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 16, 1901 Birch Monroe was born near Rosine, Kentucky. *
- May 16, 1962 Recording session – During a day-time session at the Columbia Recording Studio Bill Monroe recorded three Gospel songs: Way Down Deep In My Soul, Drifting Too far From the Shore and Going Home. Frank Buchanan [guitar], Tony Ellis [banjo] and Bessie Lee Mauldin [bass] provided instrumental support while the quartets consisted of Bill Monroe [lead and tenor vocals], Frank Buchanan [lead vocals], Red Stanley [baritone vocal] and Culley Holt [bass vocal]. The producer was Harry Silverstein and Owen Bradley was the leader. **
- May 16, 1964 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys were among the bands featured at the National Country Music Cavalcade Of Stars in Madison Square Garden, New York City. Over 25,000 attended the two day event.
* Birch Monroe played bass and old-time fiddle for Bill Monroe during the period from 1945 through to 1947.
He participated in two recording sessions singing bass on Wicked Path Of Sin, I’ll Meet You In Church Sunday Morning and Boat Of Love. He played bass on The Shining Path.
Additionally, Birch Monroe sang or played bass on many Grand Ole Opry appearances that were recorded from radio and released on the LP Bluegrass Classics Radio Shows 1946-1948: Bill Monroe & the Bluegrass (sic) Boys (BCG 80), released in the Fall of 1981.
He can be heard on three other ‘live’ recordings each of which was included on the CD Bill Monroe: Live Recordings 1956-1969: Off the Record. Vol. 1 (SF CD 40063). These took place during the re-union of the Monroe brothers, Bill, Charlie and Birch, at the annual Smithsonian Festival Of American Folklife on Capitol Mall, Washington D.C. on July 4, 1969.
Other samples of his old-time fiddling can be found on the LP Brother Birch Monroe Plays Old Time Fiddle Favorites (Atteiram API-L-1516) recorded circa May 1975.
** Way Down Deep In My Soul, Drifting Too Far From the Shore and Going Home were included on the album I’ll Meet You In Church Sunday Morning (Decca DL 4537), released on June 15, 1964.