I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #202

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 20, 1957 Recording session – Bill Monroe recorded A Fallen Star and Four Walls at the Bradley Film & Recording Studio in Nashville. In the studio also were Joe Stuart [guitar], Don Stover [banjo] and Bessie Lee Mauldin [bass], and Gordon Terry and Tommy Jackson [both playing fiddle]. *
  • April 20, 1969 Norman Carlson filled-in on bass as Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys opened the season at the Brown County Jamboree, Bean Blossom, Indiana. **
  • April 20, 1983 Recording session – During an evening session Bill Monroe and Emmylou Harris recorded Kentucky Waltz at Burns Station Sound, Burns, Tennessee. Assisting the duo were Wayne Lewis and Joe Stuart [both playing guitar], Blake Williams [banjo] and Mark Hembree [bass], and Kenny Baker and Buddy Spicher [both playing fiddle]. The producer was Walter Haynes. ***
  • April 20, 2001 The Bill Monroe Foundation was founded by Ohio County Industrial Foundation. ****

* A Fallen Star and Four Walls are paired on a single (Decca 9-30327), released on May 13, 1957, and are included on the LP My All Time Country Favorites (Decca DL 4327), released on October 8, 1962.

** Norman Carlson was an entomology student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, who was a frequent visitor to Bean Blossom. He was president of the Purdue University Campus Folksong Club and a fan of the Stanley Brothers.

Although he remained an avid hillbilly music fan, Carlson moved back to work on the family farm near Jamestown, New York.

Other guest performers included Red Rector, Roger Smith, Neil Rosenberg and Birch Monroe.

*** The recording of Kentucky Waltz is included on the LP Bill Monroe and Friends (MCA-5435), which was released on January 12, 1984.

**** The Bill Monroe Foundation was a non-profit organization with the mission of creating a living history memorial to Bill Monroe, the Father of Blue Grass Music, through the restoration and preservation of the Monroe family farm, the Monroe home place, the town of Rosine, Kentucky, and the creation and maintenance of the Bill Monroe Museum.

In 2005 a court injunction prohibited the foundation from using Bill Monroe’s name. Subsequently, it became known as the Monroe Brothers Foundation.

Although the dispute regarding the use of the Bill Monroe name has continued into his centennial year, the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Foundation and the Rosine Project have grown out of the turmoil and the planning and restoration work continues.

“I played a festival concert on a flatbed truck right after Bill Monroe and the Blue grass Boys played. It was hot, maybe 90 degrees. Bill and the boys were in full dress suits – coats and ties and hats. It was so hot and right in the sun. When I played, the sun almost burned a hole in my black shoe. I never heard Bill complain about the show – he was always there for his fans.”

Steve Kaufman

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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.