I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #318

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.

  • August 14, 1938 Jacob ‘Jake’ Landers was born in Lawrence County, Alabama. *
  • August 14, 1960 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys appeared at the first all-day all-bluegrass show at Watermelon Park in Berryville, 65 miles west of Washington DC. The event which was largely promoted by DJ Don Owens, assisted by Carlton Haney, also featured Mac Wiseman, the Osborne Brothers, Don Reno and Red Smiley, Buck Ryan and Smitty Irvin, and Bill Harrell. **
  • August 14, 1971 The First Annual Bill Monroe Kentucky Bluegrass Festival took place at Ashland, Kentucky.

* Jake Landers played guitar, when needed, for Bill Monroe during the mid-1960s. He did not participate in any recording sessions.

Landers is credited with writing Walk Softly On My Heart, a ‘true’ song which Monroe recorded in October 1969. Another song that he and Bill Monroe wrote during their many hours on the road together was Beyond The Gate.

In 1956 he co-founded the Dixie Gentlemen, a band that featured Rual Yarbrough, Herschel Sizemore and Vassar Clements at various times, and recorded for United Artists and Time Records. From the mid-1970s he had several releases on the Old Homestead label. Just prior to that The Dixie Gentlemen re-united to record for that same label.

Among the top bands who recorded songs written by Landers are the Osborne Brothers, the Nashville Bluegrass Band and the Bluegrass Cardinals.

In March 2009 he was inducted into the Alabama Bluegrass Association Hall of Fame.

** Danny Cline filled-in on bass during this festival appearance.

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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.