This combination of sides from bluegrass duos Flatt & Scruggs
and the Stanley Brothers
is the second of the four-disc offering assembled by Great Britain’s JSP imprint, who is famous for its well-compiled and annotated, budget-priced box sets. The first volume dealt with cuts issued by Flatt & Scruggs
between 1948 and 1952, while the Stanleys'
offerings were assembled from those recorded between 1947 and to 1953. This set picks up with 50 songs by each act. In the case of the former, the recorded discography is from 1952 to 1959 and the latter is between 1955 and 1959. Flatt & Scruggs
laid down classics during these years including “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke,” “Foggy Mountain Chimes,” “Six White Horses,” “Give Mother My Crown,” “Randy Lynn Rag,” “Foggy Mountain Special,” and dozens of gospel tunes. Ralph
and Carter Stanley
were on a run as well, with “Orange Blossom Special,” ”Angel Band,” “Say You’ll Take Me Back,” “So Blue,” “Daybreak in Dixie,” “Little Maggie,” and, of course, the original version of “I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow,” along with a slew of moving country-gospel numbers. Bluegrass aficionados probably have all of this material, but for those who don’t, and began their interest in either or both groups with volume one, this second set burns just as hard and just as long; it presents a solid look, rather than a glimpse, of a magical period in country music history and into the development of bluegrass itself. Each CD's booklet gives another chapter in the story, the sound is excellent, and there is complete personnel information listed for music history buffs.