I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #100

From October 1, 2010 through to the end of September 2011, we will, each day, celebrate the life of Bill Monroe by sharing information about him and those people who are associated with his life and music career. This information will include births and deaths; recording sessions; single, LP and CD release dates; and other interesting tidbits. Richard F. Thompson is responsible for the research and compilation of this information. We invite readers to share any tidbits, photos or memories you would like us to include.

  • January 8, 1932 Al Lester was born in Bishop, Virginia.  *
  • January 8, 1954 Recording Session – Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys returned to Bradley Studio for a second consecutive day of recording, cutting four songs; Sitting Alone in the Moonlight, Plant Some Flowers By My Graveside, Changing Partners and Y’all Come. Assisting Monroe were Jimmy Martin [guitar], Grady Martin [guitar], Rudy Lyle [banjo], Charlie Cline [fiddle] and Ernie Newton [bass]. Paul Cohen was the producer.  **
  • January 8, 1988 Recording session – During an afternoon session produced by Emory Gordy Jr. at Sound Stage Studio, Bill Monroe recorded a never released version of What a Wonderful Life and the instrumental Sugar Loaf Mountain. Monroe was accompanied by Tom Ewing [guitar], Blake Williams [banjo], Tater Tate [bass], Mike Fagan [fiddle], Bobby Hicks [fiddle], Buddy Spicher [fiddle]. ***
  • January 8, 2005 Kelly McCormick passed away at his home in Westmoreland, Tennessee, at the age of 76. ****

* Al Lester was an unconfirmed fill-in on fiddle.

** Y’all Come and Changing Partners were paired on a single (Decca 29021), released on February 8, 1954.

*** Sugar Loaf Mountain was another tune released on the album Southern Flavor (MCA-42133).

**** Kelly McCormick was thought to have been a substitute guitar player some time during 1964.

McCormick was better known as a mandolin player and tenor vocalist with the McCormick Brothers, the Tennessee-based traditional bluegrass band that recorded approximately 30 sides for Hickory Records from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s.

The group did weekly live radio shows for about 12 years on WHIN in Gallatin and were extremely popular on a regional level.

They also worked some country music parks, often playing Sunday shows at the Brown County Jamboree in Bean Blossom, Indiana. ?The brothers were frequently ranked in Billboard magazine’s annual DJ poll among their favourite small country and western groups. The act also won a Cash Box magazine award. In March 2002 Varese/Saraband reissued some of the McCormick Brothers Hickory material; The Very Best of the McCormick Brothers (Varese Vintage 066322).

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics.

A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.

He wrote the annotated series I’m On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.