I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #167

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.

  • March 16, 1959 The recording of Gotta Travel On (Decca 30809) peaked at number 15 in the Billboard country music chart.  *
  • March 16, 1965 Recording session – During an early evening session at the Columbia Recording Studio Bill Monroe recorded Long Black Veil, I Live In the Past and There’s An Old, Old House. Also playing during the session were Jimmy Elrod [guitar], Don Lineberger [banjo], James Monroe [bass], and the twin fiddles of Benny Williams and Buddy Spicher.  The producer was Harry Silverstein. **
  • March 16, 1967 Ronnie McCoury was born in York, Pennsylvania.  ** *
  • March 16, 1996 Bill Monroe was diagnosed as having had a stroke the previous month.

* The recording was on the chart for 6 weeks, having first registered on the chart on March 2, 1959.

** I Live In the Past and There’s An Old, Old House were paired on a single (Decca 31878) released on December 13, 1965.

*** Ronnie McCoury filled-in playing guitar during November 1994.

He was exposed to bluegrass from a young age with many pickin’ parties involving his father, Del, and his family and friends.

After a being distracted by sport for a few years, which caused him to suspend violin lessons, McCoury was inspired by seeing Bill Monroe in a concert to start learning to play the mandolin. After only six months of playing the instrument and having not long celebrated his 14th birthday, he was invited to join his father’s band, the Dixie Pals.

He has grown to become an outstanding mandolin player – winning the IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year title for eight consecutive years – and singer very much in the style of his father.

As well as being a constant in the recording studio for the Dixie Pals and the Del McCoury Band (as the ensemble has been known since 1987), McCoury has recorded solo, with his brother Robbie, on various artist releases such as Mandolin Extravaganza (Acoustic Disc, 1999) and been a guest on many other albums.

More recently he has been playing and touring with the Travelin’ McCoury’s whenever the Del McCoury Band has been off the road.

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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.