I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #362

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 27, 1961 Billy Joe Foster was born near Duncan, Oklahoma. *
  • September 27, 1975 Charlie Monroe died, age 72, of leukaemia, at the Camp Springs music park in Reidsville, North Carolina. He was buried in the Monroe family plot in Rosine Cemetery, Kentucky. **
  • September 27, 1990 Bill Monroe’s daughter Melissa was admitted to the Henderson Hospital.
  • September 27, 1991 Dana Cupp played his first date as a Blue Grass Boy on a permanent basis.
  • September 27, 2011 Album released – The Del McCoury Band – Old Memories: The Songs Of Bill Monroe (McCoury Music) ***
  • September 27, 2011 Concert – An outdoor concert to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Bill Monroe took place in the Ryman Auditorium grounds from noon until 2:00 p.m. ****

* Billy Joe Foster played fiddle for Bill Monroe from February 1987 through to 1988 when Clarence ‘Tater’ Tate returned to that role.

Prior to his stint with Monroe, Foster, a multi-instrumentalist, fronted Special Edition, an ultra-traditional bluegrass band based in the southern Oklahoma / northern Texas area. Disbanded in 1986, the band was reformed in 1996 and had two self-released albums and one on the Hay Holler label, released in 2000.

He has had tenures of two years with Country Gazette and six years with Ricky Skaggs’ country band.

** Following the brothers’ split, Charlie Monroe went on to form the Kentucky Pardners, a band that included Lester Flatt, Red Rector, Curly Seckler and Ira Louvin at various times. During the 1940s they were constantly on tour throughout the American south.

Monroe recorded for RCA Victor (from 1946 -1950) and then Decca until his retirement in 1957. Many of the songs that he recorded were self-penned.

He was lured out of retirement in 1972, playing at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, where he received a rousing reception. Monroe continued to play at festivals until he was diagnosed with cancer in 1974.

*** Old Memories: The Songs of Bill Monroe, 16 tracks (only available for digital download)

Track listing – Watermelon On The Vine, Live and Let Live, Lonesome Truck Driver’s Blues, Brakeman’s Blues, Close By, In Despair, The Girl In The Blue Velvet Band, John Henry, I’m Blue I’m Lonesome, Used To Be, Alabama Waltz, Lonesome Road Blues, Heavy Traffic Ahead, Train 45 (Heading South), My Rose Of Old Kentucky and Y’all Come.

**** The free outdoor concert was hosted by the Foundation for Bluegrass Music and featured the Del McCoury Band with special guests.

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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.