Sunday, February 21, 2010

Grand Ole Opry-January 20 & 21, 1995

In a previous post regarding a classic Grand Ole Opry line-up, a couple of comments were made regarding Brother Oswald and the night that he was offically made a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Pete Kirby, aka Bashful Brother Oswald, officially joined the Opry on Saturday January 21, 1995. His induction was on the televised portion on TNN. Marty Stuart hosted that portion of the show and he was joined by Porter Wagoner and Boxcar Willie.

Beecher Ray Kirby was born near Sevierville, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains on December 26, 1911. He met Roy Acuff in Knoxville, Tennessee and joined the Smoky Mountain Boys at the Opry on January 8, 1939. He would stay a member and back-up Roy until Roy's death, over 50 years later. He acquired his nickname when Rachel Veach joined the group and he became her "great big Bashful Brother Oswald" and the name would stick for the rest of his life.

He is considered one of the greatest dobro players ever, and Roy featured him on many of his shows. He also played the banjo. After Roy's death, he continued to play the Opry with Charlie Collins. The night he joined the Opry all of the Opry members on stage sang "Wabash Cannonball" and he played along has he had done for the past 56 years. He passed away on October 17, 2002 at the age of 90. I was in attendance on the night that he became a member, and he was warmly welcomed as an Opry member and he was a very popular choice. He was loved and respected by all of the members of the Opry and it showed.

In honor of Brother Oswald:

Friday January 20, 1995
7:30: Cracker Barrel: Porter Wagoner(host); Wilma Lee Cooper; George Hamilton IV; Jimmy C. Newman; Jeanne Pruett
8:00: Sheplers Western Wear/Rudys: Jimmy Dickens(host); Bill Carlisle; Jack Greene; Stu Phillips
8:30: Opry Book/Hamburger Helper: Grandpa Jones(host); Jim Ed Brown; Billy Walker; Mike Snider
9:00: Fiddlers Inn-Ramada Inn/Williamson Dickey Workwear: Hank Snow(host); The 4 Guys; Connie Smith; The Whites
9:30: Dollar General Store: Marty Stuart(host); Brother Oswald & Charlie; Charlie Louvin; Del Reeves; Boxcar Willie
10:00: True Value Hardware Stores: Bill Anderson(host); John Conlee; Ray Pillow; Alison Krauss
10:30: Georgia Boot: Bill Monroe(host); Stonewall Jackson; Charlie Walker; Harrington Brothers; Johnny Russell

Saturday January 21, 1995
First Show
6:30: GHS Strings: Grandpa Jones(host); Mike Snider
6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame: Bill Monroe(host); Bill Carlisle
7:00: Shoney's: Jimmy Dickens(host); The Whites; Stonewall Jackson; Jeanne Pruett; Jim Ed Brown
7:30: Standard Candy: Marty Stuart(host); Porter Wagoner; Connie Smith; Brother Oswald & Charlie
8:00: Martha White: Bill Anderson(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Boxcar Willie; Charlie Louvin; Opry Squaredance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Velvetta Shells & Cheese: Hank Snow(host); The 4 Guys; Billy Walker; Doug Stone; Osborne Brothers

Second Show
9:30: Dollar General Store: Porter Wagoner(host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Osborne Brothers; Stu Phillips; The Whites
10:00: Goodys Headache Powder: Grandpa Jones(host); Roy Drusky
10:15: Sunbeam Bread/Tennessee Pride: Bill Monroe(host); Ray Pillow
10:30: Gruhn Guitar: Marty Stuart(host); Boxcar Willie
10:45: Fairfield Nashville: Jimmy Dickens(host); Del Reeves; Opry Squaredance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00; Coke: Hank Snow(host); Connie Smith; Charlie Walker; Doug Stone
11:30: Cates Pickles: Bill Anderson(host); The 4 Guys; Jack Greene; Johnny Russell

A great line-up for all 3 shows and a great night for Brother Oswald


  1. What a great lineup and a great tribute to Oswald. Thanks for posting it. I noticed that Os almost always got a huge reception when I saw him on the televised portion. I notice that today, the Square Dancers get the biggest roars, and I have to wonder whether management notices that the audiences seem to like the old-timey stuff. Hm. Whoda thunk it?

    One of my favorite moments on there was when Mr. Acuff was out sick in 1985 and the Smoky Mountain Boys did Bill Monroe's segment. Of course, Mr. Monroe had his own way of speaking and he described them perfectly when he said, "They're real show people." And it hit me: Oswald had come to the Opry before Bill Monroe had! Mr. Monroe debuted on October 28, 1939, and Os had been there since the year began.

    I also think of how close the relationship was between Mr. Acuff and Oswald--Porter Wagoner referred to that during the induction. When Oswald remarried, Mr. Acuff was his best man.

  2. The thing that really impresses me when I look at these older line-ups, even in the 1990's, is how strong and loaded they were. You can't say that you didn't receive your money's worth when attending these shows. And, based on how the line-ups were set up, it was basically one song for each artist, and two for the host, except for the hosts on the Friday show with two sponsors, and they did three songs, one at the beginning of the half hour, one at the end, and then one in the middle when they switched to a new sponsor. Like I said, these were great line-ups. I wish today's management would add a few more artists per show.