Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 8/9 & 8/10-50th Anniversary of Jim Ed Brown

It was on Saturday August 10, 1963 that The Browns were introduced as the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. While Maxine and Bonnie retired from the group and left the Opry in 1967, Jim Ed has continued as an Opry member and this Saturday night he will be celebrating 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. As part of the celebration, he will be joined by Maxine and Bonnie, who will also be recognized. Joining them on both shows, in a segment that will be hosted by Jim Ed, will be Jim Ed's former duet partner Helen Cornelius and Jim Ed's friend and newest Hall of Fame member Bobby Bare.

I know many of us wondered what kind of recognition the Opry would be for Jim Ed, and even though the Opry website still has nothing listed to note the occasion, it looks like they are going to honor Jim Ed just fine.

The Browns originally came to Nashville from Sparkman, Arkansas thanks to the efforts of Chet Atkins, who produced so many of their great hits, and Jim Reeves, who became Jim Ed's neighbor and good friend. 1954 marked the beginning of their success as Jim Ed and Maxine had their first chart hit, "Looking Back to See." Bonnie joined them in 1955 and the group became popular on the Louisiana Hayride. After the first of their hits, "I'll Take the Chance" and "I Heard the Bluebirds Sing" Jim Ed went into the Army. In 1959, after Jim Ed returned, they had their biggest hit, "The Three Bells", which reached #1 on both the country and pop charts. National television appearances followed as did the hits, including "The Old Lamplighter" (my personal favorite) and "Scarlett Ribbons." In 1965, Jim Ed began recording solo material and in 1967 he reached the Top 10 with "Pop A Top." With all the great songs that Jim Ed has recorded it is hard to believe that his only #1 songs have been "The Three Bells" and "I Don't Want to Have to Marry You" with Helen Cornelius.

In Maxine's wonderful autobiography, "Looking Back to See", which I highly recommend, she says that the group was actually asked to join the Opry in 1957, but turned it down because they needed the money after touring Europe and couldn't afford to be in Nashville every Saturday night. After they came back, they continued to record for RCA but they could not come up with a hit record. All that changed of course with "The Three Bells" and they later did join the Opry.

Also appearing on the Opry this weekend will be Carrie Underwood. She will be performing on both shows on Saturday night, as a 2nd show was added as soon as it was announced that Carrie would be there. Larry Gatlin and The Willis Clan will also be performing. The Friday Night Opry will feature a lot of guest artists this week as Joey + Rory, Kelleigh Bannen, The Steeldrivers, TG Sheppard and Marshall Chapman will all be performing.

Friday August 9:
7:00: John Conlee (host); Joey + Rory; Mike Snider
7:30: The Whites (host); Kelleigh Bannen; TG Sheppard
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Marshall Chapman
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Kalisa Ewing; The Steeldrivers

Saturday August 10:
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Craig Campbell; Mike Snider
7:30: Larry Gatlin (host); John Conlee; The Willis Clan; Opry Square Dancers
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Helen Cornelius; Maxine & Bonnie Brown; Bobby Bare
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee (host); Craig Campbell; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
10:00: Larry Gatlin (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Willis Clan; Opry Square Dancers
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Helen Cornelius; Maxine & Bonnie Brown; Bobby Bare
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Carrie Underwood

To honor Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie, I have 2 line-ups to post. The 1st is from Saturday August 10, 1963, which was the night that The Browns were introduced as the newest members of the Opry. The 2nd line-up is from Saturday October 21, 1967, the final Opry show as members for Maxine and Bonnie.

Saturday August 10, 1963:
7:30: Kelloggs
Porter Wagoner (host): My Baby's Not Here in Town Tonight
Billy Walker: Heart, Be Careful
Justin Tubb: (?)
Margie Bowes: Boll Weevil
Porter Wagoner: One Way Ticket to the Blues
Del Wood: Piano Roll Blues
Merle Kilgore: Ring of Fire
Fiddle Tune (?): Old Joe Clark
Billy Walker: Storm of Love
Porter Wagoner: In the Shadows of the Wine

8:00: Martha White
Jimmy C Newman (host): Alligator Man
Jim & Jesse: My Empty Arms
Bill Anderson: Eight by Ten
Jean Shepard: Foggy Mountain Top
Jimmy C Newman: Everything
Crook Brothers: (?)
Ray Pillow: (?)
Jim & Jesse: Congratulations Anyway
Jimmy C Newman: Bayou Talk

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host): No Letter Today
June Stearns: Just Another Song
Sonny James: The Minute You're Gone
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Gordon Terry: Wild Honey
Brother Oswald: Southern Moon
Roy Acuff: Cabin in Gloryland

9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks A Lot
Kitty Wells: A Heart for the Keepsake
Johnny Wright: Down South in New Orleans
The Browns: The 12th Rose
Ernest Tubb: Thru That Door
Harold Morrison: (?)
Kitty Wells: I Gave My Wedding Dress Away
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Ernest Tubb: Jealous Loving Heart

9:30: Pet Milk
Roy Drusky (host): You Never Cried (When You Were Mine)
Bill Monroe: (?)
Glaser Brothers: Tracking Me Down
Cousin Jody: Lady Cop
Roy Drusky: My World Is Losing You
Curly Fox: (?)
Melba Montgomery: The Hall of Shame
Bill Monroe: (?)
Roy Drusky: Anymore

10:00: Gates Rubber
Jimmy C Newman (host): Big Mamou
Margie Bowes: Sweet Dreams
Justin Tubb: (?)
Jimmy C Newman: Already I'm Falling

10:15: Luzianne
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Jim & Jesse: Diesel Train
Roy Drusky: Wreck on the Highway
Howdy & Jimmy: Jesse Polka

10:30: Harvey's
Sonny James (host): (?)
Jean Shepard: Waltz of the Angels
Del Wood: Columbus Stockade Blues
Sonny James: (?)

10:45: Ford
Ernest Tubb (host): Answer the Phone
The Browns: The 3 Bells
Crook Brothers: (?)
Ernest Tubb: The Way You're Living

11:00: Coca-Cola
Porter Wagoner (host): Misery Loves Company
Kitty Wells: We've Missed You
Johnny Wright: The Moon is High and So Am I
Glaser Brothers: South of the Border
Porter Wagoner: Your Old Love Letters
Billy Walker: Charlie's Shoes
Sam & Kirk McGee: It's Raining Teardrops Tonight
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Sally Johnson
Kitty Wells: Mommy for A Day
Porter Wagoner: I've Enjoyed As Much of this as I Can Stand

11:30: SSS Tonic
Roy Drusky (host): Second Hand Rose
Bill Monroe (?)
Bill Anderson: Still
Cousin Jody: Don't Make Love in a Buggy 'Cause Horses Can Talk
Roy Drusky: Another Chance to Fall in Love
Curly Fox: (?)
Melba Montgomery: What's Bad For You Is Good For Me
Bill Monroe: (?)
Bill Anderson: Little Band of Gold
Roy Drusky: Another

What is hard to believe is that The Browns (Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie) were only Opry members for just over 4 years as Maxine and Bonnie left the trio to raise their families. Jim Ed carried on as a solo artist and remained a member of the Opry. Although The Browns would get together for special appearances on the Opry, and other shows, their last show as Opry members was on Saturday October 21, 1967, which was the Opry's 42nd birthday celebration. The Browns used this special occasion to thank their fans and they did a melody of their songs. I have heard a tape of that night and their were a lot of tears. Here is the line-up and running order of the show from that night:

6:00: Vietti
Bill Anderson (host): Bright Lights, & Country Music
Osborne Brothers: Roll Muddy River
Ernie Ashworth: Tender & True
Del Wood: Piano Roll Blues
Stu Phillips: Little Old Wine Drinker Me
Bill Anderson: I Get the Fever
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharman
Jimmy Gatley: Orange Blossom Special/She Wants to be Like You

6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
Willis Brothers: Bob
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Bill Monroe: Molly & Tenbrooks

6:45: Rudy's
Billy Walker (host): I Taught Her Everything She Knows
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself A Name
Jim & Jesse: Ballad of Thunder Road
Billy Walker: Cattle Call

7:00: Luzianne
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Bob Luman: Memphis
Minnie Pearl: Maple on the Hill
4 Guys: Walking in the Sunshine
Del Reeves: One Dime At A Time
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Ball Knob, Arkansas
Charlie Louvin: How Great Thou Art
Wilburn Brothers: Just To Be Where You Are
Loretta Lynn: What Kind of A Girl
Grandpa Jones: Old Dan Tucker
Bobby Lord: Shadows on the Wall
Bill Carlisle: Dr. R.D.
Ray Pillow: (?)
Roy Acuff: Cabin In Gloryland

8:00: Martha White
George Hamilton IV (host): Break My Mind
Jean Shepard: Happy Tracks
George Morgan: Your The Only Good Thing
The Browns: Looking Back to See/(?)/(?)/I Heard the Bluebirds Sing/Old Lamplighter/Scarlet Ribbons/The 3 Bells/Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Crook Brothers: Cotton Eyed Joe
Dottie West: Like A Fool
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top
George Hamilton IV: Truck Driving Man

8:30: Stephens
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks A Lot
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Big Midnight Special
Tex Ritter: Just Beyond the Moon
Archie Campbell: The Cockfight
Glaser Brothers: Gone on the Other Hand
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Billy Grammer: Mabel
Margie Bowes: Boll Weevil

2nd show:
9:30: Kelloggs
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Bill Monroe: You'll Find Her Name Written There
Bill Anderson: I Love You Drops
Marion Worth: A Woman Needs Love
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Grandpa Jones: Kitty Klyde
Del Wood: Waiting for the Robert E Lee
Norma Jean: Jackson Ain't A Very Big Place
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cracklin Hen
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such As I

10:00: Schick
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Wilburn Brothers: Trouble's Back in Town
Loretta Lynn: What Kind of A Girl
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself A Name
Jim & Jesse: Diesel On My Tail
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:15: Pure
Ernest Tubb (host) & Loretta Lynn: Sweet Thang
Bobby Lord: Look What You're Doing to You
Charlie Louvin & Bobby Osborne: When I Stop Dreaming
Stu Phillips: Juanita Jones

10:30: Buckley's
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Skeeter Davis: What Does it Take
George Hamilton IV: Urge for Going
Jim Ed Brown: Bottle, Bottle
Hank Snow: (?)

10:45: Newport
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): The Birds Are Back
George Morgan: Misty Blue
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark
Margie Bowes: Overnight
Osborne Brothers: Roll Muddy River
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: There's A Big Wheel

11:00: Coca-Cola
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Tex Ritter: A Working Man's Prayer
Jean Shepard: I Don't See How I Can Make It
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Devil's Dream
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Sam McGee: (?)
4 Guys: Ruby
Del Reeves: Chug-A-Lug
Porter Wagoner: Julie

11:30: Lava
Roy Drusky (host): White Lightening Express
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Glaser Brothers: Through the Eyes of Love
Marion Worth: Tennessee Waltz
Ernie Ashworth: My Love For You
Ray Pillow: Take Your Hands of My Heart
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharman
Roy Drusky: Anymore/Strangers/Second Hand Rose

Folks, that is a Grand Ole Opry show for the ages and what many of us remember that the Opry once was. I lost track of the number of Opry members on the show that night but needless to say, it was the vast majority of them. And up to 10 acts per segment and 1 song and they were off. That also shows how important the birthday celebration was to the Opry in those days.

In addition to the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, Jim Ed will also be hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree, where I am sure he will be joined by many of his friends. There will be a public reception before the jamboree.

As for myself, I will be in Nashville this weekend for both shows on Saturday night and the Jamboree and I will offer my first hand accounts when I return next week.

Again, congratulations to Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie Brown as the are honored for joining the Grand Ole Opry 50 years ago.


  1. Great news that Maxine and Bonnie will be there and performing--it's funny, but in the old days, he was introduced with them as "Jim Edward." I hope the two of them call him that!

    I counted about 40 members on the 1967 lineup. Incredible. And no Marty at 11:30!

  2. No reason at all that Jim Ed, Maxine & Bonnie are not members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Hopefully, in 2014 that will be taken care of.

    Looks like a great weekend to be at the Opry. Although, I'm not a Carrie Underwood fan at all (or Modern Country Music in general), I really appreciate her dedication to the Opry. She is defiantly walking in the right paths to that future "legend" status. Wonder how many of her peers are straying from the path and will be missing from the scene in 20 years?

  3. What Year Alan Jackson Will Go Into The Hall Of Fame

  4. I hear that Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie will be in studio with Eddie Stubbs tonight.

  5. Heading to Nashville for the weekend and the 2 Opry shows on Saturday night and the Midnight Jamboree. It should be a great weekend. If I make it in time for the Friday Night Opry I might check it out but to be honest, I am not totally impressed with the line-up for tonight.

    When I get back Sunday night/Monday I will offer my first hand accounts on the weekend and my thoughts regarding Jim Ed Brown, along with Maxine and Bonnie, and how the Opry handled their 50th Opry anniversary.

  6. Great tribute to Jim Ed Brown on the Opry Saturday night. We might have witness history with those three legends (Jim Ed, Maxine & Bonnie) on the Opry stage tonight. It could very well be the last time for that. If a Hall of Fame induction would be in the near future that might get them together again, but not at the Opry house.

    I really think Bobby Bare probably should have been put on the 7:00 or 7:30 slot. He should have been given two songs in my opinion. He is now a Hall of Famer and not at the Opry much. But maybe he and Jim Ed wanted on the same segment together?

    All in all it was a good tribute. I really don't know why Pete Fisher had to give Carrie Underwood that "5 year plug" again? But he did.. Oh well..

  7. And after the 2nd show that very well could be Maxine's last trip to the stage LOL ..

  8. David B, I don't need to prove that I think Pete Fisher is destroying the Opry, but his line about calling the FCC after Maxine was done was a classic. The references to Carrie Underwood, in a way, struck me as very appropriate because he was making the point that she's been there five years, but here's someone who has been there 10 times as long.

    I think Bare was on that segment because he and Jim Ed are close. Over the years, the celebrations have been tied to the honoree's segment: when Mr. Acuff hit his fiftieth, Chet Atkins did his portion; Emmylou Harris was on Bill Monroe's; and Hank Snow chose the Glaser Brothers and Mel Tillis for his portion, for example. Anyway, I'm with you, David B--a good tribute.

    By the way, you may be familiar with the greeting cards featuring the caustic old lady. Her name is Maxine. I think now we know who inspired her!

  9. Fred, Bismarck:

    Michael & David, I heard the first Browns segment, but not the 2nd. What did Maxine have to say? Thanks.

  10. Fred, on the second segment, she talked about needing surgery and that thanks to "Obamacare," she couldn't afford it. Then, in response to something, she began by using a four-letter word not normally used on the air to describe what comes out of our back ends, and there was no electronic delay to stop it. The crowd suitably roared and I think that's when Jim Ed said that's why he won't hand her the microphone. Anyway, when Jim Ed threw it to Eddie Stubbs by saying it's time for a commercial, Eddie said, yes, it's definitely time for a commercial. Then Fisher came out after the commercial and said he'd have been out sooner, but he was on the phone to the FCC.

    To put it another way, I can't WAIT for Byron's report!

  11. Fred, Bismarck:

    Thanks, Michael. That gives me the flavor. Like you, I will eagerly await the report of our leader.