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 15, 1913 Carolyn Minnie Brown, Bill Monroe’s first wife, born in Marshalltown, Iowa *
- May 15, 1942 Single released – Honky Tonk Swing / Back Up and Push (Bluebird B 8988, 78rpm)
- May 15, 1950 Single issued – The Old Fiddler / Alabama Waltz (Decca 46236, 78rpm)
- May 15, 1957 Recording session – During two sessions at the Bradley Film & Recording Studio Bill Monroe recorded Out In The Cold World, Roane County Prison, Goodbye Old Pal, In Despair, Molly And Tenbrooks and Come Back To Me In My Dreams. Also in the studio were Lester Sandy [guitar], Don Stover [banjo] and Bessie Lee Mauldin [bass] and Gordon Terry, Joe Stuart and Dale Potter [fiddles]. The producer was Paul Cohen. **
- May 15, 1967 Guitar virtuoso Clarence White was offered a spot in the Blue Grass Boys. He declined the invitation from Bill Monroe.
- May 15, 1972 Single released – Lonesome Moonlight Waltz / My Old Kentucky and You (Decca 32966, 45rpm)
- May 15, 1982 Birch Monroe suffered a heart attack and died in the Owensboro Hospital, Owensboro, Kentucky, just one day before his 81st birthday. ***
- May 15, 1990 Recording session – During an afternoon session at Nashville’s Reflections Studio Bill Monroe recorded What Would You Give In Exchange?, Cryin’ Holy Unto The Lord and Just A Little Talk With Jesus. Bill Monroe was assisted by Tom Ewing [guitar], Mac Wiseman [guitar], Blake Williams [baritone vocal/banjo], Billy Rose [bass], ‘Tater’ Tate [bass vocal/fiddle]. The producer was Steve Buchanan. ****
* Carolyn Brown married Bill Monroe on October 18, 1936.
Carolyn Monroe assisted her husband in booking shows for several years after Bill Monroe started out on his own. She is the mother of Melissa and James Monroe.
** The first three songs were recorded during an afternoon session. The last three were recorded during what is thought to have been an evening session that same day.
All six recordings were included on the LP Knee Deep in Bluegrass (Decca DL 8731), released on June 23, 1958.
*** Birch Monroe was Bill Monroe’s elder brother; the fifth child of J. B. and Malissa Monroe.
Along with brother, Charlie, the three Monroe siblings were part of a dance troupe while living and working in Chicago in the 1930s.
Birch, a fiddle player and bass singer, played with Charlie’s band, the Kentucky Partners, before joining Bill Monroe.
In the 1950s he was employed as manager of the Brown County Jamboree, Bill Monroe’s music park at Bean Blossom, and he often played as a member of the house band there.
**** Mac Wiseman played on the duet What Would You Give In Exchange?
The recording of Just A Little Talk With Jesus was included on the album Cryin’ Holy Unto the Lord (MCAD-10017).