Thursday, July 12, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 7/13 & 7/14

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend, 1 on Friday night and the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night. There is a good mix of entertainment this weekend, with the Friday Night Opry being highlighted by the return of Opry member Randy Travis to the Opry stage. Randy is another of those Opry members who joined in the 1980s and can't seem to find where the Opry House is located these days. This will be Randy's 1st Opry appearance this year, after making just 1 appearance in 2010. Joining Randy on Friday night will be guest artists Jimmy Wayne, Sarah Darling and Will Hoge. All 3 have made frequent Opry appearances over the past year.

The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night will feature non-Opry members Chuck Wicks, Sam Bush, Casey James and Sunny Sweeney. I had the chance to see Sunny at the Opry in February, and not only is she a very nice looking young lady, she has a solid country voice. She will be featured in the segment hosted by Opry member Larry Gatlin, who is always a pleasure to have at the Opry.

Friday July 13
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Brett Eldredge
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); George Hamilton IV; Jimmy Wayne
8:15: John Conlee (host); Sarah Darling; Will Hoge
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Ray Pillow; Randy Travis

Saturday July 14
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Chuck Wicks
7:30: John Conlee (host); Jeannie Seely; Holly Williams
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Casey James; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Larry Gatlin (host); Sunny Sweeney; Sam Bush Band

With still 1 spot to fill Friday and Saturday night, there are 12 artists on each show, with 8 Opry members on Friday night and 7 Opry members on Saturday night. Regarding Larry Gatlin, I find it interesting that many times when he is on the Opry he is with his brothers, while other times he appears solo. I do know that he, along with his brothers, are making personal appearances. Just an observation on my part.

Randy Travis joined the Grand Ole Opry on December 20, 1986. Just for the fun of it, I thought I would post the line-up from the night Randy joined the Opry, 26 years ago this year, to compare it to the line-up that we have this Saturday night.

Saturday December 20, 1986
1st show
6:30: Del Reeves (host); Skeeter Davis
6:45: Porter Wagoner (host); Riders In The Sky
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Lorrie Morgan; Jim & Jesse; Randy Travis
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard; Roy Drusky; Crook Brothers/ Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); The Whites; Stonewall Jackson; Archie Campbell; Connie Smith
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Boxcar Willie; Osborne Brothers; Mel McDaniel

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); 4 Guys; Del Reeves; Jan Howard; Billy Walker
10:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Randy Travis
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); George Hamilton IV
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Charlie Louvin
10:45: Archie Campbell (host); Bill Carlisle; Crook Brothers/ Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jean Shepard; Justin Tubb; Charlie Walker; Mel McDaniel
11:30: Boxcar Willie (host); Osborne Brothers; Connie Smith

On the 1st show there were 20 artists and 21 on the 2nd show, and all were Opry members, Just interesting to look back.

This week's Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree will be hosted by Justin Trevino.


  1. If I'm correct, overall, 30 members, which would have been about half of the members--logical, given that it was the week before Christmas, and Grant Turner used to say that the heart of winter was the best time to visit the Opry because so many more of the members were in than during the summer.

    Randy really disappointed me as an Opry member. I expected so much better from him. He was very good in his first couple of years.

  2. Glad to see Randy Travis on the bill. I read somewhere that Roy Acuff would always request him to sing, "Diggin' Up Bones", when he performed on the Opry.

    One name caught my attention from 1986; Archie Campbell. I did not really start listening to the Opry until about 1989/1990 (age 10 or so). This was after the death of Archie Campbell. I became familiar with Archie growing up watching "Hee Haw" (Doc Campbell, the barber shop, were gone...etc.)... And now that I'm older and watching the reruns I can see that he was one of the major writers billed each week. My question is, how faithful was Archie to the Opry? Weekly?, monthly? or less? His name and bronze plaque missing from the members of the Country Music Hall of fame I believe is a travesty.

  3. David,

    Mr. Acuff did ask Randy almost every time as I recall no matter what else he had done. I think Mr. Acuff found the song a little humorous but not in a degrading way.

    As for Archie Campbell, off the top of my head I would say that in the early to mid 80's he was appearing an average of once a month and usually hosted. Of course he would usually do both shows if there were two at the time.

    Byron may be able to be more specific, I would have to dig a little to back up my once a month belief.

    Nice to see Ray Pillow get at least one spot. That western swing/shuffle music he usually dose is just about gone. I miss Charlie Walker and the workout the staff band used to get when it was Joe Edwards, Spider Wilson, Leon Rhodes, Weldon Myrick, Jimmy Capps, the Davis boys and the rest. Ray keeps that alive even if the band isn't quite the same. Hoot's fine but it's different than Joe, same with Tommy White, great but different sound!


  4. As far as Archie Campbell's Opry appearances, here is what I have for his last 5 years:
    1987-6 (passed away 8/29/87

    Archie lived in the Knoxville area and only came to Nashville to tape Hee Haw or to do the Opry. His Opry appearances many times centered around his Hee Haw tapings or took place during the 1st couple of months of the year, or at the very end of the year. He was involved for many years with a theater in Gatlinburg and that is where he was from Spring through late fall.

    As far as hosting, it was hit or miss. If he was doing 2 shows on a Saturday night, he did usually host a segment during one of the shows.

    And yes, it is always a good night at the Opry when Ray Pillow is on.

  5. Yes, I wish Ray and Jean Shepard would due their duet "I'll Take the Dog" sometime. I have never heard them do that on the Opry before.

    1. David,

      Can't say that I have either. Howevrer, I sure think they did a duet together on the Opry sometime in the past ten years. Now I will have to look into that.

      Nice to see a younger fan out there David!


  6. Thanks for the specifics Byron. I was shooting from the hip.

    Here is some additional info I found skimming my records from 83' to 87' last evening. My records show Archie last appeared Saturday 2-28-87. He had a heart attack on Saturday June 15 and passed on 8-29-87 at age 72 in a Knoxville hospital as you indicated. He had joined the Opry in 1959 and on or near his 25th anniversary and 70th birthday he was acknowledged by Bud Wendall on 11-7-84 the Opry stage. I also show that he got to host a TV portion on 8-10-85 and appeared on a TV portion on 12-21-85.

    I can tell you are more accurate, in my quick look I did not find quite as many appearances but what you show is more consistent with my memory


  7. Jim, I remember he didn't do many of the telecasts, which I thought was strange because, if he was there, after all, he was better known than some of the others due to his Hee Haw exposure.

    The night he died, I've always remembered, Charlie Walker did "In the Garden" in tribute to him, and in the next few weeks, Johnny Russell did a little eulogy on stage and Porter Wagoner did "Trouble in the Amen Corner."

  8. Thanks for some great Archie Campbell memories and thanks Jim for filling in the dates. You beat me to it. It is too bad that many of the younger fans today only know Archie from Hee Haw. He was a great talent and I loved the routines where Ralph Emery or one of the other Opry announcers would play straight man for him and feed him questions. He did one where the straight man was a census taker and it was hilarious.

  9. I have Archie Campbell as being on the 2-14-87 Opry Live on TNN as well. Really always enjoyed Archie on the Opry and wished he had done more appearances. He sometimes worked on the Opry with his son Phil Campbell who would play the straight man. Other times I remember even announcer Hairl Hensley playing straight man to Archie's comedy. I actually only saw him once on the Opry in person and that was August 21, 1981. That was a pretty cool show because it also featured one of the very few rare appearances by Opry member(at that time) Don Williams. Anyway, the Opry could use another Archie Campbell. There are just not many comics left in the country music business.

    Here was the lineup from August 21, 1981, First Show that I attended with Archie Campbell and Don Williams:

    Stonewall Jackson
    Ernie Ashworth

    Charlie Walker
    Jan Howard

    Charlie Louvin
    Billy Grammer
    Ray Pillow
    John Conlee

    Archie Campbell
    Skeeter Davis
    Roy Drusky
    The Crook Brothers
    Tennessee Travelers

    Roy Acuff
    Bill Carlisle
    Vic Willis Trio
    David Houston

    The Four Guys
    Jeannie Seely
    Don Williams
    The Fruit Jar Drinkers

  10. Yes, I guess Mike Snider is as close to a comedian that the Opry has now (other than Little Jim's jokes). Comedy is a part of the Opry I wish would return? But who would they get? I am certain that any comedian now would want to throw out the 4 letter words, and to me that would hurt the image of the Opry. I mean can you picture Ron White gracing the Opry's stage?

    It is very doubtful if anybody will ever be as successful as Minnie, Archie, Jerry Clower, Rod Brasfield, Duke Of Paducah, Grandpa, Stringbean, Lonzo & Oscar..etc... and only rely on a act of CLEAN 'rural' humor.

    It is diffidently a different world we live in today.

  11. I like to see Archie Campbell in the Hall of Fame.It has been 25 years since he died.

  12. This blog might be of interest to some of the regulars here. There are a number of rare audio files here (and links to others) including some radio transcriptions and recordings of Cousin Jody, lots of J.E. Mainer and Bradley Kincaid, Charlie Collins and a recording from the 1975 Fan Fair Reunion show with Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff, The Duke Of Paducah and the Fruit Jar Drinkers, among others. Of particular interest on the topic at hand is a link to a recording of Archie and Phil Campbell from their Pigeon Forge theatre. I've heard most of these routines, including the hilarious "Insurance Salesman" routine, numerous times but always with Phil as the straight man and Archie as the comic. This recording has it the other way around and Phil is absolutely brilliant. You may have to do a bit of searching in the archives but it's well worth the effort.