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 21, 1963 Lonnie J Meeker was born in Urbana, Illinois. *
- May 21, 1967 Roland White joined the Blue Grass Boys, replacing Doug Green when Bill Monroe returned to Nashville from a west coast tour, during which White played guitar as a guest member of the band.
- May 21, 1990 Recording session – Bill Monroe recorded Shine Hallelujah Shine and Harbor Of Love during an afternoon session at the Reflections Studio, Nashville. Playing and singing on the two quartets were Tom Ewing [guitar], Blake Williams [baritone vocal/banjo], Billy Rose [bass], Jimmy Campbell [fiddle] and Tater Tate [bass vocal/fiddle]. Ralph Stanley [lead vocal] and Ricky Skaggs [baritone vocal/guitar] joined Monroe and Tate to sing on Carter Stanley’s Harbor Of Love. The producer was Steve Buchanan. **
- May 21, 2002 CD released – Lester Flatt & Bill Monroe – Live at Vanderbilt (Bear Family BCD 16614 AH). ***
* Lonnie Meeker had a fill-in role playing bass in October 1984, after Kenny Baker had left the Blue Grass Boys and before Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys flew off for their tour of Japan that same month. After leaving Monroe he went to Chicago and played with Special Consensus until, along with John Pennell and Todd Rakestraw, he put together Union Station.
Currently, Meeker leads the Danville, Indiana-based band, Grand Central.
** The recording of Harbor Of Love was included on the album Cryin’ Holy Unto the Lord (MCA-10017), released on April 30, 1991.
*** Lester Flatt & Bill Monroe – Live at Vanderbilt, 26 tracks
“Legendary vocalist and guitarist Lester Flatt shares the bill with his former bandleader, Bill Monroe, on this live set from Vanderbilt’s Neely Auditorium in 1974. Flatt & Scruggs had split from Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass (sic) Boys some 20 years earlier, and Lester Flatt’s reconciliation at an early – 1970s Bean Blossom Festival seemed to pave the way for Monroe’s guest appearances on this live album. Although the headliners are nearing the far edge of their prime (in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, first Monroe, then Flatt & Scruggs were virtually untouchable as leaders of the bluegrass movement), they still surrounded themselves with the best bands around. Curly Seckler, Charles Nixon, Kenny Baker, and even a 15-year-old Marty Stuart back the gentle-voiced Flatt and the always-energetic Monroe on a whole series of traditional standards. The college crowd (fresh from the radio popularity of Duelin’ Banjos) actively seems to enjoy the performances, and both bands feed off of that energy. Although Lester Flatt’s performances with the Nashville Grass were never as strong as the Flatt & Scruggs recordings (as their Flatt & Scruggs at Carnegie Hall!: The Complete Concert showcases wonderfully), this live document captures the meeting of two bluegrass legends and old friends performing the music they love for a crowd who loves them.”
Bill Monroe sings on Uncle Pen, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, My Old Used To Be, Will You Be Lovin’ Another Man, My Little Cabin Home On The Hill, Crying Holy Unto The Lord and Mule Skinner Blues.
Will You Be Lovin’ Another Man, My Little Cabin Home On The Hill and Crying Holy Unto The Lord are duets with Lester Flatt.
Full track listing – Flint Hill Special, Lost All My Money, I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight, Homestead On The Farm, Raw hide, Wabash Cannon Ball, Orange Blossom Special, Nine Pound Hammer, Get In Line Brother, Fall Is A Lonesome Time For Me, I Know What It Means To Be Lonesome, Dig A Hole In The Meadow, Uncle Pen, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, My Old Used To Be, Will You Be Lovin’ Another Man, My Little Cabin Home On The Hill, Crying Holy Unto The Lord, Sally Goodin’, Mule Skinner Blues, Salty Dog Blues, Red Wing, Wreck Of The Old ’97, Martha White Theme, Cumberland Gap and Foggy Mountain Breakdown.
Lonnie Meeker remembers…
“Much of the time I played with him the only time we saw each other would be at festival grounds or the venue we were playing, as he would normally follow the bus in his car. I remember he would pass a lot of time waiting between sets, setting on the bus reading poetry or scripture to ladies. I was always invited to stay, but I was always on fire to go jam on something besides the bass. Funny, now I’d rather play that than anything.
He also loved his animals, he could talk to you for hours about his horses, mules, cows, dogs, etc. You name it he had it, and not only that he carried a picture of it with him in his wallet and had a name for it. You know I saw a lot of pictures of his livestock, but never remember him having a picture of his kids. He could also eat more fried chicken than any other human being I have ever seen before or since.
I could write about Monroe for a long time.”