Thursday, February 7, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 2/8 & 2/9

Before getting into the Grand Ole Opry line-up for this week, a couple of notes regarding some past Grand Ole Opry performers:

Richard Garratt, a partner and founding member of The Four Guys, passed away on February 3rd. There was no cause of death listed. He was part of the original group that joined the Opry on April 13, 1967. The other original members were Sam Wellington, Berl Lyons and Brent Burkett. He remained a part of The Four Guys into the early 1970s, when he left and was replaced by Dave Rowland, who would later have success with the group, "Dave & Sugar." After Dave left the group, Richard rejoined, staying for a few years until the majority of the group fired him as there were differences.

Also passing away this week was Sonny Day, who was a member of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys. Sonny played accordian and was instrumental in helping to create the unique Acuff sound in the 1940s. He was featured on the original recording of "Wabash Cannonball" and starred with Acuff in the movie "Night Train to Memphis." He also performed with Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline, Tanya Tucker and Vince Gill. He also received a star on the Walkway of the Stars at the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1981. After the movie with Roy, Sonny left the Smoky Mountain Boys in an effort to achieve his own solo success. For a time he had a show on WEOL radio in Elyria, Ohio. After that, he worked for various people in the music history.

As far as the Opry this weekend, one of the Opry's long lost members is returning to the show and that is Lorrie Morgan, who will be hosting segments on Friday and Saturday night. I was doing a little checking and in 1985, right after she joined the Opry, she was on 130 times. By 1989, she was down to 43 appearances and by 1991, she was down to just 5, as her solo career began to finally take off. She would not it double digits again in Opry appearances until 2000 when he made 12 appearances. Last year she was on the Opry just 5 times. Hopefully 2013 will be different.

Also appearing on both shows this weekend is Ricky Skaggs. Including this weekend, there have been 12 Opry shows so far in 2013 and Ricky has been on 7 of those. That is an impressive start to the year, and it is nice to see Ricky really stepping up his Opry shows over the past several years.

In addition to Lorrie and Ricky, the Friday Night Opry will include guest appearances by The Isaacs, Kellie Pickler and Lee Greenwood, who is celebrating the 30 year anniversary of his recording of "God Bless the USA." Saturday night's show will feature frequent Opry guests Darryl Worley and Restless Heart. And no Jimmy Dickens again this weekend.

Friday February 8
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; John Conlee
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; The Isaacs
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Striking Matches; Lee Greenwood
8:45: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jesse McReynolds; Kellie Pickler

Saturday February 9
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Craig Campbell; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Restless Heart; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Darryl Worley

This week's look back in Grand Ole Opry history goes to February 7, 1981, which is the night John Conlee joined the Opry. He will mark his 32nd year as an Opry member by appearing on Friday night. Like many of those who joined during this era, his Opry appearances were few and far between for the first dozen or so years that he was a member. However, as his touring and hit making days have slowed down, he has become more of an Opry regular, setting a good example for others from his generation.

Congratulations to John Conlee for 32 years of Opry membership and here is the line-up from Saturday February 7, 1981, the night John Conlee joined the Grand Ole Opry.

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Ernie Ashworth: Mind Your Own Business
Stonewall Jackson: Ol' Chunk of Coal

6:45: Rudy's
Charlie Walker (host): Crazy Arms
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With the Way that We're Doing It Now
Bill Carlisle: Knothole
Charlie Walker: Don't Play Me No Songs About Texas

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Jimmy Dickens: Take An Old Cold Tater
John Conlee: She Can't Say That Anymore/What I Had With You/Rose Colored Glasses
Connie Smith: When God Dips His Love In My Heart
Porter Wagoner: What I've Always Wanted/On A Highway Headed South

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Jim & Jesse: Truck Stops and Pretty Girls
Vic Willis Trio: Last Cheater's Waltz
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Durang's Hornpipe
Roy Acuff: That's The Man I'm Looking For

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): I Love You Drops
Skeeter Davis: The Rose
Wilburn Brothers: Making Plans
Ray Pillow: Countryfried
Lonzo & Oscar: Green, Green Grass of Home
Bill Anderson: Mr. Peepers

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): Storms Never Last
4 Guys: Fire
Charlie Louvin: Mama's Angels
Roy Drusky: Don't It Make You Want to Go Home
Stu Phillips: I Will
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Bailey
Hank Snow & Kelly Foxton: Check

2nd show
9:30: Kelloggs
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
4 Guys: Swing Down, Chariot
Jimmy Dickens: John Henry
Billy Grammer: When Your Hair has Turned to Silver
David Houston: My Lady
Two's Company: How Can I Help You Forgive Me
Porter Wagoner: On A Highway Headed South

10:00: Little Debbie
Jack Greene (host): I Need Somebody Bad Tonight
John Conlee: Back Side of Thirty/Rose Colored Glasses
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): I Couldn't Believe it was True
Jan Howard: Good Hearted Woman
Bill Carlisle: Same Old Tale that the Crow Told Me
Carol Lee Singers: A Song That Holy Angels Cannot Sing
Howdy Forrester & Jimmy Riddle: Limerock

10:30: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): One More Sexy Lady
Jean Shepard: You Still Have A Place in my Heart
Jim & Jesse: The Rider in the Rain
Bill Anderson: Golden Guitar

10:45: Beech-Nut
Charlie Louvin (host): See the Big Man Cry
Connie Smith: Love Lifted Me
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travlers: Black Mountain Rag
Charlie Louvin: She Is

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Old Shep
Skeeter Davis: Isn't It Always Love
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Stu Phillips: Born to Be A Man
Kirk McGee: Blue Night
Kelly Foxton: Make the World Go Away

11:30: Bama
Roy Drusky (host): Strangers
Lonzo & Oscar: Blue Kentucky Home/Boogie Grass Band
Ray Pillow: Bubbles In My Beer/Too Many Memories
Opry Staff Band: Buckaroo
Roy Drusky: The Last Farewell/One Day at A Time

Again, congratulations to John Conlee!!


  1. Been seeing more and more of the Isaacs. I personally like them a lot. Future members????

    Nice to see the note about Roy Acuff singing "That's The Man I'm Looking For". My late grandmother would listen every week in hopes that would be his closing number. Just one of my many Opry memories I have growing up in the Missouri Ozarks in the 1980's and 1990's.

  2. Congratulations to John Conlee, who has been a fine Opry member and could sing with a symphony or a punk band and not sound anything but country.

    At least 30 members that night in 1981. And I hope Lorrie and Ricky are indeed part of a trend.

  3. Eighteen wheels Rollin, Rollin
    Takin’ me down the line
    Truck stops in my memory
    Pretty girls on my mind

    That Jim and Jesse song on the 7:30 show brings back good memories. I love Jesse but I sure miss Jim. Although I had listened for years, my younger brother and I had just started listening every weekend and recording about this time. This is my fondest time of actually listening to the Opry live. And there is Kirk McGee in that 11:00 slot!

    There may be those who say there was not enough star power on a show like this but it was top quality performance all the way down the line.

    Thanks for another great line up Byron.

    Knighsville, IN

  4. Jim, you take me back to the line I heard about him and Bobby Osborne, that they could sing so high, only dogs could hear them. From all I've heard about Jim McReynolds, a real gentleman, too.

  5. Michael,

    Jesse is a great guy too but is more quit than Jim was. Jim would stand and talk to you a long time as long as you were sensible and polite. I think Jim was more into the old songs and less adventurous with his music than Jesse but one of the best tenors ever. But then Jesse is a master of his instrument and I think those types have broader minds in musical taste. My brother and I are close but music is our greatest bond and I often tear up when I listen to live performances of Jim and Jesse especially from the 80's when we just kids. I'm a sentimental sort!

    Jim and Jesse were and Jesse still is a class act. They were professionals in every aspect of their career and great to their fans.

    Knightsville, IN

  6. Jim, if you think about it, so many brother acts have run into problems. Think of the Everly and Glaser brothers. Someone on Jim's website once asked a question about Tompall and he replied that he does not discuss him. While I'd known there were problems between the Louvins, it took Charlie's marvelous autobiography to figure out how bad it was (not to mention his account of Little Jimmy Dickens in one fight and Jimmy C. Newman breaking up one between Ira and Charlie). Then you have the Osbornes and the McReynolds, who undoubtedly had their disagreements--don't we all?--but there never seemed to be a hint of a problem. I read that Jim handled the business, which, I guess, also left Jesse time to be as musically adventurous and varied as he has been. And it would appear that Jim was just fine with it. But, Jim, I get sentimental watching footage of the Crook Brothers perform for the Stoney Mountain Cloggers, so I may be worse than you are!

  7. Fred, Bismarck:

    Here's seconding (or thirding) the greatness of Jim & Jesse. When I hear them on "Grave in the Valley" or "When It's Time for the Whippoorwill to Sing," among others, I simply cannot be quiet.