I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #264

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 21, 1936 Monroe Brothers recording session – At what was the second session for Charlie and Bill Monroe the duo cut 10 songs: Watermelon Hangin’ On the Vine, On the Banks of the Ohio, Do You Call That Religion? God Holds the Future in His Hands, You’ve Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley, Six Months Ain’t Long, Just A Song Of Old Kentucky, Don’t Forget Me, I’m Going and Darling Corey. As with the first recording session for RCA Victor, the brothers went to the Southern Radio Building on S. Tyron Street, Charlotte, North Carolina, to record for Eli Oberstein.
  • June 21, 1938 Edward Windsor ‘Eddie’ Adcock was born in Scottsville, Virginia. *
  • June 21, 1968 The first outdoor bluegrass festival was held at Bean Blossom. The event was spread over three days in all.
  • June 21, 1968 Kent Blanton was born in Nashville, Tennessee. **
  • June 21, 2004 CD released – Far Across The Blue Water (Bear Family BCD 16624 EK) ***

* Eddie Adcock worked for Bill Monroe for a very brief period from April to late June/early July 1958. It was a particularly difficult and uneventful time for both Monroe and Adcock, who went on to fame, if not fortune, as a member of the first classic Country Gentlemen line-up.

He learned to play the banjo as a child and by the age of 15 got his first professional job with Smokey Graves & His Blue Star Boys. Later he worked with Mac Wiseman, Bill Harrell and Buzz Busby.

An innovative banjo player Adcock joined the Country Gentlemen towards the end of 1958/early in 1959 and in the years up to 1970 when he left the band he helped to bring an up-town element to bluegrass music, incorporating songs from other genres in their repertoire.

After his stint with the Country Gentlemen Adcock has fronted the II Generation, worked with Martha Hearon Adcock, with whom he plays today, often with Country Gentlemen alum Tom Gray, The Masters (Adcock, Josh Graves, Kenny Baker and Jesse McReynolds) and the Country Gentlemen Reunion Band (Adcock, Jimmy Gaudreau, Randy Waller and Gray).
In recent years Adcock has had to contend with hand-tremors, which have seriously compromised his performing career. To counter this he has undergone various surgical procedures, some of which has been shown on television news programs around the world.

“I really believe that Bill Monroe loved to work. The worthiness of hard work was a philosophy that always guided him. His idea of hard work was farm work, not sitting around an office. And on the farm, he could work you until your tongue hung out. If you liked to work, he respected you. Willingness to work was Bill Monroe’s measure of a man.”

Eddie Adcock

** Bass player Kent Blanton filled in for a sick Tater Tate on about three occasions during 1988 and 1989.

Blanton started playing bass when he was about 12 years old, often joining school friend LeRoy Troy in playing at various Goodlettsville venues. It was there that he got his first experience of playing with Bill Monroe.

Heavily influenced by Howard Watts and Ernie Newton, Blanton got his first professional job in 1987 with the band New Tradition. Later he worked with Old Hickory, Glen Duncan & Larry Cordle and occasionally with the Sidemen.

He has recorded with a host of top bluegrass acts including Earl Scruggs, Mac Wiseman, Dave Peterson & 1946, Marty Stuart, Rhonda Vincent, Jimmy Martin, Curly Seckler, Jesse McReynolds and Bobby Osborne, as well as helping Johnny Warren and Charlie Cushman with their two volume Tribute To Paul Warren.

*** Far Across The Blue Water, 5-CD/1-DVD Box-Set (LP-size) with 52 page booklet, 93 tracks

This set includes recordings from (on the first two discs) performances during Bill Monroe’s first visit to Germany.  The two sets were performed at the Gasthof Lindenhof, Neusuedende, to an enraptured audience.

Bill Monroe had already ‘worked up’ an arrangement of Fraulein especially for his German audience and he ended the second set with the Bobby Helms hit country song.

After that Monroe and Ralph Lewis at the invitation of the Emsland Hillbillies (Germany) played in a jam session featuring Sittin’ On Top Of The World/Hand Me Down My Walkin’ Cane/Good Old Mountain Dew/Careless Love and Blue Moon Of Kentucky.

Discs three and four feature audio versions of songs performed during a date at Zur Neuen Heimat, a restaurant in Streekermoor, Germany on July 30, 1989.

Disc five, a DVD, features the same performances as on discs three and four along with an interview conducted by Jim Skurdal.

Track listing – Introduction, Roustabout (Ralph Lewis), The Bluegrass Breakdown, Muleskinner Blues, Footprints In The Snow, Kentucky Mandolin, I’m Working On A Building, The Road Of Life, Grey Eagle, Festival Waltz , Uncle Pen, The Truck Drivin’ Man (Ralph Lewis), In The Pines, Shuckin’ The Corn, Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, Doin’ My Time (Ralph Lewis), Flint Hill Special, Little Joe and You Won’t Be Satisfied That Way

McKinley’s March, I Saw The Light, Orange Blossom Special (3 versions), Special, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, My Little Georgia Rose, Down Yonder, Wabash Cannonball, You’ll Find Her Name Written There, Swing Low Sweet Chariot/I Saw The Light, John Henry, Molly And Tenbrooks, Fraulein and a medley (Sittin’ On Top Of The World/Hand Me Down My Walkin’ Cane/Good Old Mountain Dew/ Careless Love/Blue Moon Of Kentucky)

My Sweet Blue Eyed Darling, The Old Home Town, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Muleskinner Blues, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, Southern Flavor, A Beautiful Life, The Old Brown County Barn, Uncle Pen, Cheyenne, Footprints In The Snow, My Little Georgia Rose, Walls Of Time and Jerusalem Ridge

Raw Hide, Down Yonder, In The Pines, Bluegrass Breakdown, There’s An Old, Old House, I Saw The Light, On And On, Soldier’s Joy, Wayfaring Stranger, Molly And Tenbrooks, Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, Sally Goodin’, So Long And Goodbye, John Henry and Wheel Hoss

DVD – Introduction By Klaus GrotelÜSchen, My Sweet Blue Eyed Darling, The Old Home Town, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Muleskinner Blues, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, Southern Flavor, A Beautiful Life, The Old Brown County Barn, Uncle Pen, Cheyenne, Footprints In The Snow, My Little Georgia Brown, Walls Of Time, Jerusalem Ridge, Raw Hide, Down Yonder, In The Pines, Bluegrass Breakdown, There’s And Old, Old House, I Saw The Light, On And On, Soldier’s Joy, Wayfaring Stranger, Molly And Tenbrooks, Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, Sally Goodin’, So Long And Goodbye, John Henry and Wheel Hoss.

This is followed by a bonus interview conducted by Jim Skurdal.

Kent Blanton, just about 20 years old at the time, recalls ……

“I was just a kid, scared to death. I do remember we were in a truck-stop in Maryland, it was one of those really old ones with a horseshoe counter. I had a glass of tea to drink, and Bill came by and asked me what I was drinking. I said tea, so he got him a glass, but you had too put your own sugar in it, but Bill didn’t know that; he just put lemon in it and took a drink, then turned too me and said, ‘pitiful plum pitiful.’ He pitched a quarter down and told me to pay for his. I think it was about 75 cents, so I got left with the tab of 50 cents, I thought it was funny at the time.”

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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.

  • Tony Bentley

    Thank you for this wonderful,very valuable resource. What a detailed history of the professional life of the father of bluegrass. I read the recent complaint about this year long project. I have to admit that I don’t read it word for word, I read the parts that most interest me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t find it worthwhile. I hope every article will be archived for future access. Keep up the excellent work! Most of all, thank you for taking on such a daunting task and for seeing it through.