I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #279

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 6, 1944 Byron Berline was born in Caldwell, Kansas. *
  • July 6, 1951 Recording session – During a morning session at the Castle Studio Bill Monroe recorded Sugar Coated Love, Cabin of Love, You’re Drifting Away and Get Down On Your Knees And Pray. Assisting Monroe were Carter Stanley [guitar], Rudy Lyle [banjo], Howard Watts [bass] and Gordon Terry [fiddle]. Paul Cohen was the producer. **
  • July 6, 1954 Elvis Presley recorded Blue Moon of Kentucky. His arrangement changed the song from a waltz to a boogie shuffle.  ***
  • July 6, 1956 Forrest Rose was born in Dallas, Texas. ****
  • July 6, 1967 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys appeared at the Carlton Haney presentation of the Ohio Bluegrass Festival, Norwalk, Ohio.
  • July 6, 1984 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys performed at the Kingston Bluegrass Family Reunion, Kingston, Ontario. Sharing the bill were Jim and Jesse, the Lewis Family and Whetstone Run.
  • July 6, 1990 Recordings for video at Bill Monroe’s Goodlettsville farm – Bill Monroe and John Hartford recorded Tombstone Junction and Slow and Easy Blues for Steve Gebhardt.  *****

* Byron Berline replaced Richard Greene as a Blue Grass Boy in March 1967.

He contributed to one Decca recording session, on August 23, contributing to three instrumentals: The Gold Rush, Sally Goodin and Virginia Darlin’.

Additionally, Monroe and Berline can be on recordings of ‘live’ performances at the Newport Folk Festival (July 24, 1965), on Mark O’Connor’s rendition of Gold Rush (Warner Brothers), and on his own version of Sally Goodin for (Sugar Hill SH CD 3838).

Since leaving Monroe to go into the army in September 1967 Berline has been involved in a considerable amount of session work, recorded and performed as a solo artist and with groups including the Flying Burrito Brothers, Country Gazette, Sundance and Berline, Crary and Hickman (who later with the addition of John Moore and Steve Spurgin worked under the name California).

His 1995 album Fiddle and a Song marked the first time Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs had recorded together since 1947.

In addition to performing with his own band, he now runs the Double Stop, a music shop and performance venue, in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

“It has old time fiddling in it and tells a good story about a fiddler.”

Byron Berline, speaking about his favorite Bill Monroe song Uncle Pen.

** Carter Stanley sang lead on all four songs.

*** Elvis Presley recorded the song during his second session for Sun Records. It was released as the B-side to That’s All Right (Mama).

**** Forrest Rose filled-in on bass during 1986.

***** The two recordings were included in the Original Cinema documentary Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass Music (OC-1001).

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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.