I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #179

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 28, 1908 Floyd Ethridge was born.  *
  • March 28, 1931 Horace Benjamin ‘Benny’ Williams was born on Dayton Mountain, Bledsoe County on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee.  **
  • March 28, 1942 Single released – Shake My Mother’s Hand For Me / Were You There? (Bluebird BB-8953, 78rpm)

* Fiddle player, Floyd Ethridge toured with Bill Monroe in 1943, but this may have been as support act in the various tent shows Monroe that had. However, Ethridge became a fully fledged Blue Grass Boy in 1949 when he replaced Benny Martin.

** Benny Williams began his tenure as a Blue Grass Boy in 1961, playing guitar. Later, he showed his versatility by switching to play the fiddle and he stayed with that instrument for most of the remainder of his time with Bill Monroe, which ended late in 1967.

While with Bill Monroe, Williams participated in five sessions, two from November and December 1961 and three sessions from April and May 1962. In the first two sessions from 1961 he sang lead vocal on the chorus to Cotton Fields while playing either fiddle or guitar on all six cuts done during that year. Williams played fiddle on the nine cuts from the 1962 sessions.

These recordings can be found in their entirety on the Bear Family 4-CD box set, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, 1959-1969 or a selection thereof as part of smaller samplings on Music Of Bill Monroe 1936-1994 CD [MCA 11048] and the instrumental collection American Traveler [County 119].

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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.