I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #64

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 3, 1949 Saburo ‘Sab Watanabe’ Inoue was born in Takarazuka, near Osaka, Japan. *
  • December 3, 1960 Recording session – Bill Monroe and Blue Grass Boys recorded Big River, Flowers Of Love, It’s Mighty Dark To Travel and Blue Grass Part One [aka Blue Grass Twist]. All four songs were included on the Mr Blue Grass LP (Decca DL 7-4080), released on May 29, 1961. Monroe was assisted by Carl Butler [guitar], Curtis McPeake [banjo], Tony Ellis [bass] and Dale Potter [fiddle]. The producer was Owen Bradley.
  • December 3, 1970 Recording session – Bill Monroe assisted by James Monroe [guitar], Bobby Thompson [banjo], Joe Stuart [bass], Kenny Baker and Red Hayes [both on fiddle], and Gordon Terry [fiddle, and guitar on Get up John], recorded three instrumentals – Lonesome Moonlight Waltz, Tallahassee and Get up John. The early evening session took place in the Bradley’s Barn studio with Walter Haynes producing.
  • December 3, 1990 Melissa Kathleen Monroe died in Hillhaven Nursing Home in Hendersonville, Tennessee, age 54. **
  • December 3, 2001 Grady Martin died.

* One of Japan’s best-known bluegrass personalities, Saburo Watanabe Inoue filled-in playing bass on the last date of Bill Monroe’s 1984 tour of Japan.

He was the banjo player for the group Bluegrass 45, the first Japanese bluegrass band to tour the United States.

He founded B.O.M., the bluegrass and related music distributor and mail-order shop, Red Clay Records and MoonShiner, Japan’s premiere bluegrass magazine, which he now edits. He was chosen as the IBMA’s Print Media Person of the Year for 1998.

** According to Robert Cantwell in his book, Bluegrass Breakdown: The Making of the Old Southern Sound, Melissa Monroe “suffered crippling emotional difficulties.”

As a young teenager she recorded for Columbia Records who released three 78rpm singles – Oh, How I Miss You c/w Guilty Tears (20752), You Rule My Heart c/w Stop Look And Listen (20783) and Peppermint Stick And Lemon Drops c/w Oceans Of Tears (20856). The first four were recorded in August 1950 and the remainder were recorded in July 1951.

*** Grady Martin was one of the most renowned, inventive and historically-significant American session musicians in country music and rockabilly.

As a member of Nashville A-Team, he worked thousands of sessions, playing guitar on hits ranging from Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman and Marty Robbins’s El Paso to Loretta Lynn’s Coal Miner’s Daughter and Sammi Smith’s Help Me Make It through the Night.

During a nearly 50-year career, Martin backed such names as Flatt & Scruggs, Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly.

He is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

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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.