Sunday, July 8, 2012

Barbara Mandrell

It was 40 years ago today, on July 8, 1972 that Country Music Hall of Fame member Barbara Mandrell became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Here is what Barbara remembered about joining the Opry: "It was in July when Bud Wendell asked me to join the Grand Ole Opry. I was very honored. And I was introduced on the Roy Acuff segment. At the time, while I was acquainted with Mr. Acuff, I can't say we were friends. By coming to the Opry we became dear friends and now he's so special to me. You know what I recall most about the old Ryman? It's dressing and getting made up and all in the toilet, which was the women's dressing room. That was really close, and warm and friendly, sharing the crowded space with Loretta Lynn and Connie Smith and Dolly Parton and Jeannie Seely. I'm so thankful I became a member of the Opry just before we moved into the big, beautiful Opry House. We would all be perspiring so bad and it was so hot in there. But we were full of love and passion for our music and the people who would come to see us." Barbara went on, "When I was asked to become a member I asked the question, 'What must one do to be able to host a segment of the Opry?' and I was told , 'You must have gained enough status and you must be a man.'"

Barbara Mandrell had started in show business at a young age, as a member of the Mandrell Family Band. She first appeared on television in 1961. In 1969 she signed with Columbia Records as a solo act, and began regarding with Billy Sherrill as her producer. She also did a duet with David Houston. In 1978, she had her first #1 record, "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed" and from there on, Barbara was a major star. In 1980, her hit NBC television show began, which lasted until 1982. Several years after that came the famous car accident that almost took her life and literally ended her career. While she did come back from the accident, she never again acheived the success that he had before the accident and many of her fans viewed her differently after that. In 2009 she was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her final appearance took place in 1997 and then retired.

In looking at Barbara's career, I do give her credit for retiring while she was still in top form. So many times we see entertainers continue to go on well past their prime and watch them age and their voices go away. She left her fans with a good memory of her. My other observation is that like so many of the Opry's members, once she hit it big, she made very few Opry appearances. When she joined, she was still an 'up and coming' artist, looking for that 1st #1 record. And once she got it, her career took her to other places. In her later years, when she appeared on the Opry, if Roy Acuff was performing on the show, it was always on his segment. And Barbara was always well received. It's too bad that she did not make more appearances over the years, because I think the Opry would have been better off in seeing her more.

To remember Barbara Mandrell on her Opry anniversary, here is the line-up from Saturday night, July 8, 1972, when she officially joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry.

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Billy Grammer (host): Wabash Cannonball
Oak Ridge Boys: (?)
Billy Grammer: Peace In the Valley

6:45: Rudy's
Charlie Walker (host): I Don't Mind Going Under
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down

7:00: Luzienne
Tex Ritter (host): Green Grow The Lilacs
Bobby Bare: The Streets Of Baltimore
Johnny PayCheck: Love Is A Good Thing
David Houston: Danny Boy
Tex Ritter: Lorena
Bobby Bare: Me & Bobby McGee

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Just A Friend
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry
Crook Brothers: Lost Indian
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

8:00: Martha White
Del Reeves (host): Girl On The Billboard
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Doin' My Time
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Ronnie Dove: Right Or Wrong
Del Reeves: The Best Is Yet To Come
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: White Dove
Del Reeves: Philadelphia Fillies

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Bob Luman: When You Say Love
Marion Worth: For The Good Times
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Blackberry Blossom
Justin Tubb: Lodi
Mel Street: Borrowed Angel
Hank Snow: Giesha Girl

2nd show
9:30: Kelloggs
Billy Grammer (host): Lonesome Road Blues
4 Guys: Shenendoah
David Houston: Soft, Sweet, & Warm
Shoji Tabuchi: Rainbow In the Valley
Billy Grammer: What A Friend
David Houston: Jambalaya

10:00: Fender
Charlie Walker (host): Little Old Wine Drinker Me
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Johnny PayCheck: She's All I Got
Charlie Walker: I Don't Mind Going Under

10:15: Union 65
Tex Ritter (host): High Noon
Bobby Bare: Come Sundown
Tex Ritter: Fall Away

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Justin Tubb: Traveling Singing Man
Roy Acuff: Where Could I Go

10:45: Beechnut
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Coming Down From God
Ronnie Dove: Okie From Muskogee
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Each Season Changes You

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Golden Rocket
Stu Phillips: Crystal Chandeliers
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cracklin Hen
Stu Phillips: A Castle, A Cabin
Sam McGee: Wheels
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I Got To See You Once Again

11:30: Elm Hill
Del Reeves (host): Down In The Boondocks
Bob Luman: When You Say Love/Guitar Man/Heartbreak Hotel
Marion Worth: Faded Love
Mel Street: Borrowed Angel
Del Reeves: The Bells Of Southern Bell/A Dime At A Time/Looking At The World Through A Windshield/Whole Lot Of Shaking Going On

A pretty interesting line-up for this summer show. I know Barbara is now retired from performing, but I would have expected the Opry to have done something to honor Barbara for 40 years of Opry membership. Even if the Opry failed to mention it, I wanted to.

Of course, maybe the Opry is waiting until July 29th to celebrate Barbara's 40th anniversary. I mention that date because in the current edition of the Grand Ole Opry History Picture Book, that is the date listed for her induction as a new member. We have commented before about the Opry's poor record keeping. This looks like another example of that. Regardless, congratulations to Barbara Mandrell.


  1. Does Barbara have voice problems? If not you would think she would sing for such an occasion? I don't know if she performed at the medallion ceremony when she was inducted into the CMHF or not?
    I have often wondered this about Jeanne Pruett as well. Voice problems? With age maybe some artists just want to bow out gracefully. Others, I'm sad to say do not.

  2. David, when the Opry did a salute to her a couple of years ago--she was the subject of a tribute CD--she hosted the segment, but I remember that she did not sing. I think she made a conscious decision. Bill Anderson once mentioned how few country performers actually do retire and named Carl Smith, the Statlers, Sonny James, Jeanne Pruett, and her, as I recall it. Carl Smith would occasionally appear for an event--he did Nashville Now a couple of times for special occasions.

  3. Fred in Bismarck:

    Always at least a nugget or two in these blasts from the past. For me, this time, it's "White Dove" by Wilma Lee & Stoney -- another great song that, as far as I know, they never recorded. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.) I can just hear them doing it, though.

  4. Mike is right that Barbara has hosted at the Opry since her retirement and no, she did not sing at her Hall of Fame induction. When she retired, her voice was fine and I assume it still is. She is still very active in the music community and has done interviews. In fact, on Bill Anderson's satellite show a while back, she appeared.

    As far as Jeanne Pruett, it was the same deal. But I will say that I think, and just my thoughts, that she bowed out of performing at the Opry before the Opry management could cut her back. Her performances had already been reduced and I think that might have bothered her. I do know that she does show up backstage at the Opry every once in a while and the Ernest Tubb Record Shop did have a salute for her a while back that she attended. If I remember right, she did not sing at that even either. Her health also seems fine.

  5. Fred, I did a search and could not find Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper recording White Dove, but I found the Stanley Brothers doing it.

  6. Fred again:

    Thanks, Byron. It was interesting to me because, as I think I noted not long ago, the Coopers usually stuck to their own extensive repertoire. There is another lovely version of the song by Johnnie & Jack, with Kitty joining on the harmony, on the Bear Family "J & J Live at KWKH" CD, dating from the late '40s.

    The Coopers and J & J gravitated to the same kind of heartfelt material, occasionally recording the same song. "You Tried to Ruin My Name" and "I Want to be Loved" are the only ones that pop into my head on my first cup of coffee this morning, but there were others.

    The Coopers and J & J -- there was a pair to draw to!

  7. Barbara has retired and said she won't entertain anymore. She said if she sang or played, she'd be too tempted to come back. It is true though, that she is not getting the credit she deserves. The Opry should have made a big deal about that. And they should offer Louise a membership. She more than deserves it!

  8. I know we all have our favorites but for the last several years, I have really hoped that Wilma Lee & Stoney and Johnnie & Jack would make it in the Hall of Fame. It is an absolute crime they didn't induct those two acts while Wilma Lee and Johnnie were still alive. Oh, and the story goes that Kitty & Johnnie asked to come back to the Opry cast in the 90s so they could "die as members of the Opry" but Fisher told them no.

    As for Jeanne Pruett, she told me once that when she was cut down to one song she told Fisher no thanks, she'd come back when she could sing her two songs and that she'd play when the Opry put country music back on.

    As for the show dates, another Opry star told me they were no longer allowed to mention their road dates but I heard Jean Shepard mention last Saturday night she was going to be in Florida in two weeks. Of course, what is Fisher going to do to Jean? I wouldn't tangle with her in a dark alley!! (Oldtimeopry)

  9. I would love to see Johnnie & Jack and Wilma Lee & Stone Cooper in the Country Music Hall of Fame !! Sadly, I'm afraid that will not happen.

    With the 2012 induction of Garth Brooks I believe the chances of artists such as the Coopers, Johnnie & Jack, Stringbean, Archie Campbell, Bradley Kincaid, Jack Greene, Hank Lockln..etc...getting into the Hall of Fame are slim to none.

    I'm wondering now if legends such as The Browns, Bobby Bare and the late Dottie West will even make it in. Brooks' induction opened a "new door", and I believe others of his generation, Alan Jackson, Patty Loveless, Brooks & Dunn, Clint Black...etc...will follow soon.

    That will leave the "Veterans" category as the catch all for the artists of the 70's & 80's: Hank, Jr., Milsap, Kenny Rogers, Gene Watson, Vern Gosdin...etc... And not that any of those artists that I have mentioned do not deserve in the Hall of fame, I just think others from the 40's 50's & 60's have been "lost in the shuffle". There is no doubt at all that Milsap, Rogers, Hank, Jr..and the others are not "veterans" in the Country Music business now.

    I wish the CMA could have had the vision of the future "backlog" of artists at the Hall of Fame's conception. Maybe they would have continued on with at least two artists inductions every year, rather than only one, as the case was for many years.

    I'm in favor of three categories for artists. Pre-1965, 1965-1985 (or so) and 1985-Present. And then keep the rotating categories as is.

    Another option would be to keep the three categories as is and include a posthumously category. Let's face it, the electors will always want to vote for the living artist over a deceased one (for the most part).

    I could preach on this soap box all day. I better shut up.

  10. I can confirm what was mentioned by Oldtimeopry that Kitty Wells did ask to rejoin the Opry in the 1990s, but was turned down. Same with Earl Scruggs.

    And yes, the artists are not allowed to mention upcoming road dates. It is just another case of management wanting the artists to keep the talking to a minimum. Once in a while if someone is appearing on the Opry and hosting the Midnight Jamboree, you will still hear a cross promotion.

  11. Wow. Great stuff. And I'm presuming that Fisher turned down The Queen and Earl Scruggs? It's interesting to ponder that he added Ralph Stanley, Mel Tillis, and Charlie Daniels. But I wonder how much of that is related to Kitty Wells and Earl Scruggs being, well, bigger than the ones Fisher invited.

  12. I heard a couple of different versions on what happened when Kitty and Earl asked to rejoin the Opry. "Unofficially", the main reason they both wanted to rejoin the Opry was for the "benefits" that came with being an Opry member through the musicians union contract. I was also told that both Kitty and Earl were basically told that you both were members before and left, so why should be have you back.

    I cannot confirm but I was told that it was Pete Fisher who made that decision. Also to make it clear, Kitty and Earl did not ask to come back to the Opry at the same time. These were 2 separate events.

  13. Sorry, the last sentence in the first paragraph should read, "so why should we have you back"

  14. "The Queen of Country Music", and Earl Scruggs turned down to re-join the Opry. That is lower than Hell's root cellar.

    The entire cast (young and old) should have picketed or boycotted.

  15. I'll second that, David B. I also think of the story of Mr. Acuff asking Johnny Cash to come back and Cash, after much thought, turning it down because he knew he couldn't give his membership the attention it deserved. How nice if some others would think that way. But something else occurred to me in connection with that: as a member with their kind of eminence, he and The Queen and Earr-ul (I do a pretty good Lester impression) would have been potentially powerful. I suspect that neither Bob Whittaker nor Pete Fisher wanted any member to have the kind of influence Mr. Acuff had.

    At the same time, in the context of how the Opry used to be, I would be able to see the point. Del Reeves was the one quoted as saying that the deal was, as a younger artist, you gave up some money-making weekends so that, as an older artist, you had the Opry to come back to. Ah, remember when Opry management respected its senior members?

  16. I am shocked to learn that they would not allow Kitty or Earl to return. I can see not allowing someone who had a bad reputation to return, but Kitty Wells!? That's almost like telling Mr. Acuff he couldn't have returned after missing several months do to illness as he did a couple summers in the 80's.

    Not allowing show dates to be mentioned would seem to hurt the older folks more. That is mostly what they would have to promote these days. Should anyone be able to mention their latest song and promote it then? That is allowed and who does that benefit the most, the newest and biggest stars. I always thought the Opry was a way for the acts to connect with the fans each week. Maybe SIRIUS has the right idea for the times. They broadcast the Opry but often cut out the gab leaving mostly the music. If I want to hear records I'll listen to my phonograph player! I still wonder if the long term business plan here is to turn the Opry into a mini concert series not broadcast on the radio.

    I'm beginning to wonder why anyone would want to be a member of the Opry other than sentimental reasons. The things I have learned here over the past few months is rather disturbing!

    As for the Del Reeves quote, I always thought that was what Opryland was in the minds of the Opry members, a place to come home too, a place to retire and still be able to perform and meet the fans. No wonder so many acts went to Branson in the 80's and 90's. Seems the place might have been friendlier.

  17. Jim in Knightsville posted what started with "I'm shocked"

  18. To clarify the time line, Pete Fisher did not become the Opry's general manager until 1999. In the 1990s, Bob Whitaker was in charge, so in the 1990s when Kitty expressed interest to rejoin the Opry, it would have been Bob telling her no. Earl's request to come back came later, and at that time, Pete was running the show.

    It is interesting that even though Earl was told no, he still appeared at the Opry, often at the invitation of Ricky Skaggs or Marty Stuart. So you can assume that Earl had no hard feelings over this.

    Kitty, on the other hand, appeared on the Opry once in a great while as a guest artist, but over the last 15-20 years, and I would have to check her last Opry date, I don't think she has done the Opry. Granted she has been retired for about the last decade, but before she retired, the Opry appearances seem to have stopped. So perhaps, he took the no answer from management more personally than Earl.

  19. I certainly wouldn't disagree with you but the story I got (I believe it came from one of Kitty's family members) was she and Johnny were turned down by Fisher. In any case, another great example of how the Opry missed a great opportunity to have Kitty and Johnny back as members. And I wasn't aware of that about Earl but it disapoints me too. If you ever went to a Kitty & Johnny concert in the 80s or 90s Johnny always welcomed the audience to their "Grand Ole Opry Show" so you could tell even 40 years after they left the show in 1964 their hearts were always with the Opry. And Kitty, if you remember, thanked two people when she received her lifetime Grammy -- Johnny Wright and the Grand Ole Opry!

    Very interesting considering that had the same rule been applied in 1975, Jimmy Dickens would have been allowed to return to the Opry, nor would have George Hamilton IV in 1974 or Stonewall Jackson, George Morgan & Justin Tubb after the purge of 1964, or Minnie Pearl after a leave of absence in 1964 or Roy Acuff after he left in 1946 or Connie Smith after she left in the late 60s or Don Gibson or George Jones. Of course, do not forget Fisher has let Tom T., Reba, Ricky VanShelton, Barbara Mandrell, Jeanne Pruett etc. stay on the cast but they fired Holly Dunn when she retired from music.

    I've often thought what I would do if I suddenly became manager of the Opry... it's a tough job today no doubt because let's face it, country music is just so much different than it was even 10 or 15 years ago. But I would say one of the first things I would do is invite Willie Nelson and Ray Price to come back as members. Even just appearing a couple of times a year, Ray has been on a lot more than a lot of the "members."

    Think about if the Opry had invited Faron Young to come back in the 70s or 80s... maybe he'd have felt more respected and maybe he might still be around with us?

    I don't like the way the Opry is running these days and it's definately not the way I wish it ran but still, I do understand why they are trying to draw some younger acts. I think they'd be better suited to put some more emphasis on the members who are going to carry the show -- invest some love on Marty Stuart, Ricky Skaggs, Patty Loveless, Vince Gill, Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, Randy Travis and get them to really invest in the Opry. Make them feel appreciated because without some mainstays like we have in Jim Ed, Whispering Bill, Jean, Jan, Bobby, Jesse, Jeannie, Jimmy C, Little Jimmy -- where is the Opry going to be in 10 years with no regulars? (Oldtimeopry)

  20. I have thought the same thing about Faron Young. If the Opry would have reinstated him and the CMA and Country Music Hall of Fame electors not ignored his contributions and elected him to the Hall in the late 80's or early 90's, I believe his depression may not have became as bad as it did. There may not have been such a tragic end to that wonderful legend of Country Music.

    If you remember when Willie Nelson gave is acceptance speech on the night of his induction into the Hall of Fame he named several people that should have gone into the Hall before him: The ones I remember were, Ray Price, Faron Young, Carl Smith, Harland Howard, Ferlin Husky and Merle Haggard. There may have been more, I do not remember.

  21. If the current management stays around, Marty, Vince, Ricky and Patty are just about too old now and will soon be cut back on performances!

    I know I'm repeating myself. I have expressed my love for the show, the music and the cast here before. I don't want the show to end....I would be lost. However, I can't help but think of the performers who retired while they were still in good voice and performing stature like Hank Snow, Barbara Mandrell, Carl Smith, Sonny James and the Statler Brothers. Makes me wonder if the Opry should do the same while it still has some prestige and can hold its head high and be remembered as a wholesome family show instead of a high priced talent show. On the other hand, new management might be all that is needed for the loyal fans and the stockholders as well.

    Something I have thought about and maybe Byron can weigh in on this. What happens if the Opry goes back to the Ryman permanently and the Opry House becomes a year round show venue with acts like the Rocketts and Broadway shows along with the big current country acts. Could the Opry be a better bread winner at the smaller Ryman? The Opry House is great but I'll take the Ryman any day.

    Again, I will say that I'm sure managing the Opry is very tough and I'm only and outsider looking in and voicing an opinion.


  22. I second Jim's motion to return the 'Opry to the hallowed ground of the Ryman.
    It's where the 'Opry belongs, and I personally much prefer the sound in the old building.

  23. Regarding the Opry and the Ryman Auditorium, let me offer just my personal thoughts. As much as many of us wish it could happen, I just don't see it. According to Gaylord's annual report, the Opry had it's best year in 2011. Considering that the Ryman seats much less than the Opry House, I don't see them moving to a venue with a smaller capacity. You also lose the technology that fans have come to expect, which are in the Opry House. Items such as a great sound system, video screens, larger restrooms and more concession areas. The Opry would also lose the dollars that are generated from the gift shop, which is larger than the one at the Ryman.

    From a customer standpoint, downtown you have to pay for parking, which is free at the Opry House. If there is a hockey game, or other event at the arena, parking can cost up to $25, with those coming for a 2nd show having to park way out.

    I will say that the atmosphere is better at the Ryman, but that is just my personal opinion. But as long as I am not sitting up in the balcony, the Opry House is fine.

    Just another thought on Kitty Wells. If Kitty or her relatives say that it was Pete Fisher that told Kitty that she could not rejoin the Opry, that is good enough for me. I would not doubt her word. That would just change the date that she asked to rejoin to after 1999, which is entirely possible.

    And regarding Faron Young, as much as many would have liked Faron to be reinstated at the Opry, I have never heard or read anything that said Faron was interested in rejoining. He did appear at the Opry several times after leaving and I got the impression that was fine with him.

  24. Byron,

    Good points about the Opry at the Ryman. I guess I was thinking strictly of the performance and not the logistics of getting there and the cost.

    Attendance was one of the things making me think of the Ryman. They could go back to two shows there if demand called for it. I am not thinking of the Opry House being full for too many Friday and Saturday shows unless a really big name is there but maybe it is more than I think. I must admit that I really have no idea about attendance these days unless someone on stage makes a comment!


  25. From Fred:

    Here's a nice illustration of what the Opry could do for a performer in the old days. It's from the book accompanying Bear Family's box set on Johnnie & Jack; Johnnie is reminiscing about their 1958 hit, "Stop the World and Let Me Off," which had also been recorded by the writer, Carl Belew, and by Patsy Cline:

    "We had the advantage over the rest of them, because we were on the Grand Ole Opry. The Jordanaires made (the record) with us, and they were on the Opry too, and we'd sing it every Saturday night. We'd all line up there and holler, 'Hey! Stop the world and let me off!' We had that thing really hot ... "

    Yet, just six years later, Johnnie and Kitty felt free to quit the Opry -- they weren't fired, Johnnie insists, but quit -- over the Opry's insistence on a piece of all their bookings, even those Johnnie had made without the assistance of the Opry's Artists Bureau (or whatever it was called).

    It would be interesting to learn, in trying to determine the value of the Opry to an artist today, how many people "tune in" to the show today, by the various means, as compared to the old days of Clear Channel radio (that really was Clear Channel).

  26. Byron,

    Regarding Kitty and Johnnie's last appearance on the Opry I show that they were on Friday October 31 and Saturday November 1, 1997, all three shows. So far that is the latest I can find. They appeared on the TV portion that Saturday. I find it interesting that Bobby wasn't with them. I also found they did the Midnite Jamboree on Ocotber 10, 1998. I have not found more recent dates for either. Does this agree with your records?


  27. I was at the Opry the weekend the new Hall of Fame Opened in 2001 when they did a salute to the hall of famers and Kitty performed on the first show but declined to be on the second show. Earl Scruggs was also an announced guest on both shows that night. That would have been in May 2001.

    Also, just a side note, my girlfriend (wife now) and I were touring the Hall of Fame that opening afternoon and when we got to the second floor we ran into Johnny & Kitty who were also touring. Of course, they stopped, signed autographs and did a picture for us. Such classy, legends. I love the story Eddie Stubbs tells about the time Kitty was signing autographs between shows with a sore throat and someone told her she should stop and rest for the second show to which she replied, "these fans are the people who paid our mortgage!"

    I hope Kitty is doing well these days and making it as well as possible without Johnny.


  28. I will check my 2001 records. Not sure if I had looked through that year yet, I was jumping around as I searched.

    The comments about paying the mortgage and what Jimmy Dickens often says about tourist passing his house, "welcome to the house you built", highlights the difference in times. Many performers today act like they are doing you a favor by showing up and letting you see them. The person buying the ticket is the customer and they wouldn't be in the music business if we didn't buy. It is almost like they are so special that the fans owe them that life style. I see this everyday with employees at all levels who think the company they work for always owes them something, that the employer should be thankful the employee chose them to work for. Very few people are talented enough to expect that!

    If you think about the times in which Roy Acuff, Kitty, Johnnie and Jack, Bill Monroe, ET and the like started performing, most of the folks who came to see them really were spending their last quarter or dollar for the week just to see them. They knew the fans were likely making a sacrifice just to come and see them. So, they respected the fans and that carried on to the folks who came along in the 50'and 60's like Stonewall, Jack Greene, Billy Walker and others who watched ET or Kitty meet fans until they were ready to drop and never complained or turned them away.

    As always, there is a qualification here. By no means are all stars today unappreciative but I think those who are outnumber those who are not. Again, a sign of our changing times.


  29. I checked my May 2001 records and Kitty Wells was on Saturday May 21, 2001. Here is the announced Opry line-up from that night:

    6:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; Billy Yates
    7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Ray Pillow; The Whites; Elizabeth Cook; Mel McDaniel
    7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Chalee Tennison; Mandy Barnett; Charley Pride
    8:00: Mike Snider (host); Charlie Walker; Osborne Brothers; Sherrie Austin; Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
    8:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Dean Miller; Cindy Moore; Kitty Wells

  30. Sorry, that was Saturday May 19, 2001, not the 21st.

  31. Byron;
    I'm sure you're right about the 'Opry house being a better place to make money for Gaylord. I must admit that the last time I was there, the sound had improved a bunch. It may have been because I was sitting in the balcony about ten rows ahead of the sound man.
    The 'Opry house just doesn't have the same feel to me, but (as always), the dollar wins.

  32. The second show On 5-9-01 was identical to the first except Kitty was not on the second. Earl was on both shows I think on the Mike Snider portion. Hall of Famers Brenda Lee Roy Horton and Jo Meador Walker were recognized from the front row during the TV portion. The hall of fame dedication was really cool since the had all the living hall of Famers present come down the red carpet in the order of their induction. Those there that
    day were Eddy Arnold, Kitty Wells, Jimmy Dickens, Earl
    Scruggs, George Jones, Brenda Lee, Charley Pride, Roy
    Horton, Jo Walker, Harlan Howard. The Opry
    members followed in order of their induction. FutureHallof Famers there that day were Bill Anderson,PorterWagoner, Charlie Louvin, Vince Gill and Connie Smith. Opry members there were: Stonewall Jackson, Jimmy Newman, Billy Walker, Jim Ed Brown, Melvin Sloan, Mel McDaniel, Ricky Skaggs, the Whites, Martina McBride, Marty Stuart, Ernie Ashworth, Charlie Walker, Pam Tillis, Jack Greene, John Conlee. Oldtimeopry

  33. I find it odd in my notes for the May 19, 2001 show I did not note what Kitty sang. It would appear she did only one song. I did note that Eddie Stubbs played fiddle with her that night which makes me think she did not do Honky-tonk Angels.

    Byron, do you know what she sang and was this her last Opry appearance per your records?


  34. Yes, I can confirm that Kitty sang "Honky Tonk Angels" that night. She did not play her guitar. I also remember from a remark that Eddie did on the radio while I was in Nashville that week that the Opry asked her to do both shows and she opted just to do the first show. I have a great picture from her that night and, although I had the chance to see her and Johnny in concert several times, found it really cool to actually get to see her on the Opry. Oldtimeopry

  35. Oldtimeopry,

    Thanks for confirming what Kitty sang that night. It would have been interesting to see her alone since all the times I have seen her in concert eventually Bobby and Johnnie ended up on stage with her. I have some nice photo's but none of her at the Opry.

    Did Eddie actually perform with her that night or do I have my notes mixed up?


  36. I'll have to see if I can dig up my photos but I believe you are correct that Eddie did play with her that night. Oldtimeopry

  37. Kitty Wells passed away this afternoon at her home in Madison at the age of 92.

  38. Thanks Barry for breaking the news for us. Another great one has passed away and I think that leaves Jimmy Dickens as one of the last superstar still alive from the pre-World War II era.


  40. I don't think Barbara will come out of retirement. She's a gardener now and really seems to like it. Who would have thought that would happen 30 years ago!