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.
- July 1, 1951 Recording session – During an afternoon session at Castle Studio Bill Monroe recorded Rotation Blues and Lonesome Truck Driver’s Blues. The Blue Grass Boys at the session consisted of Carter Stanley [guitar], Rudy Lyle [banjo], Ernie Newton [bass] and Gordon Terry [fiddle]. The producer was Paul Cohen. *
- July 1, 1958 Edd Mayfield died, aged 32. **
- July 1, 1991 CD released – Bill Monroe – Bean Blossom (MCA Nashville MCAD 8002). Recordings for this album were made at the 7th Annual Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival staged in June 1973. ***
- July 1, 1991 CD released – Bill Monroe – Columbia Historic Edition (Columbia CK 38904) ****
- July 1, 2000 Book published – Can’t You Hear Me Callin’ : The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass by Richard D Smith. (Publisher: Little, Brown & Co 384 pages, ISBN-10:0316803812, ISBN-13:978-0316803816) *****
* Rotation Blues and Lonesome Truck Driver’s Blues were released on a Decca single (46344) on June 23, 1951.
This was Carter Stanley’s first session as a Blue Grass Boy, having been recruited by Monroe at a time when Carter and Ralph Stanley found times were hard and had disbanded.
** Texas-born Edd Mayfield was taken ill suddenly while Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys were on tour around Bluefield, West Virginia. He was found to be suffering with leukemia and died within a few days of being hospitalized.
He was a rancher and played in a band with his brothers, Herb and Smokey, before being recruited by Bill Monroe.
*** Bill Monroe – Bean Blossom, 27 tracks
“Recorded in June 1973 at the seventh annual Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival in Indiana, Bean Blossom not only showcases Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, but also his most-famous disciples. Jim & Jesse, Jimmy Martin, and Lester Flatt, a solo act since 1969, each deliver high-quality, hard-driving traditional bluegrass before they all return to the stage for the grand finale. Although each artist is worthy of greater exploration, this zesty set serves as a useful introduction to each one’s particular stylistic traits: Monroe’s prototypical high, lonesome wail; Jim & Jesse’s seamless brother harmonies; Martin’s aggressive vocals and urgent rhythms; and Flatt’s mellow, conversational phrasing.”
Track listing – Mule Skinner Blues, You Won’t Be Satisfied That Way Uncle Pen, Blue Moon of Kentucky, Ole Slew Foot, Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes, Please Be My Love, I Wish You Knew, Love Please Come Home, Train 45 (Heading South), Bonny, When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again, Hit Parade of Love, Mary Ann, Sunny Side of the Mountain, Free Form Man, Tennessee, Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms, Feudin’ Banjos, Ballad of Jed Clampett, Roll on Buddy, Roll On, I Wonder Where You Are Tonight, Orange Blossom Special, Fiddler Roll Call / Down Yonder / Soldier’s Joy / Grey Eagle, and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.
**** Bill Monroe – Columbia Historic Edition, 10 Tracks
“Columbia Historic Edition has a nice selection of ten songs that Bill Monroe cut for Columbia in the early 1940s, including Kentucky Waltz, Blue Yodel No. 4 (California Blues) and Bluegrass Special. Several hits are missing and there are several compilations released in the 1990s that cover the same ground more thoroughly, but this record remains an enjoyable listen.”
Track listing – Kentucky Waltz, Nobody Loves Me, Bluegrass Special, Heavy Traffic Ahead, Toy Heart, Mother’s Only Sleeping, Blue Yodel No. 4, Shining Path, I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky and Along About Daybreak.
***** Can’t You Hear Me Callin’ : The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass
“Considering the range of stars that have claimed Bill Monroe as an influence—Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Jerry Garcia are just a few—it can be said that no single artist has had as broad an impact on American popular music as he did. For sixty years, Monroe was a star at the Grand Ole Opry, and when he died in 1996, he was universally hailed as ‘the Father of Bluegrass’. But the personal life of this taciturn figure remained largely unknown. Delving into everything from Monroe’s professional successes to his bitter rivalries, from his isolated childhood to his reckless womanizing, veteran bluegrass journalist Richard D. Smith has created a three-dimensional portrait of this brilliant, complex, and contradictory man. Featuring over 120 interviews, this scrupulously researched work—a Chicago Tribune Choice Selection, New York Times Notable Book, and Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2000—stands as the authoritative biography of a true giant of American music.”