THE MUSIC OF THE STANLEY BROTHERS—BY GARY B. REID—University of Illinois Press 9780252080333. Foreword by Neil V. Rosenberg, 312 pp., 51 photos, discography, $30. (Univ. Of Ill. Press, Chicago Distribution Center, 11030 S. Langley Ave., Chicago, IL 60628, www.press.uillinois.edu.)
Readers of this magazine should need no introduction to Gary Reid, but as there are always new fans to bluegrass, let me just say that this definitive work on the Stanley Brothers’ recordings required someone who has spent the past forty years immersed in the music, and no one is better qualified than Gary Reid.
As founder and head of Copper Creek Records, three-time recipient of Best Liner Notes IBMA award, and as the author of the stage play A Life of Sorrow: The Life and Times of Carter Stanley, Gary has compiled not only the minutiae of a complete discography, but has managed to convey the history and hearts of bluegrass music’s greatest duo. Along with Rosenberg & Wolfe’s The Music Of Bill Monroe, this goes beyond required reading for bluegrass fans. Anyone who fails to read these books should be fined by the bluegrass police.
The book is divided into recording eras according to the Stanleys’ years with record labels, including Rich-R-Tone, Columbia, Mercury, King/Starday, as well as known radio recordings. Along with extensive indices, bibliography, and discography, any questions you might have about session musicians, dates, even instruments, are answered here. Most of all, though, it’s an incredibly interesting story.
Well written, perfectly organized, complete. It’s everything we hoped for. Another work of love and scholarship from the University of Illinois Press. I can only express a fan’s gratitude to Gary Reid for this monumental accomplishment.CVS