subject: RE: Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs
From: GUEST,Richie

Thanks for your responses. I know the Stanley Brothers borrowed from traditional sources much like Bill Monroe and the Carter Family did.

I know when I published my bluegrass book with Mel Bay several songs were copyrighted that were in fact from earlier sources, sources BMI is not familiar with.

For example Lulu Walls was (and still is) copyrighted by the Carter family but was in fact in print in 1888. So their copyright is not valid.

LYRIC ADD: This Weary Heart You Stole Away (Wake Up, Sweetheart)

I wait for you dear all night long
It seems you never do get home
I fall asleep at the break of day
Just to drive these awful blues away

Wake up sweetheart the night has passed
You slept your troubles all away
Get ready now to love again
This weary heart you stole away

I heard you crying in your sleep
You said you found somebody new
So I'll live on and just pretend
I could never love no one but you

How can you treat me like you do
You know I've never done you wrong
My heart will always worship you
But still each night I'm left alone

Recorder by Stanley Brothers also Ricky Skaggs

20 Sep 06 - 11:33 AM (#1839200)
Subject: RE: Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

I refreshed the thread "Lulu Walls." The original mentioned by Meade hasn't shown up yet.

A performer can copyright his version or arrangement; copyrights by AP Carter (and John Prine?) are valid in that respect. Of course anyone can go back to the original and use it (or make their own version and.... ).

20 Sep 06 - 02:04 PM (#1839339)
Subject: RE: Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs
From: GUEST,Tunesmith

Carter Stanley is my favourite bluegrass singer, and my favourite album by The Stanley Bros ( i.e. Carter and Ralph) is the late 50s recording on King 615. This has been re-released on cd.

20 Sep 06 - 10:47 PM (#1839691)
Subject: RE: Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs
From: Steve Latimer

I have to agree with Tunesmith. Although I am a big fan of Ralph and The Clinch Mountain Boys, there was something extraordinary about Carter's voice and the Harmonies that he and Ralph created as the Stanley Brothers.

The one that I have been listening to the most lately is "An Evening Long Ago", a recording of a radio show that they did in the fifties.

21 Sep 06 - 12:41 AM (#1839712)
Subject: RE: Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs
From: GUEST,Richie

Hi Q,

You can't copyright a version of a song if the song is already protected (i.e. has a valid copyright after I believe 1923). You can copyright versions of PD songs.

If Ralph Stanley wrote a song and it was copyrighted, I couldn't leagally print my version of his song without permission. I couldn't record it without paying royalties.

If Ralph claimed to write a song like say "Jacobs Vision" but in fact the song originated from another source befere 1923 his copyright would no longer be valid.

When AP Carter copyrighted Lulu Walls it was from another source. It was aslo recorded by Lunsford (a different yet similar version). Mel Bay wouldn't let me include Lulu Walls in my collection until I gave them info from Meade.

One of my students plays these Ralph Stanley songs and I was wondering whether they were PD. Ralph Stanley is listed as the composer of Angel Band, a song he's associated with. He didn't write it tho.


21 Sep 06 - 12:31 PM (#1840117)
Subject: RE: Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Richie, I stated "his version or arrangement." One may not copyright validly a version already protected by a copyright. This is what 'my son the lawyer' told me, but be also said it is a minefield with regard to "versions". Of course he could be wrong since he is not in the copyright field. The US Gov. site states "Musical works include both original compositions and original arrangements or other new versions of earlier compositions to which new copyrightable authorship has been added."

"Lulu Walsh," copyright 1927 by Walter Morris, is the same song.
Re-issued in "Georgia Songsters," Document, track 20, performed by Oscar Ford and Walter Morris. This seems to pre-date AP Carter. See notes on "Lulu Walls" in the Traditional Ballad Index, which may be out-of-date.

I would very much like to see the original of "Lulu Walls" (Not in American Memory, Levy, UCLA or Indiana sheet music coll.).

21 Sep 06 - 09:48 PM (#1840450)
Subject: RE: Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs
From: GUEST,Richie


I have two versions of Lulu Walls; Carter Family's and Bascom Lamar Lunsford's. For the book I did my own, based on both.

The 1888 version of Lulu Walls Wehman's Collection of Songs (NYC Henry J. Wehman 1884-1994 total of 42 issues).

You can check New York libarary catalogues to see who has a copy. I doubt there are many around. You should be able to get a photocopy.


21 Sep 06 - 10:20 PM (#1840472)
Subject: RE: Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs
From: GUEST,Richie


Here is more info; Lulu Walls is in collection number 17:

Henry J. Wehman, Publisher,

[P.O.Boc 1823.] 130 Park Row, New York.

Wehman's Collection of Songs, No.17

Containing 101 Songs.

22 Sep 06 - 12:04 AM (#1840517)
Subject: RE: Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Thanks, Richie. I may just file that away for now. Might be one at the Lib. Congress.

30 Sep 06 - 10:36 AM (#1846837)
Subject: RE: Origin of Ralph Stanley Songs

Ralph Stanley is the headliner for a local school fundraiser. Anyone interested? I can provide details and a bed.