I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #351

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 16, 1940 Roger Bush was born in Hollywood, California. *
  • September 16, 1946 Recording session – During a morning session at the WBBM-CBS Studio, in Chicago, Bill Monroe recorded Heavy Traffic Ahead, Why Did You Wander? Blue Moon Of Kentucky, Toy Heart, Summertime Is Past And Gone, Mansions For Me, Mother’s Only Sleeping and Blue Yodel No.4. Accompanying Bill Monroe were Lester Flatt [vocal/guitar], Earl Scruggs [banjo], Howard Watts [bass/bass vocal] and Chubby Wise [fiddle]. The producer was Art Satherley.  **
  • September 16, 1955 Recording session – During a session at the Bradley Studio in Nashville Bill Monroe recorded Used To Be, Tall Timber and Brown County Breakdown. Assisting were Charlie Cline [guitar], Joe Stuart [banjo], Bessie Mauldin [bass], Bobby Hicks, Gordon Terry and Vassar Clements [all playing fiddle]. The producer was Paul Cohen. ***
  • September 16, 1960 Scottie Baugus was born. ****
  • September 16, 1973 Bill Monroe unveiled a headstone dedicated to Pendleton M Vandiver [Uncle Pen] in Rosine Cemetery.  *****

* Roger Bush [bass] played a fill-in date for Bill Monroe during October 1964.

Raised in El Monte, Bush taught himself guitar, and learned country songs at family get-togethers.

When he left high school he started a bluegrass group, The Green Mountain Boys, a group that included his brother, Sherman and future Golden State Boys Don Parmley and Tom Kuehl.

Later he met Clarence and Roland White who taught him how to play upright bass, whereupon he replaced Eric White in the Country Boys, later the Kentucky Colonels, later leaving them in 1966.

After a break from music he joined Dillard &The Expedition in 1969. However, by 1972, Bush had joined Byron Berline, Alan Munde and Kenny Wertz to form the progressive bluegrass band Country Gazette.

** This was the first session involving the aggregation acclaimed as the ‘original’ bluegrass band, comprising Bill Monroe [mandolin], Lester Flatt [guitar], Chubby Wise [fiddle], Earl Scruggs [banjo] and Howard Watts (known by his stage name Cedric Rainwater) [string bass].

A recording of all songs was included in the collection The Essential Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys, 1945-1949 (Columbia C2K-52478) released in 1992.

There were several alternate takes during this session. All the recordings were included in the Bear Family Records set Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky 1936-1949 (BCD 16399 FL) released in 2002.

***?The recordings of Tall Timber and Brown County Breakdown were included on the Decca LP Bluegrass Instrumentals (DL 4601), released on June 14, 1965.

**** Scottie Baugus played guitar for the Blue Grass Boy for the first three months of 1989, sandwiched between two spells in the band by Tom Ewing.

29 years old when Monroe asked him to sing and play guitar, Baugus had never before worked as a professional musician.

Currently, Scottie Baugus fronts his own version of Boone Creek.

***** At the Monroe Homecoming that took place on the same day in Rosine, Bill Monroe was presented with a gold plaque from the district for being an outstanding Kentuckian.

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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.