I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #77

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 16, 1918 Joseph Scudder ‘Joe’ Zinkan was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. (see January 15) *
  • December 16, 1929 Guy Stevenson was born in Vulcan, Missouri, the oldest of twelve children. The bass player was hired by Bill Monroe in March 1973 and stayed with the Blue Grass Boys until mid. July 1953.  **
  • December 16, 1966 Recording session – In a late night session, Bill Monroe, assisted by Peter Rowan [guitar], Lamar Grier [banjo], James Monroe [bass] and Richard Greene [fiddle], recorded Midnight on the Stormy Deep, All the Good Times Are Past and Gone and Soldier’s Joy. The recordings of the first two named songs were included on the Blue Grass Time album (Decca DL 7-4896), released on June 12, 1967.
  • December 16, 1982 Recording session – At the Burns Station Sound, 211 East College St., Burns, Tennessee, Bill Monroe and Mel Tillis recorded My Louisiana Love for the Bill Monroe and Friends album (MCA 5435), released on January 12, 1984. Other participating musicians were Wayne Lewis [guitar], Blake Williams [banjo], Mark Hembree [bass] and Kenny Baker [fiddle]. The producer was Walter Haynes.

* Ace ‘Slap Bass’ player Joe Zinkan was involved in four recording sessions with Bill Monroe, three during 1969 and one early in 1970. At his first session he helped with the recording of I Haven’t Seen Mary In Years for the album Bill Monroe and James Monroe: Father and Son (MCA 310). At another session they recorded Bonny for the same album.

Other cuts that Zinkan worked on were Fireball Mail, The Dead March, With Body And Soul, Cripple Creek and McKinley’s March.

** While he was a Blue Grass Boy, Guy Stevenson fulfilled a dream by performing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and also recorded on the famed Bean Blossom album. He played to national TV audiences on the highly rated Dean Martin Show as well as many other famous venues.

However, choosing to stay closer to his home in the Ozarks, he left Monroe after only about five months and joined Dub Crouch. In 1975, 1976 and 1977, Stevenson was named the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) Bass Player of the Year.

An accomplished bassist, guitarist, singer and songwriter, he as spent the last ten years fronting his own group, The Winning Team Band, performing bluegrass Gospel music.

In 2002 he fought off the ravages of cancer, writing a song, The Power of Prayer, that relates his experiences during that year.

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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.