Celebrate the Heart of Country, Americana, and Roots Music!

Drop Us A Line, Y'all

Y'all interested in advertising, partnering up, contributing stories, joining our team, or just got a question? Well, don't be shy, drop us a line!

Follow Us

You Can’t Imagine Bluegrass Without The Stanley Brothers Songs In It

Stanley Brothers Songs
by

Ralph and Carter Stanley were two mountain boys who took those mountains – along with their beliefs, customs, and folk songs – and wove them into a traditional bluegrass sound of absolute purity, modesty, and bewildering magnificence. The incomparable sound of the duo’s gritty tenor vocals, the driving banjo, and the soaring duets in The Stanley Brothers songs become a favorite of many.

Let’s check out some of their greatest hits throughout the years.

1. I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow

The song was originally first published by Dick Burnett in around 1913. However, it was only popularized by The Stanley Brothers, who recorded “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” in 1950. The duo learned the song from their father, Lee Stanley, who turned the tune into a hymn sung a capella in the Primitive Baptist tradition.

The Stanley Brothers arranged the song into their own and performed it at a faster tempo. Nearly a decade later, the duo re-recorded the song wherein he was joined by other members of the band in added refrains.

2. Little Maggie

“Little Maggie” tells the story of a man who fell in love with a woman who drank and moved from one suitor to another. The first recording was around 1928 by the duo G.B. Grayson and Henry Whittier, who were considered two of the most influential recording artists in the genre’s early days.

Two decades later, The Stanley Brothers cut the song, and it became such a hit – helping put the duo on the map. “Little Maggie” continues to be a standard for bluegrass pickers worldwide.

3. Rank Strangers to Me

The Stanley Brothers’ cover version of “Rank Strangers to Me” – originally released by Albert E. Brumley – was a memorable one, keeping the song alive in our musical consciousness for decades. The duo gave this special effect on the original song and increased its cultural significance by connecting it to new audiences.

4. Angel Band

The gospel music song became widely known in the 19th century, both in folk traditions and in published form. “Angel Band” was recorded by various artists, with The Stanley Brothers’ version being one of the most popular ones.

5. The White Dove

“The White Dove” was one of the first songs Carter Stanley wrote. Carter revealed that he penned the song in the back seat of the car while traveling home from North Carolina to Tennessee. 

While it was not clear what Carter had in mind in writing the gospel, white doves are often associated with love and devotion, peace and unity. After all, white doves have many connections with scripture from the Holy Bible. Ralph also said that Carter was learning more about white doves at the time.

6. Think of What You’ve Done

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rygj4cRvilE

This bluegrass song bears a theme that’s still relatable many decades later – lost love. It tells the story of a man whose lover left him in pain and sorrow and in big disbelief that they were through. Now, he has decided to go back to the hills where he learned to love her and will stay there until his death.

7. Love Me Darling Just Tonight

The Stanley Brothers definitely know how to make our hearts melt with this song about a man asking his darling to love him just for tonight. He’s begging her to take him into his arms and hold him tight, for he knows she will be holding another the next day. 

8. It’s Raining Here This Morning 

If there’s one thing The Stanley Brothers has mastered, it’s absolutely how to tell a story. The song narrates about an inmate trying to survive day by day. He misses his little darling, and was hoping he could have her in his arms and tell her he loves her just as before. While she promised to wait for him, she has sadly found somewhere else to wander.

Now, he’s hoping he could follow all the raindrops – down the Mississippi River.

9. Shouting on the Hills of Glory

The Stanley Brothers give hope for a blessed reunion where everyone will gather over yonder and will be shouting on the hills of God. After all, Jesus prepared a place in heaven, and there will be no more sorrow in the city.

10. How Mountain Girls Can Love

If there’s someone who knows the mountain girls so much, it would absolutely be The Stanley Brothers. So, the duo got some advice! And that’s to “treat her right, never wrong.”

Some More of The Stanley Brothers Songs That Made A Mark Throughout The Decade

Truly, The Stanley Brothers songs are some of the most prominent tunes that will live on forever. Here are some of their best hits that you need to check out.

  • How Far to Little Rock
  • Little Glass of Wine
  • Molly and Tenbrooks
  • The Fields Have Turned Brown
  • Orange Blossom Special
  • Clinch Mountain Backstep
  • Nobody’s Love Is Like Mine
  • Gathering Flowers for the Master’s Bouquet
  • The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn
  • Pig in a Pen
  • Still Trying to Get to Little Rock
  • Ridin’ That Midnite Train
  • She’s More to Be Pitied
  • The Memory of Your Smile
  • Love Me Darlin’ Just Tonight

Truly, you’ll never definitely know bluegrass without knowing The Stanley Brothers songs.

Latest Stories

The Country Fest 2024

The Country Fest 2024: What You Need to Know

Festival Title:The Country Fest 2024Festival Duration:June 12-15, 2024Venue:Clay’s Resort Jellystone Park in North Lawrence, OhioPerformers Include:Chris Janson, Lainey Wilson, Cody Johnson, Thomas Rhett, and moreTicket Information:Get Your Tickets Here On ...

Laurel Cove Music Festival 2024

Laurel Cove Music Festival 2024

Festival Title:Laurel Cove Music Festival 2024Festival Duration:June 7-8, 2024Venue:Laurel Cove Amphitheater, Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Bell County, Pineville, KentuckyPerformers Include:The Red Clay Strays, Wyatt Flores, and moreTicket Information:SOLD ...

Bonnaroo Music Festival 2024

Bonnaroo Music Festival 2024

Festival Title:Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival 2024Festival Duration:June 13-16, 2024Venue:The Bonnaroo Farm in Manchester, TennesseePerformers Include:Post Malone, Pretty Lights, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fisher, Fred Again, and moreTicket Information:Get Your ...

Reba McEntire Reveals She'll 'Definitely' Sing the Theme Song for New Sitcom Happy's Place

Reba McEntire Confirms She’ll Be Singing The Theme Song For New Sitcom Happy’s Place

Country star Reba McEntire is set to come back on network comedy after her iconic Primetime Emmy-nominated and People’s Choice winner TV sitcom Reba. And it’s an all-new comedy series ...

Kelly Clarkson Delivers Beautiful Rendition of Lainey Wilsons Two Story House

Kellyoke Strikes Again! Kelly Clarkson Covers Lainey Wilson’s “Two Story House” And It Was Captivating

The Kelly Clarkson Show always opens with “Kellyoke,” where she does a musical performance of fan-requested song covers. And she has since done hundreds. On May 8, 2024, she covered ...

Kick'n Up Kountry 2024

Kick’n Up Kountry 2024

Festival Title:Kick’n Up Kountry 2024Festival Duration:June 12-15, 2024Venue:Wagon Wheel Ridge in Karlstad, MinnesotaPerformers Include:Lady A, Parmalee, Warrant, and moreTicket Information:Get Your Tickets Here Get ready to Kick’n Up Kountry (KUK) ...

Post Malone Graduates From Country Covers To Country Single With The Help Of Morgan Wallen

Two genre-crossing artists and Republic labelmates—Grammy-nominated singer-rapper Post Malone and chart-dominating country singer Morgan Wallen—dropped their collaborative single “I Had Some Help” last May 10. This is Malone’s third joint ...

CMA Fest 2024

CMA Fest 2024: What You Need to Know

Festival Title:CMA Fest 2024Festival Duration:June 6-9, 2024Venue:Nashville, TennesseePerformers Include:Kelsea Ballerini, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Jordan Davis, HARDY, Jelly Roll, Cody Johnson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ashley McBryde, Parker McCollum, Jon Pardi, Carly ...

LeAnn Rimes + How Do I Live

How “How Do I Live” Skyrocketed the Career of 15-Year-Old LeAnn Rimes

“How Do I Live” was written by Diane Warren in 1997 and was first performed by LeAnn Rimes for her album “You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs.” Another version ...

Waylon Jennings + Luckenbach, Texas

Waylon Jennings’ “Luckenbach, Texas” Highlights Honest Living

“Luckenbach, Texas” is a song co-written by Chips Moman and Bobby Emmons, both prominent producers and songwriters in the country music scene. To get Waylon Jennings interested in a song, ...