16 November 2011

More memories of Bill Monroe

Thanks to Niall Toner for the two photos above (click on either for a larger image), taken in Kentucky during his US tour in September and October this year. On the left: Niall (with sweatshirt supporting a Dublin musician) in part of the Bill Monroe Centennial Exhibit at the International Bluegrass Music Museum at Owensboro, KY, about thirty miles from Monroe's birthplace. The framed mandolin headstock veneer, with a 'curl' missing and the name 'Gibson' deleted by Bill himself, was on his Lloyd Loar Gibson mandolin for many years. Niall sends these further comments:

The mandolin in the display case in the Museum is one of Monroe's. To the best of my recollection it is an Ibanez, and it was one of the mandolins that caused a bit of a 'stir', as it was presented to Monroe while he was on tour in Japan, and photos taken at the time were subsequently used in magazine ads which led to legal action by Gibson, who were, of course, Monroe's official sponsor.

The woman holding a copy of my Monroe tribute CD by the side of Bill's gravestone is his daughter, Carolina Rose. She is one of the subjects of our interviews at Rosine
[to be broadcast in the one-hour RTE special at Christmas 2011]. She performs with an all-woman band, and also with AL Jones (Monroe's son), he of AL Jones and Frank Necessary fame. Necessary is currently seriously ill in hospital.

AL Jones, Frank Necessary, & the Spruce Mountain Boys, and their recordings on Rounder, Old Homestead, etc., have exemplified hardcore bluegrass for many years. The life story of Carolina Rose and her brother AL Jones has been published as The road from Gloria Jean to Carolina Rose.

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