I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #54

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 23, 1962 Recording sessions – In two day-time sessions Bill Monroe recorded six songs, three secular – Careless Love, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry and Jimmy Brown, The Newsboy (covering Mac Wiseman’s recent hit version)  – and three sacred numbers – Pass Me Not, The Glory Land Way and the Gospel standard Farther Along. All were Monroe solos. He was assisted by Kenny Baker, Joe Stuart, Lonnie Hoppers and Bessie Lee Mauldin. For Hoppers, who had joined the Blue Grass Boys in October, it was his debut session. On Pass Me Not Hoppers switched from banjo to play guitar allowing Stuart to double up on fiddle. Production duties were shared by Harry Silverstein and Owen Bradley.
  • November 23, 1984 Randall ‘Randy’ Franks ended his tenure with the Blue Grass Boys, although he continued to perform with Bill Monroe throughout Monroe’s working life, as and when Franks’s acting career permitted.

Former Clinch Mountain Boy and now leader of his own band, Charlie Sizemore recalls one incident involving Bill Monroe ……………………

“Years ago when I was a student at UK and living in Lexington Kentucky, my then wife brought the phone to me and laughed: “It’s someone trying to talk like Bill Monroe.” I soon discovered that it was indeed Mr. Monroe. He was looking for “a good Kentucky fiddle player – not one of those Texas swing fiddlers” and a fox hound. I told him that I couldn’t be of any help with the fiddler but my dad was a fox hunter and I would bring him a Walker pup when I came down to Fan Fair.

And so I did. I think he was a bit surprised – I never was able to tell if he was serious – but he was happy with the dog.”

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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.