Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 29, 1963-Jim Reeves Final Opry Appearance

As I look at the week ahead in Grand Ole Opry history, it was on Saturday June 29, 1963 that Jim Reeves made his last Grand Ole Opry appearance prior to giving up his Opry membership.

During the early 1960s, Jim Reeves was probably the biggest star at the Opry. He joined the show on October 22, 1955, coming to Nashville from the Louisiana Hayride. His 1960 hit, "He'll Have to Go" sold over 3 million copies. "Four Walls" is still a classic today.

During his time at the Opry, he changed his appearance and sound. He went from dressing in the classic country suits of the day to a more business suit and metropolitan look. And he went from singing more of a honky-tonk style to being one of the main voices of the Nashville sound.

As Jim's career took him in a new direction, with international travel and movies, he found that he no longer needed the Opry for his career, so he left the show in 1963.

When Jim Reeves left the Opry, little did he know that he would only live for one more year. He, along with Dean Manuel, his manager and piano player, died in a plane crash on July 31, 1964 while attempting to land in a storm in Nashville.

While Jim is missed at the Opry, it is good to know that his good friend Jim Ed Brown, will still sing a Jim Reeves song every once in a while at the Opry. And Jim Ed has the voice to do it. Keep singing them Jim, as those classic songs still need to be heard from the Opry stage today.

Here is the line-up and running order of the show from Saturday June 29, 1963:

7:30: Kelloggs
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Doin' My Time
Bill Anderson: You Made It Easy
Bill Monroe: Goodbye, Old Pal
Loretta Lynn: (?)
Wilma Lee Cooper: Philadelphia Lawer
Del Wood: Georgia Blues
Billy Walker: Storm Of Love
Bill Monroe: Careless Love
Bill Anderson: Still
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Satisfied

8:00: Martha White
Roy Drusky (host): Anymore
Jim & Jesse: (?)
Johnny Bond: My Darling Cora Lee
June Carter: Comedy
Roy Drusky: You Never Cried When You Were Mine
Carter Family (?)
Crook Brothers: Cotton-Eyed Joe
Jim & Jesse: (?)
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose

8:30: Stephens
The Browns: Scarlet Letter
Bobby Lord: Out Behind The Barn
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Curly Fox: Carroll County Blues
Margie Bowes: Right Or Wrong
Blue Boys: Red River Rock

9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Roy Acuff (host): Y'all Come
Skeeter Davis: The End Of The World
Cousin Jody: Don't Make Love In A Buggy
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fire On The Mountain
Roy Acuff: Lonely Mound Of Clay
Jug Band: They Cut Down The Old Pine Tree
June Stearn: Release Me
Brother Oswald: Roll On, Buddy, Roll On
Roy Acuff: Drifting Too Far From The Shore
Howdy Forrester & Jimmy Riddle: Jesse Polka

9:30: Pet Milk
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Glaser Brothers: Tracking Me Down
Marion Worth: Crazy Arms
Lonzo & Oscar (?)
Hank Snow: The Man Who Robbed The Bank At Santa Fe
Stringbean: Walk Up, Little Betty
Dave Dudley: Six Days On The Road
Glaser Brothers: Sweeter Than The Flowers
Hank Snow: The Wreck Of The Old 97

10:00: Gates Rubber
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Big Midnight Special
Bill Monroe: White House Blues
Loretta Lynn: (?)
Stoney Cooper: Sally Goodin
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Gloryland March

10:15: Luzianne
Jim & Jesse (?)
Del Wood: Piano Roll Blues

10:30: Harveys
Bill Anderson (host): (?)
Skeeter Davis: I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know
The Browns: The Three Bells
Bill Anderson: (?)

10:45: Ford
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Stringbean: 20 Cent Cotton & 90 Cent Meat
Crook Brothers: Ida Red
Brother Oswald: John Hardy
Roy Acuff: Waltz Of The Wind

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Jamaica Farewell
Glaser Brothers: Where No One Stands Alone
Bobby Lord: Cry, Cry Darling
Lonzo & Oscar: (?)
Hank Snow: I Don't Hurt Anymore
Sam & Kirk McGee: I Left My Girl On The Mountain
Margie Bowes: Think It Over
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Sally Johnson
Glaser Brothers: Stand Beside Me
Hank Snow: Caribbean

11L30: SSS Tonic
Roy Drusky (host): Anymore
Marion Worth: Tennessee Teardrops
Archie Campbell: Fools Side Of Town
Cousin Jody: Lady Cop
Roy Drusky: (?)
Curly Fox: 50 Years Ago
Dave Dudley: Six Days On The Road
Marion Worth: I Can't Stop Loving You
Roy Drusky: Another

Interesting to see Dave Dudley on the Opry. He made very few appearances and this was during the time Six Days on the Road was a big hit for him. Also, the Browns were guesting on the Opry on this particular night, as they were not members as of yet.


  1. Fred in Bismarck:

    I will always give Reeves credit for sneaking back into the studio and continuing to record country-style, with the appropriate spare backup, even after he had become an international pop monster.

    RCA thought so little of these efforts that it first released them in budget albums, on its Camden label. After Jim's death it would add voices (and sometimes "strings") and put out such as "Blue Side of Lonesome" as a single.

    Stonewall Jackson told a funny story about Reeves on one of Ralph Emery's Reunion shows. Probably a lot of you saw it. He recalled how "Gentleman Jim" projected this tuxedo image but was really a brawler, especially when he had a wee drop taken.

    Stonewall told how, one night on a bus, Reeves took exception to something Stonewall said and ordered the bus stopped so the two could get off and duke it out. But Reeves was so hammered he couldn't even stand in the barpit, promptly falling down. End of "fight," as Stonewall had to help him to his feet and back onto the bus.

  2. Stonewall also was responsible for confirming one of the legendary Nashville stories: the claim that when Tammy Wynette hid the car keys so he couldn't go get booze, George Jones took off on the lawn mower. The two guys were on with Ralph one night on Nashville Now and Ralph said something about that. George said, well, those stories are a bit exaggerated, and Stonewall started laughing. George said, "What are you laughing about?" Stonewall said, "You stopped at my house to ask if I had any gas." When the roaring died down, George said, "I did?"

    Byron, I learn a lot from you. I'd never known that Jim Reeves had left the Opry. As for Dave Dudley, he was a close friend of Jimmy C. Newman, and NewKeys, the Cajun guy's publishing company, did "Six Days on the Road." He gave it to Dudley, saying, with his Cajun French accent, "I can't sound like a truck dri-vair." Newman also said Stonewall turned it down, as did Johnny Cash, and in the latter's case, because he didn't like the line about "little white pills." When he said that, Ralph said, "CASH?" Newman nodded and said, "I know."

  3. Mike, I have a tape of Jimmy C. singing "Six Days on the Road" on the Opry one night. It was in the late 80s and the only time I ever heard Jimmy do it.

  4. Byron, I was listening to WSM one Saturday night and he did it on the Opry sometime in the 1960s. He did it fine but, while I love Jimmy C., it really did need a "big" voice like Dudley's. I also should have said another word for NewKeys because that's where Tom T. Hall got started, and I THINK his first song in Nashville was "DJ For a Day" by Newman.

    I also count 24 members appearing. Jim & Jesse also were yet to become members, but I notice they tended to do guest shots on the Martha White segment when Lester and Earl were away--they also were part of the Martha White Bluegrass world.