I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #347

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.

  • September 12, 1949 Single released – I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky / Molly And Tenbrooks (Columbia 20612, 33rpm – 2 – 323)
  • September 12, 1965 Neil Rosenberg played his last date, filling in on banjo, with the Blue Grass Boys. (see September 24)
  • September 12, 1996 Bill Monroe was laid to rest in the Monroe family plot in the cemetery at Rosine, Kentucky.  *
  • September 12, 2011 The Bill Monroe Centennial Celebrations began with the presentation of The Life & Lively Music of Bill Monroe, an original musical, at RiverPark Center, hosted by the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky.

* I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky – for the last time. Exactly 47 years after Columbia Records released I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky on a single record Bill Monroe returned to his beloved home in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Overhead it was grey, the emotions heightened in comparison with those of yesterday, but the sun broke through, its rays enlightening a moment, a single voice, a sacred song.

The open casket, rows of symbolic quarters left by the respectful as they passed through the little country church. The overspill on the lawns outside – estimates of a 1,000 and more in attendance as Ricky Skaggs sang Amazing Grace, Ralph Stanley Two Coats, Ohio County’s own Gospel singer Alma Randolph sang Take My Hand, Precious Lord. The sermon, a eulogy from James Monroe and more song – from Dan Jones, Life’s Railway to Heaven; Wayne Lewis accompanied by the congregation, Precious Memories representing the many Blue Grass Boys present; more eulogies and onto the graveside and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and a spontaneous Blue Moon of Kentucky.

And finally, the mound of Kentucky clay adorned with flowers.

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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.