Thursday, July 26, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 7/27 & 7/28

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend. As usual, there is 1 show on Friday night and the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night. As I am sure most are aware of, the Friday Night Opry will feature the Opry debut of Barry Gibb. That should be interesting. Perhaps he will sing, "Staying Alive." As previously noted, he would not be the first non-country performer to be at the Opry. The list includes James Brown, The Pointer Sisters, Perry Como among others. I actually think that the Opry should include non-country acts from time-to-time, but not at the expense of the Opry's members.

In addition to Barry Gibb, the Friday night Opry will feature non-members Darryl Worley, James Otto and Dailey & Vincent, all of whom have appeared on the Opry many times. The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night will include guest artists Elizabeth Cook and Rhonda Vincent, along with Jimmy Wayne, who will be appearing both nights. For Jimmy, these will be his 8th and 9th Opry appearances of the year, which is more times on the Opry than 45 of their members.

Friday July 27
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; James Otto
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Dailey & Vincent
8:15: John Conlee (host); Jimmy Wayne; Darryl Worley
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Barry Gibb

Saturday July 28
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mallary Hope; Rhonda Vincent
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Troy Cassar-Daley; Connie Smith
8:15: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jan Howard; Elizabeth Cook; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: The Whites (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy Wayne

That is not a misprint!! Jimmy C Newman will be hosting a segment of the Opry on Saturday night. Jimmy at one time was a regular host, but in the last several years, he has not hosted a segment. In fact, according to what I have, his last hosting assignment was Friday May 14, 2010. I do find it interesting that Pete Fisher is going with Jimmy C and The Whites as segment hosts over Jean Shepard. Either way, I am glad to see Jimmy C in the spotlight as I always thought he did a nice job.

That comes out to 12 artists for each show, with 7 Opry members each night. Wow!!

The great Leona Williams will be hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree this week.

Finally, I thought it would be interesting to compare this weekend's line-up to the one from Saturday July 27, 1991, 21 years ago, as a comparison.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Del Reeves (host): Good Time Charlies
Johnny Russell: Act Naturally
Del Reeves: Two Dollars In The Jukebox/A Dime At A Time/Looking At The World Through A Windshield

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Bald-Headed End Of The Broom
Jean Shepard: Bouquet Of Roses
Grandpa Jones: Blessed Jesus, Hold My Hand

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ole' Slewfoot
Connie Smith: You've Got Me Right Where You Want Me
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top/Rank Strangers
Jim Ed Brown: Scarlet Ribbons
Bill Carlisle: Shanghai Rooster
Porter Wagoner: What Ain't To Be Just Might Happen

7:30: Standard Candy
Jack Greene (host): Oh, Lonesome Me
Alison Krauss: Steel Rails/Heaven's Bright Shore
Ricky Van Shelton: A Simple Man/Keep It Between The Lines
Jack Greene: Statue Of A Fool

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Charlie Walker: A Way To Free Myself/San Antonio Rose
Jan Howard: Ozark Mountain Jubilee/Where No One Stands Alone
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose/One Day At A Time
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Forked Deer

8:30: Pops Rite
Hank Snow (host): Address Unknown
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Never
4 Guys: Tied Up
Charlie Louvin: Where The Roses Never Fade
Laurie Lewis: Miss The Mississippi And You
Hank Snow: It's Over Over Nothing At All

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'all Come
Jeannie Seely: When He Leaves You
Stonewall Jackson: Leona
Ricky Van Shelton: A Simple Man/Keep It Between The Lines
Porter Wagoner: Dooley

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Stop That Ticklin' Me
Osborne Brothers: Farther Along
Grandpa Jones: When The Southbound Pulls Away

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Once More
Ray Pillow: One Memory To Another/Too Many Memories
Dan Kelly: Turkey Buzzard

10:30: Pet Milk
Jim Ed Brown (host): Don't Bother To Knock
Mike Snider: Shuckin' The Corn
Jim Ed Brown: Distant Drums

10:45: B.C. Powder
Billy Walker (host): Cross The Brazos At Waco
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
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Snow Flake Reel
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Bummin' Around
4 Guys: When You Got A Good Woman It Shows
Laurie Lewis: The Cowgirl's Song
Justin Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Roy Drusky: Go Bring My Children Home
Hank Snow: The 3rd Man

11:30: Creamette
Charlie Walker (host): Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
Skeeter Davis: The End Of The World
Charlie Louvin: Everytime Your Leave
Johnny Russell: Baptism Of Jesse Taylor
Charlie Walker: Take Me Back To Tulsa

A last note regarding Jack Greene. No, he had not been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, but the Hall did announce that they are going to have a Jack Greene exhibit. I am not sure what all it will include, but it is scheduled to open in 2 weeks.



  1. Fred in Bismarck:

    Always a pleasure to see a lineup from the days when the Opry was still itself. Thanks, Byron.

    This time I'm reminded that in his later Opry years Porter tended to sing the more uptempo numbers from his repertoire. Don't know if this was simply his preference or from a musical strategy that relief was needed from the inevitable parade (by other performers) of ballads, especially love songs.

    For sure a faster number is preferable as a segment opener, in my opinion. Also, his uptempo titles had good country themes and lyrics, another consideration for Porter, perhaps.

    He tended to shy away from some of his greatest hits. I always thought -- guessing again -- it might be because Buck Trent wasn't there to help the songs sound "right." A possible vindication of this view was the TNN night when Buck guested with Porter on the Opry. You better believe the classics got sung on that occasion!

  2. I'll second your thanks, Fred, and add a couple of thoughts, for whatever they're worth.

    I hope no one takes this the wrong way. Porter never had a great voice--again, not a knock, but if you consider, say, Ricky Van Shelton, who was on the Opry that night, he had a VOICE. Most singers lose a little bit with age. I wonder whether Porter, who was one of the greatest showmen in the history of country music if not the greatest, also felt that the up-tempo numbers went better with his voice as he got older. For example, I notice that when Bobby Osborne is on the Opry, he rarely does "Ruby," which certainly is a harder song to sing than "Rocky Top."

    Jimmy C. Newman always was what you might call a #2 host. Some performers always hosted--the Mt. Rushmore group, if you want to call them that, of folks like Mr. Acuff, Mr. Tubb, and Mr. Snow, and, after he went into the Hall of Fame, Mr. Monroe always hosted. I think Porter always hosted once he hit it big. Even Bill Anderson sometimes would be on somebody else's segment into the 1980s and early 1990s. Jimmy C. often hosted, but even then, he was less likely to get a shot at it than Jim Ed Brown or Archie Campbell, for example. My mother wrote to Hal Durham once or twice to complain, and Jimmy C. said she was responsible for him getting to host a TV portion, though we always doubted that. In any case, it is good to see him hosting, but it also speaks to how few members are around and how the management treats them.

    I THINK I counted 26 members from 1991--27 if Alison had already joined, which I don't think she had yet. What a difference, indeed. How disgusting.

  3. Fred here:

    Michael, in my humble opinion, Porter had the same plain old country voice from the beginning to the end, and I doubt this influenced his song selection.

    I never argue with anybody about his individual preferences, just as I will never listen to anybody's argument with mine. What you like, you like. To me, Ricky Van Shelton was never attractive, either as a voice or as a personality.

    Similarly, once I caught onto his game, I realized Ray Price was not about singing the song so much as showing off his voice. It's there -- after I got wise -- as early as "My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You." Way after the fact, I realized my introduction to Bob Wills music via Ray's "San Antonio Rose" album was a farce -- Grand Opera masquerading as country music. Once I got hold of the real article, Ray was history.

    We know opinions are like a well-known orifice, and everybody has one. No offense meant to anybody.

  4. What is sad is that when you look at the line-up for Saturday night, who else could possibly host? Does that speak of the quality of the Opry members on the show Saturday night, or does it speak of the fact that there are only 7 Opry members scheduled?

    For those who might think this is something new, I have schedules from decades ago that also have very few Opry members listed. For example, on Saturday August 25, 1973 the only members that night, and there were 2 shows, were Ray Pillow, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, Archie Campbell, Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff, Jean Shepard, Marty Robbins and Marion Worth. That comes out to 8. The only ones that night who did not host were the 2 females. Then on August 5, 1972, there were only 7 Opry members present: Stu Phillips, Hank Locklin, Stringbean, Roy Acuff, Billy Grammer, Jimmy C Newman and the 4 Guys. Stringbean and the 4 Guys did not host, which left 5 to host both shows. A couple hosted several segments. During that period, more times than not during the summer, most of the Opry shows only had between 10 and 15 Opry members present, with several shows being down in the single numbers.

  5. I was just thinking about Gibbs being on the Opry. I had forgotton but pretty sure he produced Kenny Rogers some and he called Dolly Pardon to sing on that "islnds" duet (can't remember song name). Didn't he also buy Cash home which burnt down?

  6. Fred, no offense taken! And no offense meant, either, for that matter.

  7. Just a thought on what Fred said about Porter and his song selection, which I tend to agree with. One of my complaints, if you will, with some of the Opry's members (past and present) is that they limit what they sing on the Opry, especially those with a huge catalog like Porter had. I know that many fans who come to the Opry are not die-hard fans like many of us and expect to hear the hits, but I always enjoyed artists such as Hank Snow or Bill Monroe, who would sometimes dig deep into their catalog for their material. When you look at today's Opry members, so many of them do the same songs week after week. "Rocky Top" by Bobby Osborne is a good example of that.

    As far as Porter's voice, when I go back an listen to some of his pre-Dolly recordings, I think he had a "great" country voice. Yes, it did slip as he got older, like most do, but that is just my humble opinion.

    1. Byron,

      One thing that was different with Porter up until those Dolly days was the trio sound he had with George McCormick and Don Warden and I think it was Red Hayes before George. They added to Porters own voice and boy they made some fine recordings. I'm not taking anything away from Porter it was just a different sound. You can't beat some of those early 60's records with Don, Mac, Buck and George. Everything She Touches Gets the Blues, They Listened While You Said Goodbye and so many others including the hits he was having at the time.


  8. Did anyone hear Jimmy C sing "Making Believe" a couple weeks back? I think it was the Friday before Kitty passed. He didn't do a "great" job but it was good and I enjoyed it anyway. He recorded a lot of good ballads for Decca and I'd like to hear him do more of them. He did a song on one of the Billy Walker shows on RFD recently which I believe is simply called "One" which I have on an LP somewhere. It is about a couple expecting the first born and both the mother and child die at birth leaving "One". Very touching and hard to listen to without tears.

    As for who is hosting, this discussion adds to my belief that soon you will see an MC running them through like cattle or just introducing maybe four acts for the entire show.


  9. Jim, my mother was a Jimmy C. Newman fanatic--the only woman who loved him more is Miss Mae. She loved the ballads he did before he turned fully to Cajun music, and sometimes he does trot them out. He never had a GREAT voice, but he always had a good voice, distinctive--tenor--and today he can still hit a note pretty well, especially considering that in a month, he will be 85.

    I THINK his friend Tom T. Hall wrote "One." T wrote for Newman's publishing company with Jimmy Key, and I heard one Opry recording from the 1960s where Newman sang one of his company's biggies, "Six Days on the Road." He had told Dave Dudley to record it because Dudley, unlike Newman, could sound like a "truck driv-air," as Newman put it.

  10. In listening to the shows this weekend, it was nice to see Jimmy C Newman actually hosting the segment. A very nice job and we would hope to see more of him in that role.

    I know everytime I listen to the Opry when Rhonda Vincent is on, I hope she will be asked to become a member. But I knew going in that last night was not going to be the night. First, she was on the opening segment, which is not a good sign and secondly, she started off with a slower song that did not have the punch to get the audience up and going. Maybe another time.

    Jimmy Dickens was in pretty good voice this weekend and I was actually surprised with Barry Gibb. He joined Ricky Skaggs with a bluegrass number and didn't sound bad. The audience loved him, as an Opry audience would.

    On a final note, if I counted right, and I might have missed one, there were 21 songs performed last night on the Opry, including the instrumental square dance number. If you compare that to the 1991 line up that I posted above, and take the 2 hours from 7-9 on that show, there were 27 songs performed, and if you add in the opening half hour, that number goes up to 33. So not only are we getting less artists today, we are getting a significantly less number of songs for our money.

  11. FAYFARE Said: " A last note regarding Jack Greene. No, he had not been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, but the Hall did announce that they are going to have a Jack Greene exhibit. I am not sure what all it will include, but it is scheduled to open in 2 weeks. " end quote.

    From David B.
    With this exhibit of Jack Greene and with Kenny Rogers being the artist in resident for 2012, personally I would not be surprised if they are not both elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

  12. Kenny Rogers I would say has a very good change of getting into the Hall of Fame at some point. Not sure if it will be next year or not, but he will get in. Jack Greene, on the other hand, probably has less than a 50/50 chance of ever getting elected. While I like Jack personally, he has never been a finalist, that I know of, and there are just too many other veterans that have a stronger set of qualifications than Jack.

    1. I was simply going on Connie Smith being the "artist in resident" in 2011. Her election followed.

  13. Fred in Bismarck:

    I agree with Byron on both counts. While Rogers sure stretches the boundaries of "country," his amazing career across the spectrum of popular music probably qualifies him for the Hall. I will always honor him for "The Gambler" if nothing else, surely one of the best-written songs in the history of country music. It's like a great short story -- plus it's got at least two country touchstones, booze and trains! And of course Rogers just nails it.

  14. David, you were doing what I do a lot and that is trying to connect the dots. I have done that a time or two regarding new Opry members. Sometimes I am right and sometimes I am wrong, but it is fun to speculate. And if I have never said it, David and Fred, I appreciate the responses, along with everyone else.

    1. I believe it is easier to guess the future Hall of Famers than Opry members. I think it is safe to say that Kenny Rogers, Ronnie Milsap, Hank, Jr., Alan Jackson, Tanya Tucker..etc.. are all going to join the Hall of Fame in the very near future. Hopefully, so will The Browns, Bobby Bare, Archie Campbell, Dottie West and other veterans.

      The Opry is much harder to connect the dots. I do not understand why acts likes The Grascals, Rhonda Vincent, T.G. Sheppard, Mandy Barnett, Dailey & Vincent, Gene Watson, and others that would actually appear and help the Opry have not been extended an invitation to join. Today I saw a Opry note on FACEBOOK that stated this: "Urban to attend the Opry in August. First time since his induction".

      I also noticed a TV commercial on RFDTV today with Josh Turner encouraging me to "take an Opry vaction to Nashville". I have seen this commercial almost daily all summer long. It dawned on me today for the first time, that the artists pictured just in those few seconds included; Josh Turner, Alan Jackson, Charlie Daniels, Montgomery Gentry, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood..and maybe a few others. They are trying to "promote" the Opry with these artists? I asked myself, "Where is Little Jimmy Dickens, Bill Anderson, Jean Shepard, Jan Howard, Jimmy C. Newman, Jim Ed Brown and the other veterans keeping this sucker alive". Charlie Daniels was as close to a veteran that they had filmed.

      I know this would never happen, because these artists respect and love the Opry with a passion. But what would Mr. Fisher do if Jim Ed, Whisperering Bill, Little Jim, Jan, Jean, Jimmy C., Jesse, Bobby, Mike Snider, John Conlee..etc.. would all say, "No I don't believe I'll attend this weekend?" Would Garth and Trisha fly in? Alan Jackson? Keith Urban? Carrie Underwood? Would they come at the drop of a hat?

      All the faithful Opry members I mentioned above (with the exception of John Conlee & Mike Snider) are well over 70. Some in their 80's and Little Jim, 91. 10 years is going to take a hard tole folks ! In the words of George Jones (who might need to take some of his own advice!), "Whose's Gonna Fill Their Shoes??? "

      Well, don't know how I got on that soapbox. I'll shut up.

  15. David, does your soapbox have room on it? I'd like to join you on it, any time.

    More than 25 years ago, Ricky Skaggs said George Jones had asked who's gonna fill their shoes and the answer is ... and with that he inducted into Opry membership Randy Travis, who since has shown up about as often as Halley's Comet.

  16. I think everyone knows where I stand on this and my views have not changed in many years. If you are going to join anything, whether it be the Rotary Club, The Elks or the Opry, you show up and participate. It is that simple. And I do not think asking someone to be there 10 times a year is too much, especially when you have a Tuesday and Wednesday night show, a Friday show and a Saturday night show, which during various times of the year, has 2 shows that night.

    I know the ones who are in the prime of their careers and tour all the time are one thing that you have to accept. But what I do not accept are those artists who do not tour much and who are winding down their careers and not doing a whole lot. And that would include Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Diamond Rio and many of the other acts who joined in the late 80s and 90s.

    On a side note, Loretta Lynn will be celebrating her 50th year as an Opry member in September. Early in her career she was at the Opry alot, but lately? How do you really honor someome who now only shows up once or twice a year?

  17. Fred again:

    Michael, there's something about Randy Travis that sharpens you to a fine edge -- like, a few seasons back, your explanation that he was enrolled in the witness-protection program.

    Ain't it great when people remember your best lines?

  18. Fred, since I didn't even remember that one, I salute you!

    I also don't want to seem to be picking on Ricky. Actually, Byron's comment about Loretta was spot-on, and I seem to recall that Dolly Parton didn't show up at the Opry for years at a time, but then suddenly began materializing whenever she had a new CD and could do the TV portion. Hm. The only one I don't think should have to show up is George Jones. He was NEVER expected to show up anywhere!

  19. Fred again:

    Hey, Byron, re. Loretta's 50th: Does this mean we can look for her at the Opry in September?

  20. Don't take this wrong because I like Loretta but I'm sure they'll think of a way. Maybe something like this, a one hour show where all the new hot women of country, members and non, sing her songs and maybe Loretta can close by signing Coal Miners Daughter with all of them. There has to be some good promotional material here whether they really salute Loretta or not and I'm sure the management will take advantage of it, or Loretta as the case may be. It is sad that she and others don't show up more.

    That makes me question whether the music has been just a career for some or if they are really passionate about the music. I remember thanking Bill Anderson one time for continuing to work the road so that new generation could experience his music and he said "I don't know what else I would do".

    I agree with David that if Jim Ed, Jean, Jan, Jimmy C an the others decide to not show up some weekend who is going to fill out the show. I've posed that question many times even in letters to the Opry management. On the other hand, I get the idea talking to some folks that management might like it if they all quit. They would be able to add some more talent show folks!

    Is there room on that stump?


  21. Fred, this is just a rumor, but look for Loretta to possibly celebrate her 50th anniversary on the Tuesday Night Opry, September 25th. Looking at the advance schedule, it is one of those shows that discounts do not apply, and they have already booked Crystal Gayle and Trace Adkins for that night.