I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #135

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 12, 1930 Harley ‘Red’ Allen was born in Pigeon Roost, Kentucky. *
  • February 12, 1977 The LP Bill Monroe Sings Bluegrass, Body And Soul (MCA 2251) debuted on the Billboard Hot Country LPs music sales chart. **

* Red Allen took fill-in jobs playing guitar for Bill Monroe in April 1967.

In his Red Allen biography, Teardrops In My Eyes, Dennis Satterlee relates…

“In April 1967, guitarist Peter Rowan left the Blue Grass Boys to join friend David Grisman to pursue other musical interests. Filling in on guitar Red was one of at least a dozen lead singers who played with the Blue Grass Boys while they searched for a replacement for Rowan. On one short two-day tour starting in Waverly, Ohio, and ending the following day in Bean Blossom, Indiana, Red had a very unusual problem which may have sealed his fate as a future Blue Grass Boy. While playing the first night in Ohio, Red became ill and had to be taken to the doctor. A heart problem was originally suspected. However, the following day in Bean Blossom, Bill Monroe joked from the stage that Red had been on tour with the Blue Grass Boys and had been so nervous playing the previous day that he had to be taken to the doctor and couldn’t make that day’s show. In fact Red remained in Ohio under doctor’s care overnight and didn’t show up in Bean Blossom until half way through the first set.”

Lamar Grier confirmed that Allen was very nervous, “because he really wanted that job.”

Satterlee added:

“Doug Green, now known as Ranger Doug, of the western band Riders in the Sky, was at Bean Blossom that day to audition for the guitarist and was available to fill in for the missing Red Allen.”

Doug Green has noted that date as April 30, 1967.

** The LP peaked at No. 37 during its four weeks on the charts.

Share this:

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.