I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky #12

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.

  • October 12, 1936 – Monroe Brothers recording session: At this session, the third for the brothers, Charlie and Bill Monroe recorded 10 duets under the guidance of producer Eli Oberstein. They mixed Gospel numbers – Will the Circle be Unbroken, My Savior’s Train, We Read of a Place That’s Called Heaven (correctly entitled How Beautiful Heaven Must Be) and The Old Cross Road included – with secular songs – Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, Where is My Sailor Boy? (more familiarly known as What Does the Deep Sea Say?) and The Forgotten Soldier Boy included. The five singles produced were released with a Bluebird label during the first half of 1937.
  • October 12, 1984 – Fiddle player, Kenny Baker played his final show as a Blue Grass Boy (at Jemison, Alabama), thus ending his tenure as the longest-serving Monroe band member. Subsequently, he began touring and recording with Josh Graves, as a solo performer and as part of the Masters (Baker, Graves, Eddie Adcock and Jesse McReynolds).

Here’s a clip of Kenny Baker with the Blue Grass Boys performing Uncle Pen. Baker’s fiddling on this song is widely regarded as definitive of his style.

“Kenny knows bluegrass music – there’s never been a better one.” – Bill Monroe.

And here he is again after he left Monroe, performing his composition First Day In Town, which he has said was written when he first arrived in Nashville to play the Grand Ole Opry with Bill Monroe.

This video was recorded for German television in 1988 when Baker was touring with Josh Graves. Klaus Gausmann is on bass, Ulli Sieker on mandolin, Edwin Herkert on banjo and Matthias Malcher on guitar.

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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.