Coupled together on one CD are Bill Monroe and Friends (released on LP in 1984) and Bill Monroe and Stars of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame (1985).
Bill Monroe and Friends features Monroe on ten rousing duets with such notable performers as Johnny Cash, Mel Tillis, Barbara Mandrell, John Hartford, Ricky Skaggs and Emmylou Harris. It is a satisfying tribute to the bluegrass master and the genre that he created.
Stars of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame continues the theme with passionate contributions from Bobby Hicks, Mac Wiseman, Jim & Jesse, the Country Gentlemen and Del McCoury. Throughout, Monroe is in fine form with his high, piercing tenor voice and his hard-driving mandolin.
The collection features several of Monroe’s most famous compositions, including Blue Moon of Kentucky, Kentucky Waltz, My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darlin’, With Body And Soul, I’m On My Way Back To The Old Home, The Golden West and I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky. Additionally, there are three bonus tracks, each from the album Bluegrass ’87. Mighty Dark To Travel and Bluest Man In Town are duets with Jim and Jesse McReynolds, and Del McCoury, respectively. The last of the three is the instrumental Old Brown County Barn, which features the twins fiddles of Bobby Hicks and Glen Duncan.
Bill Monroe and Friends/Bill Monroe and Stars of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame (RVCD-327) is scheduled for release today (9/13) – on what would have been Monroe’s 99th birthday.