I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #231

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 19, 1911 Tommy Millard was born. *
  • May 19, 1927 Merle ‘Red’ Taylor was born in Saltillo, Mississippi (north of Tupelo). **
  • May 19, 1963 Bill Monroe and Doc Watson were recorded playing Get Up John at the Monterey Folk Festival. ***
  • May 19, 1969 Single released – Crossing The Cumberlands / I Haven’t Seen Mary In Years (Decca 32502, 45rpm)

* Tommy Millard, nicknamed ‘Snowball’ by Bill Monroe, was hired to serve as MC and black-face comedian in January 1939 and stayed until April 1939.  He played the jug, bones and spoons.

He was not involved in any recording sessions.

As well as playing on several medicine shows anywhere from the deep south to Pennsylvania, Millard led his own band, the Blue Ridge Hillbillies, which featured Red Smiley, Red Rector and Carl Sauceman at various times.

After World War II, Millard left show business and went into the ministry.

** Merle Taylor played fiddle with the Blue Grass Boys on and off throughout the 1950s.

He was involved in four sessions, recording Uncle Pen and Raw Hide and playing one of the three fiddles on the 1954 recording of Blue Moon of Kentucky.

*** The recording of Get Up John was included on the album Bill & Doc Sing Country Songs: Limited Club Edition (FBN-210), released circa 1978.