• Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys in Boulder

    Bill Monroe in concert with The Bluegrass Boys, June 1986A continuation of the Scott Wright video collection entrusted to the Mandolin Cafe for publication, Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys were captured in concert in Boulder, Colorado's Chautauqua Park in June, 1986.

    On the bill for the evening, Norman and Nancy Blake also make an appearance as the warm-up act, though only two of their numbers appear in Video 1.

    Although the exact date of the performance was never recorded on the original 3/4" videocassette tapes, we believe the date to be June 18 or 19, 1986.

    "I remember Norman Blake telling me he and Nancy were on their way to Telluride," Scott Wright said. And indeed, Norman and Nancy were on the bill at the 13th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival held June 20-22, 1986.

    Helping confirm that date, Monroe introduces Tom Ewing as a new Bluegrass Boy early in the performance. Ewing's first appearance with Monroe according to sources is said to be approximately one month earlier, May 18, 1986. On bass is Johnny Montgomery. Tater Tate who was on bass in the Wright Collection tapes of the Denver concert in February has moved to fiddle.

    Even though this was several months after Monroe had received his iconic Lloyd Loar from Gibson post-repair, he's still playing the newer Gibson F-5L.

    "I asked Bill where his Lloyd Loar mandolin was," Wright told us. "He said it was back in Nashville with Charlie Derrington having some adjustments made."

    Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys for this concert included:

    • Tom Ewing - guitar
    • Blake Williams - banjo
    • Tater Tate - fiddle
    • Johnny Montgomery - bass

    NOTE: Video 1 includes images of Monroe's bus, Monroe tuning his mandolin, the band readying for the performance, and a brief appearance by Norman and Nancy Blake. The actual concert starts with Video 2. Because of the nature of these videos and the content, they have been left unedited and presented as filmed in 1986.

    Other Bluegrass Videos in The Scott Wright Collection

    Comments 10 Comments
    1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
      Mandolin Cafe -
      Great version of "Wolf Trap Blues" starting at 12:50 of Tape 2.
    1. chasray's Avatar
      chasray -
      Yes, Wolf Trap Blues! Impressive
    1. Timbofood's Avatar
      Timbofood -
      I wonder if that's the Aaron Cowles F-5L prototype or, early production?
      How kind of you to share this!
      See, every mandolin needs mid tune tuning adjustment, even in Big Mon's hands!
    1. FLATROCK HILL's Avatar
      I was wondering about that mandolin too. Is it the same one he used for the Denver show, only without the pickguard?
    1. FLATROCK HILL's Avatar
      Just got a chance to watch the entire Boulder show. Fantastic! Thanks to all who had a part in recording, saving and making available this historical event.
    1. Timbofood's Avatar
      Timbofood -
      Flatrock' once again we are in the same canoe! What a fantastic piece of footage! My watching has been a bit broken up but, this is great stuff!
      I love the "Choose and Pick" request part of the set, how appreciative of his audience and, what a great way not to have toe write a set list!
      I miss the panache, few have the confidence to give a show so "Off the cuff" as that.
      Thanks for sharing, will some young pickers dive in like this ever again?
      Nothing wrong with the evolution but, there are always the "old school" fans out there. I hope there is the respect and understanding there. How many can push dancers like that anymore, I love Bill!
    1. Jim Hilburn's Avatar
      Jim Hilburn -
      I have no idea why I missed this show because we went to everything back then, but I do know my friend Tom Beaman supplied the PA and ran sound. I helped him load in for a Grisman show there and ended up backstage with Mike Marshall when his Monteleone mandocello was brand new and also helped at a Jethro Burns show. That was the time I wanted to show Jethro one of my early mandolins and he said "Son, I already have a mandolin!"
    1. Don Grieser's Avatar
      Don Grieser -
      Thanks, Scott. What a treat!
    1. f5loar's Avatar
      f5loar -
      yes, this is the '78 F5L without the pickguard. I had told Charlie Derrington in early Feb. about Monroe having a problem with the pickguard making a rattle and him making a little piece of wood to jam up in there to keep it from rattling. Once I told Charlie the story Monroe told me about why he left the pickguard on there and would not remove, Charlie told me he would take care of the problem the next time he had it. So Monroe gets the Loar back and Charlie gets the F5L for some minor set-up and removed the pickguard. He gave it back a week later and told Monroe he removed the pickguard because he knew he didn't like them and Monroe thanked him. Because Gibson Co. removed it, he was good with it. That pickguard has not been found since. Funny how I saw the pickguard to the '64 F5 in the case of the 2nd Loar which sold at the first estate sale. Then I remembered Monroe bought it new himself. It was not a gift from anyone, so he removed the pickguard right away. I would assume in this June, 1986 video, Charlie had taken the Loar back in for more adjustments since it was "settling" in from being glued back together, so Monroe was back to using the F5L. I remember Charlie telling me about taking it back in a few times for adjustments as it did settle in.
    1. Timbofood's Avatar
      Timbofood -
      Tom, does that mean it's the Aaron Cowells prototype or is it page one new production?