Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 4/13/1979 & 4/14/1979

Here is another classic Grand Ole Opry line-up, from 30 years ago this weekend. Hope you enjoy:
Friday April 13, 1979
7:30: Lonzo & Oscar(host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Ernie Ashworth
8:00: Billy Walker(host); Riders In The Sky; Carl Isles
8:30: Roy Acuff(host); The Four Guys; Linda Naile
9:00: David Houston(host); Skeeter Davis; Justin Tubb; The Willis Brothers
9:30: Charlie Walker(host); Stu Phillips; Vern Gosdin
10:00: The Wilburn Brothers(host); Jeannie C. Riley; Del Wood
10:30: Billy Grammer(host); Marion Worth; Duke Of Paducah
11:05: Grand Ole Gospel(Rev. Jimmie Snow)

A line-up with a number of Opry veterans, but I have to admit the name Carl Isles does not ring a bell. Any help? I somewhat remember the name of Linda Naile.

Saturday April 14, 1979
First Show
6:30: Billy Walker(host); The Willis Brothers
6:45: The Wilburn Brothers(host); Ernie Ashworth; Del Wood
7:00: Charlie Walker(host); Lonzo & Oscar; David Houston; Roy Drusky
7:30: Roy Acuff(host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Billy Grammer; Marion Worth; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mt. Cloggers
8:00: Jimmy C. Newman(host); Skeeter Davis; Stu Phillips; Justin Tubb; Carlisles
8:30: Hank Snow(host); The Four Guys; Charlie Louvin; Jeanne Pruett; The Fruit Jar Drinkers

Second Show
9:30: Roy Drusky(host); The Wilburn Brothers; Lonzo & Oscar; Wilma Lee Cooper; Charlie Walker
10:00: Billy Walker(host); Ernie Ashworth; The Willis Brothers
10:15: Roy Acuff(host); Marion Worth; Del Wood
10:30: David Houston(host); Skeeter Davis; Billy Grammer
10:45: Jimmy C. Newman(host); Justin Tubb; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mt. Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow(host); Stu Phillips; Carlisles; The Fruit Jar Drinkers; Kirk McGee
11:30: Charlie Louvin(host); The Four Guys; Jeanne Pruett

Another traditional Opry line-up. This was also the time period that the various string bands were being phased out. On the schedule you see the Crook Brothers; Kirk McGee; and The Fruit Jar Drinkers. It would be just a short time later that it would only be the Crook Brothers and they were almost always scheduled on Roy Acuff's segment. On an additonal note, Kirk McGee was always complaining about being on at a late time, as the farmers who would tune in to listen to him, were in bed by that time of the night. He was always requesting an earlier slot but not getting it. Sounds like what some of the veterans are going through today.

Finally on that weekend, with Opryland open, the Opry had Saturday matinees, from 3pm-5pm. The Saturday matinee line-up included David Houston; Wilma Lee Cooper; Charlie Walker; Billy Walker; Skeeter Davis; Lonzo & Oscar; The Four Guys; Roy Acuff; Carlisles. Oh by the way, it cost $8.75 to get into Opryland for the day.


  1. Great lineup! I will post one soon, too.

    About the scheduling, Kirk McGee died around 1983, and I know that the last of the original Fruit Jar Drinkers, Hubert Gregory, ended up joining the Crook Brothers. For years, the Crook Brothers were on at 7:30 and 10:45, and Mr. Acuff usually hosted at 7:30. When TNN moved the Opry Live to that half-hour, they all moved up to 8:00, and to this day Earl White (Herman Crook's last fiddler) and Charlie Collins and the Opry Square Dancers are on at 8:00 and 10:30.

  2. Opry programs were often printed hastily and at the last minute which sometimes resulted in misspelled names not only among the guests but Opry regulars as well. I never heard the name “Carl Isles” either, but if you take the space out, you get “Carlisles”. “Linda Naile” is actually Linda Nail, a performer in Opryland’s “Country Music USA” show who had some minor chart success in the 70’s.

    As for the old time string bands, I don’t know if it was so much a matter of being phased out as it was a matter of them dying out (in a literal sense). In an interview in conjunction with the Opry’s 50th anniversary, Herman Crook stated that he was upset that he wasn’t allowed to replace members of his band as they retired or passed on. In a very short time after the show moved to Opryland, the band lost longtime members Goldie Stewart, Bert Hutcherson, Alcyone Beasley, Ed Hyde and Staley Walton. Their slots in the Crook Brothers were taken by members of the Opry Staff Band (with the exception of Earl White). Sam McGee was killed in a tractor accident in 1975 leaving Kirk McGee and Hubert Gregory as the only remaining members of The Fruit Jar Drinkers. When Kirk McGee died in 1983 the only members of the string bands left were Herman Crook, Lewis Crook and Hubert Gregory.

    To me, much of the show's character was lost when all of the "characters" like Hubert Gregory ("Quicky" as Hank Snow used to call him), Bill Carlisle, Marshall Barnes and Oscar Sullivan were gone (whether they retired or passed on).

  3. Barry: Thanks for the clarification on the Carlisles. I should have thought. I had even looked up the name of Carl Isles in various country music encyclopedias and came up with nothing. And you are right about Opry programs, especially back in those days, being quickly printed and not being checked for misspellings,etc.

  4. I have to say, some of those Opry programs have cute typos.

    About Herman Crook: he made that complaint a few times. When Hubert Gregory could no longer perform (I don't know whether that was the case or he died), Larry McNeely from the Smoky Mountain Boys took over on guitar. When Mr. Crook died, Larry moved to harmonica and Charlie Collins started playing guitar.

    The Smoky Mountain Boys were the only band that performed when its star was unavailable (whether Mr. Acuff was away or having health trouble), but when he died, Hal Durham allowed Oswald to keep performing with Charlie and then, finally, Os became a member. But that meant Larry left the Opry. Today, of course, it's Earl and Charlie, and both of them are in their seventies.