I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #219

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 7, 1983 Bill Monroe served as Grand Marshall for the Pegasus Parade in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • May 7, 1985 Recording session – Bill Monroe and Jim & Jesse recorded I’m on My Way Back to the Old Home and Mighty Dark To Travel. Also working at the session were Wayne Lewis [guitar], Blake Williams [banjo], ‘Tater’ Tate [bass] and Glen Duncan [fiddle] along with Jim McReynolds [guitar and lead vocals], Jesse McReynolds [mandolin and baritone vocals]. Later in the day Bill Monroe and the Seldom Scene recorded Remember the Cross. Lewis, Williams and Duncan assisted along with John Duffey [mandolin, lead and tenor vocals], Mike Auldridge [Dobro(R) and baritone vocals], ‘Tater’ Tate [bass vocals] and Emory Gordy, Jr. [bass]. The producer at both sessions was Emory Gordy, Jr. *
  • May 7, 2005 Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys: The Definitive Collection, a newly released digest of their most important work, released on Decca/Chronicles/UME, made its debut at # 7 on the Billboard Top Bluegrass Albums chart this week.

* I’m on My Way Back to the Old Home and Remember the Cross are included on the LP Bill Monroe and Stars of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame (MCA-5625), which was released on August 19, 1985.

James R ’Jim’ Peva, a tireless worker at Bean Blossom and a long-standing friend of Bill Monroe’s shares his observations –

“The Bill Monroe I knew was a perfect gentleman, not very talkative but very polite, whose favorite words during most conversations were, ‘Yes Sir,’ ‘No Sir,’ and ‘Is that right?’

As I got to know him, I realized that he was basically a shy person (except when performing on stage), and that his eyesight was not very good. Sometimes he would not recognize people because of this disability, and that was mistaken by some people who thought he was ‘distant’ or impolite.

He sometimes spoke of himself in the third person, such as ‘Bill Monroe will be at that show,’ rather than, ‘I will be there.’

Even in later years when his health was not very good, he could transform himself from a sick old man offstage into the vigorous young Bill Monroe of 1945 the minute he got on stage to perform. I never saw him vary the quality or energy of his performance because of a small audience, and he would give the same energetic show to a small group of 15 people that he would to a crowd of several thousand.

He communicated with the members of his band without words, by a glance, striking a chord on his mandolin, and by other ‘body language’ that they soon became very aware of. He was very competitive on stage, and to him, each member of his band, when they took a ‘break’ on their instrument, was challenged to outdo each other member of the band — but nobody could outperform the mandolin player!

Bill’s favorite descriptive term was ‘powerful,’ a word that actually described him and his music.

He was one of a kind. The world will never see another Bill Monroe.”