I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky #17

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 17, 1955 Single released – Wheel Hoss/Put My Little Shoes Away (Decca 29645)
  • October 17, 1976 Ernie Newton died, age 66.  *
  • October 17, 1984 Paul Sato filled in, playing bass, with the Blue Grass Boys at a concert at the University of Hawaii‘s East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. **

* Newton was a top Nashville studio musician hired by producer Paul Cohen to play bass at some sessions in 1951, utilized with other sidemen in an attempt to make Monroe’s recordings more commercial. Newton played bass at other Decca sessions during 1952 and 1954.

** Sato is better known as a banjo player (as he was in 1984). Currently, he is a lawyer in Honolulu.

Paul commented on his moment as a Blue Grass Boy for the California Bluegrass Association:

“At one point during the concert when the audience was really going wild, Monroe asked Blake Williams (on banjo) to hold the bass and told me to ‘come on up here’ to the mic. I did so dutifully while breaking into a sweat… Monroe asked me; ‘Son, what do you think of bluegrass music?’ This is one of those defining moments where a person can be a hero or a goat (for life) depending on your reply. By a stroke of good fortune, I replied; ‘Bill, it’s the best music in the world, or why would all these people be here tonight?!’ The audience cheered, Bill broke into a huge smile and shook my hand, and I stopped sweating…a little.”

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.