I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #35

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.

  • November 4, 1899 Kirk McGee born in Williamson County, Tennessee.
  • November 4, 1948 Jervis ‘Pete’ Corum born in North Carolina. Corum, played bass in a fill-in job for the Blue Grass Boys during 1971.
  • November 4, 1957 Single released – Molly and Tenbrooks / I’m Sitting On Top of the World (Decca 9- 30486, 78rpm, 30486, 45rpm)
  • November 4, 1973 LP released – Road of Life (MCA 426)
  • November 4, 1973 Ben Pedigo ended his short tenure with the Blue Grass Boys, returning to Vanderbilt University [Nashville, Tennessee] to continue his undergraduate studies.  **
  • November 4, 1977 The first fall festival at Bean Blossom took place. The show featured Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, James Monroe and the Midnight Ramblers, the Knoxville Newgrass, Birch Monroe, the Phuzz Street Knucklebusters and the Gospel Ramblers. ***
  • November 4, 1994 Ronnie McCoury, playing guitar, filled in for Tom Ewing for an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, thus establishing a unique relationship with his father Del McCoury.  The duo is the only father and son to have played guitar and sung lead for Bill Monroe. ****

* Corum is probably best known for his time with another bluegrass great Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass.

He also toured with James Monroe, played in the Misty Mountain Boys and The Roustabouts as well as leading a few of his own bands such as Pete Corum & Rising Sun. Some may remember Corum as the bass player in the Broadway musical Cotton Patch Gospel.

** Ben Pedigo has recorded and performed with Norman Blake, Buck White and John Hartford, as well as fellow Blue Grass Boy Mike Feagan. He currently lives in Ripley, Ohio, where he teaches banjo and guitar, and performs in the duo Gunpowder Creek.

*** The festival took place over three days and gave prominent billing to Kenny Baker and two members of the Midnight Ramblers – Alan O’Bryant and James Bryant. The Knoxville Newgrass featured a young Phil Leadbetter and the Phuzz Street Knucklebusters was led by Doug Hutchens, who was a Blue Grass Boy six years earlier.

**** McCoury is the older son of Del and Jean McCoury. He has been playing mandolin in his father’s band, then the Dixie Pals, since the age of 14, just six months after seeing Bill Monroe in person. With his brother Rob, Jason Carter and Alan Bartram he moonlights with the Travelin’ McCourys.

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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.