I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #28

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.

  • October 28, 1857 James Buchanan, ‘J B’ or ‘Buck’, Monroe, Bill’s father, was born to John ‘Jess’ Buchanan and Lydia Charlotte Stevens Monroe.  *
  • October 28, 1939 Bill Monroe joined the Grand Ole Opry as a cast member. Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys performed Foggy Mountain Top and Mule Skinner Blues at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium, from where the Opry shows were broadcast at the time.
  • October 28, 1946 Single released – True Life Blues /Footprints in the Snow (Columbia 20080, 37151, 78rpm)
  • October 28, 1947 Recording session – At the last session involving Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys waxed seven more original songs: the quartets, That Home Above, Remember The Cross, Little Community Church, Shine Hallelujah Shine and I’m Travelin’ On and On; the Monroe solo Along About Daybreak; and the duet When You are Lonely. In addition, was another Monroe solo, Molly and Tenbrooks.  **
  • October 28, 1951 Recording session –In what was the first session for Edd Mayfield [guitar] and Oscar ‘Shorty’ Sheehan [bass], the Blue Grass Boys recorded Christmas Time’s A Coming and The First Whippoorwill. Also assisting Monroe were Gordon Terry [fiddle], James Garfield ‘Gar’ Bowers [banjo] and, on the first title only, producer Owen Bradley[vibes].
  • October 28, 1969 Recording session – At this early evening session at Bradley’s Barn, Mount Juliet, Tennessee, Monroe cut just three songs; Walk Softly on this Heart of Mine, Tall Pines and Candy Gal. He was assisted by his son James [guitar], Rual Yarbrough [banjo], Bill Yates[bass], Kenny Baker [fiddle] and Red Hayes [fiddle]. The producer was Harry Silverstein.
  • October 28, 1972 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys appeared at the two-day Bluegrass Day at Park Center, Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • October 28, 1989 Bill Monroe celebrated 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry cast. The event – an hour long special entitled Bill Monroe’s 50th Anniversary on the Opry – was broadcast live on The Nashville Network television.
  • October 28, 1994 With Bill Monroe’s help, Butch Robins recorded two tracks – I’d Like To Be Over Yonder and The Golden West – for his Grounded, Centered, Focused CD [Hay Holler Harvest HHH CD 108]

* J B Monroe was a farmer, saw-mill operator and noted step-dancer. He was described as “serious, stern and hardworking.”

** Molly and Tenbrooks, subtitled The Racehorse Song on the record label, is a late 19th century folk song. It tells the story about the last four-mile race in American turf history.

Ten Broeck, a six-year old at the time of the race in Louisville, Kentucky, lived until just short of his 15th birthday.

“Molly and Tenbrooks describes the July 4, 1878, match race between Kentucky favorite Ten Broeck and a California horse, Miss Mollie McCarthy. The race itself was historically interesting, but Monroe’s version of the song, complete with his own unique grammar and pronunciation, always brought it to life for me, with lines like, ‘the women’s all a-laughing, children’s all a-crying, men’s all a-hollering and old Tenbrooks a-flying.’

Ten Broeck was the first racehorse in Kentucky to be buried and memorialized in a permanent graveyard, on the Woodford County, Kentucky, farm where he was foaled.”

Tom Adler, banjo picker and author of a forthcoming book about
Bean Blossom (Brown County, Indiana), speaking about his favourite Monroe song.

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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.