I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #212

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 30, 1935 Robert B ‘Bill’ Yates was born in Big Rock, in the Appalachian coal country of south-western Virginia. *
  • April 30, 1956 Single released – On and On / I Believed in You Darling (Decca 9 – 29886, 78 rpm, 9886, 45rpm)
  • April 30, 1956 EP released – New Mule Skinner Blues / Uncle Pen / Blue Moon of Kentucky / Pike County Breakdown (Decca ED 2353).
  • April 30, 1956 EP released – Get Down on your Knees and Pray / Walking in Jerusalem / I’m Working on a Building / He will Set your Fields on Fire (Decca ED 2354).
  • April 30, 1966 Bill Monroe was officially declared a Kentucky Colonel on stage during a WWVA Jamboree broadcast.
  • April 30, 1967 Doug Green played his first date as a Blue Grass Boy. The 21 year old guitarist was on a break from college at the time.
  • April 30, 1971 Robin Floyd ‘Robbie’ McCoury was born in York, Pennsylvania. **
  • April 30, 1991 CD released – Bill Monroe Cryin’ Holy Unto The Lord (MCA Nashville MCA 10017) ***
  • April 30, 1991 Bill Monroe was a guest on the recording for the CD Emmylou Harris And The Nash Ramblers At The Ryman (the sessions extended into shows for May 1 and May 2). The album was released on January 10, 1992.

* Bill Yates played bass with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys for about five months from July to November 1969 before joining The Country Gentlemen. He featured in two recording sessions, playing bass on Walk Softly on My Heart, Tall Pines and taking the lead on the trio number Going up Caney.

Coming from a musically talented family, he took an early interest in bluegrass music, learning to play the bass by listening to records.

With his brother Wayne, he formed their own band, the Yates Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Ramblers playing together before being joined by Red Allen with whom they played on the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree.

As the Kentuckians, Yates, Allen, Bill Emerson, Chubby Wise and co. recorded for Melodeon and for County Records. Yates then followed Emerson to play with Jimmy Martin, with whom he stayed for six years and recorded three sessions.

After playing with Bill Monroe he joined the Country Gentlemen in December 1969 and toured and recorded with them for the next 20 years. Yates is featured on a vast catalog of recordings from that period, with releases on the Vanguard, Rebel, Sugar Hill and Seven Seas (Japan) labels.

Since then Yates has led his own bands, currently playing with the Country Gentlemen Tribute Band.

** Robbie McCoury is understood to have filled in on some unspecified dates. McCoury, the banjo player in the Del Mcoury Band, completes a remarkable family link with Bill Monroe, with his father, uncle and brother all serving time with the Father of Bluegrass Music.

He is one of the quartet; the Travellin’ McCourys also.

*** Bill Monroe Cryin’ Holy Unto The Lord

10 songs with half the cuts featuring stalwarts of bluegrass music such as Clarence Tate, Tom Ewing and Blake Williams, who formed the core of the Blue Grass Boys at the time, as well as numerous guest stars and contributors, such as Ricky Skaggs, Ralph Stanley, Jim & Jesse and Mac Wiseman.

Track listing –  Are You Lost In Sin?, Baptize Me in the Cumberland River, Cryin’ Holy Unto The Lord, Harbor of Love, He’ll Take You In, Just a Little Talk with Jesus, Just Over in the Glory Land, Shine Hallelujah Shine, This World Is not My Home and You’re Drifting Away.

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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.