I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #199

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 17, 1934 Porter Church was born in Bristol, Tennessee.  *
  • April 17, 1997 A host of top bluegrass stars gathered together at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville to present ‘The Songs of Bill Monroe’’ a tribute concert for the late father of bluegrass music.  **
  • April 17, 2002 Garry Thurmond died of liver failure in a Birmingham, Alabama, hospital.  He was 57.  ***

* Porter Church worked a stint with Bill Monroe during 1960. He played guitar and banjo during that time. He did not participate in any recording sessions.

** Among the musicians featured were a few former Blue Grass Boys, including Wayne Lewis, Bobby Hicks, Tater Tate, Dana Cupp and Robert Bowlin. James Monroe and the Midnight Ramblers sang Bean Blossom Memories, a touching tribute.

Bill Monroe passed away on September 9, 1996.

*** Garry Thurmond traveled and performed as the guitar player with Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys in 1964.

He was the original leader of the Warrior River Boys, remaining in that role until 1984 when ill health forced him into temporary retirement and David Davis took over.

In 1998 Thurmond formed the Flint Hill Boys with Steve Helton. The band has two releases on the Bell Buckle label.

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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.