I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #70

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 9, 1935 Buddy Pendleton born in Lone Ivy, just below Lovers Leap in Patrick County, Virginia. He joined the Blue Grass Boys, playing fiddle, during 1962. *
  • December 9, 1979 Tommy Jackson died in Nashville, Tennessee, aged 53. **

* “Santa Claus brought me a fiddle when I was about eleven or twelve years old and I started trying to saw on it,” Buddy said. “At that time there wasn’t a teacher in the whole valley there. Not one close enough for me to tune in on,” Buddy Pendleton told Fiddler Magazine recently.

His fluid, powerful style is influenced by Tommy Jackson and Buddy Durham initially; later he listened to Howdy Forrester, Kenny Baker and Chubby Wise.

When he was fourteen, Buddy played in his first fiddler’s contest, which he won. At Ralph Rinzler’s beckoning, he played and recorded with the Greenbriar Boys, featuring on their first album on the Vanguard label. While with the band he played with Joan Baez.

Pendleton was with Bill Monroe for less than a year; he didn’t like the travelling. He had just got married and had a job offer back in Patrick County, working for the postal service. He didn’t participate in any recording sessions while with Monroe, although he has several solo albums and one with Larry Richardson and the Blue Ridge Boys.

Pendleton worked as a mailman for just over forty years. He went back to playing in fiddle contests, winning the title of World Champion Fiddler at Union Grove for five consecutive years.

Here’s Buddy’s interview with Fiddler

**  Thomas Lee Jackson was, without a doubt, the best studio fiddle player of his time. At his peak, from the end of the 1940s until the beginning of the 1960s, he was the busiest violinist in country music.

As well as recording with Bill Monroe, Jackson played on historically significant hits by Hank Williams, George Jones, Ray Price, Faron Young and King recording artists by Grandpa Jones, Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins.

In the early 1950s, he made his first records for Mercury, which sold well and in 1953 he signed to Dot Records. Over the next ten years, Jackson cut 11 albums and 30 singles, hooking into the burgeoning square dance boom. The recordings all sold well and were swept up eagerly by aspiring fiddle players, for whom Jackson rapidly became a major inspiration.

Jackson played fiddle during the Bill Monroe’s sessions on March 17, 1951; April 20, 1957; May 14, 1957 and March 19, 1962.

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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.