Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 12/28 & 12/29

With Christmas this week, the Grand Ole Opry has already posted the line-ups for the final two Opry shows of the year, both nights at the Ryman Auditorium. A lot of the "names' are missing as many of the Opry's members are off enjoying the holidays with their families.

Saturday night's Grand Ole Opry will feature the traditional appearance by Jett Williams, the daughter of Hank Williams. She always appears on the Opry right around January 1st each year, which was the date that Hank Williams died. Also appearing on Saturday night will be frequent Opry guest, but not Opry member, Rhonda Vincent. Also appearing on Saturday night, and making what looks like her first appearance on the Opry is Jenn Bostic. She is another of the newcomers who seems to be having some chart success in the United Kingdom. She is from Philadelphia and is working on getting her career going.

Friday Night's Opry will feature an appearance by Joey + Rory, who have a very nice show on RFD-TV each week. Also joining them will be Craig Campbell and Dailey & Vincent, who will also be appearing on Saturday night.

Friday December 28
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Craig Campbell; Connie Smith
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mallary Hope; Jim Ed Brown
8:15: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Joey +Rory
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Dailey & Vincent

Saturday December 29
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Craig Campbell; Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jenn Bostic; Dustin Lynch
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); The Whites; Rhonda Vincent; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: John Conlee (host); Jett Williams; Dailey & Vincent

That comes out to 12 acts on Friday night and 13 on Saturday with 8 Opry members on Friday and 7 on Saturday.

The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree will be another archived show hosted by Jett Williams. I am not sure if it is the same show that she hosted a couple of weeks ago or if they are running a show from a previous year.

This week's archived line-up will be from Saturday December 29, 1990, 22 years ago. Nothing really stands out from this show except for the number of Grand Ole Opry members who in just 22 short years are no longer with us.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Wilma Lee Cooper: Big Midnight Special
Bill Anderson: Still

6:45: Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Jack
Jan Howard: Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good
Jim & Jesse: Hard-Hearted
Grandpa Jones: It's Raining Here This Morning

7:00: Shoney's
Jimmy Dickens (host): I'm Little But I'm Loud
4 Guys: Down on the Corner
Jean Shepard: An Old Bridge That You Keep Burning
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away
The Whites: San Antonio Rose
Jimmy Dickens: Shopping for Dresses

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy C Newman (host); Diggy Liggy Lo
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
George Hamilton IV: It's My Time
Mike Snider: Turkey Knob/Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun Stripper

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host); Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: I Never Once Stopped Loving You/Sing, Sing, Sing
David Houston: Almost Persuaded/Living In A House Full of Love
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Snow Flake Reel
Roy Acuff: That's The Man I'm Looking For

8:30: Pops Rite
Charlie Walker (host): Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
Riders In The Sky: No Rodeo Dough
Charlie Louvin: A Better Man's Hands
Roy Drusky: It's My Way of Loving You
Charlie Walker: Happy Birthday Skeeter Davis
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon/Take Me Back To Tulsa

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water
Jim & Jesse: Air Mail Special
Jean Shepard: Gospel Melody
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away Too Long
Bill Anderson: Deck of Cards

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Banjo Sam
The Whites: Swing Down, Sweet Chariot
Bill Carlisle: I've Waited Too Long
Grandpa Jones: Ball Headed End of the Broom

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Once More
4 Guys: Moments to Remember
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:30: Pet Milk
Jimmy Dickens (host): Out Behind the Barn
Mike Snider: Instrumental
Jimmy Dickens: She Always Got What She Wanted

10:45: B. C. Powder
Ray Pillow (host): Too Many Memories
Jeannie Seely: Houston
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Golden Slippers
Ray Pillow: Dim Lights, Thick Smoke

11:00: Coca-Cola
Jimmy C Newman (host): Lafayette
Connie Smith: You Got Me Right Where You Want Me
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Riders In The Sky: Strawberry Roan
David Houston: My Elusive Dreams
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun Honey

11:30: Creamette
Charlie Walker (host): Right or Wrong
Skeeter Davis: My Last Date With You
Charlie Louvin: Think I'll Go Somewhere & Cry Myself to Sleep
Johnny Russell: Kawliga
Charlie Walker: Take Me Back to Tulsa

That comes out to 22 acts on the 1st show and 23 on the 2nd show, for a total of 28 different artists (if I counted right) all of whom were Grand Ole Opry members. Of those 28, 15 are now deceased or no longer part of the Opry. Time goes fast!!

I know I have posted this earlier than usual, and with the exception of any breaking Grand Ole Opry news, this will be my final post for this year. I will be traveling the rest of the week visiting family. But if anything breaks, I will report.

Happy New Year to everyone!!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

2012 Christmas Greetings and Wishes

I just wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope that it is a blessed day for all of you and that you have family and friends to share the day with. I also hope that Santa brings each of you everything you have asked for.

Since I started this blog several years ago, I have taken the opportunity to pass along Christmas greetings and wishes to the Grand Ole Opry and its members, along with a "wish list". So with that introduction, here is my updated 2012 "wish list" for the Opry:

To Pete Fisher and Steve Buchanan, I hope for a new Opry television contract and for RFD-TV, I hope you are the ones to get it. I also hope that you will consider more on-line streaming of the Opry's shows. Pete, please treat the legends with more kindness and it wouldn't hurt to let them sing two songs instead of one. And please, don't mess with the show any more. Most of us thought it was fine the way it was.

For Jimmy Dickens, Jean Shepard and Hal Ketchum, I wish each of you better health this coming year. And Hal, here is hoping that you return to the Opry stage. To Jack Greene, our prayers and thoughts are with you as you go through the sunset of your life.

To Jim Ed Brown, congratulations on your upcoming 50th anniversary as an Opry member. And also here is the wish that you receive a call from the Country Music Hall of Fame welcoming you as a new member. To Bill Anderson, thanks for sharing your 50th anniversary with all of us this past year and congratulations on another great year of Opry shows. And for Connie Smith, congratulations on your Hall of Fame induction. For one of the finest voices in country music, it was well deserved.

To Carol Lee Cooper, Barbara Mandrell, Ricky Van Shelton and Jeanne Pruett my wish is that all of you continue to enjoy your retirement and enjoy good health. And if you feel the urge, please don't be afraid to call Pete and ask for an Opry appearance. For George Jones my wish is that your retirement tour is a success and that you include the Opry as part of that tour. To Loretta Lynn, since the Opry honored you for 50 years of Opry membership, will you honor the Opry by appearing more often? After all, the Opry was once important in your career.

To veteran Opry members George Hamilton IV, Stonewall Jackson, Ray Pillow, Jan Howard, Jeannie Seely, Jean Shepard, The Whites, Roy Clark and Jimmy C Newman, my Christmas wish if for more Opry appearances. Please Pete, call them more often. They enjoy playing the Opry as much as we enjoy listening to them. To Mike Snider and Riders In The Sky, thanks for keeping humor on the Opry stage.

To Vince Gill, Marty Stuart and Ricky Skaggs, thanks for supporting the Opry over the years and the hope is that each of you will continue to do so. Also thanks for encouraging others to play the Opry and making it an important event.

For Keith Urban and Darius Rucker, the Opry's newest members, please don't forget where the Opry House is and support the show. The Opry needs you to be there. And to Trace Adkins, Craig Morgan, Josh Turner, Montgomery Gentry, Rascal Flatts and especially Carrie Underwood, thanks for remembering where the Opry House is. Please keep coming as the Opry needs each of you.

To Bobby Osborne, Jesse McReynolds, Ralph Stanley and Del McCoury, thanks for carrying on the bluegrass tradition. And to Alison Krauss, it was nice to see you at the Opry this past year, but your sweet voice is missed and the Opry needs to see more of you. And Pete, isn't it time for a new Opry member who sings bluegrass music?

To Emmylou Harris and Patty Loveless, my wish is that two of the sweetest voices on the Opry continue to keep those voices. And Patty, the Opry is still there for you. It needs you more than a couple of times each year. To Emmylou, please come back. I think you enjoy the Opry. I do know that the Opry enjoys you.

To Brad Paisley, please come back. You were there after the flood in 2010 and then left again. And when you come, please bring Martina McBride with you.

To John Conlee, Charlie Daniels, Terri Clark, Joe Diffie, Steve Wariner, Charley Pride, Mel Tillis and the Oak Ridge Boys, my wish is that each of you gives the Opry another year of great performances. To Diamond Rio, thanks for increasing your Opry appearances this past year. To Pam Tillis, please keep coming back. And to Lorrie Morgan, what happened to you? Please come back to the Opry. We miss you.

For Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Alan Jackson, Tom T Hall, Reba McEntire, Travis Tritt, Clint Black, Randy Travis, Blake Shelton and Dolly Parton, a GPS system for you car locked into 2804 Opryland Drive. I am afraid that each of you forgot where the Opry House is. By the way, it is still there and the doors are unlocked for you. And to Dolly, think of the memories that you have of the Opry and singing with Porter. I know we do.

To Mandy Barnett, Elizabeth Cook, Holly Williams, Jimmy Wayne, Restless Heart, Sarah Darling and so many others, thanks for answering the phone when Pete calls you at the last minute. My wish is that each of you have a million selling record this year. And Pete, don't forget that the veterans have phones too. And to all the non-Opry members who came out to the Opry this past year, thanks. There are too many to mention, but my wish is that we see more of you this year. Each of you helps to keep the show fresh and help to fill out the line-up when the missing Opry stars do not appear.

To Rhonda Vincent, Dailey & Vincent, Crystal Gayle and Gene Watson, may this be the year that you finally get asked to be an Opry member, especially after supporting the show for as long as you have.

To Mike Terry, Bill Cody and Eddie Stubbs, thanks for the great introductions that you give us each week on the show. To Larry Gatlin, thanks for a great job hosting the Opry Country Classics show. Your energy and enthusiasm have helped to make the show a success. To the Opry Singers and the Opry Staff band, thanks. The show would be missing something without the talents that each of you bring to the Opry stage. And to the Opry Square Dancers, each time you appear you help us remember where the show came from. Thanks.

To Ryman Hospitality, may you continue to give the Opry the resources and respect that the show needs and deserves. And please, get the Opry Museum back open so that today's fans can understand the history and importance of the show, and where it came from.

To all the Opry fans, please continue to support the show. Some weeks it is not easy, but if we are not in the audience or listening on the radio, there would be no Opry.

To the new readers of the blog, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. To those who have been with me from the beginning, my continued thanks. And thanks for the comments. We may not always agree, but we are all friends who share a common bond about the Opry and a love of the show. And thanks for the emails. Keep them coming. To those who I have met at the Opry over the years, thanks for your friendship and thanks for making those Nashville trips more enjoyable.

Special thanks go to Michael, Fred, Barry, Robert, Lindy, David, Countryart, Jim, Opryman, Tim, Ken, Peter, Brain, and the others who comment regularly and email often. And I know I have forgotten a few and for that, I am sorry but you are all important and it has been a pleasure.

Finally, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. My wish to each of you is that 2013 is the best year of your lives and that we may continue the dialog. And may peace be with each of you.

aka: Fayfare

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 12/21 &12/22

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the Friday Night Opry and the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night, with 1 show each night. This is the weekend before Christmas and historically the shows are pretty good and considering what we get from the Opry on some weekends, the shows this weekend are looking fairly good.

The Friday Night Opry will feature The Band Perry, along with the great Gene Watson. Also on Friday you have comedian Chonda Pierce, along with Opry members Ricky Skaggs and Bill Anderson. Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will feature Opry members Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs, along with guest artists Ashley Monroe, Elizabeth Cook and Keith & Kristyn Getty.

Friday December 21
7:00: John Conlee (host); Gwen Sebastian; Chonda Pierce
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Restless Heart
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Gene Watson
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; The Band Perry

Saturday December 22
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Elizabeth Cook; Connie Smith
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy Wayne
8:15: Vince Gill (host); Riders In The Sky; Ashley Monroe; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); George Hamilton IV; The Whites; Keith & Kristyn Getty

I do want to recognize the fact that on December 23rd, Jack Greene will be celebrating his 45th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member. Sadly, Jack is too ill to perform on the Opry, making his last Opry appearance last December. In 1961 Jack had joined Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadors as the drummer. A while later, he began opening shows and in 1964 he had his first chart record, "The Last Letter". In late 1966 he had his career making record, "There Goes My Everything", which was #1 for many weeks, and the album with the same name was #1 for almost a year. In 1967, he won the CMA's Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year. The singles continued into the mid 1970s, and then his career dropped off. He also had several successful duets with Jeannie Seely. Even though his chart success ended, Jack remained a popular attraction on the road and was a very loyal Grand Ole Opry member. In January, Jack will be celebrating his 83rd birthday.

Here is the Opry line-up from Saturday December 23, 1967, the night Jack Greene joined the Grand Ole Opry:

7:30: Roy Drusky (host); Jean Shepard; Willis Brothers; Stu Phillips; Stingbean; Charlie Walker; Jeannie Seely
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Dottie West; Harold Weakley; Osborne Brothers; Del Wood; Crook Brothers
8:30: Bobby Lord (host); George Hamilton IV; Ernie Ashworth; Archie Campbell; Margie Bowes; Grandpa Jones
9:00: Ernest Tubb (host); Bill Monroe; Skeeter Davis; Jack Greene; Bill Carlisle; Loretta Lynn; Fruit Jar Drinkers
9:30: Hank Snow (host); Willis Brothers; Lonzo & Oscar; 4 Guys; Del Reeves; Cousin Jody; Harold Weakley
10:00: Bobby Lord (host); Jean Shepard; Stringbean; Ernie Ashworth
10:15: Porter Wagoner (host); Grandpa Jones; Del Wood
10:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Dottie West; Cousin Jody
10:45: Ernest Tubb (host); Margie Bowes; Jack Greene; Crook Brothers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Skeeter Davis; Del Reeves; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Osborne Brothers; Sam McGee
11:30: Marty Robbins (host); Bill Monroe; Bill Carlisle; Loretta Lynn; Lonzo & Oscar

I have 2 other line-ups to share for the Christmas season. The first one is from December 23, 1950, 62 years ago, and 17 years prior to Jack Greene's Opry night. (I have printed the line-up exactly as it appeared on the program for that night, misspelled words and all):

7:30: Warren Pain & Color Co.
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Lew Childre: Jingle Bells
Jug Band: Old McDonald Had a Farm
Gang: Precious Memories
Jimmy Riddle: Casey Jones

7:45: American Ace Coffee
Roy Acuff (host): Leaf of Love
Joe Zinkas: Four Leaf Clover
Uncle Dave and Doris: Connon County Hills
Girls: Remember Me
Oswald: Rice on Buddy
Benny: Arkansas Traveler

8:00: Martha White
Ernest Tubb (host): Throw You Love My Way
Jimmy Dickens: To Be Selected
Chester Atkins: To Be Selected
June Carter: Oh For Crying Out Loud
Hank Snow: Golden Rocket
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Ernest Tubb: Christmas
Maybelle: Glory Special
Jimmy Dickens: To Be Selected
Ernest Tubb: Till the End of the World

8:30: Fortune Feeds
Cowboy Copas (host): Filipino Baby
Bill Monroe: To Be Selected
Possum Hunters: To Be Selected
George Morgan: To Be Selected
Wally Fowler: To Be Selected
Anita and Chet: To Be Selected
Carl Smith: I Overlooked an Orchid
Cowboy Copas: From the Manger to the Cross
Bill Monroe: Uncle Pin

9:00: Royal Crown Cola
Jimmy Riddle: Put Your Arms Around Me
Roy Acuff (host): We Planted Flowers on Our Darlings Grave
Lonzo and Oscar: I Lisp When I Say Ethica
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Goodbye Liza Jane
Jamup and Honey: Jokes
Hank Williams: Moaning the Blues
Jug Band: Uncle Noah's Ark
Roy Acuff: Glory Bound Train

9:30: Prince Albert
Red Foley (host): Here Comes Santa Claus
Foley Girls: Winter Wonderland
Dance: Chicken Reel
Jordaneers: The First Noel
Red Foley: Silent Night
Old Hickory Singers: Deck the Halls
Rod Brasfield: Jokes
Minnie Pearl : Jokes
String Beans: Here Rattler
Red Foley: Frosty the Snow Man
Fiddle Tune: Devil's Dream

10:00: Wallrite
Bill Monroe (host): I Saw a Star
Wally Fowler: To Be Selected
George Morgan: To Be Selected
Bill Monroe: A Call from On High
Bill Monroe: Blue Grass Stomp

10:15: Dr. Le Gear
Roy Acuff (host): When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold
Uncle Dave: Wish You All Well
Gang: Life's Railway to Heaven
Le Croix: White Christmas
Benny Martin: Katy Hill

10:30: Jefferson Island Salt
Ernest Tubb (host): I Love You Because
Jimmy Dickens: Blondes, Brunettes, Red Heads
Chester Atkins: Canned Heat
Carl Smith: This Side of Heaven
Jordanaires: One Day
Ernest Tubb: Remember I'm the One Who Loves You
June Carter: Bashful Rascal
Gully Jumpers: Hoot Man
Bob Eaton: Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Dickens: Out of Business
Ernest Tubb: To Be Selected

11:00: Blevins Popcorn
Hank Williams (host): Why Don't You Love Me
Lew Childre: To Be Selected
Autrey: To Be Selected
Hank Williams: Nobody's Lonesome for Me

11:15: Baby Blues Eyes Doll
Cowboy Copas (host): Steppin Out
Sam and Kirk: Long John Green
Lazy Jim Day: Singing the News
Fiddle: To Be Selected

11:30: Weather House
Hank Snow (host): Will There Be a Santa Claus
Annie Lou and Danny: Hear Dem Bells in Heaven
Crook Brothers: Soldiers Joy
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On
Crook Bros: Cumberland Gap

11:45: Rat Poison
George Morgan (host): To Be Selected
Lonzo and Oscar: Cotton Eyed Joe
Fruit Jar: Cacklin Hen
Geo. Morgan: To Be Selected
Fruit Jar: To Be Selected

(Not to take anything away from those who printed the programs back then, but you have to wonder who did the proof reading!! So many errors. And, what about Rat Poison as an Opry sponsor? Finally, if you notice where some of the acts were placed, you could tell that some were not long for the Opry. Lazy Jim Day along with Annie Lou and Danny with just one spot late in the evening).

Now, I want to move forward 10 years to Saturday December 24, 1960, which was Christmas Eve. Notice the difference in sponsors and artists in just a 10 year span:

7:30: Pet Milk
Cowboy Copas (host); Louvin Brothers; Billy Grammer; Patsy Cline; Stonewall Jackson; Carlisles; Bobby Lord
8:00: Martha White
Don Gibson (host); Wilburns; Wilma Lee & Stoney; Grandpa Jones; Del Wood; Margie Bowes; Crook Brothers
8:30: Prince Albert
Hank Snow (host); Archie Campbell; George Morgan; Jordainaires; Chet Atkins; Minnie Pearl; Stringbean
9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Ernest Tubb (host); Ferlin Husky; Skeeter Davis; Cousin Jody: Bill Monroe; Minnie Pearl; Glaser Brothers; Fruit Jar Drinkers
9:30: Stephens
Marty Robbins (host): Hawkshaw Hawkins; Roy Drusky; Lonzo & Oscar; Jean Shepard; Carl Butler; Billy Walker
10:00: Black Draught
Don Gibson (host): Wilburns; Del Wood
10:15: Frosty Morn
Cowboy Copas (host); Margie Bowes; Grandpa Jones
10:30: Jamison
Ernest Tubb (host): Louvin Brothers; Billy Grammer
10:45: De Con
George Morgan (host): Stonewall Jackson; Patsy Cline; Crook Brothers
11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Carl Butler; Lonzo & Oscar; Stringbean; Jordanaires; Sam and Kirk; Fruit Jars
11:30: Phillips & Buttorff
Marty Robbins (host); Skeeter Davis; Cousin Jody
11:45: National Life
Hawkshaw Hawkins (host); Bill Monroe; Jean Shepard

Quite a change in 10 years and when you compare 1960 with 1967, there were lots more changes.

On a final note, best wishes and positive thoughts go to former Grand Ole Opry member Margie Bowes, who has been battling some serious health issues. We wish her well.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Jimmy Dickens

On Wednesday December 19, Grand Ole Opry member Jimmy Dickens will be celebrating his 92nd birthday. Several mentions of Jimmy's upcoming birthday were made at the Opry this past weekend and on Saturday night, Pete Fisher and Steve Buchanan presented Jimmy with a birthday cake and the audience sang Happy Birthday to Jimmy.

Jimmy Dickens first came to the Grand Ole Opry in 1948. A while back, Jimmy remembered the events that brought him to Nashville. "I was working in Saginaw, Michigan, on a small station with a five-piece band and Mr. Acuff came to our city. I had made his acquaintance before that in Cincinnati in 1945. And then in 1948, why, he asked me if I would come down to the Grand Ole Opry, and at that particular time Red Foley had the network show for the Prince Albert people on NBC. I came as a guest. I had ten years of radio experience doing shows across the country and I thought I was ready for that you know, I was over the stage fright and all that. But when I walked on that stage of the Ryman I've never been no more scared and shook up in my life. My knees were knockin' and I couldn't understand it, because I thought I was ready for that, but I wasn't." But I did very well, luckily, I mean as far as response was concerned, and then a month later they asked me to come down again, and when I came that time Mr. Acuff asked me if I would be interested in staying."

James Cecil Dickens was born on December 19, 1920 in Bolt, West Virginia. He was part of a large family and started in radio at an early age, on WJLS with performers such as Mel Steele, Molly O'Day and Johnnie Bailes. Through the 1940s he had his own radio programs in such cities as Fairmont, West Virginia; Indianapolis, Indiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; Topeka, Kansas; and Saginaw, Michigan. It was in Cincinnati in 1947 that Roy Acuff heard him for the first time and brought him to the attention of both Grand Ole Opry officials and Art Satherley at Columbia Records. After the guest appearance on the Opry, he signed with Columbia on September 25, 1948 and joined the Grand Ole Opry in November 1948.

The hits that followed included "Take an Old Cold Tater (And Wait)" and "Country Boy" in 1949, with "I'm Little But I'm Loud" and "Sleepin' at the Foot of the Bed" in 1950. He continued to record into the 1950s, but after "Out Behind the Barn", which went to #9 in 1954, he did not have another song on the country chart until "The Violet and a Rose" in 1962. The biggest hit in his career came in 1965 when he recorded "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose", which went to #1 on the country charts and #15 on the pop charts.

It was at the Opry that Hank Williams gave Jimmy the nickname "Tater", which came shortly after the song of the same name was recorded and became a hit. And while Jimmy joined the Grand Ole Opry in November 1948, he left the show in 1957. At the time, he accepted an offer to head up a major road show for the Phillip Morris tobacco company. However at that time, the Opry's sponsorship by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company prohibited any Grand Ole Opry member from traveling with a tour sponsored by a competitor. So, Jimmy left the Opry. He would later say that there were no hard feelings.

Jimmy rejoined the Opry on February 8, 1975, after being gone for 18 years. On the night he rejoined the Opry, he was introduced by Hank Snow, who said, "Jimmy is one of the greatest showmen of all time. It's like replacing the most important spoke in a wheel to have him back on the Opry. We need more Jimmy Dickenses." That night, Jimmy sang "Family Reunion", which he later said was appropriate. As he told a reporter that night, "It's hard to put in words and say how you feel about being back in the family. It's been so long."

As Jimmy has aged and outlived his contemporaries, he has achieved legendary status. In 1983 he was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The announcement was made by Barbara Mandrell and there is a great video clip at the Country Music Hall of Fame showing a very emotional Jimmy Dickens accepting the high honor. And as he approaches the age of 92, he continues as a regular performer at the Grand Ole Opry. And while his voice is not what it once was and the jokes remain unchanged, he still receives some of the biggest and loudest applause at the Opry each week.

And I will add one more thing. While Jimmy is noted for his novelty and comedy songs, at one time he was considered one of the finest ballad singers in country music and he usually will close his Opry segment with one of his great ballads.

I went through my files and I found the Grand Ole Opry line-up from Saturday night, October 9, 1948, which is the earliest Grand Ole Opry program that I have that has Jimmy Dickens listed. Now, what is interesting is that in the latest Grand Ole Opry Picture History Book, it now gives August 1948 as to when Jimmy first joined the Opry, and it also states that "Roy Acuff first introduced him to the Opry stage in 1948." I find that strange as Jimmy himself is quoted, which I have above, that it was Red Foley who introduced Jimmy the first time at the Opry and from the Country Music Enclyclopedia, it gives the November 1948 date. Either way, this October line-up that I have has Jimmy hosting a segment on the show.

7:30: American Ace Coffee
Roy Acuff (host): It's So Hard to Smile
Tommy Magness: Blackberry Blossom
Dot and Smokey: To Be Announced
Jimmy Riddle: Listen to the Mocking Bird
Roy Acuff: Waltz of the Wind
Uncle Dave Macon: Only Been Down to the Club
Jug Band: Call Old Rattler
Roy Acuff: Take My Hand Precious Lord
Sonny: Red River Valley
Dot and Smokey: To Be Announced
Oswald: Coming From the Ball
Roy Acuff: Will the Circle Be Unbroken

8:00: Purina Show
Ernest Tubb (host): Long Gone Daddy
Bill Monroe: The Girl With the Blue Velvet Band
Mel and Stan: I've Lost All
Jimmy Dickens: John Henry
Crook Brothers: Billy in the Low Ground
Ernest Tubb: Seaman's Blues
Blue Grass Quartet: He'll Set Your Fields on Fire
Velma: Mother's Old Sunbonnet
Butterball: There'll Be No Tears Tonight
Ernest Tubb: Darling, What More Can I Do
Hal Smith: Tennessee Wagoner

8:30: Warren Paint
Cowboy Copas (host): Believe It Or Not
Lew Childre: Dis Train
Robert Lunn: To Be Announced
Uncle Dave Macon: Hesitation Blues
Possum Hunters: Old Joe
Cowboy Copas: The Hope of A Broken Heart
String Beans: Crazy War
Okey Dokies: To Be Announced
Rusty and Dusty: The Farmer's Daughter
Cowboy Copas: Kentucky Waltz
Red Herron: To Be Announced

9:00: Royal Crown Cola
Roy Acuff (host): Little Moses
Jimm Riddle: You Call Everybody Darlin'
George Morgan: Please Don't Let Me Love You
Lonzo and Oscar: I Didn't Know the Gun Was Loaded
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Old Joe Clark
Pap and Jug Band: Roly Poly
Lazy Jim Day: Singing the News
Roy Acuff: This World Can't Stand Long
Oswald: Nobody's Business
Tommy Magness: Grey Eagle

9:30: Prince Albert
Red Foley (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
Red Foley: I Just Can't Keep From Crying
Red Foley: No One Will Ever Know
Bradley Kincaid: Blue Tail Fly
Old Hickory Quartet: Waiting for the Robert E. Lee
Wally Fowler: I Got Faith
Floyd Ethridge: Mississippi Sawyer
Floyd Ethridge: Leather Britches

10:00: Wallrite
To Be Announced
To Be Announced
Bradley Kincaid: The Miner's Song
To Be Announced
To Be Announced

10:15: Gaylard
Roy Acuff (host): The Heart That Was Broken for Me
Oswald: Roll On Buddy, Roll On
Uncle Dave Macon: Rock of Ages
Roy Acuff: Poem
Gang: Precious Memories
Tommy: Bully of the Town

10:30: Fletcher-Wilson
Cowboy Copas (host): Too Many Tear Drops
Lazy Jim Day: Singing the News
Lew and String Beans: Working on a Building
Cowboy Copas: Tragic Romance
Okey Dokies: To Be Announced
Red Herron: To Be Announced

10:45: Royal Flour
Milton Estes (host): Life Gets Tedious
Mel and Stan: God's River of Blessing
Jimmy Selph: I Got A Hundred And Sixty Acres
Milton Estes: Lay Down Your Soul

11:00: Jefferson Island
George Morgan (host): Petal From a Faded Rose
Crook Brothers: Dust on the Bible
To Be Announced
George Morgan: Lonely River
Crook Brothers: Ida Red

11:15: Ernest Tubb Song Book
Ernest Tubb (host): When A Soldier Knocks And Finds Nobody Home
Velma: They Warned Me About You
Drake Brothers: Highways Are Happy Ways
Ernest Tubb: I'll Get Along Somehow

11:30: Farmers Wholesale Nursery
Jimmy Dickens (host): Wedding Bells
Gully Jumpers: To Be Announced
Lonzo and Oscar: To Be Announced
To Be Announced
Jimmy Dickens: Tramp on the Street

11:45: Bob West Guitar
Wally Fowler (host): One Has My Name, The Other Has My Heart
Robert Lunn: To Be Announced
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Bailey
Wally Fowler: Ten Commandments
Robert Lunn: To Be Announced
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Going Up Town

Boy, there are a lot of great, and sometimes, forgotten names in Grand Ole Opry history from this line-up, along with some great songs.

Once again, Happy Birthday to Jimmy Dickens, and may your good health continue, and may you continue to give us great Opry moments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 12/14 & 12/15

The Grand Ole Opry continues the winter run at the Ryman Auditorium and has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend. Yes, just two shows as the Opry is back to just one show on Saturday night and will remain with just one show through most of next year unless ticket demand calls for a 2nd show.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry looks like a show dedicated to the ABC television show "Nashville" and the soundtrack for the show, which came out this week. 3 of the 4 segments on Saturday's show will feature a performer from the television show, and I am sure ABC will be doing some filming and incorporating the performances into new episodes.

In addition to the "Nashville" artists, both shows this weekend will feature the Del McCoury Band and Old Crow Medicine Show, both making Opry appearances for the 2nd week in a row. Del and the boys spent some time in the studio this week working with Bobby Osborne on a project. Saturday's show will also feature Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale, while the Friday Night Opry has Striking Matches, a local duet, making their Opry debut. In addition, Jimmy Dickens is scheduled for both shows this weekend after missing the 2nd show last week, along with the Tuesday Night Opry.

Friday December 14
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host): Canaan Smith; Jim Ed Brown; Mike Snider
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Striking Matches
8:45: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds; Old Crow Medicine Show

Saturday December 15
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); Del McCoury Band; Lennon and Maisy Stella
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; Charles Esten
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Jeannie Seely; Jonathan Jackson
8:45: John Conlee (host); Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale; Old Crow Medicine Show

That comes out to 13 artists each night, with 10 Opry members on Friday night and 7 on Saturday night.

Now, for this week's Grand Ole Opry archive shows, I have picked out 2. The 1st one is from Saturday December 15, 1979, which was 33 years ago this weekend, while the 2nd line-up is from Saturday December 16, 1995, 17 years ago this weekend. Notice the difference in the 2 line-ups. I have included the song listing for the 1st of the 2 shows.

Saturday December 15, 1979
1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
George Hamilton IV (host): Break My Mind
Ernie Ashworth: The DJ Cried
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young

6:45: Rudy's
Bill Monroe (host): Sitting on Top of the World
Connie Smith: Love Lifted Me
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Kenny Baker: The Old Mountaineer

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ole Slewfoot
Skeeter Davis: Just When I Need You Most
Jim & Jesse: Maybelline
Don Gibson: Oh, Lonesome Me/Where No One Stands Alone
Wilburn Brothers: Fraulein
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life/Carroll County Accident/Green, Green Grass of Home/On A Highway Headed South

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Minnie Pearl: Jealous Hearted Me
Charlie Walker: Don't Play Me No Songs About Texas
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Black Mountain Rag
Roy Acuff: I Saw The Light

8:00: Martha White
Osborne Brothers (host); Rocky Top
Vic Willis: Last Cheater's Waltz
Charlie Louvin: I Don't Love You Anymore/Love Has to Die All By Itself
Lonzo: The Old Home Place
Wynn Osborne: Foggy Mountain Breakdown

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Jeanne Pruett: Back to Back
4 Guys: Mama Rocked Us to Sleep with Country Music
Wilma Lee Cooper: A Daisey A Day
Stu Phillips: Great El Tigrae
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Gray Eagle
Hank Snow & Kelly Foxton: Hasn't It Been Good Together

2nd show
9:30: Kelloggs
Bill Monroe (host): Blue Moon of Kentucky
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young
Connie Smith: He Said If I Be Lifted Up
Lonzo: Georgia Pineywoods
Ernie Ashworth: Each Moment Spent With You
Wilburn Brothers: God Bless America Again
Bill Monroe: A Beautiful Life

10:00: Fender
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
Skeeter Davis: Georgia
Osborne Brothers: No Mother or Dad
Porter Wagoner: Everything I've Always Wanted

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Low and Lonely
Jean Shepard: Slipping Away
Jim & Jesse: Congratulations Anyway/Paradise
Roy Acuff: Hold to God's Unchanging Hand

10:30: Trailblazer
Charlie Walker (host): Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Bill Carlisle: Rusty Old Halo
Charlie Walker: Don't Play Me No Songs About Texas

10:45: Beechnut
Charlie Louvin: I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow
Vic Willis: Honey You Feel Good All Over
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Sally Goodin

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Gonna Find Me A Bluebird
Wilma Lee Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
4 Guys: Hello Walls/Big Bad John/Wings of A Dove
Kirk McGee: While I'm Away
Hank Snow & Kelly Foxton: My First Night Alone

11:30: Little Debbie
Marty Robbins (host): El Paso City
Jeanne Pruett: Back to Back/Break My Mind
Stu Phillips: That's A Chance I'll Have to Take/Thank God She's Mine
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry/Buenos Dias Argentina/Ribbon of Darkness/What Are Friends For/Love Me/Among My Souvenirs/Tonight Carmen/Cool Water/Devil Woman/Touch Me With Magic/Begging To You/That's All Right/Beyond the Reef/All Around Cowboy/Don't Let Me Touch You/El Paso

A couple of notes on that show. Marty's segment lasted over 1 hour and 15 minutes, and Marty alone song for 1 hour. Lonzo appeared alone as Oscar was off fishing and it was just Bobby Osborne that night as Sonny was away.

Saturday December 16, 1995
1st show
6:30: Bill Monroe (host); Jean Shepard
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Charlie Louvin
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jeanne Pruett; Jimmy C Newman; Bill Carlisle; Mike Snider
7:30: Joe Diffie (host); Faith Hill; Garth Brooks
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Brother Oswald; Opry Square Dance Band
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jack Greene; Wilma Lee Cooper; The Whites; Osborne Brothers

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Joe Diffie; Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; Bill Monroe; Vince Gill; Faith Hill; Chet Atkins; Garth Brooks; Grandpa Jones
10:30: Jeanne Pruett (host): Jan Howard
10:45: Billy Walker (host); Stonewall Jackson; Opry Square Dance Band
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Del Reeves; Riders In The Sky; John Conlee; Jimmy C Newman
11:30: Jack Greene (host): Justin Tubb; Stu Phillips; Skeeter Davis; Charlie Walker

The opening segment on the last show was basically 3 segments strung together and lasted an hour. And, you can certainly saw that both of these shows were very good and had loaded line-ups.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Recap Of Grand Ole Opry Visit

This past weekend I was in Nashville and attended the Friday Night Opry along with the 2 Grand Ole Opry shows on Saturday night that honored Marty Stuart on his 20th anniversary as an Opry member. Before commenting on the Opry shows, which I thought were pretty good, Nashville was in the holiday spirit over the weekend. Out at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, the area was decorated for Christmas and looked beautiful. The lights and tree were impressive. Traffic was horrible at dinner time as the Radio City Rockets had their show taking place at the Grand Ole Opry House, Lorrie Morgan's holiday dinner show was taking place, the cars were driving through the Opryland area to look at the holiday lights and the Mall parking lot was gridlock. In a way, I am glad that the Opry was taking place at the Ryman Auditorium instead of the Opry House.

The Friday Night Opry was basically a sell-out. There were a few single seats available and standing room only tickets were being sold. The show was good. As you would expect at this time of the year, several of the artists did Christmas songs, and George Hamilton IV was impressive doing "The Christmas Guest" in honor of Grandpa Jones. George has done this each year since Grandpa passed away and always does a fine job. Obviously for the younger fans, Scotty McCreery was the highlight. He promoted his Christmas album and did a fine job. Just 2 songs which was a surprise as I thought he might come back for an encore. This was the first time that I saw Kristen Kelly and I thought she did a nice job. To me, the headliner was Charley Pride. Charley was fine, although I thought he has aged a bit since I last saw him. But, he is 74 now so I guess that is expected. As far as some of the Opry's veterans, Jean Shepard looked pretty good, no worse than when I saw her in October. She sounded great. Jimmy Dickens on the other hand, still sounds pretty rough. He looked good and showed good energy on the stage. Bill Anderson, The Whites, Jeannie Seely and Jesse McReynolds were fine. It was Bobby Osborne's 81st birthday Friday night, and Bill Anderson and Eddie Stubbs have Bobby a nice tribute, talking about his service during the Korean War. He received the only standing ovation of the night.

Saturday night's 1st show was sold-out. Overall, I thought the show was a good one, although it seemed like the first hour moved a little slow at times. The final hour with Marty Stuart was worth the money. Regarding the final hour, Marty did his usual great job. I was very impressed with Brandy Clark. I think she has a lot of potential in the music business, both as an artist and a songwriter. I am a fan of Old Crow Medicine Show and this was the first time I have seen them. Outstanding is the word to describe them. Full of energy and the crowd was into them. I know Marty has asked Chief Phyliss Anderson and the Choctaw Dancers to be part of the show, and they were fine. They seemed a little nervous during the first show and more relaxed during the second. Charley Pride rushed through 2 songs and Connie Smith was good. Connie danced with the Square Dancers, and Marty did a few steps himself.

As far as the rest of the show, which ran over by about 10 minutes, Jimmy Dickens sounded worse than he did on Friday night and forgot the words to his song. He tried to cover it by telling some jokes during the song, and he did get back to finish the song. Jan Howard did a nice job, as did the Del McCoury Band. Ricky Skaggs did Bill Monroe's "Christmas Time's A Comin'" and Bill would have been proud. All in all, a very nice show.

The 2nd show was about half full at the Ryman, and they rushed through the 1st hour, In fact, I think the first two segments lasted about 40 minutes. Jimmy Dickens cancelled out so Ricky Skaggs hosted the segment with Jimmy C Newman as his only guest. And Jimmy C did only one song. I can't believe with only 1 guest for the segment that Jimmy, who drove all the way in from Brentwood, only was allowed to do 1. Terrible!! The 2nd segment had just Bill Anderson and Del McCoury. Del at least did 2 songs, including "Blue Christmas", which he did on the first show also. Marty Stuart's segment did last an hour and followed the same format as the first show, with the exception of Charley Pride and Connie Smith switching places.

I know in watching the shows, several of us thought that maybe Marty would bring out a surprise guest or two, with the name Travis Tritt bounced around, but it was not to be. All in all, it was a good evening.

After the Opry, I headed out to the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree, which originally was supposed to be an archived show featuring the Chuck Wagon Gang. Instead, on Friday it was announced that Jett Williams would be hosting a live show. I got to the shop right after the show started and when I walked into the theater, I was a bit surprised. I counted just 29 people sitting and watching the show.(by the way, that is not the lowest I have seen. Many years back on a night Charlie Louvin hosted in January, there were 7 people in attendance). A few more did show up as the show continued, but there were not many there. Makes me wonder why do a live show with no promotion. I am a bit concerned about the Midnight Jamboree. To go basically 3 months with taped shows is not a good way to keep it going. I know winter can be tough and I do enjoy some of the older shows they play, but I think you have to keep the live music going.

All in all, it was a good weekend to be in Nashville. Although it rained, the weather was fine. As always when the Ryman is involved, the atmosphere was good. The only 2 things that ruined it for me were first, they are using the Opry House backdrop in the Ryman instead of the older backdrop that they used to use. I thought the older backdrop lended itself to the atmosphere at the Ryman. The second, an not a new issue, is the fact that you have to pay for parking downtown and walk some distance to the Ryman. Not all bad, but I just hate paying to park!! Also, it is hard to get people in and out quickly between shows.

Like I said, it was a good weekend at the Opry and as always, well worth the trip.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 12/7 & 12/8

The big news at the Grand Ole Opry for this weekend is that Marty Stuart will be celebrating 20 years as an Opry member by hosting the final hour long segment on both shows Saturday night. As noted before, the actual date that Marty joined the Grand Ole Opry was November 28, 1992, so he is a couple of weeks late in celebrating. Joining Marty will be Connie Smith, along with Old Crow Medicine Show and Charley Pride. In addition, knowing how Marty feels about our Native Americans, he has invited Chief Phyliss Anderson and the Choctaw Dancers to join him on both shows.

As far as the Friday Night Opry is concerned, American Idol favorite Scotty McCreery will be on. He has performed on the Opry previously, and I am sure he will be singing selections from his Christmas album, and he will be holding an autograph session at the Opry Shop after the show. Also on Friday night will be Opry members Diamond Rio and Charley Pride, along with guest artist Kristen Kelly.

As I mentioned before, I will be in Nashville this weekend and at all 3 Opry shows. It should be a good weekend.

Friday December 7
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Kristen Kelly; George Hamilton IV
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Diamond Rio
8:15: Bill Anderson (host): Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Scotty McCreery
8:45: Charley Pride (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites

Saturday December 8
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Del McCoury Band
8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers; Old Crow Medicine Show; Chief Phyliss Anderson and the Choctaw Dancers; Brandy Clark; Charley Pride

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Del McCoury Band
10:30: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers; Old Crow Medicine Show; Chief Phyliss Anderson and the Choctaw Dancers; Brandy Clark Charley Pride

Looks like there are still 2 slots to fill on Saturday night.

Now it's time to look back at Opry History. For this week, here is the line-up from Saturday December 12, 1964, close to 48 years ago this weekend. As usual for that time, there was 1 show on Saturday night. As you look at the line-up, you can see how "loaded" it is and an example of how the Opry became such a big show. Also, notice that Roy Acuff is hosting the 11:00 portion instead of Hank Snow. Looking at some of the line-ups from that period that I have, Hank was hosting the majority of the 11:00 segments, but not all. And finally, this show took place the weekend following the firing of the 12 Opry members. Notice that none of them are on this particular show, while many of the Opry's members are there. As a final note, the only guest artist that performed on this particular night (not considering June Stearn who was part of Acuff's road show), was Connie Smith. She was not a member as of yet.

7:30: Luzianne
Porter Wagoner (host): One Way Ticket to the Blues
Jean Shepard: He Plays the Bongo (I Play the Banjo)
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco
Osborne Brothers: Take this Hammer
Porter Wagoner: I've Enjoyed As Much of this As I Can Stand
Curly Fox: Mountain Dew
Ernest Ashworth: Just One Time
Cousin Jody: Steel Guitar Rag
Porter Wagoner: I'll Go Down Swinging

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Sally, Don't You Grieve
Leroy Van Dyke: Your Money
Crook Brothers: Instrumental (?)
June Carter: I Want You Again
Flatt & Scruggs: Father's Table Grace
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Carter Family: Keep on the Sunny Side
Leroy Van Dyke: Anne of a Thousand Days
Earl Scruggs: Home Sweet Home

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Wilburn Brothers: Making Plans
Margie Bowes: Big City
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: This Train
Del Wood: 12st Street Rag
Connie Smith: Once A Day

9:00: Pet Milk
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks A Lot
Bill Monroe: Christmas Time's A Comin
Hank Locklin: I Was Going Home to You
Loretta Lynn: Happy Birthday
Ernest Tubb: Blue Christmas
George Hamilton IV: Truck Driving Man
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fruit Jar Breakdown
Bill Monroe: Careless Love
Ernest Tubb: A Memory (That's All You'll Ever Be To Me

9:30: Kelloggs
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Charlie Louvin: Less and Less
Stringbean: Chewing Gum
Glaser Brothers: A Girl Like You
Hank Snow: Black Diamond
Lonzo & Oscar: Charming Betsy
Marion Worth: Shake Me, I Rattle

10:00: Shicks
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Nine Pound Hammer
Jean Shepard: A Tear Dropped By
Ernest Ashworth: Heartbreak Avenue
Del Wood: Cattle Call
Flatt & Scruggs: The Good Things Out Weigh The Bad

10:15: SSS Tonic
Porter Wagoner (host): Sorry On The Rocks
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I Couldn't Care Less
Billy Walker: Circumstances
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Speck Rhodes: Stop that Ticklin Me

10:30: Harveys
Hank Snow (host): Breakfast with the Blues
Leroy Van Dyke: Anne of a Thousand Days
Curly Fox: Orange Blossom Special
Hank Snow: My Memories of You

10:45: Newport
Ernest Tubb (host): I'm Looking High And Low for My Baby
Anita Carter: You Win Again
Crook Brothers: Soldiers Joy
Loretta Lynn: Honky Tonk Girl
Ernest Tubb & Loretta Lynn: Mr and Mrs. Used to Be

11:00: Coca-Cola
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Wilburn Brothers: I'm Gonna Tie One On Tonight
George Hamilton IV: Abilene
Glaser Brothers: Picture on the Wall
June Stearn: Release Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fire on the Mountain
Margie Bowes: Overnight
Sam & Kirk McGee: What's Gonna Become of Me

11:30: Lava
Hank Locklin (host): Flying South
Bill Monroe: It's Mighty Dark for Me to Travel
Charlie Louvin: I Don't Love You Anymore
Stringbean: Pretty Little Widow
Hank Locklin: Send Me The Pillow You Dream On
Lonzo & Oscar: Old Leather Saddle
Marion Worth: Kentucky Waltz
Bill Monroe: Shenandoah  Breakdown

For 1 more line-up from the past, I go to Saturday December 11, 1976, which was just 12 years after the line-up I posted above. I am just posting the artist line-up, but notice the difference (and it is a big difference!!)

1st show
6:30: Justin Tubb (host); Willis Brothers
6:45: Wilburn Brothers (host); Jimmy C Newman; Stu Phillips
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; Jim & Jesse; Ernie Ashworth
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Lonzo & Oscar; Crook Brothers/Ralph Sloan Dancers; Brother Oswald
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Wilma Lee Cooper & Stoney Cooper; Billy Grammer; Marion Worth
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; Bill Carlisle; Fruit Jar Drinkers

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Wilburn Brothers; Willis Brothers; Ernie Ashworth
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; Stu Phillips
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jim & Jesse
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Lonzo & Oscar; Justin Tubb
10:45: Billy Grammer (host); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Crook Brothers/Ralph Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Marion Worth; Fruit Jar Drinkers
11:30: Marty Robbins (host); Jeanne Pruett; Bill Carlisle


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bill Carlisle, Jr

Sad news to report as I just received the news that Bill Carlisle, Jr. has passed away. I have no other details but he was injured a few years back in a motorcycle accident that had left him paralyzed. Bill Jr was part of the Carlisles for many, many years with his father Bill Carlisle and his sister Sheila.

December Opry Highlights

It's December, so it is time for the December highlights in Grand Ole Opry history. Here are the important and historical events that have taken place during this month.

December 19, 1920: The Grand Ole Opry's oldest member, Jimmy Dickens, was born in Bolt, West Virginia. Jimmy first joined the Opry in 1948 and continues to perform on the Opry.

December 26, 1925: The WSM Barn Dance was formally listed on the WSM program schedule that was printed in the Nashville Tennessean. From the Tennessean, "Because of this recent revival in the popularity of the old familiar tunes, WSM has arranged to have an hour or two every Saturday night, starting Saturday December 26. Uncle Dave Macon, the oldest banjo picker in Dixie, and who comes from Readyville, Tennessee, and Uncle Jimmy Thompson of Martha, Tennessee, will answer any requests for old-time melodies."

December 8, 1928: It was on this night that the WSM Barn Dance became the Grand Ole Opry. The Barn Dance came on the air at 8:00. From 7-8, WSM broadcast a classical music show, via the NBC radio network called, "Music Appreciation Hour," which was under the direction of Dr. Walter Damrosch. At the conclusion of the Music Hour on this particular night, George D. Hay announced, "For the past hour we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera, from now on we will present The Grand Ole Opry." The name stuck. (As a disclaimer, I will say that a few feel that the date was actually December 10, 1927, but further research has largely discredited that date).

December 7, 1940: Minnie Pearl joined the Grand Ole Opry.

December 30, 1944: Bob Wills makes an appearance on the Opry. He was brought in to appear on the Prince Albert portion of the show that was broadcast on NBC radio. Minnie Pearl remembers that night, not only because a lady fell out of the balcony an onto the stage, but for other reasons. As Minnie later said, "That was the first time we ever put electrified fiddles on the Opry. Roy Acuff said it would ruin the Opry forever! I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard something like that." But those electric fiddles were not the first electrified instruments to have been on the Opry stage. Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys and Ernest Tubb had been using electric instruments before then. Another story regarding that night was that Bob Wills brought drums with him and he had to hide them behind a curtain. That story is interesting but there is no real documentation that it happened that way. Regarding drums at the Opry, Harold "Sticks" McDonald, who was part of Pee Wee King's group, had brought drums to the Opry in the 1940s. They used the drums for a couple of weeks but were not allowed to announce on the radio that they were using them. After those couple of weeks, George D. Hay told Pee Wee to take the drums home and to leave them there. In a final comment regarding drums, Bud Wendell was quoted in 1985 as saying, "That story about hiding drums behind a curtain is just one of those tales around here. As long as we remained at the Ryman, though, we never used anything other than just a standing snare drum. But that had as much to do with space restrictions as with the purity of country music. You just couldn't fit a whole set of drums on the stage at the Ryman; it just wasn't that big."

December 8, 1945: Earl Scruggs makes his debut with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. He was the final member to join what is considered the greatest of the Blue Grass Boy's line-up and the one that is credited with creating the famous bluegrass sound. That line-up included Bill Monroe on mandolin, Earl Scruggs on banjo, Lester Flatt on guitar, Chubby Wise on fiddle and Howard Watts on bass. As great as this band was, it would not stay together for very long, with Earl leaving in the Spring of 1948. Among those who were watching on Earl's first night at the Opry was Uncle Dave Macon, who billed himself as "The World's Greatest Banjo Player." Some of the Opry's members watching were making a few comments about Earl within earshot of Dave. Dave stood in the wings watching the newcomer for a few moments, then he turned and stalked away. "He ain't one damned bit funny" he grumbled.

December 28, 1950: Lefty Frizzell makes his first appearance on the Opry. During his segment he sang two of his classic songs, "If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time" and "I Love You A Thousand Ways/" Later in 1952, Lefty would return to the Opry as a regular member, but he only stayed a few months. As Lefty said, "I just didn't like the Opry. It wasn't the dream I thought it would be."

December 24, 1960: The final Prince Albert Grand Ole Opry show is broadcast on the NBC radio network. Television and the decline of radio led to the death of the show.

December 6, 1964: The Grand Ole Opry fired 12 of its members for not making the required number of appearances on the Opry. From the Tennessean, "Twelve top country and western music stars will not appear on the Grand Ole Opry in 1965, and have been prohibited from using the Opry name in their outside billings, it was learned yesterday. Another entertainer, long-time favorite Minnie Pearl, has been given a leave of absence from the show for the coming year, but will continue to use the Opry billing in her present contracts, a WSM spokeman said. "Those who were dismissed from the Opry were George Morgan, Don Gibson, Billy Grammer, Johnny Wright, Kitty Wells, the Jordanaires, Faron Young, Ferlin Husky, Chet Atkins, Justin Tubb, Stonewall Jackson and Ray Price. At the time, Opry members had to appear on 26 shows each year. It was later found out that Chet Atkins was not actually an Opry member, which led to some comments concerning if Opry management really knew what was going on at the show. Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright would later say that they quit and were not fired. Faron Young would say that it was a money issue. Many of those who were fired would later return to the show, including George Morgan, Don Gibson, Billy Grammer, Justin Tubb and Stonewall Jackson. Most of those who did not rejoin would later come back and make guest appearances on the show. On Tuesday December 8, the Nashville Tennessean, in an editorial, put it this way, "The Opry has been, and continues to be, the nucleus of Nashville's $40 million music industry. There is hardly a successful music enterprise in the city that does not owe its orgin and its longevity to the Opry. Thus, it seems that Opry has a responsibility to compel observance of reasonable restrictions for its own protection and for the protection of the rest of the music industry in Nashville. Most of the thousands of people who line up at the Opry House every Friday and Saturday night have traveled long distances to see in person the stars they have come to love by radio. It must be a disappointment for these fans to arrive at the Opry on this one big night for them and find that their favorite stars have found a more profitable audience in some other state." The Tennessean said it better than I could and could you imagine what would happen today if the Opry fired those who did not meet their attendance requirements, which is 10 for the new members. Let's see for a moment if the Opry would fire 10 members for not appearing on the Opry. The 10 I would come up with pretty quickly are Clint Black, Garth Brooks, Tom T Hall, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton, Randy Travis and Travis Tritt. That was pretty easy and I could have easily added another 10 more.

December 23, 1967: Jack Greene becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 45th year as an Opry member and sorry to say but Jack is too ill to appear on the Opry any longer. Jack was a member of Ernest Tubb's band and left after his solo career took off. He always said he owed his success to Ernest.

December 15, 1973: Skeeter Davis was suspended by the Grand Ole Opry. As Skeeter said, "Hank Williams got kicked off the Opry for drinkin' too much old wine. Me? I got kicked off for singing about the new wine." What actually happened was that Skeeter was on her way to the Ryman for an Opry performance when she witnessed the arrest of what were known as "Jesus freaks", which was another name for the young people who were protesting not only in Nashville, but around the country. (If you grew up in the 1960's, you probably are familiar with them). The arrests enraged Skeeter and on the Opry that night, she expressed her rage by talking about it, singing about it, and weeping about it. When she came off the stage after her performance, she was dismissed from the Opry. Later a newspaper account of it said, "Her support of the 'Jesus loves you' street people made headlines, made enemies, made for a quick review of the unwritten rules against editorial comments on the Opry. She was stunned when told she was no longer a member." 18 months later, she was invited back to return to the Opry.

December 28, 1973: Tex Ritter made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance. He would die less than a week later, on January 2, 1974, of a heart attack. He joined the Opry in 1965, which was rather late in his career, but he was a very popular and loyal member of the show.

December 25, 1976: Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers joined the Grand Ole Opry. This will be their 36th year as Opry members. After making few appearances for the majority of their membership, over the past several years Larry has been making more appearances and has been hosting the Opry Country Classics show.

December 27, 1978: Grand Ole Opry member Bob Luman passed away. He was just 41 when he died. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1965 and was known for his rockabilly music. When he joined the Opry, several of the Opry's more traditional members, including Roy Acuff, felt that Bob's music had no place at the Opry.

December 8, 1982-Marty Robbins died in a Nashville hospital. He had been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October of that year. On the night of his Hall of Fame induction, he said, "I never had any idea this would happen because I feel there are other people who deserve it before I should get in. But I think possibily it might not happen again, so I'm gonna take it tonight!" Marty's 11:30 Opry shows were legendary in the history of the Opry and have never been repeated. The clock meant nothing to Marty as he would sometimes perform for more than an hour in that final Opry segment. Marty was just 57 when he died.

December 20, 1986: Randy Travis joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Randy will be celebrating 26 years as an Opry member. Randy is a fine country music singer who some day will be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, but to be honest, he has not been much of an Opry member.

December 17, 1993: Herman Harper, the famous and very popular bass singer for the Carol Lee Singers, passed away.

December 20, 1999: The legendary Hank Snow passed away at his Rainbow Ranch in Madison, Tennessee. Hank was just 2 weeks away from celebrating his 50th anniversary as an Opry member. He last appeared on the Opry in September 1996 and had been in declining health. Hank was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

December 16, 2000: Brad Paisley was surprised on the Opry stage by Jimmy Dickens and Jeannie Seely, who were dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus, with an invitation to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Brad would be formally inducted in February 2001.

December 14, 2002: Toby Keith makes his first appearance on the Opry stage. Also appearing that night were Keith Urban and Trace Adkins.

December 31, 2002: Jim McReynolds, who performed with his brother Jesse McReynolds as Jim & Jesse, passed away in Gallatin, Tennessee after a long illness. Jim & Jesse had joined the Grand Ole Opry in March 1964 and Jesse is still a part of the Grand Ole Opry.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 11/30 & 12/1

A couple of changes to the line-up. Elizabeth Cook has been added to Saturday night, along with Jeannie Seely, while George Hamilton IV has cancelled.

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 3 shows this weekend. There will be usual 1 show on Friday night and 2 shows on Saturday night as the Opry continues the run at the Ryman Auditorium. The highlight this weekend will be the return of Alabama to the Opry stage, as they are scheduled for both shows on Saturday night. Alabama, who are members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, retired a number of years back, but over the past several years, have reunited for a few recordings and appearances. But this time around there are only 3 members instead of 4 as drummer Mark Herndon is no longer part of the group. I am sure most of you remember that this resulted in a nasty lawsuit where it was discovered that Mark was nothing more than a paid employee for Alabama and not an equal partner in the group.

In addition to Alabama on Saturday night, also appearing will be Riders In The Sky, with special guest Wilford Brimley. I always that Wilford was a fine actor, especially his part in "The Natural" with Robert Redford. Of course, if there is anyone who looks like a cowboy and could fit in with Riders In The Sky, it is Wilford. The Quebe Sisters Band will also be featured during that segment.

The Friday Night Opry will feature guest artists Elizabeth Cook, Darryl Worley and Andy Griggs. And when looking at the line-up, you will notice that Jimmy Dickens is only scheduled for the 1st show on Saturday night. Maybe he has come to the realization that 2 shows is too much for the voice.

Friday November 30
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Kristy Lee Cook; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Canaan Smith; The Whites
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Andy Griggs
8:45: John Conlee (host); Elizabeth Cook; Darryl Worley

Saturday December 1
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Greg Bates; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; John Conlee; Elizabeth Cook
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Wilford Brimley; Jim Ed Brown;The Quebe Sisters Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Alabama

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee (host); Greg Bates; The Whites
10:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Elizabeth Cook
10:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Wilford Brimley; Jeannie Seely; The Quebe Sisters Band; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host): Alabama

7 Opry member so Friday night, with 8 for the 1st show on Saturday and 7 for the 2nd show. The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree will feature an archived show hosted by Charlie Louvin.

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, December 4
7:00: Diamond Rio; Jim Ed Brown
7:30: Jana Kramer; Jimmy Dickens
8:15: Connie Smith; Randy Houser
8:45: Lauren Alaina; Del McCoury Band

For this week's look back at Opry history, here is the line-up from Saturday December 1, 1979, 33 years ago this Saturday evening.

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Bill Monroe (host): Love, Come Home
Jimmy Dickens: I'm Little But I'm Loud
Bill Monroe: Life's Railway to Heaven

6:45: Rudy's
Ernest Tubb (host): Jealous Lovin' Heart
Roy Drusky: Peel Me A Nanner
Connie Smith: Back Up on the Mountain
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ole Slewfoot
Wilburn Brothers: Arkansas
Marion Worth: Shake Me, I Rattle
Ernie Ashworth: The DJ Cried
Charlie Walker: Don't Play Me No Songs About Texas
Porter Wagoner: Everything I Always Wanted/On A Highway Headed South

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Candy Kisses
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walking
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With the Way That We're Doing it Now
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Buck Creek Gal
Roy Acuff: Will the Circle Be Unbroken/I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): Uncle Eph's Got the Coon
Vic Willis: Last Cheater's Waltz
Stu Phillips: Great El Tigre
Bill Carlisle: Worried Man Blues
Wilma Lee Cooper: As Long As I Live
Grandpa & Ramona Jones: It Takes A Lot of Living

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): Merry Go-Round of Love
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away
4 Guys: Mama Rocked Us to Sleep with Country Music
Billy Grammer: San Antonio Rose
Jeanne Pruett: Back to Back
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I got to See You One More Time

2nd show
9:30: Kelloggs
Ernest Tubb (host): In the Jailhouse Now
Wilburn Brothers: The Light House
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose
Connie Smith: When God Dips His Love Into My Heart
Ernie Ashworth: There's No Place I'd Rather Be Tonight
Texas Troubadours: C-Jam Blues
Tinker Tubb: That's The Way Loves Goes
Ernest Tubb: Blue Christmas

10:00: Fender
Charlie Walker (host): Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Jean Shepard: He Played the Bongo, I Played the Banjo
Justin Tubb: Keep Me From Blowing Away
Charlie Walker: Crazy Arms

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Wilma Lee Cooper: When My Time Comes to Go
Charlie Louvin: Who's Gonna Love Me Now
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

10:30: Trailblazer
Grandpa Jones (host): Piney Jane
Marion Worth: Someone Is Looking for Someone Like You
Vic Willis: Shenendoah
Grandpa Jones: Mt. Laurel

10:45: Beechnut
Stonewall Jackson (host): Be & You & A Dog Named Boo
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Old Joe Clark
Stonewall Jackson: Angry Words

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
Billy Grammer: Somewhere My Love
Stu Phillips: There Must be Another Way to Say Goodbye
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hollow Poplar
Bill Carlisle: Stopped By on My Way to the Show
Kirk McGee: While I'm Away
Hank Snow: As Love Goes

11:30: Little Debbie
Billy Walker (host): Cross the Brazos at Waco
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On/Mam Rocked Us to Sleep with Country Music
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets/Break My Mind
Billy Walker: Behind Closed Doors/Don't Worry

Amazing that each segment on the 1st show was hosted by a Hall of Fame member, or a future member. The talent line-up was pretty good on this night.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tuesday Night Opry 11/27

The Tuesday Night Opry on November 27 will not only feature the normal show at 7:00, but there is also going to be a matinee show at 3:30, both taking place at the Ryman Auditorium.

1st show
3:30: Katie Armiger; John conlee
4:00: Mandy Barnett; The Whites
4:45: Jimmy Dickens; Suzy Bogguss
5:15: Jimmy Wayne; Del McCoury Band

2nd show
7:00: Thomas Rhett; The Whites
7:30: Justin Moore; Jimmy Dickens
8:15: Randy Houser; Suzy Bogguss
8:45: Jimmy Wayne; Del McCoury Band

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Marty Stuart-20 Years As An Opry Member

This week will mark the 20th Grand Ole Opry anniversary of Marty Stuart, who joined the cast of the Opry on November 28, 1992. What made this date even more significant was the it was the 67th "official" anniversary of the start of the Opry and it was the first Grand Ole Opry show to take place after the death of Roy Acuff, who had passed away earlier in the week.

While this will be Marty's 20th anniversary as an Opry member, he first came to the Opry many years before that as he made his Opry debut at the age of 13 as a member of Lester Flatt's band. After Lester passed away, Marty spent time touring with various artists including Johnny Cash, with whom he toured for 6 years as a member of Cash's band. I might also add that he was married for a period of time to Johnny's daughter. In 1989, he signed with MCA Records and in 1990 had his first Top 10 hit with "Hillbilly Rock". He followed that up with "Tempted", "Little Things", "Till I Found You", and "Burn Me Down." In addition, he had several hits as a duet partner with Travis Tritt, including "The Whiskey Ain't Workin", which won a Grammy Award.

Not only is Marty a hit making artist, but he also is a country music historian, having collected what is considered one of the largest collections of country music memorabilia. He also is a past President of the Country Music Foundation, which oversees the Country Music Hall of Fame. Marty is also known as a great photographer and has even published a book of his photos. His "Marty Stuart Show" on RFD-TV is the highest rated program on the network and has featured such classic country music performers as Kitty Wells, Freddie Hart and Stonewall Jackson, among others. The show is now in production for the new season, with the new shows starting in 2013. And, he is married to fellow Opry member Connie Smith.

Marty has generally supported the Opry during the years he has been a member. He along with Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill have challenged others from their generation to support the Opry and he has been vocal in his support of the show. After the flood in 2010, he performed at the first show Opry show that took place the following night. 

Here is the line-up from Saturday November 28, 1992, the night Marty Stuart joined the Grand Ole Opry.

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Boxcar Willie (host): There's Nothing Like A Good Old Country Song
Mike Snider: The Fur Coat
Boxcar Willie: The Great Speckled Bird

6:45: Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Nashville On My Mind
Jim Ed Brown: The Doll Maker
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Grandpa Jones: My Little Old Home In New Orleans

7:00: Shoney's
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars In The Jukebox/A Dime At A Time/Looking At The World Through My Windshield
Charlie Louvin: The Family Who Prays
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
The Whites: Pins & Needles
Skeeter Davis: The End Of The World

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy Dickens (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jeannie Seely: As Long As I Live/My Tears Don't Show
Ray Pillow: I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
Marty Stuart: Tempted/The Long Black Veil
Jimmy Dickens: I Saw The Light

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
Brother Oswald: I'll Be All Smiles Tonight
Jimmy C Newman: La Cajun Band
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Liberty
Bill Anderson: I Love You Drops

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Forever And One Day
Jean Shepard: Let's All Go Down To The River/I Saw The Light/Will The Circle Be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away/Somebody Touched Me
Roy Drusky: Too Old To Die Young
4 Guys: I'm Bound For Higher Ground
Stonewall Jackson: Old Chunk Of Coal
Hank Snow: I've Cried A Mile

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jimmy Dickens (host): Sleeping At The Foot Of The Bed
Wilma Lee Cooper: He Will Set Your Fields On Fire
Jan Howard: Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good
Marty Stuart: This One's Gonna Hurt You A Long, Long Time/I'll Take The Blame/Hillbilly Rock
Jimmy Dickens: My Eyes Are Jealous

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): What'll I Do With The Baby
Del Reeves: Don't You Ever Get Tired Of Hurting Me
Grandpa Jones: Gone Home

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Boxcar Willie (host): There's Nothing Like A Good Old Country Song
Billy Walker: Peace In The Valley
Boxcar Willie: Wabash Cannonball

10:30: Randy Travis Enterprises
Bill Anderson (host): Country Fried
The Whites: San Antonio Rose
Bill Anderson: City Lights

10:45: B.C. Powder
4 Guys (host): How Married Are You Mary Ann
Charlie Louvin: I Love You Best Of All
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Snow Flake Reel
4 Guys: Farther Along

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
Jean Shepard: Bouquet Of Roses
Charlie Walker: A Way To Free Myself
Justin Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Mike Snider: Soldier's Joy/Angeline The Baker/Old Molly Hare
Hank Snow: These Things Shall Past

11:30: Creamette
Jimmy C Newman (host): Cajun's Dream
Connie Smith: The Deepening Snow
Roy Drusky: As Long As I Live
Johnny Russell: In A Mansion Stands My Love/He'll Have To Go
Jimmy C Newman: Colinda

On Saturday December 8, Marty will be on the Opry and celebrating his 20th anniversary as an Opry member. It should be a great night and I will be at the Opry that weekend. Congratulations to Marty Stuart!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 11/23 & 11/24

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 3 shows this weekend, all at the Ryman Auditorium. The big Opry news for today is Jean Shepard who on November 21st is celebrating her 79th birthday, her wedding anniversary and her 57th anniversary as an Opry member. Jean joined the Opry on November 21, 1955 and her 57 year run makes her the current Opry member with the longest consecutive years as an Opry member. Jean is scheduled to host 2 segments on the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, and here is hoping that she is well enough to do it. I found out earlier today that Jean has been suffering from a pretty bad case of the flu this past week, but is feeling better. Let's hope she makes it and gets a great introduction.

Joining Jean on Saturday will be Opry members Steve Wariner and Stu Phillips. For Stu, this will be one of his very infrequent Opry appearances. Stu has had some voice problems for the past year, but when he was last on the Opry, he sounded much better. Also scheduled for Saturday night is T.G. Sheppard, who has had his own share of health issues over the past several months, and frequent Opry guests Elizabeth Cook and The Grascals.

The Grascals and T.G. Sheppard are also scheduled for Friday night, along with Crystal Gayle and Jimmy Wayne, both of whom make more appearances than most Opry members. The Opry newcomer for this week is the Annie Moses Band. This seven member group has just released their first album and appears to play music with a positive Christian message.

The Friday Night Opry has only 5 Opry members scheduled, while there are 7 scheduled for Saturday night. That includes Jimmy Dickens, who is scheduled for all 3 shows. Jimmy has sounded pretty weak the past several weekends and cancelled out on this past week's Tuesday Night Opry. And that also includes Jean Shepard. Hopefully both will be ready to go for the weekend.

Friday November 23
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Grascals
8:15: Ray Pillow (host); T.G. Sheppard; Annie Moses Band
8:45: John Conlee (host); Jimmy Wayne; Crystal Gayle

Saturday November 24
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Grascals; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); Eamonn McCrystal; T.G. Sheppard
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; Steve Wariner; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Elizabeth Cook; Radney Foster

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Grascals; Jimmy C Newman
10:00: Jean Shepard (host); Eamonn McCrystal; T.G. Sheppard
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Stu Phillips; Steve Wariner; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Elizabeth Cook; Radney Foster

It would appear that many of the Opry's members are going to be enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. My guess is that if Jean or Jimmy cancel out, either Steve Wariner or Jimmy C Newman could slide and host. To be honest, that is their only options.

For this week's look back at Opry history, I have a couple of shows that took place during Thanksgiving weekend in years past. The first one is from November 25, 1961, 51 years ago this weekend. There was one show that Saturday night, as was traditional back in those days.

7:30: Pet Milk
Wilburn Brothers (host): Blue, Blue Day
Bill Monroe: I'm On My Way Back to the Old Home
Leroy Van Dyke: Walk On By
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink On Me
Wilburn Brothers: Somebody's Back In Town
Tommy Jackson: Mockingbird
Margie Bowes: Lonely Pillow
Bill Monroe: Shady Grove
Wilburn Brothers: No Legal Right

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Po' Folks
Justin Tubb: Almost Lonely
Carter Family: (?)
Stringbean: Run Little Rabbit Run
Bill Anderson: That's What It's Like To Be Lonesome
Loretta Lynn: I Walked Away From The Wreck
June Carter: Comedy
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Bill Anderson: The Tips of My Fingers

Ferlin Husky (host): Out of A Clear Blue Sky
Molly Bee: (?)
Archie Campbell: Comedy
George Hamilton IV: To You and Yours
Simon Crum: (?)
Old Hickory Singers: A Little Red Barn
Smiley & Kitty Wilson: (?)
Molly Bee: (?)
Ferlin Husky: The Waltz You Saved for Me

9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Marty Robbins (host): Don't Worry
George Morgan: Everyday of My Life
Bobby Sykes: The Fair Swiss Maiden
Skeeter Davis: Optimistic
Marty Robbins: El Paso
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Sally Johnson
Don Winters: Too Many Times
George Morgan: I'm In Love Again
Marty Robbins: It's Your World

9:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): The Restless One
Pee Wee King & Redd Stewart: I'm Praying For the Day When Peace Will Come
Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky
Cousin Jody: Television Set
Hank Snow: I Know
Stonewall Jackson: (?)
Pee Wee King & Redd Stewart: Tennessee Waltz
Bill Monroe: Sally Joe
Hank Snow: Begger to A King

10:00: Standard Oil
Wilburn Brothers (host): The Best of All My Heartaches
Stringbean: I Keep Forgetting to Forget You
Margie Bowes: Fool Number One
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl

10:15: Sustaining
Bill Anderson (host): Walk Out Backwards
Archie Campbell: Setting My Tears to Music
George Hamilton IV: Three Steps to the Phone
Bill Anderson: Goodbye Cruel World

10:30: Jim Walter Homes
Ferlin Husky (host): I Feel Better All Over
Justin Tubb: Your Side of the Story
Bill Carlisle: Little Liza Jane
Ferlin Husky: Gone

10:45: De Con
George Morgan (host): I Love Everything About You
Skeeter Davis: I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know
Crook Brothers: Liberty
George Morgan: Ages and Ages Ago

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): The Last Ride
Pee Wee King & Redd Stewart: Slow Poke
Molly Bee: (?)
Sam & Kirk McGee: Nine Pound Hammer
Hank Snow: With This Ring I Thee Wed
Old Hickory Singers: I Want A Girl
Pee Wee King & Redd Stewart: I'm Praying for the Day When Peace Will Come
Molly Bee: (?)
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Hank Snow: Golden Rocket

11:30: Black Draught
Marty Robbins (host): Big Iron
Stonewall Jackson: (?)
Don Winters: Shake Hands With the Loser
Marty Robbins: It's Your World

11:45: Al Kena
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
Loretta Lynn: The Girl I Am Now
Cousin Jody: Lady Cop
Bill Monroe: A Beautiful Life/Bluegrass Breakdown

The 2nd line-up I wanted to past is from November 25, 1978, 34 years ago, and 17 years after the line-up that I posted above. You can see the changes. The Opry was up to 2 shows on Saturday night and were at the new Opry House versus the Ryman Auditorium.

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Jack Greene (host): Sing for the Good Times
Stu Phillips: It's A Heartache
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

6:45: Rudys
Bill Monroe (host): Love, Come Home
Ernie Ashworth: I Can't Help It
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong with the Way that We're Doing It Now
Bill Holden: Dear Old Dixie

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ole Slewfoot
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jimmy Dickens: Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed
Bob Luman: The Pay Phone
Vic Willis: Cimarron
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life/Carroll County Accident/Green, Green Grass of Home/I'm Gonna Feed You Now
Mack Magaha: Orange Blossom Special

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball/Tennessee Central No. 9/Sunshine Special
Charlie Louvin: Turn Around/Mama's Angels
Wilburn Brothers: What A Way To Go
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Promenadors: Cotton-Eyed Joe
Roy Acuff: Glory's Coming

8:00: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): Little Pink
Roy Drusky: Somewhere My Love
Stonewall Jackson: My Favorite Sin
Wilma Lee Cooper: Cheated, Too
Lonzo & Oscar: Bluegrass Melody
Grandpa Jones: Four Stone Walls & A Ceiling
Harold Weakley: A Legend in My Mind

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Golden Rocket
4 Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah
Jimmy C Newman: Happy Cajun
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hollow Poplar
Kayton Roberts: Instrumental
Hank Snow: I've Cried A Mile

2nd show
9:30: Kelloggs
Bill Monroe (host): Walk Softly On My Heart
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Bob Luman: The Pay Phone
Skeeter Davis: He Will Be There
Ernie Ashworth: Wichita Woman
Bill & James Monroe: I Haven't Seen Mary In Years

10:00: Fender
Porter Wagoner (host): Big Wind's A' Comin
Stu Phillips: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/You Win Again/Release Me
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With the Way that We're Doing It Now
Porter Wagoner: Tennessee Saturday Night/Ole Slewfoot

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Old Time Sunshine Song
Jimmy Dickens: Take An Old Cold Tater
Vic Willis: Shenendoah
Roy Acuff: I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry/Cabin in Gloryland

10:30: Trailblazer
Grandpa Jones (host): Kitty Klide
Wilburn Brothers: Arkansas
Charlie Louvin: When I Was Your Man
Grandpa Jones: Gone Home

10:45: Beech-nut
Stonewall Jackson (host): Washed My Hands in Muddy Water
Wilma Lee Cooper: Come Walk With Me
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Promenadors: Eighth of January
Stonewall Jackson: My Favorite Sin

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Miller's Cave
Roy Drusky: Alone With You/One Day At A Time
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Lonzo & Oscar: American Trilogy
Kirk McGee: While I'm Away
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I Got To See You Once Again

11:30: Acme
Jimmy C Newman (host): Big Mamou
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink On Me/Is Zat You Myrtle
4 Guys: When Will I Be Loved/Hello Walls, Big Bad John/Wings of A Dove
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy Liggy Lo

What a difference in artists and sponsors from 1961 to 1978!! But a few things remained the same: Hank Snow was still hosting the same segments, Kirk McGee and the Fruit Jar Drinkers were still on during Hank's 2nd show segment and the Crook Brothers were in the same slots. A few artists had left the Opry including Ferlin Husky and Leroy Van Dyke. Interesting to look back.

Finally, I want to wish everyone a very blessed and grateful Thanksgiving Day. I hope each of you have the opportunity to spend the day with family and friends, and get a chance to rest and reflect. And, don't eat too much turkey!!!!

Thanks to all of you for making this blog possible.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Grand Ole Opry Members & Hall of Fame

Several years ago, I wrote a post concerning Grand Ole Opry members and the Country Music Hall of Fame. I wrote as to which Opry members possibly will make it some day to the Hall of Fame and which ones would not. Since the Hall of Fame has created much comment over the past several months, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the topic.

Over the past week, I have contacted a couple of friends of mine who I know and respect their opinions. One is a former Hall of Fame voter who gave me some good insight into the Hall of Fame voting, and who offered me his thoughts on the various Opry members. Another is someone who is "in the know" in Nashville and this person offered me their perspective.

Of the Grand Ole Opry's current 67 members, 16 are Hall of Fame members. The list includes Bill Anderson, Garth Brooks, Roy Clark, Jimmy Dickens, Vince Gill, Tom T Hall, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Jean Shepard, Connie Smith and Mel Tillis. (of the total Hall of Fame membership, just about half have been associated with the Opry).

Of the remaining 51 Opry members, there are a number who have no chance of ever making the Hall of Fame. That list includes Terri Clark, Diamond Rio, Joe Diffie, Jan Howard, Hal Ketchum, Del McCoury, Jesse McReynolds, Jimmy C Newman, Osborne Brothers, Stu Phillips, Ray Pillow, Jeannie Seely, Ricky Van Shelton, Mike Snider, Ralph Stanley, The Whites and Jeanne Pruett. It's not that these people are bad artists or have not had hits. It is just a fact that there is no support to elect them to the Hall. And as far as the bluegrass artists that are listed above, no true bluegrass artist has been elected to the Hall of Fame since the IBMA instituted their own Hall of Fame.

There are a number of Opry members who are 100% certain to be elected to the Hall. That list includes Larry Gatlin, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride, Ronnie Milsap, Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart and Randy Travis. When talking names with my Hall of Fame source, we traded names on this list and we agreed on all of these. Each one has had a career of many number one records, with several of them songwriters. Some of these will have to wait a while, but all will get in.

Over the past week, there have been several who have suggested that after the election of Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson would be the favorite for this year. I was told not so fast. When I asked why, I was given 2 names and a history lesson. The first was Johnny Cash. When he was elected in 1980, many thought it would start the era of the "modern" artists of that period, people such as George Jones, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and other contemporaries of Cash. But after some public comment that perhaps Cash got in at an early age (he was the youngest ever elected to the Hall), the next several years the voters went back to some of the older artists, with Grant Turner (a non-artist) elected in 1981, Marty Robbins and Lefty Frizzell in 1982, Jimmy Dickens in 1983, Flatt & Scruggs in 1985, Whitey Ford in 1986 and Rod Brasfield in 1987. It wasn't until Loretta Lynn in 1988 that the Hall elected someone from Cash's era.

The 2nd name given was Vince Gill. When he was elected in 2007, the same comments were made as with Johnny Cash, such as it was too early and there were others who should have gone in first. There were also comments that this would start a new era of artists from the 1980s getting elected. Again, that did not happen. In 2008, Emmylou Harris, Tom T Hall and the Statler Brothers were elected, with Barbara Mandrell in 2009 and Don Williams in 2010 (from the modern category). It wasn't until 2011 with Reba McEntire getting elected that a contemporary of Vince got in.

The other comment regarding my Alan Jackson question was that it was pointed out to be that while Alan has had a huge number of hit records, he is not the most liked person in Nashville or in the music community. He is known as someone who is hard to deal with and there have been comments on how he has treated some of his fellow musicians. I was told that it was just something to think about and to look at the finalists from last year.

So what about some of the others, especially those who are "on the fence". I asked and we had a very nice discussion regarding a few of them, so I thought I would share some of those comments:

Clint Black-a very solid career and stands a very good chance at getting in. But, he is not Nashville based and his career really fell off after his run of hits.

Jim Ed Brown (The Browns)-again, a very solid career who should get in at some point in the veterans category. I was told that it helps that he is still active in the business and will be celebrating 50 years at the Opry next year.

Charlie Daniels-an interesting case. While he has had a few hits, with the biggest being "Devil Went Down to Georgia", he also has been a big influence with other artists.

Patty Loveless-it was stated that Patty is a Nashville favorite who is much loved and respected in the industry. She has the hits and is popular. What would help her is if Vince Gill gives her a push. As was pointed out, Bill Anderson gave a big push for Jean Shepard last year and it worked, and I was told Marty Stuart pushed for Connie Smith this past year, and that worked.

Lorrie Morgan-I was told not to discount her. She has the name and like a few others, is well liked in Nashville and is involved. While not the biggest hit maker during her era, neither was her father, George Morgan, and he got in. He was also well liked and he also got a push from Lorrie.

Steve Wariner-he is a 99% chance of getting in. Not only is he a fine singer, but he is a great musician who is well respected. I was told that he will have to wait his turn, but his turn will come. He is still young so it will be a while.

There are a few others who's name will come up once in a while with Hall of Fame discussions, and a case can be made for each of them. But, the chances of getting into the Hall are pretty small. Those include Trace Adkins, John Conlee, Jack Greene, George Hamilton IV, Riders In The Sky, Pam Tillis and Trisha Yearwood. Most of these have had solid success, but just not Hall of Fame careers.

We didn't really talk about the younger artists, because while their careers are doing well now, it doesn't mean that will continue. We mentioned Brad Paisley as being as close to a guarantee as any of these and we both agreed on him. Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood were 2 other names that came up. Some who had initial success, such as Dierks Bentley, Montgomery Gentry and Josh Turner have all cooled off. And that may be more of an indication of where country music is today than anything else.

Finally, we talked about a few of the former Opry members, most of whom have passed away, and what was thought of some of those individuals. Specifically, we talked about Bobby Bare, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, Wilburn Brothers, Dottie West, Archie Campbell, June Carter, Billy Walker, Johnny Russell, Hank Locklin and Del Reeves. All of these artists had good careers that were long. And they have all been mentioned on and off regarding the Hall of Fame. Of those who are listed, the thought is that Billy Walker, Johnny Russell, Hank Locklin and Del Reeves have really no shot at getting in. It was mentioned that there are 2 words on why the Wilburn Brothers are not in, and probably will not get in, "Loretta Lynn." (if anyone needs a history lesson, let me know and I will fill you in). Archie Campbell has been a finalist for several years but has not gotten in. June Carter's high point was when the movie "Walk the Line" came out and it was mentioned that there are quite a few people around Nashville who have a lot of respect for June. But he said, there are more deserving candidates than June. There has never been strong support for Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, or for Wilma Lee individually. He did say that in his opinion, the Coopers are deserving of being in the Hall.

It was felt that Bobby Bare's time will come. He is still alive and active, which helps. He just does not have a power base and nobody really pushing him to the voters. And that leaves Dottie West. With few females in the Hall, I asked if there was "pressure" to elect a female. He said, not really. With several females going in the past several years, that has not come up as much, but it still does. The voters notice. I asked if the present campaign to get Dottie elected this year, which would have been her 80th birthday, would have an effect. He said it might, if the right people are involved. And he mentioned that if these campaigns work, it is usually only effective that first year. And with the voting getting underway, this is the time for a campaign like this to get going.

Some have mentioned the Hall of Fame changing the categories and increasing the number elected each year. The thought process is that the Hall is perfectly fine with the number getting in and the categories. They would rather have someone wait a while longer than get in too soon. And while that leaves some deserving candidates out, it does create some discussion and publicity, which is always good. The Hall is currently expanding with the convention center and new hotel and attendance is good.

I finished by asking if there were any thoughts on who the favorites might be for 2013 election and he mentioned the usual names that we have heard in the past, including Jerry Reed and Ray Stevens, in addition to those names mentioned above. And with Garth Brooks out of the way, and the history lesson above, don't be surprised if the voters look back into the 1980s for the modern era. It just depends on who gets behind who when it comes to the voting. And while record sales are important, so is the respect for the music industry and the Nashville community. The voters will continue to have plenty of choices when it comes to the Hall of Fame.