I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #176

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 25, 1934 Franklin Glenn ‘Frank’ Buchanan was born near Penland, North Carolina. *
  • March 25, 1967 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys appeared at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. **
  • March 25, 1974 Single released – Swing Low, Sweet Chariot / Down Yonder (MCA 40220, 45rpm)
  • March 25, 2008 CD released – Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder – Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass : Tribute to 1946 and 1947 (Skaggs Family 901008) ***

* Frank Buchanan joined the Blue Grass Boys in the autumn of 1960.  Buchanan [guitar and lead vocal] was a band member when Bill Monroe recorded 18 songs for Decca in various sessions beginning on April 25, 1962 and ending on May 16, 1962.  He left Monroe’s employment in the fall of 1962.

He sang lead on several recordings including The Blue Ridge Mountain Blues, Old Country Baptizing, I Have found The Way, Way Down Deep In My Soul and Drifting Too Far From The Shore. The sacred songs were included on the LP I’ll Meet You in Church Sunday Morning (Decca DL 4537).

Buchanan began his musical journey at the age of 14 when learned to play guitar and mandolin and sang with his older brother Ray. After playing Cal Calhoun’s Carolina Barn Dance, he moved on to play with a band on the Dominion Barn Dance, where he first met Bill Monroe.

In addition to working for Monroe, Buchanan has worked with Raymond Fairchild (with whom he recorded two albums), Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Jimmy Dickens and Porter Wagoner, as well as the Shuffler brothers, George and Ron.

Buchanan also released an LP in his own name, Memories of Home (Atteiram 1544, 1977).

** Mylos ‘Myla’ Sonka, a Texas native, sat in on guitar.

*** Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder – Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass : Tribute to 1946 and 1947

Track listing – Going Back to Old Kentucky (with Earl Scruggs), When You’re Lonely, Toy Heart, It’s Mighty Dark to Travel, Mother’s Only Sleeping, Bluegrass Breakdown, Little Cabin Home On the Hill, Mansions for Me, Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong, Why Did You Wander, Remember the Cross and The Old Crossroads (with Del McCoury).

Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 and 1947, from 13-time Grammy winner Ricky Skaggs and the ace pickers of Kentucky Thunder, is a mix of bluegrass classics and diamonds in the rough. The album shines a light on the songs that would eventually become the building blocks of bluegrass.  Initially recorded by Bill Monroe and the ‘Original Bluegrass Band’ (Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Chubby Wise and Howard Watts) in 1946 and 1947, songs like Toy Heart and Little Cabin Home on the Hill provide a window into the bluegrass canon at the eve of its creation.

Skaggs Family Records

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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.