I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #71

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 10, 1934 Noah Crase was born in Barwick, Breathitt County, Kentucky, midway between Hazard and Jackson. He was first recruited by Bill Monroe to play banjo for about a 12 month spell in 1954 and rejoined the Blue Grass Boys in 1956.  *
  • December 10, 1962 Recording session – Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys recorded Cindy, Master Builder and Let Me Rest At The End of My Journey. Each was sung solo by Monroe and the two sacred songs were released on I’ll Meet You in Church Sunday Morning (Decca DL 7- 4537), released on June 15, 1964.  Joe Stuart [guitar], Lonnie Hoppers [banjo], Bessie Lee Mauldin [bass] and Kenny Baker [fiddle] assisted Monroe at the session produced by Harry Silverstein.
  • December 10, 1974 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys made their first appearance in Japan.  They performed at Kanda Kyouritu Koudou, a hall at Kyouritu Women’s University in central Tokyo. They played three more dates elsewhere in Japan before returning to Tokyo for the final show of their tour. **

* Noah Crase was one of the pioneering bluegrass banjo pickers in the Dayton, Ohio, area. With Red Allen and Frank Wakefield, he soon became deeply involved in the bluegrass world of the Cincinnati-Middletown-Dayton region.

He played and recorded with numerous people in those years in addition to Allen and Wakefield, including Jimmy Martin, Carlos Brock, Dorsey Harvey, Dave Woolum and others.

He didn’t participate in any formal recording session while a member of the Blue Grass Boys, Crase was captured on film playing the banjo on rendition of Uncle Pen.

Some of Crase’s best music of the 1960s and 1970s came in the company of Paul ‘Moon’ Mullins, fiddler and legendary DJ on WPFB in Middletown. He played with Mullins in the Valley Ramblers (appearing weekly on a TV show on Dayton’s WKEF-TV), the Nu-Grass Pickers and, beginning in 1973, the Boys from Indiana, with whom he recorded two albums; We Missed You In Church Last Sunday and the extremely popular Atlanta Is Burning.

Crase will also be remembered for his original banjo tune Noah’s Breakdown, recorded in 1957 and released on the flip side of Dave Woolum’s Sage single Old Age (immortalized on the 1976 Rounder album Early Days of Bluegrass, Vol. 2), and the song I Can’t Go On This Way, recorded by the Traditional Grass.

In later years Crase lived in the Franklin-Springboro area, where he worked as a mail carrier at the Springboro post office. He passed away on April 13, 2010.

** Exactly 12 months later Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys appeared live on NTV’s 11PM TV show.

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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.