I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #95

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.

  • January 3, 1936 Raymond Elwood ‘Ray’ Goins was born near Bramwell, West Virginia.   *
  • January 3, 1948 Larry Paul McNeely was born in Lafayette, Indiana. He had an unconfirmed fill-in role on banjo. **

* The younger of the two Goins brothers, Ray worked for Bill Monroe, playing banjo, filling in on a few dates from the summer of 1958 to September 1962.

** A talented session musician, Larry McNeely is known best for his work with Roy Acuff and Glen Campbell.

He was born into a musical family, but didn’t begin learning to play piano until he was 13. He then added guitar and banjo, absorbing the styles of both Don Reno and Bill Keith, and got his professional start at the age of 17 when he joined the Pinnacle Mountain Boys.

In 1965, after moving to Nashville to work for the Sho-Bud Guitar Company, McNeely met Acuff and joined his Smoky Mountain Boys. He remained with them until 1969 when he moved to California, and joined Glen Campbell’s band.

He recorded his first solo album, Glen Campbell Presents Larry McNeely, two years later.

McNeely remained with Campbell until late in 1974, when he left the touring circuit to work as a session man. He played on numerous albums, including those by the Carpenters and Roger Miller, as well as movie soundtracks and commercials.

He recorded two solo albums for Flying Fish; Rhapsody for Banjo and Power Play, and, with Geoff Levin and Jack Skinner, Confederation (for Sheffield Lab).

In 1984 McNeely returned to Nashville and joined progressive bluegrass band, Southern Manor. Shortly thereafter he returned to work with Roy Acuff, with whom he played until Acuff’s death in 1992.

Subsequently, McNeely went to work with Russ and Becky Jeffers and Smoky Mountain Sunshine.

Here’s a video of Larry shot in 2005 at the Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy.

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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.