I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky #15

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 15, 1950 Recording session – Monroe with Jimmy Martin, Merle ‘Red’ Taylor, Rudy Lyle and Joel Price recorded Uncle Pen, When the Golden Leaves Begin to Fall, Lord Protect My Soul and River Of Death. Paul Cohen produced the afternoon session for Decca at Castle Studio, Nashville.
  • October 15, 1951 Single released – Sugar Coated Love/Highway of Sorrow (Decca 9 – 46369, 78rpm, 46369, 45rpm)
  • October 15, 1963 Frank Walker died Little Neck, New York. *
  • October 15, 1984 Paul Squyres filled in, playing bass, with the Blue Grass Boys. **
  • October 15, 1996 CD released – Various Artists – True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe (Sugar Hill SHCD 2209)
  • October 15, 2009 Jimmy Elrod passed away, age 70. ***

* Walker was the producer of Monroe’s Victor recordings, leading the sessions on October 7, 1940 and on October 2, 1941. He had come to prominence earlier as a producer for Columbia Records. Later he organized MGM’s record division and helped to found the Record Industry Association of America.

** A versatile musician, Squyres played and recorded with Bob Black and Jim Moss about that time also.

***  During two spells, one in 1957 and another in 1965, Elrod played bass, guitar and banjo for Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. He featured in two recording sessions that Monroe did for Decca. He can be heard playing the banjo on Sally-Jo, Brand New Shoes and A Lonesome Road (To Travel), from the session on December 15, 1957, and playing guitar on The Long Black Veil, I Live in the Past and There’s An Old, Old House, from March 16, 1965.

True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe – The 1997 Grammy Award-winning album featured a vast array of stellar musicians, including Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Ronnie McCoury, Tim O’Brien, John Hartford, Herb Pedersen, Laurie Lewis, Mollie O’Brien, Mike Marshall, Sam Bush, Chris Thile, David Grisman, Tony Trischka, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Vassar Clements, Bobby Hicks, Richard Greene and Todd Phillips. They collaborated on 17 classic Monroe numbers to produce a loving tribute to the father of bluegrass music.

Track Listing – Molly and Tenbrooks, True Life Blues, I’m on My Way to the Old Home, Highway of Sorrow, Old Ebenezer Scrooge, Memories of You, Rawhide, Can’t You Hear Me Callin’, Letter from My Darling, Sitting Alone in the Moonlight, Big Mon, Get Down on Your Knees and Pray, Used to Be, Scotland, Travelin’ This Lonesome Road, Heavy Traffic Ahead and Little Cabin Home on the Hill.

Entertainment Weekly commented:

“…Thirty bluegrass and country-music wizards…pick’n’sing 17 of Monroe’s compositions with virtuosity and flair. As long as bluegrass attracts super vocalists like [Del] McCoury and instrumentalists like guitarist David Grier, Monroe’s legacy will never die.”

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.