I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky #8

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.

  • October 8, 1956 Blake Williams born in Sparta, Tennessee. Williams was a Blue Grass Boy for nearly ten years, the longest tenure of any banjo player. Nicknamed the Sparta Flash, he joined the group in July 1981, succeeding Butch Robins. Williams participated in ten recording sessions during his time working for Bill Monroe.
  • October 8, 1980 Bill Monroe’s Gibson Model F-5 mandolin was returned to him after the instrument had undergone complete refurbishment. *

Monroe's headstock veneer*Gibson repaired the mandolin that Monroe had defaced some years ago after being displeased with some work they had done for him. He had scratched the name “Gibson” from the peghead, leaving only the word “The.”

The original peghead overlay was recently sold at auction by Christie’s in New York, and is currently on loan to the International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro, KY.

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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.