I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #75

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 14, 1928 Walter Ray Haynes was born in Kingsport, Sullivan County, Tennessee. Haynes was the co-producer or producer for Bill Monroe’s MCA recordings over a period of about 13 years, beginning with the tracks for the 1973 Bean Blossom album and ending with those for Bill Monroe and Friends. He added bells to the Virginia Stauffer song That’s Christmas Time To Me, recorded on July 28, 1977.

* It was Walter Haynes, a well-noted steel guitar player, who suggested that background vocals and strings were overdubbed on the recording of My Last Days on Earth. Monroe and Haynes had developed a mutual trust that allowed the latter to be adventurous without over-stepping the mark with his ideas.

Haynes also produced the live recordings that took place at Cathedral Caverns, near Huntsville, Alabama, on July 4, 1982. The ten numbers weren’t released until they were included on the Bear Family set My Last Days on Earth (BCD 16637 DK), released on February 26, 2007.

Below, Doug Kershaw shares another bit of history that took place on December 14, in this case in 1957 ……

“I wrote Sally-Jo that night, back stage of the Grand Ole Opry, in one of the small dressing rooms at the Rhyman (sic) Auditorium. I was sitting on the floor with my guitar with my back to the door and singing this brand new song.

When I finished singing, I hear this most recognizable voice say, ‘Meet me at 8 o’clock in the morning at Decca Records studio, I want to record that song,’ and he walked away. I stuck my head out the door to make sure it was Bill Monroe, and it was, Bill kept walking then turned his head and said, ‘And bring that hot guitar lick with you.’

Next morning he had me play my hot lick guitar and recorded Sally Jo.”

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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.