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 22, 1933 Bobby Atkins was born in Shoals, North Carolina. *
- May 22, 1994 On-spec recording session – Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys recorded five instrumentals at the Imagine Studios in Nashville; Pocahontas, Old Farm Blues, Two Finger Waltz, Land Of Lincoln and Watermelon Hanging On The Vine. In addition to Monroe the featured musicians were Tom Ewing [guitar], Robert Bowlin [fiddle], Dana Cupp [banjo] and Tater Tate [bass]. The producer was Vic Gabany. **
- May 22, 2007 CD released – Bill Monroe: Greatest Hits [The Platinum Artist Series] (St. Clair 32472) ***
Atkins grew up in a household in which there were musical instruments and he and his brothers enjoyed every opportunity there was to play and sing. He began playing the banjo – his primary instrument – when he was 16 years old and he hasn’t looked back. In a career spanning 50 years Atkins has played with many notable names in the bluegrass and traditional country music fields.
In 1967 he started his own band, the Countrymen, and gave a young Tony Rice a helping hand on the way to his illustrious career.
Atkins has released several albums many of which he recorded with his son Mark.
** Bill Monroe was released from his contract with MCA Records in the early 1990s. Thereafter Gabany produced a series of sessions at his own expense on the understanding that MCA might be interested in leasing the recordings. This was the third on-spec session.
There were several takes of each of the first four tunes, each of which were written by Bill Monroe, but none were released. The recording of Watermelon Hanging on the Vine was not released either.
Track listing – Blue Moon of Kentucky, Nine Pound Hammer, Can’t You Hear Me Callin’, Footprints in the Snow, I Saw the Light, I Wonder If You Feel the Way I Do, Mule Skinner Blues, Orange Blossom Special, Prison Song, Shady Grove, Shenendoah Breakdown, Uncle Pen and Bluegrass Breakdown.