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.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 11/16 & 11/17

I want to start this post by sending best wishes to Grand Ole Opry legend Stonewall Jackson. Stonewall had surgery earlier today on his back for what I have heard was to remove some bone spurs. Everything went well and it was reported that he was resting comfortably. I know Stonewall was in a lot of pain, so here is hoping that this procedure takes care of it.

As far as the Opry this weekend, the show continues at the Ryman with 1 show on Friday night and 2 shows on Saturday night. Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will feature the newest Opry member Darius Rucker, who will be in for both shows. These will be his first show since becoming a member last month and let's hope this is an indication that Darius will be at the Opry on a somewhat regular basis. Joining Darius on Saturday night will be Clare Bowen & Sam Palladio, who will be making their first Opry appearances. They are 2 of the stars of the ABC show "Nashville", which was picked up for the full season. This will be the 2nd week in a row of the Opry featuring stars from that show, as Charles Esten appeared on the Opry last Saturday night. Keith Anderson is also scheduled on Saturday, for the 2nd week in a row.

The Friday Night Opry will feature Opry member Charlie Daniels. I find it very hard to believe that he recently celebrated his 76th birthday. Wow!! Where does the time go? Joining Charlie on Friday night will be Opry members Diamond Rio and guest artists John Cowan Band.

Friday November 16
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jim Ed Brown
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; John Cowan Band
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Diamond Rio
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Charlie Daniels Band

Saturday November 17
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Keith Anderson; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Holly Williams
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jan Howard; Clare Bowen & Sam Palladio; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: The Whites (host); Jean Shepard; Darius Rucker

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Keith Anderson; Jean Shepard
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Holly Williams
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; Clare Bowen & Sam Palladio; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: The Whites (host); Darius Rucker

There are still a couple of slots to fill for this weekend. Also, interesting that on Friday night, Pete Fisher went with Mike Snider hosting the last segment when Jim Ed Brown, Riders In The Sky and Diamond Rio, all frequent hosts, are available and to be honest, are bigger names than Mike. And, has anyone else noticed that over the past several weeks, the format has shifted a bit with no commercial between the opening song by the segment host and the first act? And, when there is a legend in that first guest slot, they are limited to 1 song, but the second guest, who is usually a bigger name, is now getting 3?

On another Opry note, we have mentioned some of the Opry sponsors in the past, including the famous, "Jogging In A Jug". They just happen to be one of my all-time favorites. Now a sponsor on the Friday Night Opry, and also sponsoring on Tuesday night, is the "Low T Center" located in Brentwood, Tennessee. Yep, a men's testosterone clinic is now an Opry sponsor. So much for having national presenting sponsors on the Opry each week. In recent weeks, we have also seen the Country Music Hall of Fame return, along with Fiddler's Inn and Johnny Walker Tours. Makes you wonder if they are having trouble attracting sponsors.

Now for this week's archive show, I go back to Saturday November 17, 1990, 22 years ago this Saturday. On this particular night, Jim Ed Brown cancelled his appearance as he was admitted to St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville for heart by-pass surgery, while the TNN televised segment was hosted by Jack Greene and featured Suzy Bogguss.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Jimmy C Newman (host): Lafayette
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun Stripper/Jambalaya

6:45: Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Old Blue
Jeannie Seely: One Bad Old Memory
Grandpa Jones: When the Southbound Rolls Away

7:00: Shoney's
Jimmy Dickens (host): May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Never
Mel McDaniel: Take Me to the Country/Preaching Up A Storm/Stand Up
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her That Way

7:30: Standard Candy
Jack Greene (host): Walkin' On New Grass
Billy Grammer: Sittin' On Top of the World
Bill Carlisle: Leave that Liar Alone
Suzy Bogguss: All Things Made New Again/I Wanna Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Roy Acuff and All: Happy Birthday Glenn Davis
Connie Smith: The Keys in the Mailbox/Louisiana Man
Del Reeves: Wild Blood/Girl On The Billboard
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Snow Flake Reel

8:30: Pops Rite
Hank Snow (host): Conscience, I'm Guilty
Charlie Louvin: If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again
The Whites: Doing It By the Book
Mike Snider: Shuckin the Corn
Hank Snow: Born for You

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jimmy Dickens (host): Family Reunion
Roy Drusky: Somewhere My Love
Wilma Lee Cooper: Legend of the Dogwood Tree
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'/Muddy Water
Jimmy Dickens: What Will I Do Then

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Going Down The Country
Ray Pillow: Dim Lights, Thick Smoke/Too Many Memories
Grandpa Jones: It's Raining Here This Morning

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Bill Carlisle: I've Waited Too Long
Marshall Barnes: Tender Years
Roy Acuff: Ball Knob, Arkansas

10:30: Pet Milk
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
Mel McDaniel: Louisiana Saturday Night
Jimmy C Newman: (?)

10:45: B. C. Powder
Jack Greene (host): I Don't Believe I'll Fall In Love Today
Jan Howard: Somebody's Always Saying Goodbye
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durham's Bull
Jack Greene: What Locks the Door

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Paper Roses
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel
Justin Tubb: Texas Dance Hall Girl
The Whites: Fight on the Same Side/Swing Down Chariot
Hank Snow: I've Done At Least One Thing That Was Good In My Life

11:30: Creamette
Charlie Walker (host): San Antonio Rose
Connie Smith: Did We Have to Come This Far to Say Goodbye/How Great Thou Art
Johnny Russell: No One Will Ever Know
Charlie Walker: Silver Dew on the Bluegrass Tonight

This week's Midnight Jamboree archieve show will be hosted by Rhonda Vincent. Enjoy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bill Carlisle

I just wanted to take a moment and remember the late Bill Carlisle, who joined the Grand Ole Opry on November 14, 1953. Bill was a Grand Ole Opry member until he passed away on March 17, 2003, after 49 years of Opry membership.

Bill Carlisle was born in Briar Ridge, Kentucky but at the age of ten he moved with his family to Louisville. His father was a music teacher. Bill remembered listening to the Opry at an early age: "Dad taught do-re-me-fa notes in church, but us kids listened to the Grand Ole Opry on those battery-set radios with earphones. I don't know, to me it was always a great, great thing and I just felt that if I ever got on the Opry that was as far as I could go."

The Carlisle family band started on Louisville's WLAP radio. There was no pay involved and by the age of 22, he had his first record, "Rattlesnake Daddy" which was a hit on the Brunswick label. Bill worked with his brother Cliff and they moved around from radio station to radio station as they played out different areas. The journey ended at WNOX in Knoxville, Tennessee as they became regulars on "Midday Merry-Go-Round." Bill had a comedy character called 'Hotshot Elmer' which he featured on the show.

In 1952, Bill recorded "Too Old to Cut the Mustard" which led him to receive an invitation to appear on the Opry's "Prince Albert Show." After that, this is how Bill remembered it, "From there is where we started negotiating for me coming to the Opry full-time. They set a date for me to come down here and I turned in my notice at Knoxville. But then they decided at the Opry that they were going to wait for a while. In order to save face, I couldn't go back to WNOX, I just started to write letters. I wrote letters to, like, Wheeling and Shreveport, and most of them said they weren't looking for anybody. I told my wife, I'm going to write a song called 'No Help Wanted' and sure enough, I did, only I mixed up a little romance in it, and we recorded it. We went to the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport right after we recorded that song and in six weeks it was way up in the charts. Then we had 'Is That You Myrtle?' and 'Rough Stuff' and finally the Grand Ole Opry brought us in."

Over the years Bill would be known at the Opry as Bill Carlisle and the Carlisles, or as the Carlisles, depending on who was doing the announcing. His children Bill Carlisle, Jr and daughter Sheila were a main part of his group. In later years, Marshal Barnes would fill out the group. In the years after Marshall and Sheila, Joe Edwards and George Riddle would join Bill, Jr. to perform with Bill.

In September 2002, he along with Porter Wagoner, were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Bill's last Grand Ole Opry appearance was just 2 weeks before his death on March 17, 2003 at the age of 94.

November 18, 1978 would be the date for Bill Carlisle's 25th anniversary as an Opry member. Here is the running order of the show from that night.

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Washed My Hands In Muddy Water
Ernie Ashworth: The DJ Cried
Stonewall Jackson: My Favorite Sin

6:45: Rudy's
Jack Greene (host): Walking on New Grass
Jerry Clower: Claude Ledbetter Fishing With Dynamite
Jeannie Seely: Who Needs You
Jack Greene: Lord, I Need Somebody Bad Tonight

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ole Slewfoot
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Billy Grammer: Kentucky
Charlie Walker: T for Texas
David Houston: Best Friends Make the Worst Enemies
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong with the Way that We're Doing it Now
Porter Wagoner: I'm Gonna Feed You Now/Big Wind's A Comin'/On A Highway Headed South

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball/Tennessee Central No 9/Sunshine Special
Jean Shepard: Saturday Night Sin
Charlie Louvin: Without Love, A Fancy Place to Cry
Vic Willis & Curtis Young: Cool Water
Crook Brothers/Ralph Sloan Dancers: Durango's Hornpipe
Roy Acuff: That's the Man I'm Looking For

8:00: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): Eight More Miles to Louisville
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya/Happy Cajun
Wilma Lee Cooper: I Shall Not Be Moved
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Grandpa Jones: Kitty Klide

8:30: Shephens
Hank Snow (host): In the Misty Moonlight
4 Guys: Let Your Love Flow
Jimmy Dickens: Take An Ol' Cold Tater
Bill Carlisle: Jack of All Trades
Lonzo & Oscar: Family Bible
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Hank Snow: Storms Never Last

2nd show
9:30: Kelloggs
Jimmy C Newman (host): Thibodeaux & His Cajun Band
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Stonewall Jackson: My Favorite Sin
Charlie Walker: Lucille
Ernie Ashworth: You Can't Pick A Rose in December
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy Liggy Lo

10:00: Fender
Porter Wagoner (host): Ole Slewfoot
Skeeter Davis: He Will Be There
Vic Willis: Shenendoah
Porter Wagoner: Your Old Love Letters/Big Wind's A Comin'

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Minnie Pearl: You Are My Sunshine
Billy Grammer: Georgiana Moon
Roy Acuff: Don't Make Me Go to Bed, And I'll Be Good

10:30: Trailblazer
Grandpa Jones (host): Little Ol' Gal A' Waiting
Jean Shepard: Saturday Night Sin
David Houston: Best Friends Make The Worst Enemies
Del Wood: Cattle Call
Grandpa Jones: Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms

10:45: Beechnut
Charlie Louvin (host): Store Up Love
Justin Tubb: Cold Brown Bottle
Crook Brothers/Ralph Sloan Dancers: Arkansas Traveler
Charlie Louvin: Warm, Warm Woman

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Merry-Go-Round of Love
4 Guys: We Make Beautiful Music Together/My Special Angel
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Lonzo & Oscar: You're Not Musically Inclined
Kirk McGee: Milkcow Blues
Hank Snow: As Love Goes

11:30: Acme
Jerry Clower (host): A Chandelier for the Church
Wilma Lee Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith/Cheated Too
Bill Carlisle: Worried Man Blues
Marshall Barnes: Tender Years
Jerry Clower: Comedy

Lester Flatt was scheduled to host in both segments that Grandpa Jones was hosting. Thanks for taking the time with me to remember Bill Carlisle.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 11/9 & 11/10

The Grand Ole Opry continues its winter run at the Ryman Auditorium with 3 shows this weekend. In looking at the schedule, the highlight for me is the return of former Grand Ole Opry member Bobby Bare to the Opry stage, as he is scheduled for both shows on Saturday night. Bobby is now 77 and in my opinion, is one of the great singers and songwriters in the history of country music. This man should have been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame long ago. Bobby originally joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1965 after his hit record "Detroit City" became a country smash. Bobby did not stay at the Opry long as his career moved in other directions. In fact, his Opry stay was so short that most of his biographies do not even list his Opry membership.

Joining Bobby Bare on Saturday night will be Opry members Ricky Skaggs and Jean Shepard, who is scheduled to return to the Opry after cancelling out on last Saturday night's shows. The Friday Night Opry will feature Vince Gill and The Time Jumpers, The Grascals and the very talented Kathy Mattea.

Friday November 9
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Sunny Sweeney; Jim Ed Brown
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Grascals
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Kathy Mattea
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Jesse McReynolds; The Time Jumpers

Saturday November 10
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Kelleigh Bannen; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Mandy Barnett; Bobby Bare
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Charles Esten; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Riders In The Sky; Connie Smith

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Kelleigh Bannen; Jean Shepard
10:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mandy Barnett; Bobby Bare
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Charles Esten; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Riders In The Sky; Connie Smith

The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree continues with no live shows for November and the archived show this week will feature the Osborne Brothers. Should be another good one.

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, November 13:

7:00: Diamond Rio; Riders In The Sky
7:30: Miss Willie Brown; Jimmy Dickens
8:15: Jeannie Seely; Del McCoury Band
8:45: Billy Dean; Little Big Town

We should feel good that they have 5 Opry members on the Tuesday Night Show. As far as Friday and Saturday night, there are 8 Opry members on each show.

As far as this week's look back at Opry line-ups from the past, this Saturday night November 10th will mark the 39th anniversary of the final Grand Ole Opry show for Stringbean. After performing on the Opry that night, he along with his wife Estelle, were murdered by 2 men who were waiting at his home to rob him. David "Stringbean" Akeman was born on June 17, 1916 (although I have seen a couple of other dates) and grew up in eastern Kentucky. He was Bill Monroe's first banjo player, joining him in Nashville in 1942. That is also the year that the Opry has him becoming a member. He would also work with Lew Childre and Uncle Dave Macon. By 1952 he was working on the Opry as a solo act. He did not make any records until 1960, after which he did several for Starday Records. In 1969 he joined the cast of Hee Haw and became a household name. Hee Haw featured more of his comedy routines instead of his banjo playing and I think many people forgot what a great banjo player he was. His best friend and neighbor was fellow Hee Haw star and Opry member Grandpa Jones. He would continue on Hee Haw and on the Opry until his death in 1973. In my opinion, Stringbean is really one of the under appreciated stars in the history of country music. I do believe that if he had lived longer, he would have been appreciated as much as Grandpa Jones and Bill Carlisle, and he probably would have been elected to the Hall of Fame.

In memory of Stringbean, here is the running order and line-up from Saturday November 10, 1973, his final Grand Ole Opry show. (by the way, this show also featured Bobby Bare).

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Willis Brothers (host): Little Red Wagon
Johnny Carver: Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree
Willis Brothers: God Walks These Hills With Me

6:45: Rudy's
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Forget, Forgive Us #1
Bill Carlisle: Too Old To Cut the Mustard
Josie Brown: Precious Memories, Follow Me
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: When My Time Comes To Go

7:00: Rudy's
Tex Ritter (host): Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
Stringbean: Hillbilly Fever
Karen Wheeler: The First Time For Us
Tex Ritter: Green Grow the Lilacs
Stringbean: Y'all Come
Karen Wheeler: Listen, Spot
Tex Ritter: Fall Away

7:30: Standard Candy
Bobby Bare (host): Ride Me Down Easy
Jimmy Martin: Just Plain Yellow
Melba Montgomery: Crowdad Song
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Bobby Bare: The Streets of Baltimore
Jimmy Martin: Tennessee
Melba Montgomery: Wrap Your Love Around Me
Bobby Bare: Detroit City

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Grandpa Jones: Mountain Dew
Jimmy Driftwood: Run, Johnny, Run/Tennessee Stud
Roy Acuff: Wabash Cannonball
Grandpa Jones: Orange Blossom Special
Brother Oswald: Roll On, Buddy

8:30: Stephens
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Marion Worth: Paper Roses
Billy Grammer, Jr: Orange Blossom Special
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldier's Joy
Billy Grammer: I'm Letting You Go
Marion Worth: Me and Bobby McGee
Billy Grammer: Just A Closer Walk With Thee

2nd show
9:30: Kelloggs
Willis Brothers (host): Give Me 40 Acres
Johnny Carver: Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree
Jimmy Martin: Honey, You Don't Know My Mind
Josie Brown: Precious Memories, Follow Me
Skeeter Willis: Maiden's Prayer
Johnny Carver: Tonight Someone's Falling In Love
Jimmy Martin: Who'll Sing For Me When I'm Gone

10:00: Fender
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Little Darling Pal of Mine
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink On Me/No Help Wanted
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Coming Down From God

10:15: Union 76
Tex Ritter (host): There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself A Name/Hot Corn, Cold Corn
Tex Ritter: Willie, The Wondering Gypsy and Me

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Ball Knob, Arkansas
Grandpa Jones: Bright Morning Stars Are Rising
Jimmy Driftwood: The Mixed Up Family

10:45: Beechnut
Bobby Bare (host): Four Strong Winds
Karen Wheeler: The First Time for Us
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Bobby Bare: Detroit City

11:00: Coca-Cola
Billy Grammer (host): Bonaporte's Retreat
Melba Montgomery: Don't Keep Me Lonely Too Long
Billy Grammer, Jr.: Orange Blossom Special
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Melba Montgomery: Let's All Go Down to the River
Sam McGee: Worry, Worry Blues
Billy Grammer: What A Friend

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): I Walk Alone
Marion Worth: Paper Roses/Sleeping At the Foot of the Bed
Ronnie Robbins: Too Much Love Between Us/Mama Tried
Marty Robbins: Love Me/Big Boss Man/Crawling on My Knees/Don't Worry/El Paso

There you have it. Thanks for remembering Stringbean!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November Opry Highlights

As I do each month, there are the important and historical events that have taken place in the history of the Grand Ole Opry during the month of November.

November 2, 1925: George D. Hay began working at WSM radio in Nashville as the Radio Director. Later that month, he would start the WSM Barn Dance, which would later become known as the Grand Ole Opry. Hay would manage the show during its early years.

November 28, 1925: The WSM Barn Dance was broadcast for the first time. The show, which began at 8:00, was broadcast from the fifth-floor studio in the National Life and Accident Insurance Company's headquarters in downtown Nashville. The first broadcast featured a 77 year-old fiddler named Jimmy Thompson, who claimed to have known over 1,000 songs. "Tennessee Waggoner" was the first song played during the broadcast, which several years later would become known as the Grand Ole Opry.

November 2, 1948: Roy Acuff, the Republican candidate for Governor of Tennessee, was defeated. While Roy would not seek political office again, he would continue to campaign for Republican office seekers including Ronald Reagan and George Bush. During his 1948 campaign appearances, he would appear with his Smoky Mountain Boys and mix music with a political speech. The story goes that once the music stopped and the speeches began, the crowds would start to thin out.

November 13, 1949: The Grand Ole Opry sponsored its first overseas trip as a group of Grand Ole Opry performers traveled to England, Germany and the Azores as part of a USO sponsored tour. The Opry stars who made the trip were Roy Acuff, Rod Brasfield, Jimmy Dickens, Red Foley, Minnie Pearl and Hank Williams.

November 14, 1953: Bill Carlisle and the Carlisles joined the Grand Ole Opry. Bill had a nice career as a novelty singer and was one of the Opry's most loyal members. He came to Nashville from the Knoxville area, where he performed with Don Gibson, Chet Atkins, the Carter Family, Homer and Jethro, Carl Butler and Archie Campbell. Bill passed away on March 17, 2003, the year after he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was an Opry member for over 49 years.

November 21, 1955: Jean Shepard becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Jean will also be celebrating her birthday and wedding anniversary on this date. This will be Jean's 57th year as an Opry member, and of the current Opry cast, Jean has been at the Opry for the longest number of years consecutively.

November 3, 1956: Stonewall Jackson becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. While he will be celebrating his 56th year as an Opry member, Stonewall did leave the show between 1964 and 1969. I think everyone has heard the story before, but for those who have not, Stonewall just showed up outside the Opry one day and so impressed the folks with his singing that he was asked to become a member, even though he have never recorded a hit record. In the course of his career, Stonewall would have many hit records and would become one of the best true country music singers in history. Sadly, several years ago, Stonewall filed a lawsuit again Gaylord Entertainment and Opry manager Pete Fisher, claiming age discrimination and a lack of Opry appearances. Although still offered slots to perform on the Opry, including a show to recognize him for 50 years of Opry membership, he elected to stay away until the lawsuit was settled, which it eventually was in an out of court settlement. Stonewall returned to the Opry and his appearances increased in the first couple of years, but have since declined. On November 6, Stonewall will be celebrating his 80th birthday.

November 9, 1960: Hank Locklin becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Hank made his first Opry appearance on November 28, 1953 and would remain an Opry member until his death on March 8, 2009, after 48 years of Opry membership.

November 3, 1961: The Country Music Association announced the beginning of the Country Music Hall of Fame with the first group on inductees. Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose and Hank Williams were the first class, with Roy Acuff following the next year.

November 29, 1961: A group of Opry performers played a sold-out concert at Carneige Hall in New York city. Among the Opry members who were part of the show were Jim Reeves, Marty Robbins, Bill Monroe, Patsy Cline and Grandpa Jones. With a show like that, no wonder it sold out.

November 28, 1963: Willie Nelson joined the Grand Ole Opry. I should note that some publications list the date as December 6, but the 1963 date seems as good as any. Regardless, Willie did not last long as an Opry member as he constantly complained about the low pay and the Saturday night work. For those who remember, on that first night he was introduced by the wrong name. Back then, Willie had short hair and was clean shaven. He was also an outstanding writer. In 1972, Willie left Nashville to return to Texas where he established himself as country music's outlaw singer. Willie is still going at it today with one of the longest and most successful careers in country music history. Willie will still show up once in a great while at the Opry.

November 12, 1971: Construction officially began on the new Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland. While there were those worried if the crowds would continue to come to the Opry once it moved out of downtown, that would not be an issue. When the new Opry House opened in March 1974, it would be the first building built specifically for the Opry. Unless you are sitting way up in the balcony, it is a fine place to watch a show.

November 10, 1973: David Akeman, otherwise known professionally as "Stringbean" made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance. That night when he and his wife Estelle returned home after the Opry, they were ambushed and killed by two men who were waiting to rob them. The killers sat in his house and listened to the Opry on the radio so they could judge what time he would be home. The rumor at the time was that Stringbean, who did not believe in banks, kept his cash hidden in his cabin. Nothing was found, but over twenty years later when the house was worked on, $20,000 of rotten money was found within the walls of the home. The bodies of Stringbean and Estelle were found the next morning by Stringbean's neighbor and closest friend Grandpa Jones, who had gone to pick up Stringbean for a morning fishing trip. Grandpa was so shaken by the killings that he left Nashville for a number of years, moving to Arkansas where he operated a country music dinner theater. Roy Acuff and other Opry members called for the death penalty for the killers, who were quickly caught and sentenced to long prison terms. Not only was Stringbean famous for his work at the Opry, but he was also one of the stars of Hee Haw and one of the best banjo players in Nashville. Opry announcer Grant Turner remembered Stringbean's final night at the Opry. "I'll never forget that night. I saw Grandpa Jones and Ramona talking with Stringbean and his wife. There were having so much fun; they were planning to go fishing. I was going to stop and say something to them, but they were busy talking. That was just a short time before Stringbean and his wife......." On another note, Stringbean was an early member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys.

November 21, 1985: Reba McEntire became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This was her first Opry show as a member, as she actually joined the show on November 14, as part of the Opry's 60th anniversary special on CBS. This will be Reba's 27th year as an Opry member, which might be more than the actual number of Opry appearances that Reba has made since becoming an Opry member.

November 3, 1990: Minnie Pearl was honored on her 50th year as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. She joined the show in November 1940.

November 15, 1992: The Grand Ole Opry is inducted into the Museum of Broadcast Communication's Radio Hall of Fame.

November 23, 1992: Grand Ole Opry star and Country Music Hall of Fame member Roy Acuff passed away in Nashville, one month after his final Grand Ole Opry appearance. His influence on the Opry and country music in general can never be overstated. Thanks in large part to Acuff-Rose publishing, Nashvill moved to the forefront of country music and his publishing company have country music songwriters and entertainers a place to publish and claim ownership of their material without going to New York. It is ironic that one of the younger entertainers who have tried to carry on the Opry tradition as Roy Acuff would have wanted was Marty Stuart, who became an Opry member on the Saturday following his death. There are many who feel that the death of Roy Acuff was the first nail in the coffin that has led to the decline at the Opry over the past several years.

November 28, 1992: Marty Stuart becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 20th year as an Opry member and he will be honored for his 20 years as an Opry member on Saturday December 8. Marty, along with Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill, has done much to carry on the tradition at the Opry and have generally supported the show.

November 27, 1993: Joe Diffie becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 19th year as an Opry member. I am sure he is already looking forward to his 20th year to see if he will have a night in his honor.

November 30, 1995: Martina McBride becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry during a CBS television special that celebrated the Opry's 70th anniversary. This will be Martina's 17th year as an Opry member. Loretta Lynn, who has been a big influence on Martina's career, handled the Opry induction. I have repeated the story before, but I will always remember Martina's Opry appearance earlier that year when she was invited to perform as a guest artist on the Opry's 70th birthday show, which was televised by TNN. Martina was the final performer on the televised segment before the cake came out and Martina sang two ballads that ran long, causing the Happy Birthday singing and cake rollout having to be delayed until the next segment, which was not televised. There were many unhappy views at home waiting for the cake and many unhappy Opry members, who were looking forward to coming out on stage, on television, with the cake. Martina was crestfallen afterwards, believing that she blew any chance to become an Opry member, which was one of her dreams. He apologized to everyone and the following month, her dream came true.

November 23, 1996: Trace Adkins makes his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. 7 years later on August 23, 2003, he would become an Opry member.

November 7, 1998: Jimmy Dickens is honored for 50 years of Opry membership, originally joining the Opry in August 1948. It should be mentioned, and I always do, that Jimmy left the Opry for 18 years, rejoining the show in 1975. So while he has been an Opry member since 1948, which is 64 years, he has not been an actual Opry member all of those years. (If you need a clarification, just ask Jean Shepard who is very careful and accurate about her Opry history). Anyways on that night, Carl Smith, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare and Bill Anderson joined Jimmy on his special night.

November 23, 2000: Dolly Parton and Vince Gill hosted a CBS television special to celebrate the Grand Ole Opry's 75th anniversary.

November 30, 2002: Tim McGraw makes his first appearance on the Opry. Although he would never become an Opry member, he has made a couple of Opry appearances over the years.

November 17, 2003: Grand Ole Opry member Don Gibson passed away in Nashville. Don was one of the greatest songwriters in country music history and had joined the Grand Ole Opry on May 20, 1958. He was fired from the Opry in 1964 for failing to meet the appearance requirements, but returned to the show several years later. However after his return, he made very few Opry appearances. Don dealt with many personal problems in his life and in 2001 was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Sadly, he never acknowledged his Hall of Fame induction and I am told that he never visited the Hall to view his plaque.

November 14, 2005: The Grand Ole Opry returns to Carneige Hall in New York for a 3rd time to perform an Opry show. This was featured on a GAC special and has been released on DVD. This performance was part of the Opry's 80th anniversary. The performers on this show included Trace Adkins, Bill Anderson, Jimmy Dickens, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride,
Brad Paisley, Charley Pride, Ricky Skaggs and Trisha Yearwood.

November 8, 2008: Actor Kevin Costner and his country band, Modern West, perform on the Opry for the first time. They have been back.

November 14, 2009: For the first time, the Opry streams part of its show on MySpace. The show featured Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, Jake Owen and Rodney Atkins. The show had numerous technical flaws and problems, but despite the issues, the Opry would repeat this again.