Recorded at WDBS Studios, Durham, NC. l974. Originally released on Flying Fish Records, 1975. Cover art by Doug Johnson. Personnel: Mike Craver - piano, Bill Hicks - fiddle, Tommy Thompson - banjo, Jim Watson - mandolin. Songs include Yellow Rose of Texas, Big Sciota, Abe's Retreat, The Golden Vanity, Stolen Love, I Got What It Takes (But It Breaks My Heart to Give It Away), Keep the Home Fires Burning, Honey Babe, Balleydesmond Polka, Wind and Rain, She's Been After Man Ever Since, Kingdom Coming (In the Year of Jubilo), Staten Island Hornpipe, Parting Hand, Forked Deer
PDF scores are available for "Kingdom Coming (In the Year of Jubilo)" & "The Parting Hand" at SAPSUCKER SCORES
"In many ways STOLEN LOVE establishes what would become the archetypal Ramblers style - that strange hybrid that sets them apart from so many other acoustic bands. Some fine "straightforward" fiddle tunes (played in the old rousing unison style - fiddle, banjo, and mandolin all playing the tune together!), popular novelty tunes ("She's Been After Man Ever Since"), and a collection of wildly eclectic but surprisingly successful experiments. "Parting Hand," from the Sacred Harp, is sung faithfully from the notation, but gains a new freshness from the fine vocal blend of Craver, Thompson, and Watson. "Wind and Rain" is an excellent blend of sensitive accompaniment and clear, honest vocals, as is the version of the great Childe ballad "Golden Vanity." Mike Craver's first solo effort, "Keep the Homes Fires Burning," is a touching WWI tune that foreshadows his magnificent later solos, and his piano accompaniment on old fiddle tune standards like "Forked Deer" is sensitive enough that we don't even notice he's playing bluegrass piano! My favorite tune on this record is the exuberant "Kingdom Coming (Year of Jubilo)," a song with a familiar tune about the emancipation of the slaves, featuring mandolinist Jim Watson's high clear tenor on top of the joyful harmonies. ---Larry Polanksy, OP MAGAZINE.