I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #148

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 25, 1927 Ralph Edmond Stanley born in Stratton, Dickenson County, Virginia. *
  • February 25, 1958 Recording session – During an early evening session at the Bradley Film & Recording Studio Bill Monroe recorded three Gospel numbers: I Saw the Light, Lord, Build Me a Cabin in Glory and Lord Lead Me On. Accompanying Bill Monroe [mandolin and tenor vocals] were Edd Mayfield [guitar and lead vocals], Bessie Lee Mauldin [bass] and the voices of Kenny Baker [baritone] and Gordon Terry [bass]. **
  • February 25, 1986 Bill Monroe’s 1923 Lloyd Loar Gibson F5 Model mandolin [No 73987], now restored, was returned to him. ***

* Ralph Stanley played banjo with the Blue Grass Boys very briefly in August 1951, filling in for Rudy Lyle, who joined the service. Bill Monroe offered Stanley a full time job, but he declined, not wanting to travel as much as Monroe was doing at that time.

** All recordings were included on the LP I Saw the Light (Decca DL 8769), the mono version of which was released on August 11, 1958. The stereo version (Decca DL 7-8769), was released on March 18, 1968.

*** Charlie Derrington, an eminent Gibson luthier and mandolin player himself, spent three months, working 40 hours a week, repairing Monroe’s primary mandolin.

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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.