Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, May 21:
7:00: Diamond Rio; John Conlee
7:30: Mandy Barnett; Easton Corbin
8:15: Bill Anderson; Angie Johnson
8:45: Craig Morgan; Lee Greenwood
Here is the line-up for Opry Country Classics, May 23:
Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Oak Ridge Boys
Featuring: Lynn Anderson; Mandy Barnett; Leroy Van Dyke; Billy Yates
The name that catches my eye when looking at the 2 line-ups is that of former Grand Ole Opry member Leroy Van Dyke.
Leroy joined the Opry in 1962. His ticket to the Opry stage was his 1961 hit "Walk On By", which won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. He came from Spring Fork, Missouri and was a graduate of the University of Missouri with degrees in animal husbandry and journalism. He also attended livestock auctioneer school in Decatur, Illinois. Leroy was not considered a pure country singer, but a product of the "Nashville Sound."
He was born on October 4, 1929 and during his career he only had 3 Top 10 country hits. In addition to "Walk On By", which was #1 for 19 weeks on Billboard's country charts, he had "The Auctioneer", which was released in 1956. This was a song that he co-wrote with his Uncle. His final hit was "If A Woman Answers (Hang Up the Phone)", which went to #3 in 1962. In addition to hitting the country charts, all 3 also landed on the pop charts.
After serving in the Army during the Korean War, he performed for three years on the Ozark Jubilee in Springfield, Missouri and appeared on Arthur Godfrey's CBS television show. He was on DOT Records from 1956 to 1958, and then moved to Mercury Records, where he remained until 1968.
As I mentioned, he was a part of the "Nashville Sound" and he helped to usher in a new era of sophisticated country entertainers. He was among the first to perform in tux at posh nightclubs such as the Playboy Clubs and he was a big headliner in Las Vegas. After his career faded away, he moved to Branson, Missouri and performed there.
Leroy did not stay at the Opry very long, but when he was there he was a popular segment host. Even after he left the Opry as a member, he still make visits to the show, such as he is doing this week. At the age of 83, he still looks and sounds great and can does not miss a beat when doing "The Auctioneer." A couple of years back, I saw him doing an Opry Country Classics Show and he was the highlight of the night.
It is nice to see Leroy back at the Opry and I know he is scheduled for another appearance in September.