I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #215

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.

  • May 3, 1952 The first Bean Blossom show under Bill Monroe’s stewardship took place.
  • May 3, 1962 Recording session – During a day-time session at the Columbia Recording Studio Bill Monroe recorded Blue Ridge Mountain Blues, How Will I Explain about You? and Foggy River for Decca. Accompanying Monroe were Frank Buchanan [guitar], Tony Ellis [banjo] and Bessie Lee Mauldin [bass], and Benny Williams and Red Stanley [fiddles]. The producer was Harry Silverstein and the leader was Owen Bradley. *
  • May 3, 1963 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys led a contingent of bluegrass bands at the first UCLA Folk Festival in Los Angeles, California.
  • May 3, 1965 EP released – Going Home / On the Jericho Road / Farther Along / Master Builder (Decca ED 2792)
  • May 3, 1971 Single released – Going Up Caney / Tallahassee (Decca 32827, 45rpm).
  • May 3, 1987 Merle ‘Red’ Taylor died of cancer after a long bout with the illness, aged 59.  **
  • May 3, 1999 Joel Price died, aged 88, from a heart attack.  ***

* Blue Ridge Mountain Blues, How Will I Explain about You? and Foggy River were included on the LP Bluegrass Special (Decca DL 4382), which was released on June 17, 1963.

** Merle ‘Red’ Taylor played fiddle for Bill Monroe for three stints during the 1950s.

He learned to play the fiddle as a child, learning old-fashioned hoedowns. When he was just 15 he got his own show on WELO in Tupelo. From there he moved to Blytheville, Arkansas as part of the Tommy ‘Butterball’ Paige troupe.

Later, he moved to Nashville where he worked as part of Cousin Wilbur’s show. Taylor worked with Little Jimmy Dickens and Hank Williams also. He recorded for Decca in the mid 1950s and in 1975 he recorded an album showcasing his soulful fiddle work; Taylor Made (Hi HIC 24001). In the 1980s he had two albums on the Old Homestead label, one of which was with Josh Graves.

*** Joel Price first played bass for Bill Monroe in February 1947. He was also noted for his slapstick and comedy songs.

Price got his start in 1937 playing and doing his first recordings with Tommy Scott’s medicine show. He continued in that role until he was hired by Bill Monroe.

After he left the Blue Grass Boys the first time Price spent a year playing in Grand Ole Opry star George Morgan’s band. On the second occasion he left to join ‘Little’ Jimmy Dickens, playing bass on two Dickens’ classics We Could and Take Me as I Am or Let Me Go.

Price is reputedly the first musician to play an electric bass on the Grand Ole Opry.