I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #293

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 20, 1934 Ralph Charles Rinzler was born in Passiac, New Jersey.  *
  • July 20, 1979 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys were joined by John Hartford, making a personal appearance at the Emerald Downs – Ruby, Virginia Bluegrass Festival.
  • July 20, 1999 CD released – Bill Monroe – The Father Of Bluegrass: Early Years 1940-1947 (ASV Living Era CD AJA 5298) **

* A folk music enthusiast, who had been frequenting Bill Monroe’s shows since 1954, Ralph Rinzler became Bill Monroe‘s manager in the 1960s. For about four years from 1963 onwards he managed Monroe, booking appearances at folk festivals and venues, and on the college circuit, in so doing Monroe had important new audiences for his music.

He filled in for the bass player in the Blue Grass Boys during 1963.

Rinzler was the prime force in lifting Bill Monroe’s career out of the doldrums, finding a new market for his music, re-packaging some of his recorded work and creating a persona as the true founder of bluegrass music by writing articles about the history of bluegrass music and the part Monroe played in that story. Out of this crusade Monroe was dubbed ‘the Daddy of Blue Grass Music’.

** Bill Monroe – The Father Of Bluegrass: Early Years 1940-1947, 25 tracks

“Plain and simple, this is a great CD. In fact, just about any Monroe album you buy will be worth the moolah. I picked this CD at the store because I was getting into bluegrass and wanted some Monroe. The packaging looks kind of dated, but the music is fantastic. Driving through the mountains on a cross country trip, there’s nothing better than listening to Blue Moon of Kentucky, Bluegrass Breakdown, and all the different incarnations of Blue Yodel.”

“If looking for nothing other than an introduction to some great bluegrass and the genius that began it, this would be a great CD to start off with. But for serious bluegrass fans or those who know their Bill Monroe, I would suggest a more comprehensive collection or a box set.”

– Amazon customer reviews

Track listing – Mule Skinner Blues, No Letter in the Mail, Six White Horses, Dog House Blues, I Wonder If You Feel the Way I Do, Katy Hill [Instrumental], Tennessee Blues [Instrumental], Blue Yodel No. 7, Orange Blossom Special, Honky Tonk Swing [Instrumental], In the Pines, Back Up and Push [Instrumental], Rocky Road Blues, Kentucky Waltz, Footprints in the Snow, Heavy Traffic Ahead, Blue Moon of Kentucky, Toy Heart, Mother’s Only Sleeping, Blue Yodel No. 4, Little Cabin Home on the Hill, My Rose of Old Kentucky, Bluegrass Breakdown, [Instrumental], Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong and Molly and Tenbrooks.

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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.