Bill Monroe

The Essential Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys (1945-1949)

  • AllMusic Rating
    10
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

On the surface, The Essential Bill Monroe: 1945-1949 seems like the perfect compilation, containing 40 tracks of Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys' Columbia recordings. However, the set wasn't executed with care -- no less than 16 of these songs are represented with alternate takes, not the original versions. Though these alternates are interesting, they don't have a place in a set like this, which purports to be an extensive introduction, not an exhaustive compilation of Monroe's complete recordings; the alternates would have been more acceptable if they were placed in conjunction with the master takes. Still, The Essential Bill Monroe is a necessary set for bluegrass historians, since it does contain the bulk of his groundbreaking '40s recordings, including versions of "Blue Moon of Kentucky," "Kentucky Waltz," and "Rocky Road Blues." It's just not quite as good as it could have been. (The 16 master takes that were not included on this box were later issued by Columbia as the single-disc 16 Gems collection.)

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:34
2 2:42
3 2:48
4 4:10
5 2:23
6 2:37
7 2:24
8 2:59
9 2:49
10 2:32
11 3:01
12 2:45
13 2:53
14 3:15
15 3:15
16 3:05
17 2:51
18 2:56
19 2:25
20 2:55

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:13
2 2:51
3 2:55
4 3:09
5 2:56
6 2:38
7 3:34
8 2:41
9 3:48
10 3:01
11 2:44
12 3:07
13 2:44
14 2:43
15 2:33
16 2:34
17 2:46
18 3:23
19 2:57
20 3:12
blue highlight denotes track pick