Correct Lyrics – June 16, 2023 Trivia Contest

This Contest is Closed
No Winners This Week

JUNE 16, 2023 TRIVIA QUESTION

Bill Monroe’s biggest hit was Blue Moon of Kentucky. It was a hit for Bill, and many famous country and rock ‘n’ rollers also had great success with it. It’s a very simple song with simple lyrics. Bill said it was inspired by a drive in the moonlight while coming back to Nashville from a show in Kentucky in the 1940s. Bill’s first version, and biggest seller, was a stately waltz, or ¾ time. Chubby Wise, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and Howard Watts really helped put it over. Bill’s voice was high, clear and a bit on the soft side, fitting a nostalgic/sad number.

Yet singing the correct lyrics seems to challenge many singers other than Monroe.

Who of the following has screwed up the simple lyrics to Blue Moon of Kentucky?

A. Elvis Presley

B. Paul McCartney

C. Patsy Cline

D. The Stanley Brothers

E. Carl Perkins

F. Ray Charles

G. Jerry Reed

H. Levon Helm

ANSWER is “H”

Additional Bowden Comments

Gary is correct about Elvis, but the correct answer(s) would have been ANY or ALL of the singers listed! Mostly, I guess because so many people copied Elvis’ recording, which was wrong. I must say when I was listening on YouTube to these recordings, I was so very disappointed to find even the Stanley Brothers getting the lyrics wrong. But as Monroe himself said about the “cover” records started by Elvis, “them was powerful royalty checks!”

Then I hunted around YouTube for some singers who got the lyrics right! Guess who? George Jones & Melba Montgomery on their tasty bluegrass LP from the 1960s. THEY GOT IT RIGHT. Also, folk-rocker John Fogarty!

Here are the SIMPLE lyrics, only 37 different words – lots of repetition:

Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining
Shine on the one that’s gone and proved untrue
Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining
Shine on the one that’s gone and left me blue

It was on a moonlit night, the stars were shining bright
And they whispered from on high, your love has said good-bye

Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining
Shine on the one that’s gone and said good-bye

Most of the mistaken singers end every couplet with “gone and left me blue”

Do I have a purpose or message asking trivia questions about lyrics? Well yes, if you want to sing a bluegrass song, take the time to listen to the original version. Learn it right. Change it if you like, but change it only after you know how it was first done.

As Monroe said to Vassar Clements after Vassar fiddled a particularly wild version of Turkey in the Straw — “You oughta play it like the man wrote it” and also, “there weren’t no turkey within 100 miles of that”.

Dick Bowden

Dick Bowden recently retired after a 45 year career in the paper industry, and moved from Connecticut to Big Indian NY (Ulster County) where he ekes out a precarious existence as a groundskeeper. Dick has been performing bluegrass music on banjo and guitar since 1966 in his home state of Maine, throughout New England, and internationally with The Case Brothers - Martin & Gibson. He has performed for HVBA with the Old Time Bluegrass Singers, and also sent in a squadron of Dick Bowden's Flying Circus. Most recently Dick has played Dobro (tm) with the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Dick has written many articles for Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Today, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass magazine) and HVBA.

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