The song was included in an EP, Bill Monroe And His Blue Grass Boys (Decca 1956), on May 4, 1976, it was recorded again in Nugget Recording Studio, Nashville, TN, and included on the album, Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Festival (Country Music Magazine 1976). It has also been recorded several times live. The most successful version was the one recorded by Ricky Skaggs for the Epic label (June 28, 1983)
“Uncle Pen”, a song written by Bill Monroe, was recorded by Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys for the Decca label, was recorded on October 15, 1950, at Castle Studio at The Tulane Hotel, 206 8th Ave. North, Nashville 3, TN, in the session along with Uncle Pen, three more songs were recorded, Bill was accompanied in the recording session by: Jimmy Martin (guitar), Rudy Lyle (banjo), Joel Price (bass) and Red Taylor (fiddle). The song was released on December 23, 1950.
The song was included in an EP, Bill Monroe And His Blue Grass Boys (Decca 1956), on May 4, 1976, it was recorded again in Nugget Recording Studio, Nashville, TN, and included on the album, Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Festival (Country Music Magazine 1976). It has also been recorded several times live.
The most successful version was the one recorded by Ricky Skaggs, on June 28, 1983, for the Epic label, it was released on June 1984, reaching # 1 on the charts of US Hot Country Songs, on October 13, 1984, and remained on the charts for 19 weeks. And on the same day, it also reaches # 1 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks charts. The song was included on the album in Ricky’s sixth studio album, Don’t Cheat in Our Hometown (Epic 1983). The album reached # 1 on the US Top Country Albums, and Canadian RPM Country Albums.
Who was Uncle Pen:
When he was 16, Monroe had lost both of his parents. His uncle, Pendleton Vandiver, welcomed him; For two years, in the late 1920s, Monroe lived in Vandiver’s little cabin in Rosine, Ky. There, he learned a series of violin melodies from “Uncle Pen”, and perfected his rhythm while backing him up with mandolin.
After Vandiver’s death, the property went to the bank. Monroe’s son, James Monroe, bought the property in 1973 as a gift for his father and built another cabin using some rescued records of the original house.
Sonny Osborne 1953 (Kentucky Records)
Porter Wagoner 1956 (RCA Victor)
Rose Maddox 1962 (Capitol)
Roy Acuff 1967 (Hickory Records)
Buck Owens 1971 (Capitol)
Lonnie Mack 1971 (Elektra)
Gordon Terry 1973 (Kajac Records)
Hank Williams J.R 1977 (Warner)
Ricky Skaggs 1983 (Epic)
Bill Monroe And The Blue Grass Boys – The Story of Uncle Pen Lyrics
Oh the people would come from far away
They’d dance all night till the break of day
When the caller hollered “do-se-do”
You knew Uncle Pen was ready to go
Late in the evening about sundown
High on the hill and above the town
Uncle Pen played the fiddle lord how it would ring
You could hear it talk, you could hear it sing
He played an old piece he called “Soldier’s Joy”
And the one called “The Boston Boy”
The greatest of all was “Jenny Lynn”
To me that’s where the fiddle begins
I’ll never forget that mournful day
When Uncle Pen was called away
They hung up his fiddle, they hung up his bow
They knew it was time for him to go