I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #323

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 19, 1982 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys hosted Bill Monroe’s West Tennessee Bluegrass Festival at Natural Bridge Park, Waynesboro, Tennessee. Included on the bill were James Monroe, Clyde Moody, the Lost Kentuckians and the Bailes Brothers.
  • August 19, 1985 LP released – Bill Monroe and the Stars of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame (MCA 5625) *
  • August 19, 1986 Recording session – During an afternoon session at the Sound Stage Studio Bill Monroe recorded God Holds The Future In His Hands, Farther On and The Old Crossroads. Assisting Monroe were Tom Ewing [guitar], Blake Williams [banjo], John Montgomery [bass], and Tater Tate and Buddy Spicher [fiddle]. The producer was Emory Gordy, Jr.. **
  • August 19, 1994 CD released – Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe (County Records 2708) ***
  • August 19, 1995 The National Music Foundation paid tribute to Bill Monroe, who they called a national treasure, at The National Music Center, Lenox, Massachusetts. ****

* Bill Monroe and the Stars of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, 10 tracks

Recorded during 10 dedicated sessions from May 1985 through to June 1986, this set features Sonny and Bobby Osborne, Carl Story, Mac Wiseman, Jim & Jesse, the Country Gentlemen, Bobby Hicks, and Del McCoury.

Track listing – I‘m On My Way Back To The Old Home, Can’t You Hear Me Callin’, Lord Protect My Soul, Golden West, Travelin’ This Lonesome Road, I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky, I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling, Remember The Cross, True Life Blues and Let The Gates Swing Wide.

** This was Tom Ewing’s recording debut as a Blue Grass Boy.

The recording of The Old Crossroads, a re-make of the Monroe-Flatt duet for Columbia (The Old Cross Road), was released on the LP Bluegrass ’87 (MCA-5970), released on January 9, 1987.

*** Kenny Baker plays Bill Monroe, 12 tracks

“Baker understood what Monroe was about (at least musically), and during his various stints with the Bluegrass (sic) Boys, never failed to deliver the goods. This tribute, which features the boss himself, features many of Monroe’s greatest instrumental compositions, including spirited renditions of Road to Columbus, Big Sandy River, Wheel Hoss, and my personal favorite Brown County Breakdown, featuring a spectacular melodic-style solo by banjoist Bob Black (Black and Vic Jordan split the 5-string duties on this effort, and their understanding of fiddle tunes make both of their contributions special). And the lovely interplay between Baker and Monroe on Lonesome Moonlight Waltz carries an emotional force that drives to the core of the idiom.”

Gary Popovich

Track listing – Road To Columbus, Brown Country Breakdown, Lonesome Moonlight Waltz, Jerusalem Ridge, Monroe’s Hornpipe, Cheyenne, Big Sandy River, Stoney Lonesome, Mississippi Waltz, Wheel Hoss, Fiddler’s Pastime and Ashland Breakdown.

**** The plaque that was presented to Monroe read, “With heartfelt appreciation to Bill Monroe, through your unparalleled contributions to American music, you have enriched our lives and inspired musicians of every kind, in this country and around the world.”

Share this:

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.