Artists have been performing and recording “Rank Stranger” for more than 60 years, but the Stanley Brothers’ 1960 recording for Starday Records remains the definitive version.
Their sparse arrangement perfectly suited the song about a lonesome narrator who comes to the realization that you can’t go home again.
The Stanleys didn’t write it. That credit goes to Albert E. Brumley, who can pair it with “I’ll Fly Away” for possibly the greatest 1-2 songwriting punch in country gospel history.
It’s a beautiful song written in 1942 that many musicians still perform today, but only the Stanleys’ version ended up in the National Recording Registry as a document worth preserving as part of America’s sound-recording heritage.
“Rank Stranger” lyrics and chords
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