I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #62

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.

  • December 1, 1958 Recording session – Bill Monroe recorded two songs sung solo – Gotta Travel On and No One But My Darlin’ and two instrumentals – Big Mon and Monroe’s Hornpipe – at the first session recorded in stereo. Owen Bradley was the producer.  The last two were included on the Bluegrass Instrumentals LP (Decca 7-4601), released on June 14, 1965. Other musicians involved were Jack Cook [guitar], Robert Pennington [banjo], Bobby Hicks [fiddle] and Bessie Lee Mauldin [bass].
  • December 1, 1960 Recording session – Bill Monroe, assisted by Carl Butler [guitar], Curtis McPeake [banjo], Bessie Lee Mauldin [bass] and Dale Potter [fiddle], records Put My Rubber Doll Away, Seven Year Blues, Time Changes Everything and Lonesome Road Blues. Owen Bradley was the producer. All four recordings were included on the Mr Blue Grass LP (Decca DL 7-4080), released on May 29, 1961.
  • December 1, 1966 Carter Stanley died Bristol, Tennessee, age 41.  *
  • December 1, 1979 The “Bluegrass Spectacular” special during which Bill Monroe was awarded an honorary degree by the South Plains College was broadcast on Public Television.
  • December 1, 1995 CD released, Bill Monroe – Blue Moon of Kentucky (Sony Special Product A16652) **

* Carter Stanley will be forever remembered as the leader with his brother, Ralph, of the Clinch Mountain Boys, generally acknowledged as the first band after Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys to play in the bluegrass genre.

For almost two decades he and his brother Ralph, assisted by the Clinch Mountain Boys, created a very distinctive bluegrass sound. While many consider Carter to be one of the greatest natural singers in bluegrass history, with a voice that is at the same time rich, emotional and lonesome.

He also composed more than a hundred songs, and many of them are now considered bluegrass music standards.  He had a particular knack for deceptively simple lyrics that portrayed strong emotion. His most famous compositions include Little Glass of Wine, The White Dove, The Fields Have Turned Brown, The Lonesome River, Harbor Of Love, Think Of What You’ve Done, How Mountain Girls Can Love and many more.

Carter Stanley was just 41 when he died of cirrhosis of the liver. He was buried in accordance with his request on Smith Ridge, near Coeburn, Virginia.

In 1992 he was posthumously inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. His arrangement of Man Of Constant Sorrow was popularized in the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou?

** Bill Monroe – Blue Moon of Kentucky

“Though terribly brief, at less than 30 minutes in length, this compilation is a consistently enjoyable listen from start to finish. None of the ten tracks are particularly rare, but all are classic Monroe, from the standard Blue Moon of Kentucky and Kentucky Waltz to the driving Toy Heart and Molly and Tenbrooks (The Race Horse Song). That said, this set is a decent companion piece to the more complete collections on the market, as the majority of the material here isn’t generally featured on the better-known compilations.”

Matt Fink

Track listing – Girl in the Blue Velvet Band, Toy Heart, Blue Moon of Kentucky, Rocky Road Blues, Blue Yodel No. 4, Kentucky Waltz, Summertime Is Past and Gone, Will You Be Loving Another Man? I Hear a Sweet Voice Calling, Molly and Tenbrooks.

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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.