Thursday, June 20, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 6/21 & 6/22

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend, along with the upcoming Tuesday and Wednesday shows.

As far as the shows for this weekend, there is really nothing special to say about them. The Friday Night Opry will feature guest appearances by Elizabeth Cook, Mandy Barnett, Chuck Wicks, Exile and Joey + Rory, along with a host of Opry veterans. The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night will feature a guest appearance by Moe Bandy, along with Andy Griggs, Striking Matches, Sarah Darling and Jimmy Wayne.

Friday June 21:
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Elizabeth Cook; Jimmy C Newman; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Mandy Barnett
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); George Hamilton IV; Jean Shepard; Chuck Wicks
8:45: Larry Gatlin (host); Joey + Rory; Exile

Saturday June 22:
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Andy Griggs; Mike Snider
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Striking Matches
8:15: John Conlee (host); Jan Howard; Sarah Darling; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Jimmy Wayne; Moe Bandy

As far as the Tuesday Night Opry, June 25, Opry member Dierks Bentley will be making one of his rare Opry appearances, along with Opry member Terri Clark. Here is the line-up for that show:

7:00: Terri Clark; Del McCoury Band
7:30: John Conlee; Ricky Skaggs
8:15: Dailey & Vincent; Kacey Musgraves
8:45: Dierks Bentley

And finally, we have the Wednesday Night Opry on June 26 with the following artists:

7:00: Keith Anderson; Larry Gatlin
7:30: Sara Haze; Aaron Tippin
8:15: Bill Anderson; Matthew West
8:45: Ricky Skaggs

For this week's look back at past Grand Ole Opry shows, I have the line-up from June 21, 1958, 55 years ago this weekend. As usual, there was 1 show that Saturday night.

7:30: Nabisco
Roy Acuff (host): Once More
June Webb: As Long As I Live
Justin Tubb: If You'll Be My Love
Roy Acuff: Won't It Be Wonderful
Howdy Forrester: Indian Creek

7:45: Sessions Peanut Butter
Marty Robbins (host): Stairway of Love
Carl Butler: Blues Come Around
Jordanaires: Working on a Building
Marty Robbins: Just Married
Fiddle Tune: Old Joe Clark

8:00: Martha White
Flatt and Scruggs (host): Salty Dog Blues
Don Gibson: Oh Lonesome Me
Hawkshaw Hawkins: I'll Get even With You
Jean Shepard: Jealous Heart
Flatt and Scruggs: Big Black Train
Possum Hunters: Tennessee Wagoner
Carlisles: Oh Boy
Del Wood: Ragging The Keys
Don Gibson: I Can't Stop Loving You
Flatt and Scruggs: Dear Old Dixie

8:30: Prince Albert
Cowboy Copas (host): Won't You Ride in My Little Red Wagon
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Everly Brothers: All I Do Is Dream
Tommy Jackson: Bill Cheatham
Cowboy Copas: The Man Upstairs
Chet Atkins: Armen's Theme
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Everyly Brothers: Wake Up Little Susie
Stringbean: Eight More Miles To Louisville
Cowboy Copas: Filipino Baby
Tommy Jackson: Sally Ann

9:00: Jefferson Island
Jordanaires: Theme
Faron Young (host): Alone With You
Ferlin Husky: I Feel An Old Heartache
Carl Butler: I Know What It Means To Be Lonesome
Bill Monroe: Brand New Shoes
Faron Young: Everytime I'm Kissing You
Fruit Jars: Soldier's Joy
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Ferlin Husky: Simon Crum Routine
Faron Young: Sweet Dreams

9:30: Stephens
Ladells: Theme
Hank Snow (host): Big Wheels
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper: Blues Don't Mean A Thing
Don Gibson: Blue Blue Day
Cousin Jody: Television Set
Hank Snow: I'm Hurting All Over
Crook Brothers: Going To Town
Ladells: He's Got The World in His Hands
Wilma Lee and Stoney: He Taught Them Hot
Don Gibson: We Could
Hank Snow: Golden Rocket

10:00: Standard Brands
Roy Acuff (host): The One I Love Is Gone
June Webb: Making Believe
Flatt and Scruggs: Hundred Years
Oswald: Sugar Time
Fiddle Tune: Snow Flake Reel
Roy Acuff: Wreck on the Highway
Flatt and Scruggs: Six White Horses
Del Wood: 12th Street Rag
Roy Acuff: A Beautiful Home
Jimmy Riddle: To Be Announced

10:30: Delited
Carlisles: Theme
Marty Robbins (host): Singing The Blues
Justin Tubb: I Gotta Go Get My Baby
Carlisles: Dumb Bunny
Marty Robbins: Rose of Old Pawnee
Fiddle Tune: Katy Hill

10:45: De Con
Ferlin Husky (host): I Feel Better All Over
Cowboy Copas: Tragic Romance
Crook Brothers: Bile Them Cabbage Down
Ferlin Husky: I Saw God
Fiddle Tune: Fire In The Mountain

11:00: Coca Cola
Jordanaires: Theme
Hank Snow (host): I Wish I Was The Moon
Don Gibson: Oh Lonesome Me
Hawkshaw Hawkins: It's Easier Said Than Done
Stringbean: Hey Mr. Banjo
Hank Snow: Whispering Rain
Jean Shepard: I Love You Because
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Don Gibson: Heartbreak Avenue
Gully Jumpers: Devil's Dream
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On

11:30: Jamison Bedding
Jordanaires: Theme
Faron Young (host): Rosalie
Bill Monroe: Sally Joe
Cousin Jody: Don't Make Love in a Buggy
Faron Young: I Miss You Already
Fiddle Tune: Sally Goodin

11:45: Midnight
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper (host): Diamond Joe
Sam and Kirk: House of David Blues
Fruit Jars: Walking In My Sleep
Wilma Lee and Stony Cooper: Walking My Lord Up Calvary Hill
Fiddle Tune: Ragtime Annie

Excuse a few misspellings, but I copied the line-up and song list exactly as it was spelled on the program. A great line-up from that night featuring the Everly Brothers, who only did the Prince Albert portion. And Don Gibson was pretty busy that night. How about the Jordanaires and Carlisles singing the theme songs for several of the sponsors? And already, in 1958, Hank Snow was firmly established in his time slots, with the 9:30 slot eventually going to 8:30 when the show split into 2. Also, Sam and Kirk McGee relegated to the late segment, which Kirk would complain about in the late 1970s as being too late for the farmers to listen. And if I counted right, there were 12 future Hall of Famers on that night. Now most weeks we don't get 12 total acts.

Now moving it up a few years, here is the line-up from June 12, 1980. This show was 22 years after the 1958 show and 33 years ago.

1st show
6:30: Justin Tubb (host); Del Wood
6:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Ernie Ashworth
7:00: Billy Walker (host); David Houston; Vic Willis Trio; Lulu Roman
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; Boxcar Willie; Crook Brothers; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Stu Phillips; Carlisles; Wilma Lee Cooper
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Ray Pillow; The Four Guys; Roy Drusky; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Kelly Foxton

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); The Four Guys; Ernie Ashworth; Del Wood
10:00: Billy Walker (host); David Houston
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Vic Willis Trio
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Connie Smith; Boxcar Willie
10:45: Roy Drusky (host); Justin Tubb; Crook Brothers; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Carlisles; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Kirk McGee; Kelly Foxton
11:30: Ray Pillow (host); Stu Phillips; Wilma Lee Cooper

From the 1958 show, only 7 acts were on the 1980 show. And a number of Opry members from 1958 were no longer associated with the Opry.

Finally, let's go to June 22, 1991. This was 11 years after the 1980 show and 22 years ago this Saturday night.

1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely
6:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
7:00: Jack Greene (host); 4 Guys; Charlie Louvin; Jimmy C Newman; Skeeter Davis
7:30: Billy Walker (host); Jan Howard; Teddy Wilburn; Sally Mountain Show
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; David Houston; Roy Drusky; Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Ernie Ashworth; Stonewall Jackson; Bill Carlisle; Jean Shepard

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Louvin; Wilma Lee Cooper; Ray Pillow; Teddy Wilburn
10:00: Jack Greene (host); Stu Phillips
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Sally Mountain Show
10:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Skeeter Davis; Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Stonewall Jackson; Roy Drusky; Justin Tubb; Jan Howard
11:30: 4 Guys (host); Connie Smith; Ernie Ashworth; David Houston; Bill Carlisle

To show how much things change in 22 years, of those that appeared on the 1991 show, only 9 are still with the show today. And notice how The Four Guys went to "4 Guys" and no, I didn't make a mistake, it was the Stoney Mountain Cloggers appearing. Ben Smathers had passed in 1990, however his wife Margaret would continue to lead the family group, and they would continue on the Opry, usually every other week, until September 1993.

All in all, I think I would take the 1958 show over the others.

I do hope all of you enjoy looking at these older Opry line-ups as much as I enjoy posting them. To me, it is fun to look back and also to remember and enjoy some memories of these great performers that in some cases, are no longer with us.

I did want to mention that it has been a tough week in the country music community. We had the passing of Slim Whitman, who really was a fine country music singer. I know that he made millions off the TV album that he did and it was unfortunate that because of it, he became the target of some jokes. I don't know how he felt about it, but I always that it undercut him as a performer. But, as he said, he made a lot of money off of it. But Slim at a great and long career. We also had the death of famed Nashville journalist Chet Flippo, who wrote about country music for decades and for various publications. The last night, there was the death of the husband of Jett Williams, Keith Adkinson, who was also her attorney that help her secure your part of the Hank Williams estate. And thoughts and prayers go to Ray Price, who had surgery yesterday and appears to be doing ok. He has been battling some tough health issues lately.

Finally, a person note. I am taking a vacation and will not be posting until next week. If something breaks, I will try to get a post on, but all in all, I think I deserve a week away. Take care and enjoy this week's Opry.


  1. First, Byron, YOU may deserve a vacation, but WE don't deserve to be without you. Enjoy.

    I know there is some concern about private health news, but it has been on Facebook that Ray Price had a procedure for kidney stones. Of course it's been public that he had pancreatic cancer and he's had some dehydration issues. The point is, he seems to be doing fine, and I saw a photo posted from last week of him in the studio, so, he's still hard at work!

    I LOVE the lineups, and thanks for posting them. From the 1958 show, I think there are even more Hall of Famers than you thought: Acuff, Monroe, Minnie Pearl, Brasfield, Jordanaires, Snow, Atkins, Young, Robbins, Carlisle, Husky, Shepard, Flatt & Scruggs, and Gibson. I also note that Cousin Jody was on there, and may or may not have been an Opry member!

    Also, I remember the night Margaret Smathers retired. Her son Mickey drove the bus for Vince Gill, so they wanted him to host their final performance, and he did. Oswald came out to take one last swing with them. And when they finished, Vince did something that I always found interesting. He stood with one arm around Margaret and, with the other arm, he pointed at the balcony and drew his finger around, then pointed down and drew his finger back across. The audience then gave them a standing ovation. At a classical concert, the conductor will point that way at certain performers and sections for them to stand at the end of a performance. It just struck me as very interesting.

    Great job as always!

  2. Byron:
    I read one online source yesterday that claimed Slim Whitman joined the Grand Ole Opry cast in 1955? Please prove or disprove this claim. I know he was a cast member of the Louisiana Hayride, but had never heard or read of him ever being affiliated with the Opry.

  3. David, in the Grand Ole Opry's History-Picture Book, he is listed as an Opry member who joined in the 1950s. I did some checking and he did join the Opry in July of 1955. What is interesting is that when he joined the Opry, his American career was actually not doing much, but he was a huge star in England. Interesting how many of us forgot he was an Opry member. I am not sure, and cannot find a date, to confirm how long he stayed at the Opry, but it would appear not long at all. I have a 1957 edition of the History-Picture Book and Slim is not in so he was gone by then.

    Now what is interesting is that in Horace Logan's book "Elvis, Hank, and Me", which was his history of the Louisiana Hayride, he wrote the following:

    "Along with his talent and class, Slim had plenty of guts. He demonstrated just how much when the inevitable overtures came for him to appear on the Opry, and he turned them down. By then, Webb Pierce had become the Opry's newest rising star. On the strength of his smash it with 'Wondering,' Webb had been invited to Nashville in 1952 as a fill-in for Hank Williams after Hank started missing shows or showing up drunk. But Slim was still caught up in the rivalry between the two of them. He was finally uncontested as top dog in Shreveport, and he soon make it clear he intended to keep things that way. Here was a man who absolutely never used profanity, whose worst cuss-word was 'blasted,' But he broke all of his own rules of proper speech the day he rejected the Opry invitation. 'I'm stayin' right here at the Hayride,' he said. 'There's no way I'm goin' to Nashville. I'm not gonna be on any show that sonofabitch Webb Pierce is on, and that's all there is to it.' Slim was a man of his word. He built a beautiful home in Bossier City for his wife and daughter, bought a ranch near Tampa, Florida, as a future retirement home, and stayed right here on the Hayride. Even today, Slim still performs occasionally, but he never went to the Grand Ole Opry."

    I will add that Horace was not always right with his facts, so I am not sure of what to make of those comments in his book. My guess is that he actually came to Nashville, didn't care for it and left in a hurry.

  4. Fred, Bismarck:

    Byron, your 1958 lineup really took me back. I was 16 years old and utterly in thrall to country music, rarely missing an Opry on the radio. These were dynamic, unsettled times for the music, with so many "pop" incursions, as shown by some of Marty's numbers, the Don Gibson titles, the presence of the Everlys, etc.

    The Jordannaires surely would have gotten a workout that night as backup singers. But the old tradition was still strong, as one would expect at the Opry in those days. All those wonderful fiddle numbers!

    Roy Acuff had just properly launched a new chapter in his career with Hickory Records, adding Shot Jackson's great steel (hired away from Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright) as part of his concession to modernization. (Certainly a modest enough step.) I loved these records, and Roy sang two of his best this night: "Once More" (also done by the Osborne Bros.) and "The One I Love Is Gone."

    For once, "Wabash Cannonball" and "Great Speckled Bird" had to take a rest!

    I could rave on and on, but enough! One question: Does the Coopers' "Blues Don't Mean a Thing" ring a bell with anybody? It's a new one to me, and a rare departure by Wilma Lee & Stoney from their own extensive catalog.

    Thanks for the memories, Byron, and enjoy your week off.

  5. I could never understand why Slim Whitman is almost never heard on WSM or Willie's Place, both of which can't get enough of folks who had far less success.
    I thought Slim's voice was one of a kind, and that he was a joy to listen to.

  6. Fred, Bismarck:

    I'm curious about the source of Slim's strongly expressed dislike of Webb Pierce. Seems so out of character, as noted by Logan. Simple rivalry would not seem to explain it. At the same time, we hear that Webb rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

  7. As others here have previously noted, Larry Gatlin seems to have rededicated himself to being a serious Opry member. Do you think Opry management is envisioning him as being the future ambassador of the Opry in the same vein as Roy Acuff and Porter Wagoner was previously?

  8. I was thinking about Little Jimmy Dickens and his health the other day and I think I might know how to get him back on the Opry. Instead of him coming to the Opry, why doesn't the Opry come to him? I don't mean the Opry moves to his house. I mean he would be on a portion via skype or livestream or some other stream app from his home. It sort of sounds ridiculous, but as long as you let the audience know that he's 92, his health isn't the best, and loves the Opry a lot, I think they would understand. There would also be an Opry staffer at his home who knows how to work the livestream. That way his health wouldn't be an issue with trying to appear on the Opry. I think it could work. How about you?


  9. Fred, that was unusual for Slim, but apparently not unusual in country music, given that some said they would never vote for him to be in the Hall of Fame until he was dead.

  10. Thanks Byron on the Slim Whitman confirmation. I would say that original Opry picture history book is right. I know there were several "short term" Opry members, such as Lefty Frizzell. One that I had NO IDEA about until the other (and found out on this blog) was Rose Maddox.

    I'm certain the Opry couldn't even for sure tell you if Whitman had been a member of not. Maybe Little Jimmy or Jean Shepard could confirm, and they may not remember either.

  11. And for what it's worth, neither Whitman or Maddox is on the Opry's Timeline of members on their website. I checked yesterday.

  12. Interesting... both Rose Maddox & Slim Whitman are listed as past Opry members in the most recent picture/history book. I love doing some fact-finding on some of the early Opry members that I'm not familiar with... here are some of the names that I found in the Opry Picture Book I'm not familiar with: The Happy Valley Boys, Mac McGarr, Pete Pyle and His Mississippi Valley Boys, the Tennessee Sweethearts (Clyde & Marie Dilleha)and Curley Williams and his Georgia Peach Pickers (all these are from the 1940s list.) They do note in their introduction to the "Opry Members through the Years" section that "here are just SOME of the stars whose names appeared on the Opry roster." Another interesting name from the 1950s listed as a member that I wasn't aware as a member is Red Sovine. Also one other name that although is not listed in the Opry book but is on an Opry poster I have is Jimmy Selph. Wikipedia says he was a singer with Milton Estes and his Musical Millers and appeared and toured with the Opry in the 1940s. (oldtimeopry)

    1. My grandfather was in a picture with Pete Pyle that is in the Grand Ole Opry Hall of Fame. He said Pyle was a nobody who just happened to be there filling in for one of the musicians the night they took the picture. He couldn't stay sober long enough to keep a job. I keep seeing posts that he was a member of the Hall of Fame but he was not even a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Grandpa said they kicked him out. Somebody doesn't know the truth about the guy or they're trying to create and inflate a reputation.

  13. I did know about Red Sovine. I don't know how long he was a member. He was included in the some videos I had from the 1990's, entitled "Grand Ole Opry Stars of the 50's" .

    However, there were some acts in those videos that I do not know if they were Opry members or not, including Salty & Matty Holmes, Eddie Hill and Gordon Terry.

  14. I do have information on most of those mentioned above and I will supply some info when I get back.

  15. Looking at my minimal notes on the 1991 show, Roy Acuff did an odd thing on both shows that night. On the first show he did the Cannonball and then went right into The End of Memory Lane. He did not do a closing number. On the second show he did the same thing opening with Meeting in the Air then went right into Wreck on the Highway before taking a commercial. I never knew why he did this and both second songs were rare for him to do by this time.

    I also show that Hank Snow did the Golden Rocket on the second show which he did not perform that often by this time.

    And, Dick Curless worked the Midnite Jamboree with Justin.

    Just some interesting notes.

    Knightsville, IN

  16. Fred, Bismarck:

    Dick Curless -- there was a good one. You drive me back to my old vinyl, Jim. (Guess there isn't any other kind but old.) Gotta hear "China Nights" again.

  17. Fred,

    Ever hear one called "Drop some Silver in the Jukebox(and I'll dance with you)"


  18. Just a couple of thoughts as I had a chance to see some of the great comments being made:

    Regarding Larry Gatlin, what I find interesting is that when he first joined the Opry, it was "Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers." Now in the latest Opry History Picture Book, it is listed as the "Gatlin Brothers." Larry, Rudy and Steve are still touring and doing personal appearances, but what I find interesting is that for the past several years, 90% of the time it is just Larry on the Opry and not his brothers (and that does not take into consideration his solo hosting on Opry Country Classics." I just wonder if anything is up with that. Do Rudy and Steve not want to do the Opry or is the Opry just asking Larry to come? Makes you wonder, especially when Larry does nothing but Gatlin Brothers material and makes jokes about the back-up singers taking the place of Rudy and Steve.

    As far as some of the Opry acts that stayed at the Opry for a short amount of time, back in the early days of the Opry, up until the 1950s, the acts tended to come and go. Remember that everything was radio based in those days, and it was live radio shows that was supplemented by personal appearances in the area. When an act "worked out" an area and played all the school houses and auditoriums that they could, they moved on. The Delmore Brothers are a perfect example of that. Also, many of those left were either non-professional acts or lower level acts, where the performers needed to work other jobs to support their music. As the Opry became more professional, these acts tending to move on as their appearances were cut. The idea of remaining as an Opry member until you died came much later in the history of the Opry and if you retired from the business, the Opry dropped you. That does not happen anymore.

    There was a question about Jimmy Dickens. I saw one of my facebook friends made a general comment today that Jimmy was having various health issues and thoughts and prayers were welcomed as Jimmy is missed at the Opry.

  19. Byron,

    Thought you were on vacation! Can't stay away from it can you?

    Hope you are enjoying your time away.

    Knightsville, IN

  20. Fred, Bismarck:

    Thanks, Jim, looked up "Drop Some Silver" on youtube, enjoyed it. I'll admit, I was rooting for Curless to get a little more action at the end, but it sounds like the lady's needle was stuck on dancing and drinking.