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.
Many people have paid tribute to Bill Monroe and his music. Some have spoken with high praise for the man himself, others have been moved to enthuse about his music.
One of the most touching is The Cross-Eyed Child, a poem that John Hartford wrote in Monroe’s honor. It speaks of the memory of Monroe as well as of the effects that his music has had on all of us.
Hartford knew Monroe well and interviewed him often, so he was well-suited to speak with deep affection and sincerity about the ‘Father of Bluegrass Music.’
Thanks to Eric Hogue of the John Hartford Office we are able to re-print the words to this reverential piece that combines music and monologue. Our thanks are also due to Chris Sharp for facilitating this agreement.
|The cross-eyed child is left alone,
alone with his lonesome eyes,
While older brothers ride away
in boots and clothes so fine.
He walks the hills and the railroad track,
singing in a voice so high,
A voice so wild it will freeze your heart,
like the heart of the cross-eyed child.
Behind the house, behind the barn,
Back inside the darkness there
|He wills himself to persevere
as strong he upward grows.
They come to match him, fist and note,
then on their way they go.
He does what he does the best he can,
some say it is his style,
But they can’t see old Kentucky
in the heart of the cross-eyed child.
Still proving himself to people gone,
And no one grins, we all chime in
Here Hartford, assisted by Mark Schatz, Chris Sharp and Mike Compton, presents a rendition of The Cross-Eyed Child captured on video …
An audio recording of The Cross-Eyed Child is on the John Hartford and the Hartford Stringband album Good Old Boys (Rounder CD 0462, 1999).
Hartford died on June 4, 2001, after a long battle with non-hodgkin’s lymphoma and is well-remembered by a legion of fans.