Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 12/21 &12/22

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the Friday Night Opry and the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night, with 1 show each night. This is the weekend before Christmas and historically the shows are pretty good and considering what we get from the Opry on some weekends, the shows this weekend are looking fairly good.

The Friday Night Opry will feature The Band Perry, along with the great Gene Watson. Also on Friday you have comedian Chonda Pierce, along with Opry members Ricky Skaggs and Bill Anderson. Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will feature Opry members Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs, along with guest artists Ashley Monroe, Elizabeth Cook and Keith & Kristyn Getty.

Friday December 21
7:00: John Conlee (host); Gwen Sebastian; Chonda Pierce
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Restless Heart
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Gene Watson
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; The Band Perry

Saturday December 22
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Elizabeth Cook; Connie Smith
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy Wayne
8:15: Vince Gill (host); Riders In The Sky; Ashley Monroe; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); George Hamilton IV; The Whites; Keith & Kristyn Getty

I do want to recognize the fact that on December 23rd, Jack Greene will be celebrating his 45th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member. Sadly, Jack is too ill to perform on the Opry, making his last Opry appearance last December. In 1961 Jack had joined Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadors as the drummer. A while later, he began opening shows and in 1964 he had his first chart record, "The Last Letter". In late 1966 he had his career making record, "There Goes My Everything", which was #1 for many weeks, and the album with the same name was #1 for almost a year. In 1967, he won the CMA's Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year. The singles continued into the mid 1970s, and then his career dropped off. He also had several successful duets with Jeannie Seely. Even though his chart success ended, Jack remained a popular attraction on the road and was a very loyal Grand Ole Opry member. In January, Jack will be celebrating his 83rd birthday.

Here is the Opry line-up from Saturday December 23, 1967, the night Jack Greene joined the Grand Ole Opry:

7:30: Roy Drusky (host); Jean Shepard; Willis Brothers; Stu Phillips; Stingbean; Charlie Walker; Jeannie Seely
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Dottie West; Harold Weakley; Osborne Brothers; Del Wood; Crook Brothers
8:30: Bobby Lord (host); George Hamilton IV; Ernie Ashworth; Archie Campbell; Margie Bowes; Grandpa Jones
9:00: Ernest Tubb (host); Bill Monroe; Skeeter Davis; Jack Greene; Bill Carlisle; Loretta Lynn; Fruit Jar Drinkers
9:30: Hank Snow (host); Willis Brothers; Lonzo & Oscar; 4 Guys; Del Reeves; Cousin Jody; Harold Weakley
10:00: Bobby Lord (host); Jean Shepard; Stringbean; Ernie Ashworth
10:15: Porter Wagoner (host); Grandpa Jones; Del Wood
10:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Dottie West; Cousin Jody
10:45: Ernest Tubb (host); Margie Bowes; Jack Greene; Crook Brothers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Skeeter Davis; Del Reeves; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Osborne Brothers; Sam McGee
11:30: Marty Robbins (host); Bill Monroe; Bill Carlisle; Loretta Lynn; Lonzo & Oscar

I have 2 other line-ups to share for the Christmas season. The first one is from December 23, 1950, 62 years ago, and 17 years prior to Jack Greene's Opry night. (I have printed the line-up exactly as it appeared on the program for that night, misspelled words and all):

7:30: Warren Pain & Color Co.
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Lew Childre: Jingle Bells
Jug Band: Old McDonald Had a Farm
Gang: Precious Memories
Jimmy Riddle: Casey Jones

7:45: American Ace Coffee
Roy Acuff (host): Leaf of Love
Joe Zinkas: Four Leaf Clover
Uncle Dave and Doris: Connon County Hills
Girls: Remember Me
Oswald: Rice on Buddy
Benny: Arkansas Traveler

8:00: Martha White
Ernest Tubb (host): Throw You Love My Way
Jimmy Dickens: To Be Selected
Chester Atkins: To Be Selected
June Carter: Oh For Crying Out Loud
Hank Snow: Golden Rocket
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Ernest Tubb: Christmas
Maybelle: Glory Special
Jimmy Dickens: To Be Selected
Ernest Tubb: Till the End of the World

8:30: Fortune Feeds
Cowboy Copas (host): Filipino Baby
Bill Monroe: To Be Selected
Possum Hunters: To Be Selected
George Morgan: To Be Selected
Wally Fowler: To Be Selected
Anita and Chet: To Be Selected
Carl Smith: I Overlooked an Orchid
Cowboy Copas: From the Manger to the Cross
Bill Monroe: Uncle Pin

9:00: Royal Crown Cola
Jimmy Riddle: Put Your Arms Around Me
Roy Acuff (host): We Planted Flowers on Our Darlings Grave
Lonzo and Oscar: I Lisp When I Say Ethica
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Goodbye Liza Jane
Jamup and Honey: Jokes
Hank Williams: Moaning the Blues
Jug Band: Uncle Noah's Ark
Roy Acuff: Glory Bound Train

9:30: Prince Albert
Red Foley (host): Here Comes Santa Claus
Foley Girls: Winter Wonderland
Dance: Chicken Reel
Jordaneers: The First Noel
Red Foley: Silent Night
Old Hickory Singers: Deck the Halls
Rod Brasfield: Jokes
Minnie Pearl : Jokes
String Beans: Here Rattler
Red Foley: Frosty the Snow Man
Fiddle Tune: Devil's Dream

10:00: Wallrite
Bill Monroe (host): I Saw a Star
Wally Fowler: To Be Selected
George Morgan: To Be Selected
Bill Monroe: A Call from On High
Bill Monroe: Blue Grass Stomp

10:15: Dr. Le Gear
Roy Acuff (host): When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold
Uncle Dave: Wish You All Well
Gang: Life's Railway to Heaven
Le Croix: White Christmas
Benny Martin: Katy Hill

10:30: Jefferson Island Salt
Ernest Tubb (host): I Love You Because
Jimmy Dickens: Blondes, Brunettes, Red Heads
Chester Atkins: Canned Heat
Carl Smith: This Side of Heaven
Jordanaires: One Day
Ernest Tubb: Remember I'm the One Who Loves You
June Carter: Bashful Rascal
Gully Jumpers: Hoot Man
Bob Eaton: Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Dickens: Out of Business
Ernest Tubb: To Be Selected

11:00: Blevins Popcorn
Hank Williams (host): Why Don't You Love Me
Lew Childre: To Be Selected
Autrey: To Be Selected
Hank Williams: Nobody's Lonesome for Me

11:15: Baby Blues Eyes Doll
Cowboy Copas (host): Steppin Out
Sam and Kirk: Long John Green
Lazy Jim Day: Singing the News
Fiddle: To Be Selected

11:30: Weather House
Hank Snow (host): Will There Be a Santa Claus
Annie Lou and Danny: Hear Dem Bells in Heaven
Crook Brothers: Soldiers Joy
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On
Crook Bros: Cumberland Gap

11:45: Rat Poison
George Morgan (host): To Be Selected
Lonzo and Oscar: Cotton Eyed Joe
Fruit Jar: Cacklin Hen
Geo. Morgan: To Be Selected
Fruit Jar: To Be Selected

(Not to take anything away from those who printed the programs back then, but you have to wonder who did the proof reading!! So many errors. And, what about Rat Poison as an Opry sponsor? Finally, if you notice where some of the acts were placed, you could tell that some were not long for the Opry. Lazy Jim Day along with Annie Lou and Danny with just one spot late in the evening).

Now, I want to move forward 10 years to Saturday December 24, 1960, which was Christmas Eve. Notice the difference in sponsors and artists in just a 10 year span:

7:30: Pet Milk
Cowboy Copas (host); Louvin Brothers; Billy Grammer; Patsy Cline; Stonewall Jackson; Carlisles; Bobby Lord
8:00: Martha White
Don Gibson (host); Wilburns; Wilma Lee & Stoney; Grandpa Jones; Del Wood; Margie Bowes; Crook Brothers
8:30: Prince Albert
Hank Snow (host); Archie Campbell; George Morgan; Jordainaires; Chet Atkins; Minnie Pearl; Stringbean
9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Ernest Tubb (host); Ferlin Husky; Skeeter Davis; Cousin Jody: Bill Monroe; Minnie Pearl; Glaser Brothers; Fruit Jar Drinkers
9:30: Stephens
Marty Robbins (host): Hawkshaw Hawkins; Roy Drusky; Lonzo & Oscar; Jean Shepard; Carl Butler; Billy Walker
10:00: Black Draught
Don Gibson (host): Wilburns; Del Wood
10:15: Frosty Morn
Cowboy Copas (host); Margie Bowes; Grandpa Jones
10:30: Jamison
Ernest Tubb (host): Louvin Brothers; Billy Grammer
10:45: De Con
George Morgan (host): Stonewall Jackson; Patsy Cline; Crook Brothers
11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Carl Butler; Lonzo & Oscar; Stringbean; Jordanaires; Sam and Kirk; Fruit Jars
11:30: Phillips & Buttorff
Marty Robbins (host); Skeeter Davis; Cousin Jody
11:45: National Life
Hawkshaw Hawkins (host); Bill Monroe; Jean Shepard

Quite a change in 10 years and when you compare 1960 with 1967, there were lots more changes.

On a final note, best wishes and positive thoughts go to former Grand Ole Opry member Margie Bowes, who has been battling some serious health issues. We wish her well.


  1. Byron, those are GREAT. I'd take any of those lineups.

    As for Saturday night, I am in shock. All the way up to TEN members! Must be an emergency.

  2. I have often thought that Chonda Pierce could bring that "clean" rural humor back to the Opry. I'm glad to see her given a spot on Friday night.

  3. Fred, Bismarck:

    Agree about Pierce, David -- and I used to see her on the Opry way back in TNN days. I wonder why Fischer is so slow with people like her, Gene Watson and others.

    Is it that members cost Gaylord so much? (Health insurance came up on an earlier thread.) If that is so, Gaylord could save a lot of money by clearing out all the dead wood that never shows up to give the Opry any return.

  4. Fred, right now union scale to do the Opry is right around $300. Many members do stay for the benefits that they receive. When you are charging $56 for a prime seat, I think Gaylord can afford it.

  5. I think it was a beautiful Opry moment tonight when The Potato ended his segment early because Connie Smith wasn't there, and then she showed up late in Bill Anderson's portion. THAT was the Opry.

  6. Fred, Bismarck:

    Beautiful, indeed, Michael, reminiscent of that old Opry spontaneity. Appropriate too that she should pop up on Anderson's segment. Those two go back only 50 years!

  7. And I think she even once said that Whisper "invented" her, which isn't far from the truth. All of us owe him for that one ... especially Marty!

  8. And not only did they fit Connie into Bill's segment, but she sang such a beautiful Christmas song. In fact, listening to the entire show last night, I thought it was one of the best Opry shows in a while. I was particularly impressed with the half hour that Bill Anderson hosted. Well done.

    And it was especially nice to hear Jimmy do the recitation So well done and touching.

    There is something magical about the Opry at Christmas time and it was brought out last night.