I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #275

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 2, 1925 Culley Holt was born in McAlester, Oklahoma.  *
  • July 2, 1928 Johnny Montgomery was born.  **
  • July 2, 1971 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys were part of a strong line-up for the first bluegrass festival staged in the state of Tennessee. The three day festival hosted by James Monroe was staged at Kineauvista Park near Cosby and had such prominent names as Lester Flatt, the Goins Brothers, Jim & Jesse, Reno & Harrell, Carl Story and Doc Watson among the musicians featured.
  • July 2, 1981 LP released –  Bill Monroe: Master of Bluegrass (MCA 5214) ***
  • July 2, 1994 Ralph Rinzler died, age 59, at his home on Capitol Hill in Washington DC after a lengthy illness.  ****
  • July 2, 1996 Bill Monroe, in failing health, was moved to the Northcrest Home and Hospice Center in Springfield, Tennessee, about 30 miles north of Nashville.
  • July 2, 2007 Ray Goins passed away while he was hospitalized in Pikeville, Kentucky. He was 71.  *****

* Best known for being a member of the Jordanaires vocal group for about six years, Holt sang bass for the Blue Grass Quartet at various recording sessions from March 31, 1958 through to May 17, 1962.

** Montgomery played bass for Bill Monroe during 1986 and 1987, sandwiched between two spells on that instrument by Clarence ‘Tater’ Tate.

He played bass during one session, on August 19, 1986, recording three songs including The Old Crossroads, which was included on the LP Bluegrass ’87 (MCA 5970).

Montgomery had brief spells with the Cumberland Mountain Boys, with the Boys from Shiloh, the Dixie Gentlemen as well as being a member of Lester Flatt’s Nashville Grass.

*** Master of Bluegrass, 10 tracks

Track listing – Old Ebenezer Scrooge, Right Right On, Melissa’s Waltz For JB, Fair Play, Evening Prayer Blues, Go Higher To Go Yonder, Lochwood, Lady Of The Blue Ridge, Old Danger Field and My Last Days On Earth.

(re-issued on MCA-818)

**** Ralph Rinzler was a noted folk music historian and business partner of Bill Monroe’s.

He was also a significant player in introducing Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley to new audiences.

A musician, festival administrator, scholar and champion of grass roots folk expression in the United States, Rinzler was the co-founder of the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the first of which took place in 1967.

While at the Smithsonian he became a very influential curator, producer, promoter, champion, writer, and advocate of important and beautiful American folk music from all cultures.

Rinzler’s prominent role in the Festival and at the Center for Folklife Programs prompted the Smithsonian Institution to name the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections in his honor in 1998.

He played mandolin for the Greenbriar Boys, a trio that was well known for playing at venues around Greenwich Village in New York.

***** Ray Goins first played banjo for Bill Monroe during July 1958.

Four years later on Labor Day (September) 1962 he was again filling in on banjo, this time for a show in front of the courthouse during the Coal Carnival in Hazard, Kentucky. This concert performance was filmed by John Cohen, of the New Lost City Ramblers, and the recording was included in his film The High Lonesome Sound.

Goins is better known as the younger brother to Melvin in the Goins Brothers Band.

He was also a member of the legendary Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, joining them with his brother in 1951 and, apart from a spell from 1955 to 1961, when the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers temporarily disbanded, he was an important part of the quartet through to 1963.

Thereafter, he partnered Melvin in leading the brothers’ band performing and recording – for REM, Jalyn, Jessup, Rebel, Old Homestead, Vetco and Hay Holler – until he had a heart attack in 1994.

He retired in 1997.

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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.