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.


  1. Thank YOU, Byron, for this blog and the great information about the past and present that you pass along.

    And thanks for the lineups. Wouldn't Leroy Van Dyke have been a guest on the 1961 show, as well as Loretta Lynn?

    And am I correct that the only Opry members with longer tenure than Jean Shepard have been Herman and Lewis Crook, and Kirk McGee?

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and all of the other country music lovers around here!

  2. Bill Monroe had 56 or 57 years (1939-1996). Jean Shepard may have even passed him by now.

  3. David, Mr. Monroe debuted on October 28, 1939, and died on September 9, 1996, so he fell just short of 57 years. Charlie Louvin died just short of his 56th anniversary.

  4. Herman Crook made his 1st Opry/Barn Dance appearance on July 24, 1926. For the rest of 1926 and through 1927, they made occasional appearances, and starting in 1928, they were on pretty much every week.

    Lewis Crook became a part of the Crook Brothers in the fall of 1929.

    Kirk McGee first played the Opry on May 4, 1929. During those early years he played a short time with the Crook Brothers and then was with the Dixieliners.

    Herman Crook died June 11, 1988 and was the last original member of the Opry. He had last played the Opry the week before he died. That would have left him just short of 62 years at the Opry.

    Lewis Crook died in June 1997, which would have placed him at close to 68 years, but his Opry appearances were pretty infrequent in his later years.

    Kirk McGee died in October 1983, which would have put him at just over 54 years.

    Remember that back in the early days, they were not called members, but were given the status of regular performers.

  5. Byron, I'd never really realized the difference. But I thought that Sam and Kirk were there from almost the beginning (1926), so as usual, I've learned something from you! If we do want to draw the "performance" distinction and say that someone performed there regularly, Bashful Brother Oswald presents an interesting case: he was on the Opry from January 1939 until his death in late 2002. As with Lewis Crook, health issues prevented him from appearing at the end. But he also would have been off the Opry when Mr. Acuff took his "sabbatical," so he wouldn't have 63 consecutive years, but if we figure it from the time Mr. Acuff came back in 1947, Oswald was a performer and then member for 55 years, which still puts him way up there.

  6. Good posts and great history

  7. Mike, you got me checking regarding Kirk McGee and the date I posted was the date that he was first listed as a performer on the program, either WSM Barn Dance or Opry.

    So I did some further checking and found that Sam McGee first appeared on the Barn Dance during the first part of 1926, with Kirk appearing later that same year. 1929 was the first time that the McGee Brothers were listed in the program. So taking the 1926 date for Kirk, that would put him at about 57 and a half years.

  8. To reply to some previous messages on here regarding Hall Of Fame inductions & why some are not in the HOF.

    This is a very interesting observation. I have to totally disagree with your analysis of the Wilburn Brothers not being in the HOF. I agree that they should have been in there years ago due to their many hits, ground breaking TV show & music agency that helped several others in country music at that time. I have been with Loretta & her family members a lot thru the years , even worked for them awhile & I can assure you I have never heard Loretta or any of her children say one hurtful word regarding the Wilburns. The Wilburn clan, what's left of them, has attended parties at the Ranch more than once, which were by invitation only, they talk to each other & both respect each other. I think Loretta would be thrilled to see Teddy & Doyle in the HOF. Sure, they had some legal issues 40 yrs. ago that drug on forever, which by the way is the reason for them not being portrayed in the movie ( it was their choice I'm told ). Loretta was placed in some very uncomfortable situations more than once due to the behavior of them sometimes & I won't say more about that BUT she has never denied to anyone that they helped her out a lot. Just a few years ago she did still have a picture of their mother on her wall because she has stated more than once that she helped her out so much with her dresses, make up etc etc etc Likewise, if you look at the Wilburn Brothers office, they have pictures of Loretta everywhere.
    Sometimes artists just get overlooked for one reason or another in the HOF selection but I can assure you, ( I'd bet the house ) that Loretta is not the reason The Wilburn Brothers are not in there. The source in Nashville that thinks that is incorrect. Loretta is loved all over the world & maybe at one time did have a lot of influence with the CMA during her prime but then when she recorded "Van Lear Rose" & had all sorts of recognition with it there was a push to get her nominated for a CMA award but that didn't happen so currently there is not a lof of influence with her & the CMA. She did win a Grammy for that recording though & she stated that she thought Nashville thought she was too country. Thank goodness we do still have some country artists left in Nashville.

  9. A couple of comments regarding the Opry last night. 1st, T.G. Sheppard was great on both shows. Nice of Jean Shepard to get him to do a 3rd song. He has made a few Opry apperances lately and it would not do the Opry any harm to make him a member.

    Jean Shepard sounded great on both shows. She had been ill last week so I was curious on whether she would show or not, and if she did, how she would do. Eddie did mention her birthday, anniversary and Opry anniversary. He did mention 57 years. It would have been nice if he would have mentioned that it was 57 consecutive years, unlike Jimmy Dickens, but then if he had mentioned it, it would have ruined his introductions for Jimmy.

    And speaking of Jimmy Dickens, for about the 3 week in a row, he sounded pretty weak and hoarse. Perhaps it is time to take a weekend or two off and rest the voice. I know he has these spells once in a while over the past couple of years, and it seems when he takes some time off, he comes back strong.

    Stu Phillips was on last night during the 2nd show. Still not sounding all that great, but better than he did a year ago. Personally, I would like to see him on the Opry more, but I think all we are going to get is a half-dozen shows a year from Stu.

    Eamonn McCrystal from Ireland was outstanding, as was the Annie Moses Band on Friday night. Not true country, but awesome.

    All it all, it was a good Opry weekend.

  10. I listened and was pained about Stu Phillips, but he was better. All in all, indeed, a good weekend, but am I correct that Too Slim was missing?