I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #220

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 8, 1928 Benjamin “Benny” Edward Martin Snr [fiddle] was born in Sparta, Tennessee.  *
  • May 8, 1934 Bill Price was born in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina.  **
  • May 8, 1955 Reunion of the Monroe Brothers (Charlie and Bill) at New River Ranch, Rising Sun, Maryland.  The concert area was filled to capacity.
  • May 8, 1959 Rick Campbell was born in Sneedville, Tennessee. ***
  • May 8, 1968 George D Hay died in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  ****
  • May 8, 2001 CD released – Bill Monroe Greatest Hits (Classic World Production CWP 1306) *****

* Benny Martin replaced Chubby Wise in January 1948 and stayed with the Blue Grass Boys through to 1949. He returned to fill the fiddle spot when Bobby Hicks left Monroe in 1959.

He participated in two recording sessions – cutting Sunny Side of the Mountain (in February 1952) and playing a second fiddle on Lonesome Wind Blues.

Also a video recording of Martin playing on Traveling Down This Lonesome Road and Raw Hide performed on stage at the 1965 Roanoke Bluegrass Festival was issued by Shanachie.

** Bill Price had two stints as a Blue Grass Boy, one in 1954, lasting five months, playing guitar shortly after Jimmy Martin left the band, and the other for a few months in 1956.

He was not involved in any recording sessions.

*** Rick Campbell filled-in, deputising for Robert Bowlin, on fiddle during July 1994.

**** An American radio personality, George D Hay was the founder of the original Grand Ole Opry radio programme, the WSM Barn Dance, which began in 1925. Two years later “The Solemn Old Judge” (he was neither solemn nor old), as Hay billed himself, announced, “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera. From now on we will present the Grand Ole Opry.” That name became synonymous with country music world wide and continues in use today.

He signed Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys to the Grand Ole Opry cast in October 1939.

In 1945 Hay wrote A Story of the Grand Ole Opry, and he became an editor of Nashville’s Pickin’ and Singin’ News in 1953. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966.

Hay moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he died in 1968.

***** Bill Monroe Greatest Hits, 12 tracks

Track listing – Orange Blossom Special, Uncle Pen, Footprints in the Snow, Bluegrass Breakdown, I Saw the Light,  Shady Grove, Shenandoah Breakdown, Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel No. 8), The Prisoner’s Song, Blue Moon of Kentucky, Can’t You Hear me Callin’ and Nine Pound Hammer is too Heavy.