I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #255

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 12, 1960 Eli Oberstein died in Westport, Connecticut, aged 58.  *
  • June 12, 1967 LP Released – Blue Grass Time (Decca DL 4896) **
  • June 12, 1979 Recording session at Bean Blossom – Bill Monroe’s 13th Annual Bluegrass Festival, Route 135, Bean Blossom, Indiana. Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys recorded Rocky Road Blues, The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake, In Despair and the Molly and Tenbrooks medley: Little Maggie / Train 45 / Blue Moon of Kentucky. The Blue Grass Boys on stage that day were Wayne Lewis [guitar], Butch Robins [banjo], Randy Davis [bass] and Kenny Baker [fiddle]. The producers were Walter Haynes and Ron Chancey.  ***
  • June 12, 1981 Single Released – Come Hither To Go Yonder / My Last Days on Earth (MCA 51129) ****
  • June 12, 1990 During an evening session in the Reflections Studio Bill Monroe, Jim McReynolds [vocal] and Jesse McReynolds [vocal] recorded Are You Lost In Sin? and He’ll Take You In. Assisting were Tom Ewing [guitar], Blake Williams [baritone vocal/banjo], Billy Rose [bass], Jimmy Campbell [fiddle] and Tater Tate [bass vocal/fiddle]. The producer was Steve Buchanan. *****
  • June 12, 2001 CD Released – Monroe Brothers [Vol 2] Just A Song of Old Kentucky (Rounder Select 1074) ******
  • June 12, 2005 Winnie Winston died, aged 64, at his home in Tawa, New Zealand, where he settled in 1995. He had been suffering with prostate cancer.  *******

* Oberstein signed the Monroe Brothers to RCA Victor and gave them their first chance at recording, producing all of their sessions for the label.

For some unaccountable reason he was sacked by the company about 1939.

Later he was involved with a lot of other record labels, including Royale, Varsity, Hit, Majestic and Allegro, concentrating on his first love, swing, and classical music.

** Blue Grass Time, 12 tracks

Track listing – Turkey In The Straw, I Wonder Where You Are Tonight, But That’s All Right, All The Good Times Are Past And Gone, Pretty Fair Maiden In The Garden, Roll On Buddy Roll On, Blue Night, Midnight On The Stormy Deep, It Makes No Difference Now, Were You There When They Crucified My Lord, Dusty Miller and When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again.

(re-issued in 1973 on MCA-116)

*** All of the recordings were included on the LP Bill Monroe: Bean Blossom ’79 (MCA-3209), which was released on February 15, 1980.

**** Butch Waller, a mandolin player in the Bill Monroe mold, remembers …..

“Once in the early ’80’s when Bill was playing in San Francisco, my wife of the time and I took him and Julia to see the sights of The City. We had driven out to the ocean and it was a cold, grey old San Francisco day. As we walked along, Bill looked up at some screeching seagulls flying overhead and said, ‘Oh Julia! Don’t those birds make a lonesome sound!’ That always stuck in my mind, and when the recording of My Last Days on Earth came out I was reminded of it and the powerful pictures that man could paint.”

***** Are You Lost In Sin? and He’ll Take You In were included on the album Cryin’ Holy Unto the Lord (MCAD-10017), which was released on April 30, 1991.

****** Monroe Brothers [Vol 2] Just A Song of Old Kentucky, 15 tracks

Although the Monroe Brothers initially made their name singing gospel, Volume 2 of Rounder’s series features mostly secular material. All 15 sides (including a few on Volume 1) were recorded during two “quick and dirty” sessions in June and October 1936, most of them in a single take. Still, the playing is tight and the material generally excellent, highlighted by Where Is My Sailor Boy? (also known as What Does the Deep Sea Say?) and Monroe’s first recording of Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms. Will the Circle Be Unbroken, heard here in its original 1912 incarnation, might prove to be a revelatory listen for anyone familiar only with A.P. Carter’s adaptation.

Jim Smith, All Music Guide

Track listing – Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, Don’t Forget Me, My Savior’s Train, Just A Song Of Old Kentucky, The Old Cross Road, I’m Going (Through), Darling Corey, Six Months Ain’t Long, The Saints Go Marching In, We Read Of A Place That’s Called Heaven, The Forgotten Soldier Boy, I Am Thinking Tonight Of The Old Folks, (I) Dreamed I Searched Heaven For You, Where Is My Sailor Boy? and Will The Circle Be Unbroken.

******* Winnie Winston, who played banjo for Bill Monroe for a brief period in 1965, was a founder member of the New York Ramblers, with David Grisman, Gene Lowinger, Eric Thompson and Fred Weisz.

Winston trained as an industrial designer and took a position of Associate Professor of Design at what is now the University of the Arts, in Philadelphia. It was there that he discovered the pedal steel guitar, the instrument that was to play for the rest of his life.

In 1971 he was introduced to homeopathic medicine and in 1980 he gained some qualifications in this form of treatment. It was his involvement in homeopathy that took him to New Zealand, briefly in 1992, and permanently in 1995.

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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.