I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #260

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 17, 1915 David ‘Stringbean’ Akeman was born in Annville, Jackson County, Kentucky.  *
  • June 17, 1963 LP released – Blue Grass Special (Decca DL 4382) **
  • June 17, 1968 LP released – Bill Monroe’s Greatest Hits (Decca DL 5010) ***
  • June 17, 1973 Recording session – MCA Records recorded the finale of the 7th Annual Bluegrass festival at Bean Blossom. This included the famed selection of tunes played by 12 fiddlers. As well as recording acts such as Jimmy Martin, Jim & Jesse, Lester Flatt and James Monroe, MCA recorded Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys playing three instrumentals – Down Yonder, Soldier’s Joy and Grey Eagle – and singing the Gospel song Swing Low Sweet Chariot, to which the audience provided accompaniment. The producers were Walter Haynes and Snuffy Miller.  ****
  • June 17, 1985 Recording session – During an afternoon session at Nashville’s Sound Emporium studio, Bill Monroe recorded The Golden West and The Old Brown County Barn. Then during a late evening session Bill Monroe was joined by Del McCoury to record I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky and Bluest Man in Town. Wayne Lewis [guitar], Blake Williams [banjo] and Tater Tate [bass] and Glen Duncan and Bobby Hicks [both playing fiddle] provided instrumental support during both sessions. The producer at both sessions was Emory Gordy, Jr. *****

* Stringbean, as Akeman was commonly known, was Bill Monroe’s first five-string banjo player, playing in an old-time clawhammer style, as well as the two-finger method. He worked for Monroe from July 1942 to September 1945, during which time he featured in one recording session; that on February 13, 1945.

Among the recordings on which Akeman played are Rocky Road Blues, Kentucky Waltz, True Life Blues, Goodbye Old Pal, Footprints in the Snow and Blue Grass Special.

He was also noted for his comedy performances with Cedric Rainwater.

** Blue Grass Special, 12 tracks

Track listing – Blue Ridge Mountain Blues, Columbus Stockade Blues, There Was Nothing We Could Do, I Was Left On The Street, Big Sandy River, Cheap Love Affair, How Will I Explain About You, Foggy River, Careless Love, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, Baker’s Breakdown and When The Bees Are In The Hive.

(re-issued in 1973 on MCA-98)

*** Bill Monroe’s Greatest Hits, 11 tracks

Track listing – Molly And Tenbrook, In The Pines, Mule Skinner Blues, Uncle Pen, Cheyenne, Roanoke, Footprints In The Snow, Y’all Come, Gotta Travel On, Danny Boy and Four Walls.

(re-issued in 1973 on MCA-17)

**** All of the recordings were included on the LP Bean Blossom (MCA2-8002), released on November 1, 1973.

***** The Golden West and I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky were included on the LP Bill Monroe and Stars of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame (MCA-5625), released on August 19, 1985, while The Old Brown County Barn and Bluest Man in Town were included on the LP Bluegrass ’87 (MCA-5970), released on January 9, 1987.

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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.