Ralph Stanley II - Like Father, Like Son
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Like Father, Like Son (Copper Creek, 2001)

Ralph Stanley II

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

Ralph II, or "Two," as he is sometimes referred to, has been playing with his father from a very young age, but 1989's Like Father, Like Son marked the younger Stanley's first studio recording experience. He is only featured on two cuts, singing lead vocals on a cute version of the Jumpin' Gene Simmons hit, "Haunted House," and lead guitar on the traditional number, "Wildwood Flower," but his presence is foreshadowing for the coming decade when he would take over the guitar and vocalist slot in the band for the foreseeable future.

There is more to the album, including Vern Gosdin's "Way Down Deep," the best cut featuring Sammy Adkins on vocals. His only recorded work with Stanley is on this album. The Reno & Smiley tune, "Long Gone," is another high point, as is the Stanley-penned closing song, "Sweet Memory."

Not one of Stanley's finer albums but a solid outing nonetheless, it was a cassette-only release the first time around. This overdue CD reissue is a welcome re-introduction and a fascinating early peek at the next Stanley generation's beginnings.

CDs by Ralph Stanley II

This One is Two, 2008

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