I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #197

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.

  • April 15, 1905 Hubert Davis was born in Shelby, North Carolina.*
  • April 15, 1938 Philip Lamar Grier Jnr was born in Washington D.C. **
  • April 15, 1939 Clennon Wayne Jerrolds was born in Hardin County, Tennessee. ***
  • April 15, 1975 Bessie Lee Mauldin filed for divorce from Bill Monroe, presenting herself as Monroe’s common-law wife.  ****

* Hubert Davis played banjo at the recording session which took place on December 31, 1954. At the session he assisted in the recording of three instrumentals: Wheel Hoss, Cheyenne and Roanoke, and You’ll Find Her Name Written There.

Cheyenne and Roanoke are included on the LP Bill Monroe’s Greatest Hits (Decca DL 7-5010), released on June 17, 1968.

** Although not yet formally a Blue Grass Boy, Lamar Grier played with Bill Monroe at the first Fincastle bluegrass festival, September 1965. Shortly afterwards he played an outdoor park show date in Ohio.

Grier’s stint with Bill Monroe lasted until June 1967. During that time he was part of one of the most celebrated Blue Grass Boy line-ups, working with Peter Rowan, Richard Greene and James Monroe. He worked at five recording sessions, playing on When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again, Turkey In The Straw, Dusty Miller, Midnight On The Stormy Deep, Soldier’s Joy and Grey Eagle.

Grier was part of Monroe’s first overseas tour in 1966; nine dates in England and one in Wales.

After leaving Monroe, he played and recorded with Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard, including an album as part of the Strange Creek Singers, and with Peter Rowan and Tex Logan. In the 1970s he was a member of Buzz Busby’s band and recorded a few albums with him.

He stopped playing the banjo in 1984 and retired from his day job with the U.S Government in 1998.

*** Wayne Jerrolds played fiddle for Bill Monroe from December 1988 through to March 1989. He was not involved in any recording sessions during that period.

Jerrolds took a very early interest in fiddle music and by the age of 19 he had won the Mid-South Fiddling Championship several times.

His first paid performances were at the Coliseum Theater in Corinth, Mississippi, in the late 1950s, playing in the staff band for Buddy and Kay Bain.  Prior to working for Bill Monroe Jerrolds played with the Warrior River Boys.

After leaving the Blue Grass Boys he played backup fiddle for Loretta Lynn and toured with Tammy Wynette.

**** Bessie Lee Mauldin was a long-term companion of Bill Monroe’s and claimed that they lived together as man and wife.

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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.