I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #294

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 21, 1933 Bobby Hicks was born in Newton, North Carolina. *
  • July 21, 1946 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys made their first appearance at the country music park at Sunset Park, West Grove, Pennsylvania.
  • July 21, 2002 Fiddler Bill Sage of Confluence, Pennsylvania, died in his sleep in Dry Ridge, Kentucky. He was 66 and on tour with David Davis and the Warrior River Boys.  **

* Originally recruited in 1954 to play bass for Bill Monroe, Bobby Hicks switched to playing fiddle when Gordon Terry was drafted into the army. He demonstrated his versatility by changing to the banjo when Vassar Clements re-joined the Blue Grass Boys.

During his two spells as a Blue Grass Boy Hicks worked on six Decca recording sessions throughout the 1950s – all on fiddle – recording such classics as Wheel Hoss, Cheyenne, Roanoke, Scotland, Big Mon and Brown County Breakdown.

He participated in a further ten recording sessions from June 1985 to January 1988. Additionally, Hicks appears in a Gannaway film, on a Grand Ole Opry stage recording and on a recording from New River Ranch.

Hicks left Bill Monroe in 1959 to tour with Porter Wagoner’s band, and then worked with Mel Tillis and other country acts.

From 1963 through to 1970 he lived and worked in Las Vegas, performing with singer Judy Lynn. He had his own dance band for a while also.

Hicks joined the Ricky Skaggs Band in 1981 and continued to play with them until 2003. Although primarily featured on fiddle, he did, at times, play banjo and guitar as well.

In 2003 he joined Jesse McReynolds and the Virginia Boys and then, in 2004, began playing with the North Carolina band Hazel Creek.

Hicks has several solo albums, including Texas Crapshooter (released in 1978). His second solo project, Fiddle Patch, won the 1998 IBMA award for Instrumental Album of the Year. In 1980 he recorded a duet album with Kenny Baker, Darkness on the Delta.

** Bill Sage filled-in as fiddler for a show on June 9, 1963.

Prior to working with the Warrior River Boys, Sage was a member of Del McCoury’s Dixie Pals and spent 12 years with Mac and Hazel McGee and White Mountain Bluegrass.

He recorded with Frank Jones and Al Necessary also.

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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.