I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #97

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 5, 1963 Ralph Rinzler became Bill Monroe’s manager. *
  • January 5, 1976 LP released – The Weary Traveler (MCA 2173) **
  • January 5, 1988 Recording session – In an afternoon session Bill Monroe records two instrumentals: Stone Coal and Texas Lone Star. The personnel assisting Monroe was the same as previous day; Tom Ewing [guitar], Blake Williams [banjo], Tater Tate [bass], and Mike Fagan, Bobby Hicks and Buddy Spicher [each playing the fiddle]. Again the producer was Emory Gordy Jr. ***

* Ralph Rinzler, a young musician and folklorist from New Jersey, first met Bill Monroe in June 1962. Shortly afterwards he became Monroe’s personal manager and during the next four years he was involved in every aspect of Monroe’s wider audience appreciation in the 1960s.

Rinzler wrote the first full-length Monroe biography; Bill Monroe – The Daddy of Blue Grass Music, published in the February-March 1963 edition of Sing Out! magazine. This article was the first to discuss Monroe’s primary role in the development of bluegrass music.

** Bill Monroe: The Weary Traveler is a 10-track album produced by Walter Haynes, with sleeve notes by Owen Bradley.

Track listing: Mary Jane Won’t You Be Mine, Old Old House, Jerusalem Bridge, Clinging To A Saving Hand, Thank God For Kentucky, Show Me The Way, Weary Traveler, Ashland Breakdown, Reasons Why and Watson Blues. (Reissued on MCA-707, 1977)

Bill Monroe sang the title song to this album in tribute to his recently deceased brother Charlie (died September 27, 1975) during the Friday Night Opry show on October 10, 1975.

*** This was the second session for the Grammy award-winning album Southern Flavor (MCA 42133) .

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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.