Monroe stories?

  1. D C Blood
    D C Blood
    My best Monroe memory came during a performance at The Main Point, Bryn Mawr, Pa, just outside Philly, in the early 70s. I don't remember who was in the band. Small folk club, strong thunderstorm, lightning. Bill is singing "Wayfarin' Stranger. Strong lightning flash, all power goes out, lights, sound...Bill goes on singing, never misses a beat. Voice just as strong without the microphone. I heard him sing the song many times after that, but never like that again.
  2. Mike Bunting
    A similar happening at the Edmonton Folk Festival. I forget what tune they were doing, but the man just sang on, thousands in the audience, all silent, you could hear everything.
  3. Mike Bunting
    Bill Monroe once asked the banjo player to walk around the back of the tour bus and tell him whether or not the tail lights were working. The banjo player looked and yelled out, "yes! no! yes! no! yes! no!

    Maybe not true, but a good story!
  4. mandolirius
    Seems like a good time to tell this one. It took place in 1978 at the University of Calgary. Our friendly board moderator, Mr. Bunting knows this story because he was in the audience and thank goodness for that because it is a bit unbelievable.

    I was in the opening band. We were called Back Up & Push. I know, not very original. Anyway, we got called up on stage towards the end of show to help sing on the gosel medley - Swing Low, I'll Fly Away, I Saw The Light - and at some point (I really don't remember when, Monroe turned around and handed me his mandolin. I stood there unable to move and had to be nudged into playing by Butch Robbins. For some reason, Bill kept going and went into John Henry. Someone else was taking a break when Monroe turned around and asked me if I would take a solo. I just shook my head and mumbled that I was too nervous. He nodded and turned back to the microphone. When the next break came around, Kenny Baker and Butch fRobbins faked me out. They made it look like Kenny was going for the mic but Butch had gotten behind me and he shoved me right up to the mic. I think Bill might have been in on it to because he moved aside just at the right time.

    In this pre-digital era, no one I knew had gotten a picture because they'd all run out of film by that point. As for what it was like playing the mandolin, all I remember was that the action was brutal and it was ridiculously loud.
  5. Mike Bunting
    Yes, it's true and it was a fine solo too! Was "Earl Slick" on the banjo or are the mists of time fogging my memory. It was a great show, the second row was full of mandoplayers and I got Mr. Monroe's autograph. Best story yet.
  6. Tom Mullen
    Tom Mullen
    This one was kinda embarassing for me. When I played that weekend with the BGB (see BGB thread), I was allowed to sit in THE BUS between shows and to get dressed. Bill's woman was there in the bus, too, and we were sitting across from each other chatting and listening to the music onstage.
    The band on stage was playing "With Body and Soul" and Bill's woman said "That's my song!" I commented that was one of my favorites, too, and then I added "I think Virginia Stouffer wrote that song." She looked at me and said "I know....I'm Virginia Stouffer."

    I crawled to the back of the bus and did not come out for an hour.........
  7. mandolirius
    <Was "Earl Slick" on the banjo or are the mists of time fogging my memory.>

    Yep. In fact, I've recently been in touch with Rob, uh, I mean Earl. He says he hasn't touched a banjo in 20 years. Said he recently picked one up in a pawnshop but fortunately there was a church nearby and he was able to gain absolution. Plus, he got a biscuit and a sip of wine out of the deal.
  8. Mike Bunting
    At least one banjo player has been saved!
  9. Mike Bromley
    Mike Bromley
    I was also in the audience at U of C that night. The story is as witnessed... Bill signed a Canadian dollar bill for me (an offense of some kind), which I glued to one of my mandolin cases, one which I built in a hotel room in Jasper, Alberta.
  10. mandolirius
    Thanks for the verification, Mike & Mike. I've told this story on occasion and have sometimes seen the unmistakable look of doubt in some people's eyes.
  11. Mike Bunting
    Gibson Hoss, M'lirious, these first person stories of the Man are terrific, thanks a lot. Your story made me think of Butch Robin's bus stories!
  12. Mike Bromley
    Mike Bromley
    Mike & Mike verifying a Mike at the Mike story, n'est ce pas?
  13. OkiePicker88
    @mandolirius I have only dreamed of holding the master's instrument I'm only 25 years old and I was very young and not interested in Bluegrass when Monroe was alive but my GOSH!! He let you play it!! the instrument of legend my human hands will never touch almost as famous as his music, I'm nerding out to the extreme right now!!

    and Bill was a very tall man I hear much taller than 6ft I'm only 5'8 so of course he would've dwarved me!!
  14. johnhgayjr
    Yep - he was tall. I'm 6'3"...
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