I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #267

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 24, 1962 Bill Monroe met Ralph Rinzler at a country music show at Sunset Park, West Grove, Pennsylvania.  Rinzler went on to become Monroe‘s first manager early in 1963.
  • June 24, 1967 Bill Monroe founded the first Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival, called a “Big Blue Grass Celebration,” to bring his friends together to play the ‘high lonesome’ sound that he pioneered. The festival staged in the Brown County Jamboree Barn lasted for two days.  (see June 25)
  • June 24, 1967 Butch Robins, just 18 years old, made his debut with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys.
  • June 24, 1981 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys headed a strong bill at the 1st Annual Tarheel Bluegrass Festival, Crossroads Country Music Park, Kings Mountain, North Carolina. With Bill Monroe was brother Birch, Don Reno, Carl Story, Wilma Lee Cooper and the Sullivan Family.
  • June 24, 1983 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys made their debut appearance at The 10th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
  • June 24, 1988 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys were the headline band at the ‘Once in a Lifetime Festival’ at Sommersville Music Park, Sommersville, West Virginia.
  • June 24, 1990 Recording session at Frontier Ranch Park, Reynoldsburg, Ohio – In their first set Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys recorded My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darling, O-hio, Pike County Breakdown, Mule Skinner Blues, Blue Moon of Kentucky, Southern Flavor, I’m Working On A Building, The Gold Rush, Walk Softly On This Heart of Mine and Y’All Come. The Blue Grass Boys, Tom Ewing [guitar], Tater Tate [fiddle], Blake Williams [banjo] and Billy Rose [bass], were the supporting musicians. Diana Christian sang Walk Softly On This Heart of Mine and Y’All Come. During the second set they recorded Footprints In the Snow, Can’t You Hear Me Calling, Devil’s Dream, I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky, Orange Blossom Special, Whispering Hope, True Life Blues, Shenandoah Breakdown, the Molly And Tenbrooks medley (Molly And Tenbrooks, Blue Moon of Kentucky, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, I’ll Fly Away and I Saw the Light), Watermelon On The Vine and Will You Be Loving Another Man. Playing with Bill Monroe were Del McCoury [guitar], Chubby Wise and Tater Tate [fiddle], Bill Keith and Blake Williams [banjo] and Billy Rose [bass].  *
  • June 24, 1992 Bobby Smith died, aged 56.  **

* Video recording of Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, which began on June 15 at Bean Blossom, continued on the following Sunday during a show at Frontier Ranch.

Some of the recorded performances were included in the Steve Gebhardt documentary, Bill Monroe: Father of Bluegrass Music.

** Bobby Smith had a short stint as a Blue Grass Boy beginning close to the end of 1960.

For most of his career Smith and his brother, Dallas, led the Boys from Shiloh. Their most active period was the 1970s during which period they had releases on a variety of labels including Vetco and CMH. They often shared credit on their albums with Josh Graves.

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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.