Baby Girl: A Tribute To My Father, Carter Stanley (CMH)
Jeanie Stanley

By Bob Mitchell

This is one of the most unique enjoyable tribute albums I've ever heard. Jeanie was only four years old when her legendary father, Carter Stanley, passed away in 1966. Now, forty years later she has assembled her family for a musical gathering filled with plenty of old time music and love. The "liner notes" are a sixteen page family album with twenty-five historical photos.

Thirteen songs were written or co-written by Carter and the fourteenth track is a heartwarming father-daughter. This project also contains two of Carter's never before recorded songs. "Two Sides To A Story" reminds me of the Kitty Wells classic, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels." The other new song, "Jesus Is Precious," is a haunting accapella cut from Carter's brother (Jeanie's uncle), the legendary Dr. Ralph Stanley.

Ralph's son, also known as "Two," (Jeanie's cousin) lends a hand with several lead and harmony vocals. I especially enjoyed the title track, and "The Fields Have Turned Brown." The unique Stanley style of trio singing with a high baritone is also noteworthy on "Lonesome River."

When Jeanie takes the lead vocal on "The Memory of Your Smile" and "Who Will Sing For Me," it's evident she is Carter's daughter. With some studio magic the project concludes with a father-daughter duet "Dreams of A Miner's Child." Carter provides a lengthy spoken introduction to the song, then Jeanie adds her vocal track to her father's 1961 live recording made at the University of Chicago Folk Festival.

Jeanie's music support is from a band that would make any aspiring singer green with envy, the "Clinch Mountain Boys." James Alan Shelton, guitar wizard, outdoes himself on "Harbor of Love." Steve Sparkman's incredible Stanley style banjo is superb, especially on "How Mountain Girls Can Love." Jack Cooke provides his usual solid bass. John Rigsby is as commendable as ever on mandolin and harmony vocals. Todd Meade's fiddle work provides perfect fills and solos. In summary, this release is a family get-together that belongs on the shelf of all Stanley Brother fans.

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