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Come Hither to Go Yonder

Playing Bluegrass with Bill Monroe

Bob Black

Publication Year: 2005

While other work on Bill Monroe has been written from a historical point of view, Come Hither to Go Yonder is told from the perspective of a musician who was actually there. Filled with observations made from the unique vantage point of a man who has traveled and performed extensively with the master, this book is Bob Black's personal memoir about the profound influence that Monroe exerted on the musicians who have carried on the bluegrass tradition in the wake of his 1996 death. _x000B_This volume also includes a complete listing of Bob Black's appearances with Monroe, his most memorable experiences while they worked together, brief descriptions of the more important musicians and bands mentioned, and suggestions for further reading and listening. Offering a rare perspective on the creative forces that drove one of America's greatest composers and musical innovators, Come Hither to Go Yonder will deeply reward any fans of Bill Monroe, of bluegrass, or of American vernacular music._x000B__x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: Music in American Life

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

In 1988 Bill Monroe said: “I believe Bob Black is the best playing fiddle tunes of any banjo player.”1 His statement came in an interview by Tony Trischka and Peter Wernick for their book Masters of the Five-String Banjo. They asked...

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pp. xi

I couldn’t have written about these experiences at the time they were happening. I had to wait and see how the story ended. Time and distance have sharpened my focus, and larger truths have now become apparent. I feel vulnerable...

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pp. 1-8

...That was how announcer Grant Turner introduced Bill on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, and as we took our places at the microphones, Mr. Turner continued in his well-practiced yet sincere tone of voice: “Give him a great big hand—Bill’s coming out...

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1. Remembering the Old Days

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pp. 9-29

“Let’s never forget the old days.” Bill’s voice was soft and sincere. He always spoke from his heart. My wife, Kristie Black, and I were visiting my old boss on his farm just outside of Nashville one day in early November 1992. We were on our way to Cedars of Lebanon State Park where I had been invited...

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2. My First Days as a Blue Grass Boy

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pp. 30-52

When I got to VanAtta’s, I found that we wouldn’t be taking Bill’s tour bus, the Blue Grass Special, because it was having mechanical problems. Instead we would be riding in Bill’s station wagon, a brand new shiny red Pontiac Safari with matching red interior. (Later on we occasionally used bass player Randy...

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3. Live and Unrehearsed

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pp. 53-74

Bill never walked out on stage with a script. His musical performances weren’t planned out ahead of time. Many entertainers (including me) write themselves a list of the songs they intend to play during their show, along with the key in which each song is to be played. Performing came naturally for Bill...

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4. Bluegrass 101

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pp. 75-95

I thought I was a good banjo player when I first joined the Blue Grass Boys. I quickly found out, however, that I didn’t know as much as I had thought; to quote Ralph Lewis: “I thought I knew all the answers, but I didn’t even have the questions right.” To Bill Monroe, rhythm and timing were all-important...

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5. The Children of Bluegrass

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pp. 96-119

Because Bill Monroe was the Father of Bluegrass, his songs could appropriately be called the Children of Bluegrass. Their ancestry is traceable to the traditional musical influences to which Bill had been exposed from early childhood. Modern-day descendants of old-time melodies, Bill’s compositions were...

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6. A Tough Act to Follow

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pp. 120-139

I was still a Blue Grass Boy—I would always be one. Playing with Bill Monroe was something that would never leave me. You could never forget Bill, once you got to know him; he stayed with you in spirit, influencing your habits and ways...

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7. Just Like the Old Days

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pp. 140-156

Bill Monroe walked straight into a beam of sunlight striking the stage, bowing his head and raising his arms while the audience roared. Rumors had been flying—it was going to be the last Bean Blossom bluegrass festival. Bill was...

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pp. 157-160

I told Bill before I left the Blue Grass Boys that I was going to write this book. At that time, I asked if he would be willing to write a few words as a foreword. He said to me: “I’ll be glad to help you any way I can.” Bill’s endorsement...

Appendix A: A Record of Personal Appearances

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pp. 161-166

Appendix B: Additional Information about Some of the People and Groups Mentioned

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pp. 167-174


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pp. 175-178

Suggested Listening and Reading

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pp. 179-180


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pp. 181-193

E-ISBN-13: 9780252090561
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252030024

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Music in American Life

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Subject Headings

  • Black, Bob, banjoist.
  • Monroe, Bill, 1911-1996.
  • Banjoists -- United States -- Biography.
  • Bluegrass musicians -- United States -- Biography.
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