I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #288

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 15, 1938 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys began their first stint as radio performers when the were given a weekly 15-minute slot on KARK, an NBC affiliated radio station located in Little Rock, Arkansas. Their association with KARK lasted for four weeks. *
  • July 15, 1984 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys made a personal appearance at the Greatest Bluegrass Festival in the east at Great Gorge South, Vernon, New Jersey. Also on the bill were Jim and Jesse, the Osborne Brothers, the Lewis Family and Peter Rowan with Tex Logan.
  • July 15, 1988 Bill Monroe’s Blue Moon of Kentucky was adopted as the official bluegrass song of Kentucky.
  • July 15, 1998 Lowell Denman, aged 66, passed away in St Vincent’s Hospital, Indianapolis, Indiana.  **

* The quartet of Bill Monroe [mandolin and tenor vocals], Bob Jamieson [fiddle], Willie ‘Bill’ Wesbrooks [guitar/bass and lead vocals] and Charles ‘Chuck’ Haire [bass/guitar and lead vocals] was identified as the “Kentucky Blue Grass Boys” in the radio listing in the local Arkansas Democrat newspaper.

Later they were listed as “Bill Monroe and the Kentuckians.” This, led the original version of the band to be forever known as the Kentuckians.

In mid November the band broke up and Bill Monroe left Ripley, where they were based at the time, in search of other musicians.

He settled in Atlanta and placed an advert in the local paper indicating that he was searching for musicians. His first recruit was Cleo Davis.

** Lowell Denman filled in on fiddle. He also had his own band, The Bluegrass Partners, based in Indianapolis.

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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.