I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #284

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 11, 1926 Roger Smith was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina. *
  • July 11, 1959 Dana Cupp Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan.  **

* Originally hired to play in the house band at Bill Monroe’s country park at Bean Blossom, Indiana, Roger Smith spent nearly two years on and off  in the mid 1950s and then on through the 1960s, helping out with the Blue Grass Boys, playing guitar, banjo and fiddle. He wasn’t employed on any recording sessions.

Smith hasn’t pursued music as a full-time career, but he has remained active in bluegrass both as a teacher and as a performer, playing with the Stoney Lonesome Boys and other Brown County Jamboree house bands.

During the late 1990s he played with Talmadge Law, the Bluegrass Sounds and more recently as a regular member of Mike Butler’s Bill Monroe Tribute Band.

Here is Mike Butler’s Bill Monroe Tribute Band with Roger Smith [fiddle], Dwight Dillman [banjo], Vernon McQueen [guitar] (all Blue Grass Boys), Mike Butler [mandolin] and Ron Hobbs [bass] playing Mule Skinner Blues on stage at Bean Blossom, Indiana.

** Dana Cupp was the last banjo player to be play in the Blue Grass Boys, being recruited by Bill Monroe in 199 as a replacement for Blake Williams.

Cupp played on three on-spec sessions from which only the recording of Boston Boy has been released; it being included as the closing track on the boxed set Music of Bill Monroe, 1936-1994 (MCA 11048), released on July 19,1994.

He is playing banjo on Jimmy Campbell’s album for Red Clay, Pieces Of Time (RC113) and on the Homespun Tapes’ Video / DVD The Mandolin of Bill Monroe, Video One (VD-MON-MN01).

A multi-instrumentalist Dana Cupp Jr. first drew attention playing banjo and resonator guitar with Blue Velvet in the late 1970s.

Since Monroe’s death he has performed with the Wildwood Valley Boys, Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys, and the Osborne Brothers, primarily as a guitarist, but also featured on banjo, mandolin, resonator guitar and bass; and later playing banjo with Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-Press.

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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.