I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #130

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.

  • February 7, 1928 Joe Earl Stuart Jnr was born in Knoxville, Tennessee.  *
  • February 7, 1955 Single released – Cheyenne / Roanoke (Decca 29406).
  • February 7, 1964 Del McCoury left the Blue Grass Boys.

* The versatile and ubiquitous Joe Stuart was the only person to record on four different instruments as a Blue Grass Boy, this he did during intermittent spells, which spanned nearly two decades from August 1955 to the summer of 1973, and included 22 recording sessions.

Stuart first played the mandolin, when filling in for Bill Monroe who was recovering from a broken collarbone. The following day Stuart was hired as the regular banjo player.

He was often Monroe’s sideman of choice for shows that were some distance from Nashville; in such cases the two of them would travel and play with a pickup band of local musicians.

Even after his last stint as a Blue Grass Boy, Stuart continued to sit in occasionally on fiddle, and appeared on recording sessions as late as October 1976.

He was the quintessential sideman, never widely known to the general public, but highly regarded by his fellow musicians.

Stuart’s first recordings were of Used to Be, and the instrumentals Tall Timber and Brown County Breakdown, both of which were included on the LP Bluegrass Instrumentals (Decca DL 4601),  released on June 14, 1965.

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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.