I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #101

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 9, 1886 Lloyd Allayre Loar was born at Cropsey, Illinois. *
  • January 9, 1987 LP released –  Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys – Bluegrass ’87 (MCA 5970) **
  • January 9, 1994 Recording session –  During an afternoon session at the Imagine Sound Studio, Inc. premises, 1701 Church Street, Nashville, Tennessee, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys recorded several instrumentals; Tombstone Junction, Jack Across the Way, Frog On the Lilly Pad, Boston Boy, Smokey Mountain Schottische, Roxanna Waltz and Slow & Easy Blues. Tom Ewing [guitar], Dana Cupp [banjo], Tater Tate [bass], and Robert Bowlin and Jimmy Campbell [both playing the fiddle] assisted. The producer was Vic Gabany. ***
  • January 9, 1994 Session for Pam Tillis – Bill Monroe played mandolin during a session for the Pam Tillis recording of ‘Til All the Lonely’s Gone for her album Sweetheart’s Dance (Arista Nashville AR 07822 18758-2). ****

* Lloyd Loar was a master luthier who worked for Gibson from 1919 to 1924. He is most famous for his F5 mandolins, the L5 guitar, H5 mandola and the K5 mandocello.

The mandolin that Bill Monroe played for most of his career was a Gibson Lloyd Loar F5 Master Model, the building of which Loar oversaw and was signed by him on July 9, 1923.

** Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys – Bluegrass ’87

Track listing – Long Bow, Mighty Dark To Travel, Music Valley Waltz, Jekyll Islands, The Old Crossroads, Old Brown County Barn, Stay Away From Me, Bluest Man In Town, Angels Rock Me To Sleep and Dancin’ In Brancin’ (the correct title is Dancin’ in Branson).

*** This was an on-spec session that Vic Gabany produced after Bill Monroe had been released from his contract with MCA Records.

MCA only purchased to the master for the recording of Boston Boy and released it on the 4-CD box-set Music of Bill Monroe, 1936 – 1994 (MCA4D-11048).  All the other recordings have remained unreleased.

**** After Bill Monroe had finished his own session with Vic Gabany, Pam Tillis was scheduled to record at the same studio. Tillis invited Monroe to over-dub a mandolin part on ‘Til All the Lonely’s Gone. This he did, but it is believed that most of the audible mandolin on the released version was played by Sam Bush, who otherwise played fiddle on the recording.

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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.