I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #252

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.

  • June 9, 1943 Bill Monroe’s Opry appearance includes a performance of Weary Traveler and Were You There? *
  • June 9, 1963 Bill Sage deputised for the regular fiddle player in the Blue Grass Boys. **
  • June 9, 1975 LP released –  The Best of Bill Monroe (MCA2-4090) ***
  • June 9, 1982 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys appeared at a new feature in the activities during Fan Fair; the Sullivan Family hosted 1st Annual Blue Grass Gospel Convention at the Sheraton Inn Convention Hall on Broadway, Nashville.

* During the period from August 1942 through to November 1944 there was a ban on recording due to an American Federation of Musicians strike.

As a consequence, there weren’t any official recordings of Bill Monroe from those years. However, transcriptions, or air checks, were made of some of his performances on the Grand Ole Opry. During the 1980s some of these were found and donated to the Country Music Foundation. Among them are the recordings of these songs.

There is tantalizing suggestions indicating that Lester Flatt is singing on the recordings, but that conflicts with evidence that he didn’t join the Blue Grass Boys until about 18 months later. Others on the cuts may have been Clyde Moody, Bill Wesbrooks and Curly Bradshaw.

** For a period after a his May trip to California, Bill Monroe found himself having to use several ‘fill-in’ musicians as regular members of the Blue Grass Boys had left due to the poor level of pay during that tour. Monroe used Benny Williams or Buddy Pendleton as deputy fiddlers at this time. He employed Billy Sage, a friend of Del McCoury’s for this particular show date.

*** The Best of Bill Monroe, 2 LP set – 20 tracks

Track listing – Uncle Pen, Let Me Rest at the End of My Journey, Bluegrass Twist, It’s Mighty Dark to Travel, Pretty Fair Maiden in the Garden, Roane County Prison, I Live in the Past, The First Whippoorwill, Come Back to Me in My Dreams, Put my Little Shoes Away, Blue Moon of Kentucky, The Gold Rush, Close By, Memories of Mother and Dad, Is the Blue Moon still Shining, Kentucky Mandolin, Footprints in the Snow, I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky, The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake and Highway of Sorrow.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.