Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Grand Ole Opry Line up 4/1 & 4/2

The line ups have been posted for this weekends Grand Ole Opry shows. There will be 1 show on Friday night and 2 shows on Saturday night.

All 3 shows this weekend will feature the Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, who will be making their first Opry appearances of the year. Also appearing on all 3 shows will be Jimmy Wayne, along with Opry member Jimmy Dickens, who is scheduled to return to the Opry this weekend.

Friday night's show will feature Kellie Pickler, Dailey & Vincent, along with Opry member Mel Tillis. Saturday night, Darryl Worley will be on both shows, along with comedian Henry Cho.

Friday April 1
7:00: Mike Snider(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Jeannie Seely; Jimmy Wayne
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jim Ed Brown; Mel Tillis
8:15: Bill Anderson(host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Kellie Pickler
8:45: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers(host); Connie Smith; Dailey & Vincent

Saturday April 2
First Show 7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy Wayne
7:30: John Conlee(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; The Whites; Henry Cho
8:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers(host); Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson(host); Riders In The Sky; Darryl Worle

Second Show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jeannie Seely; Jimmy Wayne
10:00: John Conlee(host); Jean Shepard; Henry Cho
10:30: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers(host); Jack Greene; Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson(host); Riders In The Sky; Darryl Worley

The host of this weeks Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree will be Opry veteran Jeannie Seely, who will be promoting her new CD that she recently released. As a reminder, the show is back live at midnight.

Mel McDaniel

The following was posted on Mel McDaniels facebook page earlier today:

"There will be no more friend added to Mels friends list sorry. His Star was Bright back in the day, now the shine in his eyes are starting to fade. The Last Ride is coming soon. Hope you've enjoyed all of Mels tunes....."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

April Opry Highlights

As I do each month, I like to take a look back in history at the important and historical events that have taken place involving the Opry and its members.

During the month of April, 2 members of the Grand Ole Opry joined the cast:

Diamond Rio joined the Opry on April 18, 1998 (13 years). Diamond Rio was originally known as the Tennessee River Boys and they performed at Opryland. After some reorganization and changes in membership in the late 80s, they would reemerge as Diamond Rio with Marty Roe handling the lead singing. When they joined the Opry, they were the first group to join since The Whites back in 1984.

And on April 30, 1966, Ray Pillow joined the cast of the Opry. This year will be his 45th year as on Opry member. Ray came to Nashville from Lynchburg, Virginia to enter the National Pet Milk Talent Contest. He did not win, but he continued to work in small clubs and promoting himself at local radio stations. In 1964, his manager was able to get him a record deal with Capital Records and in December 1965, his first album was released. The album was a success and Opry membership would follow. Over his long career, Ray has become more known from his work at various record and publishing companies. In fact, his publishing company owns the publishing rights to most of Lee Greenwood's songs, including "God Bless the USA."

The following events took place in the Opry's history during April:

April 21, 1924: Ira Louvin was born in Section, Alabama. His birth name was Ira Lonnie Loudermilk and he would later team with his brother Charlie as the Louvin Brothers. Ira died in a car accident on June 20, 1965. The act had broken up prior to the accident and Charlie had continued on as an Opry member. In 2001, the Louvin Brothers would be elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

April 3, 1928: Opry member Don Gibson was born in Shelby, North Carolina. Don became an Opry member on April 12, 1958. He was part of the group of Opry members that were fired in December 1964 for failure to honor their appearance commitment on the Opry. He would later rejoin the show and would remain a member until his death on November 17, 2003. In 2001, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

April 28, 1928: One of the earliest Opry performers, Mrs. C.R. Cline, appeared on the Opry. She played the hammer dulcimer and he husband often played along with her, on his guitar.

April 15, 1933: Opry member Roy Clark was born in Meherrin, Virginia. Roy joined the Opry on August 22, 1987. At the time that he joined the Opry, he was a very busy man with his numerous television appearances, including the "Tonight Show" and of course, "Hee Haw". When Roy was asked to join, he was honest with the Opry's management and told them at the time that he could not guarantee how often he would, or could, appear on the show, but he was accepted as a member anyways. Even though his Opry appearances have averaged only a few each year, at least he was up front and honest when asked.

April 29, 1933: The Delmore Brothers, Raybon and Alton, made their first appearance as members of the Grand Ole Opry. They were the first of the brother duets to appear on the Opry and many more would follow over the years. Their influence is still felt in country music today. They would remain on the Opry until 1938, when differences with George D. Hay and Harry Stone would cause them to leave. They would spend the rest of their careers traveling from radio station to radio station until the territory was worn out. The Country Music Foundation would later publish a very nice book by Alton Delmore, "Truth is Stranger", that really gives you a great history of the brothers. They would be elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

April 30, 1933: Willie Nelson was born in Abbott, Texas. Willie made his first appearance on the Opry on November 28, 1964, and would join the Opry shortly after that. He would remain an Opry member for a very, very short time before leaving Nashville and heading back to his native Texas and taking his career in a different direction.

April 1, 1934: Grand Ole Opry member Jim Ed Brown was born in Sparkman, Arkansas. In 1965, Jim Ed Brown would become a member of the Opry.

April 14, 1935: Loretta Lynn, born Loretta Webb, was born in Butcher Holler, Kentucky.

April 15, 1937: Bob Luman was born in Nachogdoches, Texas. Bob would come to Nashville and join the Opry on September 2, 1965. At the time, he was one of the new hot, young singers in Nashville and his joining the Opry was part of the attempt of the Opry's management to appeal to the younger fans. He was a sensation on the Opry and the younger fans loved him, but his performance style caused some problems with some of the older Opry members, including Roy Acuff, who was especially critical. His career was pretty short, but productive with close to 40 country hits. Bob died at the age of 41 in 1978. As a side note, Bob was not the only new Opry member on the night he joined. That was also the night that Connie Smith became a member of the Opry.

April 1, 1939: Rachel Veach joined Roy Acuff's Smokey Mountain Boys. Although other females would tour and perform with Roy and his group, Rachel would be the only "official" female member.

April 14, 1945: For the first time in Opry history, a trumpet was played during an Opry broadcast as "Taps" was played to mark the death of President Franklin Roosevelt.

April 6, 1946: Roy Acuff quit as a member of the Grand Ole Opry after being involved in a salary dispute. He felt that as the star of the Prince Albert Show that he should be paid more than the Opry's scale. Roy's pay at the time was $15.00 per Saturday night and Opry members were required to appear every week unless specifically excused by management. In 1947, Ernest Tubb and Harry Stone would visit Roy while he was hospitalized in Nashville and ask him to return to the Opry, saying that the Opry really needed him. In fact, Harry Stone was quoted as telling Roy, "Roy, the Opry is losing many of its people and it looks like maybe we're going under if you don't come back and be with us. Please come and help us out." Roy did not realize how much he was missed and agreed to rejoin the show. When he returned on April 26, 1947, it would be as the host of the Royal Crown Cola portion of the Opry, as Red Foley was the new host of the Prince Albert Show. While never specifically discussed, it was agreed privately that Roy would receive more pay as one of the Opry's top performers and this would begin the practice of the Opry paying some of its top stars higher pay than the union scale that the majority of the Opry's members received.

April 13, 1946: Red Foley joined the Opry and would be the host of the Prince Albert portion of the show, that was broadcast nationally on NBC radio. Despite the objections of Edwin Craig, the head of National Life and Accident Insurance Company, the owners of WSM and the Opry, Red replaced Roy Acuff as the host when Roy left the Opry. Red would remain an Opry member and the Prince Albert host until April 18, 1953, when he decided to leave the Opry and Nashville. He relocated to Springfield, Missouri and went into television as the host of the "Ozark Jubilee". When Red left the Opry, the decision was made to use rotating hosts on the Prince Albert show, some of whom were not Opry members.

April 2, 1947: Emmylou Harris was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Her birth name was Emmy Lou.

April 26, 1947: Chet Atkins made his first appearance at the Opry. He was a guitarist who at the time played with Red Foley. Over time, Chet would appear so often at the Opry, usually with other performers, that the Opry management actually thought he was a member and he was "fired" in the mass dismissal of Opry members in December 1964. Opry manager Ott Devine said at the time, "Chet has not been officially connected with the Opry for many years." Opry management was called into question for not knowing who their members actually were.

April 9, 1953: Grand Ole Opry member Hal Ketchum was born in Greenwich, New York.

April 12, 1957: Vince Gill was born in Norman, Oklahoma. Vince would join the Opry on August 10, 1991, and in 2007, he was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

April 22, 1967: The Four Guys became members of the Opry. The main singer and member of The Four Guys was Sam Wellington, who along with Brent Burkett, would anchor the group through most of its existence. Sam would stay with the group until retiring on June 19, 1999. Brent would retire from the group in October 1999. After that, the group reorganized and with Sam and Brent leaving the group, their Opry appearances were cut. In April 2000, after being Opry members for 33 years, Pete Fisher fired them. His reasoning was that since there were no longer any original members in the group, they were not the same group that the Opry had originally hired, so there was no reason to keep them as members.

April 6, 1968: For the first and only time in the history of the Opry, WSM was forced to cancel the live show for that night because of a city wide curfew that was imposed in Nashville following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Opry still claims that they have never missed a Saturday night performance as a previously taped show was played on WSM. Meanwhile, Roy Acuff, Sam and Kirk McGee, and several other Opry performers put on a show in a dance hall on Broadway that was located above Roy Acuff's museum and gift shop. The show took place during the afternoon as Roy felt bad that the Opry fans that came to Nashville from out of town would not have a show to attend.

April 21, 1971: Connie Smith rejoined the cast of the Opry. The former Opry member had quit the show earlier to be a stay at home mom and to spend time with her children.

April 27, 1971: Opryland opened in Nashville. With the opening of Opryland, Bud Wendell, who was the general manager of the Opry, was promoted to general manager of Opryland and the Grand Ole Opry, while Hal Durham would take over as Opry manager. It was under Hal Durham that the Opry all but dropped attendance requirements from its members and it was Hal who expanded the Opry's cast with many of the artists from the 1980s that either appear at the Opry very little or not at all.

April 2, 1977: Grand Ole Opry stage manager Vito Pellettieri worked his final Opry show. He suffered a stroke and would die on April 14. Vito was the only stage manager in the history of the Opry and many of the Opry's members would remember Vito as the person who kept the show running on a schedule and would inspire and motivate the entertainers to do their best while on stage. There are many great Vito stories around and some of them are repeated by his friend Hank Snow in his autobiography. In a note of Opry history, it was Vito that broke down the Opry into half hour and quarter hour segments with sponsors and began holding the Opry members responsible for being on time for their segments.

April 13, 1981: Guy Willis of The Willis Brothers died at the age of 65. Along with his brothers Skeeter and Vic, he joined the Opry in 1946. Along with being Opry members, The Willis Brothers did some session work in Nashville, including backing Hank Williams on his first Nashville recordings.

April 13, 1985: The Grand Ole Opry begins as a weekly televised show on The Nashville Network (TNN). It began as the half hour segment that began at 7:30pm. The first show was hosted by Roy Acuff. The show would eventually expand to an hour and then in 2001 would move to Country Music Television (CMT), and then in 2003 to Great American Country (GAC), where the live broadcasts would eventually fade away.

April 22, 1989: Clint Black makes his first appearance on the Opry. Over the years, Clint would make guest appearances on the show and he would eventually become an Opry member on January 10, 1991. While it may seem like it, that was not Clint's last Opry appearance.

April 12, 1997: Lewis Crook died at the age of 87 in Nashville. As part of the Crook Brothers, he joined the Opry in 1926, when it was still called the WSM Barn Dance. He would continue on the Opry until 1988, staying as an Opry member for 62 uninterrupted years. Herman Crook, no relation to Lewis Crook, would continue on with the Crook Brothers at the Opry and he would pass away in June 1988. When Herman died, Opry history died with him as he was the last surviving member of the original 1926 Grand Ole Opry cast.

April 27, 2003: Edward Gaylord, chairman of Gaylord Entertainment died in Oklahoma at the age of 83. His company, Gaylord Broadcasting Company bought the Grand Ole Opry on July 1, 1983. In addition to buying the entire Opryland complex, they also owned "Hee Haw". While his passing may not seem very important, over time it would have serious consequences at the Opry as his children and grandchildren would make the decision to allow Gaylord Entertainment to become a public company and they would reduce the Gaylord family involvement within the management of the company. Of course, the focus of the company would shift and the profitability of the Opry would become more the focus than the entertainment aspect of the show.

Finally, in honor of Ray Pillow's 45th anniversary as an Opry member, here is the line up from April 30, 1966, the night that he joined the Opry.
7:30: Luzianne
Billy Walker(host)
George Hamilton IV
The Homesteaders
Cousin Jody
Curley Fox

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs(host)
Bobby Bare
Grandpa Jones
Del Wood
Crook Brothers

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff(host)
Wilburn Brothers
Marion Worth
Brother Oswald

9:00: Pet Milk
Ernest Tubb(host)
Glaser Brothers
Ray Pillow
Fruit Jar Drinkers
Margie Bowes
Leon Rhodes

9:30: Kelloggs
Willis Brothers(host)
Carter Family
Waylon Jennings
June Carter
Harold Weakley

10:00: Schick
Billy Walker(host)
Curley Fox
Cousin Jody

10:15: Pure
Wilburn Brothers(host)
Del Wood
Don Helms

10:30: Harveys
Bobby Bare(host)
Grandpa Jones

10:45: Newport
Ernest Tubb(host)
Jack Greene
Crook Brothers

11:00: Coca-Cola
Roy Acuff(host)
Glaser Brothers
Margie Bowes
Fruit Jar Drinkers
Kirk McGee
Ray Pillow
Onie Wheeler

11:30: Lava
Willis Brothers(host)
George Hamilton IV
Waylon Jennings
Archie Campbell
Marion Worth

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jan Howard-40th Opry Anniversary

Tonight on the Grand Ole Opry, Jan Howard celebrated her 40th anniversary as a member of the Opry. Congratulations to Jan on a great achievement. She is one of the classiest singers on the Opry and one of the legendary ladies of the Opry. Doug Green of the Riders In The Sky, who were hosting the segment that Jan was on, gave her a very nice introduction and mentioned the 40th anniversary and said a few nice words about Jan. And, Jan said a few nice words of thanks and sang a great ballad. She also mentioned that she would be at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop for the Midnight Jamboree. But, the question that I have is where was Pete Fisher and the rest of the Opry management? When Brad Paisley celebrated his 10th anniversary several weeks back, Pete and the Opry made a big production out of it. He was honored during his segment and a big todo was done. I admit that at this point in his career, Brad is a bigger star than Jan. And, this is nothing against Brad personally. But, Jan is one of the legends of the Opry and 40 years is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, 40 years deserves much more recognition than 10. And I would venture a guess that Jan will make more Opry appearances this year than Brad has made in the last 10 years combined. During the segment that Jan was on tonight, they had the guest announcers from some radio station somewhere in America. I know why they do this guest announcer deal (it sells tickets for the local radio station tour to the Opry and it makes the announcers feel important), but this time they had some kid on making some type of Willie Nelson joke!! And, as usual, they gave the guest announcer a special poster to remember the night. I really think that this time would have been better spent (instead of some child giving a Willie joke), in taking a few minutes to really honor Jan on stage with a Hatch poster to commemorate the night and a few special words from Pete, or maybe her friend and former duet partner, Bill Anderson. But, this goes back to how the Opry has been treating its veteran Opry members for the past several years. We keep hoping it will get better, but I guess in our hearts we know better. As 2011 has continued, we have seen reduced appearances for Jimmy C. Newman, The Whites, Connie Smith and Jean Shepard. Jesse McReynolds, Bobby Osborne and Jan Howard are good for one show a week. And, Ray Pillow, Stu Phillips and Stonewall Jackson are good for about one appearance per month. I still don't understand why some of the bigger name Opry stars don't speak up. Unless they are afraid of losing their spots. And I am talking about folks such as Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart and Brad Paisley (yes, I will throw him on this list). Maybe they do say something behind the scenes, but if they do, it sure doesn't have any affect. Tonight's shows had very good line ups and great crowds. It would have been a great time to honor Jan and show her some appreciation. And for Brad Paisley, who is feeling pretty good about his 10 anniversary on the Opry. If the Opry is under the same management when he hits his 40th anniversary and if he listened to tonight's show, then he will know what he has to look forward to when he is considered one of the legends of the Opry and is pushed aside for the new younger members. Just one man's opinion!!!

Tuesday Night Opry 3/29 & Opry Country Classics 3/31

The line up for the Tuesday Night Line up on March 29 is as follows:

7:00: Riders In The Sky; Joey+Rory
7:30: Jean Shepard; Justin Moore
8:15: Bill Anderson; Easton Corbin
8:45: Jimmy Dickens; Cherryholmes

Hopefully, Jimmy will be back on Tuesday night. He has been missing from the Opry for the past several weeks.

Opry Country Classics returns for its Spring run on Thursday March 31. Here is the line up:

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Mel Tillis
Also Appearing: Lynn Anderson; Jim Ed Brown; The Gatlin Brothers; Wade Hayes; Pam Tillis

A very strong line up to start the 2011 series

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Grand Ole Opry Line Up 3/25 & 3/26---Updated

Update-A couple of changes to the Friday Night line up. Mandy Barnett, who seems to always be on call as a last minute replacement, has been added and Sarah Darling has been switched to a later segment.

In an additional note, missing Opry member Clint Black is on the schedule for Friday April 15. That would be his first Opry appearance since the 2 he made in 2007.

Things have been pretty quiet around the Grand Ole Opry for the past week. Nothing really new to report as we move into Spring. Regarding a couple of the Opry's members, there is really nothing new to report on Mel McDaniel. He continues to rest comfortably at home. And Jimmy Dickens, who missed all the Opry shows last weekend, is not on the schedule again for this coming Friday and Saturday nights. He is listed on the schedule for the upcoming Tuesday Night Opry.

Looking at Friday's schedule, a couple of newcomers will be making return visits to the Opry. Craig Campbell, who I had the pleasure of seeing on one of my earlier trips to Nashville, and Sarah Darling on listed on the line up. Sarah was on several weeks back and did a duet with Vince Gill. Bluegrass singer Dale Ann Bradley will also be guesting and Pam Tillis will be making her first Opry appearance of 2011.

Saturday night is interesting. First, Carrie Underwood will be on both shows. I commented in an earlier posting that I am impressed that Carrie has continued making Opry appearances even as her career has progressed. As is normal when she has appeared lately, she will be the only guest in her segments, giving her the opportunity to sing 3 or 4 songs. Also on Saturday night, one segment on each show will be devoted to Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis. Lorrie and Pam have plans to do tour dates together this year, so I am guessing that this could be a preview of that.

Also making his Opry debut on Saturday night will be Tommy Shaw. Who is Tommy Shaw you ask? We'll, if you remember the rock group, Styx, which had great success in the late 70's and 80's, then you will remember Tommy Shaw as the guitarist for that group. Tommy later formed the rock band, The Damn Yankees. From what I read, he has rejoined Styx and is touring with them this summer. What brings him to the Opry? On March 22, he released a bluegrass album titled, "The Great Divide", and he will be appearing on the Opry to promote the album. I have not heard it, so I don't know how bluegrass it is, but I will be interested to see what he performs on the Opry. I have seen Styx in concert, back in their heyday, and they were very good, as is Tommy Shaw on the guitar. I just can't picture him doing bluegrass. And of course, with him appearing on the Opry, it takes a slot away from one of the Opry's members.

Other interesting notes in looking at the weekend is that a number of the Opry's veterans are down to just one show out of the three. Those include Jimmy C. Newman, The Whites and Opry favorite Mike Snider.

Here are the line ups:

Friday March 25
7:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Craig Campbell
7:30: Jim Ed Brown(host); Ray Pillow; Mandy Barnett
8:15: Pam Tillis(host); The Whites; Dale Ann Bradley
8:45: Riders In The Sky(host); Sarah Darling; Diamond Rio

Saturday March 26
First Show
7:00: Jim Ed Brown(host); Jeannie Seely; Mike Snider
7:30: Pam Tillis(host); Lorrie Morgan
8:00: Riders In The Sky(host); Jan Howard; Tommy Shaw; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson(host); Carrie Underwood

Second Show
9:30: Jeannie Seely(host); Jim Ed Brown; Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press
10:00: Lorrie Morgan(host); Pam Tillis
10:30: Riders In The Sky(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Tommy Shaw; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson(host); Carrie Underwood

Some good line ups this weekend.

Finally on Saturday night, Jan Howard will be the host of the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree and she will be celebrating 40 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. I would not be surprised if a couple of guests stopped by to honor Jan and hopefully at the Opry, Pete Fisher will come out and say a few nice words about Jan and her career. After all, he made a big production of Brad Paisley's 10th anniversary a couple of weeks back and I would think a 40th anniversary would rate even more special mention.

Have a great weekend at the Opry.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grand Ole Opry Line Up 3/18 & 3/19--Update #2

Update #2: More changes to the line up this week as Jimmy Dickens is out for Saturday night. Jim Ed Brown will slide into his spot for both shows and Bobby Osborne has been added to the 2nd show.

Update: Indeed, Steve Wariner is hosting on the 2nd show on Saturday night.

Before I post this weekends Grand Ole Opry line ups, I did want to mention and make note of the death of Country Music Hall of Fame member Ferlin Husky. Ferlin had been in declining health for a number of years. He often said that he was going to keep living until he was elected to the Hall of Fame, and at least he lived long enough to see that happen. Of course, it should have happened years ago. Prayers are extended to his family.

As far as the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, the Opry is back to 2 shows on Saturday night and will be through the month of April The Friday night's highlight will be Marty Stuart making a return to the Opry, along with legend Gene Watson. Joe Diffie and Mark Wills are also on the line up.

Saturday night will feature Charlie Daniels for both shows, along with Craig Morgan. Also appearing will be James Wesley, who has made a very good impression on his recent visits. And, Steve Wariner will be on, and he will also be making an appearance in the Opry gift shop before the show signing copies of his new CD.

The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree will feature Bobby Osborne, who is celebrating 60 years in the music business, with a fine new CD, "Memories".

Friday March 18
7:00: John Conlee(host); The Whites; Joe Diffie
7:30: Jeannie Seely(host); Jan Howard; Mark Wills
8:15: Jean Shepard(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Gene Watson
8:45: Marty Stuart(host); Connie Smith; Eric Church

Saturday March 19
First Show
7:00: Jim Ed Brown(host); Connie Smith; James Wesley
7:30: Steve Wariner(host); Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press; The Whites
8:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Craig Morgan; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky(host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Daniels Band

Second Show
9:30: Jim Ed Brown(host); Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press; James Wesley
10:00: Steve Wariner(host); Jack Greene; Connie Smith
10:30: Jeannie Seely(host); Stu Phillips; Craig Morgan; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky(host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Daniels Band

Tuesday Night Opry March 22
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Chuck Wicks
7:30: Elizabeth Cook; The Steeldrivers
8:15: John Conlee; Steel Magnolia
8:15: Jimmy Dickens; Chris Young

As far as the 2nd show on Saturday night, I called the Opry to see if it was a typo regarding Jeannie Seely hosting two segments on that show. All they had was the line up that was posted, but I also saw another line up that had Steve Wariner hosting in that spot. I will update as I get the information. If Steve is just doing the first show, which is possible since he is doing the gift shop appearance before the shows, there is Jim Ed Brown in the first segment that could host and Jean Shepard is available by moving her from her slot. I just hate to see two segments hosted by the same performer, but the Opry has done that in the past.

Monday, March 14, 2011

March 16, 1974- Opening Night At The New Opry House

As I continue on with the saga of the Opry's final shows at the Ryman and the 1st show at the new Grand Ole Opry House, we move to Saturday March 16, 1974, which was opening night at the new Opry House. Of course, this is the night that President Richard Nixon became the first
United States president to visit the Opry.

There were 2 shows that night, with the 1st show starting at 6:30pm. This show lasted until 10:15, which means it ran 1 hour and 15 minutes over. The 2nd show started at 10:47pm and finally ended at 1:54am. Most of the Opry members were there that night. Those who did not show up were Bobby Bare, Archie Campbell, Lester Flatt, Tom T. Hall (who was actually scheduled but did not appear), David Houston, George Jones, Bob Luman, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Billy Walker and Tammy Wynette. What is interesting about this list is that Bobby Bare, Archie Campbell, Bob Luman and Billy Walker were all on the Friday Night Opry the night before. I know that most of the Opry's members changed their plans to be there opening night. Also, Hank Locklin, Lonzo & Oscar, Jean Shepard and The Willis Brothers were on the first show only and Marty Robbins did the 2nd show only.

The performers more or less went on in alphabetical order that night for both shows. The only exception is that, following tradition, Marty Robbins closed the 2nd show. There were no real segment hosts, although the sponsors did maintain their usual slots.

The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree that night started at 1:55am and ended at 3:00am.

Here is the line up and song list for the 2 shows that night. To give you a time perspective, I put the time artists came on at various spots. Also, on the 2nd show, they threw in the commercial segments where they thought they could go. During the 1st show, the commercials just ran at various intervals.

First Show:
(6:30-Mrs Grissoms)
Roy Acuff: You Are My Sunshine
Howdy Forrester: Instrumental Number
Bill Anderson: Po' Folks
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Big Midnight Special
(After this number was when President Nixon entered the Opry House and was introduced)
Roy Drusky: Satisfied Mind
Jerry Clower: Marcel's Talkin' Chain Saw

Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On(7:18)
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely: Wish I Didn't Have To Miss You
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry

(At this point in the show is when President Nixon came on stage)
Entire Cast: Happy Birthday Mrs. Nixon (President Nixon on piano)
President Richard Nixon: My Wild Irish Rose
Roy Acuff and Cast: Stay A Little Longer
Entire Cast: God Bless America
(The presidential part of the show lasted from 7:35-8:05)

Jan Howard: My Kind Of People
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Sally Goodin
Jim & Jesse: Freight Train(8:15)
Grandpa Jones: Are You From Dixie
Hank Locklin: Danny Boy
Lonzo & Oscar: Traces Of Life
Bobby Lord: Live Your Life Out Loud(8:30)
Charlie Louvin & Darrell McCall: American Trilogy

George Morgan: You Turn Me On
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jimmy C. Newman: Jambalaya
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way To Say Goodbye
Ray Pillow: Countryfried
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin On Me
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle

(Martha White)
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
4 Guys: Cottonfields, Maria
Ernest Tubb: Walking The Floor Over You(9:22)
Minnie Pearl: Jealous Hearted Me
Justin Tubb: Bad Bad Leroy Brown
(Bill Monore Called Into The Opry)
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down

Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Wilburn Brothers: Arkansas
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Marion Worth: Delta Dawn
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose
Porter Wagoner: I've Never Seen So Many Happy Faces(10:02)
Dolly Parton: Jolene
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: The Right Combination

Second Show
Roy Acuff: Back In The Country
Howdy Forrester: Eight Of January
Minnie Pearl
Bill Anderson: A World Of Make Believe
Ernie Ashworth: Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor
Jim Ed Brown: The Three Bells

Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Little Darling Pal Of Mine
Roy Drusky: Don't It Make You Want To Come Home
Crook Brothers: Liberty
Billy Grammer: Somewhere My Love

(11:37-Union 76)
Jack Greene: Statue Of A Fool
Jeannie Seely: Can I Sleep In Your Arms Tonight
Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely: What In The World Has Gone Wrong With Our Love

Porter Wagoner: I've Never Seen So Many Happy Faces
Dolly Parton: Jolene
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: The Right Combination

Jan Howard: Sunshine On My Shoulders
Stonewall Jackson: Me And You And A Dog Named Boo
Jim & Jesse: Paradise

Grandpa Jones: Heading South With Nashville On My Mind(12:15)
Connie Smith: Dallas
Bobby Lord: Mississippi
Charlie Louvin: You're My Wife, She's My Woman
Jerry Clower: The Last Piece Of Chicken
George Morgan: Red Rose From The Blue Side Of Town
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jimmy C. Newman: Potato Song
Osborne Brothers: Ruby
Stu Phillips: There Must Be A Better Way To Say Goodbye
Ray Pillow: Countryfried

(1:01-Elm Hill)
Del Reeves: Lay a Little Lovin On Me(1:01)
Sam & Kirk McGee: Rollin In My Sweet Baby's Arms
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such As I
4 Guys: Let Me Be There
Justin Tubb: Ramblin Man
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Charmin
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl
Del Wood: There's A Big Wheel
Marion Worth: Me & Bobby McGee
Marty Robbins: Devil Woman(1:40)
Ronnie Robbins: Mama Tried
Marty Robbins: I'm Wanting To; Big Boss Man; Singing The Blues

I know a lot has been written about that first night and you can read about it in any historical book about the Opry. I will leave those stories to the books. But, I really don't think you can find the line up anywhere else, unless like me and others, you wrote it down that night.

Hope you enjoy!!

Final Opry Show at the Ryman-March 15, 1974

I had previously written last week about the final Saturday night Grand Ole Opry show at the Ryman Auditorium prior to the Opry's move to the new Grand Ole Opry House. That show took place on Saturday March 9, 1974. However, the actual final show was the next Friday night on March 15, 1974. The Opry had set up a schedule where they wanted to the first Opry show at the new Opry House to be a Saturday night show, so they finished up at the Ryman on the Friday night before.

As everyone who has ever been to Nashville knows, after the Opry moved from the Ryman Auditorium to the new Opry House, they kept the Ryman opened and offered tours. I think the price was either $1.00 or $2.00. I forget for sure, but it was pretty cheap. The Ryman was in terrible condition as management did not really know what to do with the place, but they let you walk around to basically anywhere you wanted to go. And, they left it just the way it was when they left that Friday night.

As part of the tour, they sold souvenir programs of the final Friday night show, which were copies of the ones sold that final Friday night. You will see them listed on ebay and other auction places but be careful when you buy a program from that final show to make sure you are getting a real one and not a copy. What is interesting is that the program lists the final "announced" line up for that show, but there were changes in the line up and some of the performers who were thre not night, were not listed in the acutal program.

So, first I am going to list the line up from the souvenir program that was sold that night, and is still being sold, and then I will list the actual line up from that night.

Friday March 15, 1974 (program line up)

7:00 Cracker Barrell
Roy Drusky(host)
Del Reeves
Charlie Walker
Jan Howard

7:30 Varallo
Bill Anderson(host)
Bob Luman
Jim & Jesse

8:00 Odom Sausage, U.S. Borax
Archie Campbell(host)
Bobby Bare
Dottie West
Justin Tubb

8:30 Kroger Stores
Roy Acuff(host)
Jean Shepard
Stonewall Jackson
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper

9:00 Baltz Bros., Schlitz
Wilburn Brothers(host)
Osborne Brothers
Jeanne Pruett
Del Wood

9:30 Acme Boot Co., Beechnut Chewing Tobacco
Jim Ed Brown(host)
Hank Locklin
Grandpa Jones
The Carlisles

10:00 Cee Bee Food Stores, Schlitz
Billy Walker(host)
Charlie Louvin
Stu Phillips
The Willis Brothers

10:30 Shoneys Big Boy
George Morgan(host)
The Four Guys
Ray Pillow
Lonzo & Oscar
Ernie Ashworth

Friday March 15, 1974 (actual on-stage line up, sponsors were the same)

Roy Drusky(host) Alone With You
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin On Me
Jan Howard: The One You Slip Around With
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Roy Drusky: Satisfied Mind
Del Reeves: Girl On The Billboard
Jan Howard: Rock Me Back To Little Rock
Charlie Walker: Wanting My Woman Again
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose

Bill Anderson(host) If You Can Live With It
Bob Luman: Lonely Women Make Good Lovers
Jim & Jesse: Diesel On My Tail
Mary Lou Turner: Poor Sweet Baby
Bill Anderson: A World Of Make Believe
Bob Luman: When You Say Love
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Bill Anderson: Po Folks

Archie Campbell(host) Make Friends
Bobby Bare: Ride Me Down Easy
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Justin Tubb: Ramblin Man
Phil Campbell: Valley Of The Never Do No Good
Bobby Bare & Son: Daddy What If
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Justin Tubb: Traveling Sunshine Man

Roy Acuff(host) Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Stonewall Jackson: Me And You And A Dog Named Boo
Minnie Pearl: Careless Love
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: There's A Big Wheel
Roy Acuff: Back In The Country
Jean Shepard: At The Time
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Roy Acuff(Cabin In Gloryland)

Wilburn Brothers(host) It's Another World
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Jeanne Pruett: You Don't Need To Move A Mountain
Del Wood: There's A Big Wheel
Wilburn Brothers: I'm Going To Tie One On Tonight
Osborne Brothers: Ruby
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Del Wood: Down Yonder

Jim Ed Brown(host) Pop A Top
Hank Locklin: Good Bye Dear Old Ryman
Carlisles: No Help Wanted
Cates Sisters: Devils Dream
Hank Locklin: Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On
Grandpa Jones: Heading South With N'ville On My Mind
Carlisles: Too Old To Cut The Mustard
Jim Ed Brown: Sometimes Sunshine

Billy Walker(host) Sing Me A Love Song To Baby
Charlie Louvin: You're My Wife She's My Woman
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way To Say Goodbye
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Charlie Louvin: Little Reasons, Will You Visit Me On Sunday, What Are Those Things
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Billy Walker: Charlies Shoes

George Morgan(host) Red Rose From The Blue Side Of Town
4 Guys: Let Me Be There
Ray Pillow: Excuse Me
Lonzo & Oscar: A King Size Cola & A Moon Pie
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
4 Guys: Hello Walls, Big Bad John, Wings Of A Dove
Ray Pillow: Countryfried
Ernie Ashworth: Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor
George Morgan: Candy Kisses

I am sure almost everyone has seen the video of George Morgan singing the final song and inviting everyone to the new Opry House on Saturday night. The show ran over an actually ended at 11:26.

After the Friday Night Opry came the "Grand Ole Gospel " show, starring the Reverend Jimmy Snow, Hank Snow's son. Back then, this show always followed the Friday Night Opry and lasted about on hour and was taped for a Sunday morning replay on WSM. On that night, Jimmy's guests were his dad, Hank Snow, along with Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Carl Perkins, Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Family, Gordon Terry and LeFevres, a gospel group. The last song sung that night was, of course, "Will The Circle Be Unbroken".

I find it interesting that Hank Snow, an Opry member, and Johnny Cash, June Carter and Mother Maybelle Carter, all former Opry members, did Jimmy's show, but did not appear on the Opry that Friday night.

Tomorrow, I will post the line up from the first Saturday night at the new Opry House, March 16, 1974, along with the song list for both shows.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tuesday Night Opry March 15

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, March 15

7:00: Nashville Irish Stepdancers; Jimmy C. Newman; Thompson Square
7:30: Connie Smith; Jason Michael Carroll
8:15: George Hamilton IV; Holly Williams
8:45: Jimmy Dickens; Lee Greenwood

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Grand Ole Opry Line Up 3/11 & 3/12

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line ups for this weekends shows. There will be one show on Friday night and one show on Saturday night. Friday definitely looks like the better of the two nights with the return of Kenny Rogers to the Opry. It has been a couple of years since he has appeared. In fact, his last appearance was at the birthday celebration a couple of years back. Also on Friday night will be Opry member Josh Turner, who will be making his 1st Opry appearance of the year. Same for Ralph Stanley, who has been battling some health issues.

On Saturday night, Terri Clark will be on again, as she seems to be becoming more of a regular as 2011 continues. Also appearing on Saturday will be Diamond Rio. It should be noted that 11 of the 13 acts scheduled for Saturday night are actually Opry members.

Friday March 11
7:00: Ricky Skaggs(host); Connie Smith; The Brock McGuire Band
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Mandy Barnett; Ralph Stanley
8:15: Bill Anderson(host); Jan Howard; Josh Turner
8:45: Riders In The Sky(host); Jim Ed Brown; Kenny Rogers

Saturday March 12
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Troy Olsen
7:30: Jeannie Seely(host); Jack Greene; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mandy Barnett
8:15: Jim Ed Brown(host); George Hamilton IV; Terri Clark; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky(host); Jean Shepard; Diamond Rio

Chris Scruggs will be the host of this weeks Midnight Jamboree at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 9, 1974-Final Saturday Night at the Ryman Auditorium

I hope that many of you do not mind when I look back and post some historical Grand Ole Opry line ups from the past. Sometimes I think it is neat to look back and see what happened on various Friday and Saturday nights in the history of the Opry.

This time, I want to look back on the final Saturday night Grand Ole Opry shows that took place at the Ryman Auditorium prior to the move to the new Grand Ole Opry House. That final Saturday night took place on March 9, 1974, 37 years ago Wednesday. Of course, the final show would be the Friday Night Opry on March 15, and then on Saturday March 16, the Opry took place for the 1st time at the new Opry House. (I will be posting those line ups in the coming days).

Much has been written about that final Saturday night, as the Saturday show was considered the true Opry show, with the Friday night show getting second billing. Also, much has been written about who was there and who wasn't there for that final show. Many claim to have been there that were not and many were backstage and did not actually perform that night.

While the performers were anxious to get to the new Opry House and to see what it was like, there was a note of real sadness in the air. Some of the quotes from the Opry stars were as follows:

Minnie Pearl said, "That night we left, the last night we played at the Ryman. I was crying. I was so sentimental about the old building. I never felt that way about the War Memorial and that's where I started on the Opry. But we had thirty years or more at the Ryman and it had so much ambiance. The church pews, the haze of hair spray in that ladies' room. Henry leaving me out of the car in the alley and me running up those cement steps to the stage door, the people out front--"

Jan Howard said, "That last night was a very sacred moment. But I'm kind of glad we left. Listen, when you see people pass out in front of you because of the heat, and you're performing on a stage that's a hundred ten degrees, and there's no air--yes, I'm glad we moved. But it still was a reverent moment that night, almost like being in church. You knew it was history and you were a part of it."

Jeanne Pruett said, "Marty Robbins and I did the last show (the 11:30 segment). I can remember when the curtain came down--well, we were going from what we knew and loved and held dear, to the unknown. And I just wondered to myself if it was the end of the Opry, or was it the beginning?"

And, finally, Roy Acuff said, "Certainly there are memories of this old house that will go with us forever. Not all of them good. Many of them are, but some of them are punishment. You just don't know how much we do appreciate you people. It's you who have made the Grand Ole Opry so successful. Will you not forget us when we move into our new building? You'll love us for being out there, and we'll love you for coming to see us. Thank you. God bless you all--good night."

And, you had Tom T. Hall, who elected not to continue on the Opry when it moved. Tom T. was quoted, "It's true that when the Opry left the Ryman I didn't go with it. But I'm a romantic, you know. I didn't care about the new Opry House at first--it just didn't seem right with me. Just out of a romantic notion." Of course, in 1980, Tom would rejoin the Opry.

So, here you go. Here is the actual line up from that final Saturday night, March 9, 1974

6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Willis Brothers(host): Give Me 40 Acres
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way To Say Goodbye
Willis Brothers: Cool Water

6:45: Rudy's
Bobby Bare(host): Detroit City
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
Ernie Ashworth: Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor
Bobby Bare: The Mermaids

7:00: Shoney's
Billy Grammer(host): Under The Double Eagle, Black Mountain Rag, Wildwood Flower
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Nine Pound Hammer
Bill Carlisle: Too Old To Cut The Mustard
Billy Grammer: Orange Blossom Special
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: To My Mansion In The Sky
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving

7:30: Goo Goo
Roy Acuff(host); Wabash Cannonball
Jeanne Pruett: You Don't Need To Move A Mountain
Lonzo & Oscar: Charming Betsy
Crook Brothers: Ira Red
Roy Acuff: Back In The Country
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets

8:00: Martha White
Wilburn Brothers(host): Roll, Muddy River
Justin Tubb: Rambling Man
Jodi Miller: Good News
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl
Justin Tubb: Texas Dance Hall Girl
Jodi Miller: Let's All Go Down To The River

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow(host): I'm Moving On
Jan Howard: My Kind Of People
4 Guys: Let Me Be There
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Hank Snow: Brand On My Heart
Jan Howard: Sunshine On My Shoulder
4 Guys: Top Of The World
Hank Snow: Hello Love

9:30: Kelloggs
Bobby Bare(host): Come Sundown
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Philadelphia Lawyer
Bobby Bare: Blowing In The Wind; Worried Man Blues; Gotta Travel On
Willis Brothers: Maiden's Prayer
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I Shall Not Be Moved
Bobby Bare: Daddy, What If?

10:00: Fender
Stu Phillips(host): Pride
Jodi Miller: Darling, You Can Always Come Back Home
Bill Carlisle: Little Liza Jane
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way To Say Goodbye

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff(host): When I Lay My Burdens Down
Minnie Pearl: Jealous Hearted Me

10:30: Trailblazer
Wilburn Brothers(host): It Looks Like The Suns Gonna Shine
Lonzo & Oscar: Traces Of Life
Wilburn Brothers: God Bless America Again

10:45: Beechnut
Billy Grammer(host): Gotta Travel On
Jerry Clower: The Coon Hunt
Crook Brothers: Liberty
Billy Grammer: How Great Thou Art

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow(host): In The Misty Moonlight
Jan Howard: Where No One Stands Alone
4 Guys: With My Baby On a Bright And Sunny Sunday Afternoon
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbin Ridge
Tanya Tucker: Delta Dawn
Sam McGree: Freight Train, Victor Rag, I Don't Love Nobody
Hank Snow: I Don't Hurt Anymore

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins(host): I Walk Alone
Jeanne Pruett: You Don't Need To Move A Mountain, Satin Sheets
Justin Tubb: Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry, Big Boss Man, I'm Wanting To, Rollin In My Sweet Baby's Arms, Love Me, Now Is The Hour

The 2nd show ended at 12:20am. Also, Jean Shepard was scheduled and canceled for both shows, and Connie Smith and Ernie Ashworth were only on the first show. There you have it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Carrie Underwood and the Opry

I just wanted to post a couple of comments regarding Carrie Underwood and the Opry. As all of you know, this past weekend, she did 2 Opry shows on Friday night and she is scheduled for another appearance on March 26, which is a Saturday night with 2 shows. That will give her 4 Opry appearances in 2011.

Since joining the Opry in 2008, a year in which she appeared on the Opry stage 9 times, she has appeared at the Opry 10 times in 2009 and 6 times in 2010. She is also the featured voice in the new Opry video that is show prior to each show at the Grand Ole Opry House.

Carrie is probably one of the top five stars in country music today and is very busy with her touring and recording. While it might not seem like her number of Opry appearances is very high, I still congratulate her on continuing to appear at the Opry even as her career continues to take off.

When you look at her 6 Opry appearances last year, that is still more than Opry members Clint Black, Garth Brooks, Roy Clark, Tom T. Hall, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless, Loretta Lynn, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt and Trisha Yearwood. And, she made the same number of appearances as did Dierks Bentley, Ralph Stanley, Pam Tillis and Josh Turner.

While there is no debate that we would like to see more appearances out of her, many of us thought that when she joined the Opry that she would follow the paths of some of the younger country stars and appear once or twice each year.

Perhaps it is her small town values, or she remembers where she came from, or the fact that she had to earn her stardom on American Idol, but she seems to get it. And the way she talks and acts, there is hope that she will continue to get it.

As she continues to grow as an artist and as an Opry member, there is hope that she will follow the example of Vince Gill, Marty Stuart and Rick Skaggs, from the generation prior to hers, and continue to support the Opry and make regular appearances on the Opry stage.

Having 4 Opry appearances in the books after the first 3 months of the year, and knowing that she usually makes Opry appearances in June, around the time of the CMA music festival, perhaps this year she will get it back up to close to 10 Opry appearances, the magic number that we like to see. And, with that, she will continue to outpace the majority of the Opry members.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tuesday Night Opry 3/8

A pretty good line up for this week's Tuesday Night Opry. Lorrie Morgan will be making her first Opry appearance of 2011, and she joins a nice group of veteran artists.

7:00: John Conlee; The Grascals
7:30: The Whites; Restless Heart
8:15: Bill Anderson; Darryl Worley
8:45: Jimmy Dickens; Lorrie Morgan

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

First Televised Opry Shows on PBS-March 4, 1978

On Saturday March 4, 1978, the Grand Ole Opry was televised on PBS, the Public Broadcasting Network. This was the first time in the Opry's history that the shows were televised in their entirety. This came about when the executives at PBS, faced with cuts in funding from the federal government, began looking at ways to raise additional funds. They came up with the idea of doing something that had never been done before, which was televising the Opry, and approached Opry executives with their idea. And, the Opry management was all for it.

Both shows were televised that night and it was so successful, that the live Opry shows were repeated for the next 3 years after that. Because PBS is commercial free, the Opry agreed not to display the sponsors names on the barn backdrop, as was normally done, and to ask the Opry performers not to mention the sponsors. The Opry also adjusted the times of their on air commercials. During the time when the Opry had their commercials, PBS did backstage interviews and other features regarding the Opry.

The Opry said prior to the broadcast that no special considerations would be made regarding the line up, just because the show was being televised. They would present a normal Saturday night show with the Opry's members. And, many of the Opry's members who were scheduled that night were very happy to be on television coast to coast. Several of the female members were quoted as saying that they would be dressing up a little bit more than normal. The Opry itself was thrilled with the broadcast as it gave many of their fans who could not go to Nashville and only listened to the show on WSM, the opportunity to see an Opry show.

One of the great mysteries from that night is what ever happened to a tape of that show. Many of us, and I have been in contact with many people, have been looking for a tape from that show. We know that at least one exists, but I have not come across it. I still think it could be a great marketing piece of history if the folks at the Opry ever decided to put it up for sale. It would be a great look back. I know some taped it at home and have bits and pieces of the show, but no one has stepped forward with a complete show.

To relive some memories, here is the line-up from both shows that Saturday night, March 4, 1978. I have included the song list from the artists, the sponsors, and the actual times that the segments ran. As you will notice, the 2nd show ended well past midnight. Hope you enjoy.

6:00: Vietti
Del Reeves(host): Two Dollars In The Jukebox; A Dime at A Time.
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
George Hamilton IV: Cornbread, Beans, & Sweet Potato Pie
Lonzo & Oscar: When The Fields In The Valleys Turn Green
Billy Grammer: Birth Of The Blues
Willis Brothers: Boots & Saddle
Del Reeves: Folsom Prison Blues; Margaritaville

6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Jimmy C. Newman(host): Diggy, Liggy, Lo
Jean Shepard: The Things That Might Have Been; It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angles; You Win Again; A Dear John Letter
Del Wood: Alabama Jubilee; Down Yonder
Bessyl Duhon: Opryland Special

6:45: Rudy's (6:51-7:06)
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Skeeter Davis: I'll Fly Away
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Archie Campbell: A.C. In N.Y. Last July

7:00: Shoney's (7:07-7:39)
Porter Wagoner(host): Big Wind's A Comin'
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
Don Williams: I've Got A Winner In You
Wilburn Brothers: Because He Lives
Don Gibson: Oh, Lonesome Me
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts Of Life; Carroll Country Accident; Green, Green Grass Of Home; Old Slewfoot

7:30: Goo-Goo (7:40-8:10)
Roy Acuff(host): Sunshine Special
Minnie Pearl: Careless Love
4 Guys: Cotton fields; Mariah
Crook Brothers: Lafayette
Roy Acuff: How Beautiful Heaven Must Be

8:00: Martha White (8:11-8:42)
Bill Monroe(host): My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darling
Stu Phillips: She Thinks I Still Care
Jan Howard: Will The Circle Be Unbroken
Charlie Louvin: Warm, Warm Woman
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With The Way That We're Doing It Now
Wilma Lee Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith
Bill Monroe: Crying Holy Unto The Lord

8:30: Stephens (8:43-9:14)
Hank Snow(host): I'm Moving On
Ronnie Milsap: Stand By My Woman's Man; What Goes On When The Sun Goes Down; Day Dreams About Night Things; A Legend In My Time
Bill Carlisle: Leave That Liar Alone
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbin Ridge
Hank Snow: I've Done At Least One Thing That Was Good In My Life

9:30: Kellogg's (9:44-10:15)
Porter Wagoner(host): Dooley
Jean Shepard: If You've Got The Money, I've Got The Time
George Hamilton IV: Only The Best
Archie Campbell: The Interview
Osborne Brothers: Midnight Flyer
Willis Brothers: Bob
Porter Wagoner: Tennessee Saturday Night; On A Highway Headed South

10:00: Fender (10:15-10:32)
Bill Monore(host): Mary Jane, Won't You Be Mine
Ronnie Milsap: What A Difference You Made In My Life; Let My Love Be Your Pillow
Kenny Baker: The Lucky Lady

10:15: Union 76 (10:33-10:54)
Roy Acuff(host): Meeting In The Air
Don Williams: Amanda; Your My Best Friend
Billy Grammer: Georgiana Moon
Howdy Forrester: Cotton-Eyed Joe

10:30: Trailblazer (10:55-11:11)
Jimmy C. Newman(host): Colinda
Skeeter Davis: He Will Be There
Del Wood: Just Because
Jimmy C. Newman: Big Bayou

10:45: Beech-Nut (11:12-11:29)
Wilburn Brothers(host): Country Kind Of Feelings
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry
Jan Howard: Better Off Alone
Crook Brothers: Gray Eagle

11:00: Coca-Cola (11:30-11:55)
Hank Snow(host): Tangled Mind
Justin Tubb: You'd Never Be Happy With Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cacklin' Hen
Wilma Lee Cooper: Bury Me Beneath The Willow
Kirk McGee: Freight Train
Hank Snow: Once More, You're Mine Again

11:30: Elm Hill (11:56-12:27)
Charlie Louvin(host): Let's Put Our World Back Together; A Toast To Mama; Love Has To Die All By Itself; I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow
Jeanne Pruett: Break My Mind; A Poor Man's Woman
Bill Carlisle: Amazing Grace
4 Guys: When Will I Be Loved
Charlie Louvin: Warm, Warm, Woman

There you have it. I can tell you that Lonzo & Oscar, Minnie Pearl and Stonewall Jackson were all scheduled for the 2nd show but canceled out. Hope you enjoy this look back and if you find a tape, let me know.

Grand Ole Opry Line up 3/4 & 3/5

In an effort to boost ticket sales, the Grand Ole Opry is having something called "Opry All Star Weekend" this Friday and Saturday night. Based on the fact that Carrie Underwood will be on the Friday Night Opry, there will be 2 shows. Also on Friday night will be Rodney Aktins, the Steep Canyon Rangers, and appearing on Friday and Saturday night, will be Blake Shelton, who will be making his first Opry appearances since joining the Opry in September.

Saturday night will feature the return of Brad Paisley, who will be using his appearance to highlight his 10th anniversary as an Opry member, which actually took place in February. Also on Saturday night will be The Band Perry.

Like I said, this is a promotion to boost ticket sales. When this was first announced, I thought that the Opry was really going to go all out and have a group of superstars on this weekend. But, when you look at the entire line up, it looks a lot like a regular Opry show, although with some better booking. Even with this line up, ticket sales must be lagging as the Opry is offering discounts if you book a package that includes a ticket to the Opry and a room at the resort.

Even with the line up that the Opry had last weekend, the shows were not a sellout, and there were plenty of seats available. You have to believe that the convention business, which the Opry depends on, is still not coming back after the flood. And, with the shopping center still closed, and probably never going to reopen, the people are just not coming to the Opryland area. I know when I was there a couple of weeks ago, it was really a dead zone.

Anyways, Jeannie Seely will be in the Opry shop on Friday night signing copies of her new CD and Terri Clark will be in the Opry shop on Saturday.

Friday March 4

First Show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); The Whites; Rodney Atkins
7:30: Jim Ed Brown(host); Jean Shepard; Steep Canyon Rangers
8:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Jack Greene; Blake Shelton
8:30: Bill Anderson(host); Carrie Underwood

Second Show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Connie Smith; Rodney Atkins
10:00: Jim Ed Brown(host); Jan Howard; Steep Canyon Rangers
10:30: Jeannie Seely(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Blake Shelton
11:00: Bill Anderson(host); Carrie Underwood

Saturday March 5

7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; David Nail
7:30: John Conlee(host); Terri Clark; The Band Perry
8:15: Jean Shepard(host); Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press; Blake Shelton; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson(host); Edens Edge; Brad Paisley

I hope that Jim Ed Brown gives Jean Shepard a nice introduction on Friday night and makes mention of her Hall of Fame election. And, it is nice to see her hosting a segment on Saturday night.

Finally, the Ernest Tubb Record Shop is back to taping the Midnight Jamboree this Saturday night. The show will tape at 10:00pm at the theater and will air. I am not sure but looking at the website, I would be led to believe that the show is now going to air the same night it is taped and not on a one week delay as before. I will have to find out for sure. Also, the host this week is Barbara Fairchild. Boy, it would have been nice to see Barbara on the Opry this weekend.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thoughts on the 2011 Hall of Fame Class

I am sure by now most everyone has heard the news that Reba McEntire, Jean Shepard and Bobby Braddock have been elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame. While I know that we all had our personal favorites, I don't think anyone can really be too upset by who was elected. All are deserving, and many will agree that in the case of Jean Shepard, it is about time.

In looking at the categories and how the Hall of Fame conducts its elections, I am concerned that there is starting to build a backlog in several of the categories again, and with the election of only 1 per year, some are not going to be elected. In her short speech today, Jean mentioned specifically, The Wilburn Brothers, Jimmy C. Newman and The Browns as those who should be in the Hall. And, I can think of several more. While I was hoping that Jean would get elected, I was still somewhat surprised, as the veteran candidates have tended to come from the era of the 1960's, versus her era of the 1950's. I know Ferlin Husky was elected last year, and he had his greatest success starting in the 50's, but also elected out of that category the past several years have been Jimmy Dean, Roy Clark, Mel Tillis, The Statler Brothers, Tom T. Hall and Sonny James, all of whom achieved their greatest success in the 60's.

The same could be said for the modern category, as even with the election of Reba, the backlog of candidates is building. And, this is the one category where more are eligible every year. Reba, while a veteran in the business, is relatively young and several older candidates were bypassed. I am concerned that in electing Reba, the voters are going to bypass the stars that had the majority of their careers in the 70's and early 80's, and move on to those who have recently become eligible and had the majority of their success in the very late 80's and 90's.

While I was not happy with the way the mass induction was handled in 2001, I do think it is time for the Hall of Fame to look at increasing the number who are elected each year. We have been lucky in the fact that in the last several years, there had been ties in the voting involving the veteran category, and several were elected, including last year with Ferlin Husky and Jimmy Dean. I think even electing 2 or 3 per year in this category would help end some of the grid lock, and still make sure that only those truly deserving got into the Hall.

Every Hall of Fame does it different. The Baseball Hall of Fame is pretty limited to between one and three elected per year, while the Football Hall of Fame elects up to seven. The Rock Hall of Fame tends to have larger classes. I would not want to see anything that big as I think it does take away the honor of being in the Hall.

This year would have been the perfect time to have a "catch up election", if you want to call it that, as it was in 1961, 50 years ago, that the Hall of Fame elected it's first class. In several years, the new expansion of the Hall of Fame will be completed, and that is another opportunity. But, only if it is handled right. And that was my issue with the mass induction in 2001. I just think the way it was handled, that several of the artists, and some did comment on it, felt that the honor wasn't the same because the impression was left that some of those elected that year would not have been elected if not for this mass induction and that they were going in as a group, not as individuals. I know Bill Anderson, who was elected that year, made sure that it was known that he was elected in the "regular election" that year and not the mass induction. I do hope that the Hall of Fame will continue to revisit the election procedures and make the changes necessary to make sure that those who deserve the honor do have the opportunity to be elected in a timely manner.

That said, my congratulations go again to Reba McEntire, Jean Shepard and Bobby Braddock on their election to the Hall of Fame and I do continue my hope that all of those artists who are deserving of election into the Hall can be elected while they are still living and able to enjoy the honor.