Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 9/6 & 9/7

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend. I was interested to see if Jimmy Dickens would be on the schedule for this weekend after his surprise appearance on Friday night, but he is not listed. I would imagine any future Jimmy Dickens appearances would probably depend on how he feels, or how his voice is, on the day of the shows.

In looking at the names listed for the shows on Friday and Saturday night, my first reaction is that there is not a lot of "star" power this weekend. On Friday night there is the Opry debut of Erin Enderlin, who is a very talented songwriter and performer who does a lot of dates in the Nashville area. Also appearing will be Opry regulars Jim Lauderdale, Striking Matches and Jimmy Wayne. When I say Opry regulars, in this case, they are not Opry members but seem to be on the show more than a majority of the members.

Saturday night will feature the return of Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers. This will be their 2nd Opry appearance after they really rocked the house during their first appearance. They are a very talented bluegrass group out of Ohio. Also appearing will be Deana Carter, who I am sure many will remember for her late 1990's hits. (hard to believe she is now 47!!). Joining them will be Chris Janson, Sara Haze and James Otto, all making repeat Opry appearances.

On the hosting side of things, Ray Pillow will be hosting segments on both Friday and Saturday night, along with The Whites and Jim Ed Brown. And Connie Smith gets an opportunity to host a segment on Saturday night.

Friday September 6:
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); James Wesley; Jean Shepard; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Ray Pillow (host); Mandy Barnett
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jim Lauderdale; Erin Enderlin
8:45: The Whites (host); Striking Matches; Jimmy Wayne

Saturday September 7:
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); James Otto; Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers
7:30: Ray Pillow (host); Sara Haze
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Jimmy C Newman; Chris Janson; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Deana Carter

There is an empty slot on the 7:30 segment each night. Perhaps there is a chance Jimmy Dickens might make a walk-on, or they have someone else lined up.

For this week's look back into Opry history, I have an Opry line-up from Saturday September 5, 1964 (49 years ago this week).  Lots of great names on this show.

7:30: Luzianne
Faron Young (host); Jean Shepard; Stonewall Jackson; Osborne Brothers; Del Wood; Cousin Jody
8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host); George Hamilton IV; Carter Family; Billy Walker; Crook Brothers; Ernie Ashworth
8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host); Hank Locklin; Loretta Lynn; Bill Carlisle; Marion Worth
9:00: Pet Milk
Ernest Tubb (host); Wilburn Brothers; Bill Anderson; The Browns; Margie Bowes; Fruit Jar Drinkers
9:30: Kelloggs
Hank Snow (host); Bill Monroe; Charlie Louvin; Willis Brothers; Skeeter Davis; Glaser Brothers; Stringbean
10:00: Schick
Hank Locklin (host); Del Wood; Ernie Ashworth; Cousin Jody
10:15: SSS Tonic
Roy Acuff (host); June Stearn; Curly Fox
10:30: Harveys
Flatt & Scruggs (host); Billy Walker; Stonewall Jackson
10:45: Newport
Ernest Tubb (host); Loretta Lynn; Bill Carlisle; Crook Brothers
11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host); Skeeter Davis; Charlie Louvin; Glaser Brothers; Marion Worth; Bill Anderson; Sam & Kirk McGee
11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host); Wilburn Brothers; Bill Monroe; Margie Bowes; Stringbean

I also wanted to post the line-up from Saturday September 9, 1989 (24 years ago this weekend), which was the final Opry appearance for the "Queen of the 88's, Del Wood. This great honky-tonk piano player joined the Opry in 1953 and would remain an Opry member until she passed away in October 1989. Who can forget "Down Yonder", which she did practically each week. She sold over a million copies of this song and well the records are not complete, she might have been the first female country solo artist to sell a million copies of any single. Here is the line-up from her final Opry show.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Stonewall Jackson (host); Jeannie Seely
6:45: Rudy's
Bill Anderson (host); Stu Phillips
7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host); Del Reeves; Ray Pillow; Dottie West
7:30: Standard Candy
4 Guys (host); Del Wood; Jean Shepard; Charley Pride
8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Music Valley
Hank Snow (host); Skeeter Davis; Charlie Louvin; Ernie Ashworth; Bill Carlisle

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Stu Phillips; Dottie West; Ray Pillow
10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely
10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host); Charley Pride
10:30: Pet Milk
Del Reeves (host); Jean Shepard
10:45: B.C. Powder
Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith; Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host); Skeeter Davis; Charlie Walker; Justin Tubb
11:30: Creamette
4 Guys (host); Ernie Ashworth; Bill Carlisle; Charlie Louvin

There you have it for this week. Rumors are always flying around and I have one for you (nothing official so don't go and buy tickets, just what a little bird told me and I might be totally wrong), but could we see Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton at the birthday bash?? Just a thought.

Enjoy the Opry shows this week!!!


  1. Your "rumor" sounds pretty good since Kenny has a new CD coming out on Oct 8th (gee, right after the GOO anniversary) and Dolly is on it - several recent news articles too - would love to see Dolly again (last time we saw Kenny it was a very disappointing show and one of the most expensive for a one-person act)

  2. It would be nice to see Dolly make her Opry appearance for this decade. Sarcasm alert!

    I think there were 33 members on that 1964 show--three months before two of those on that evening (Faron Young and Stonewall Jackson) were fired for not making the 26 annual appearances. My, how times have changed.

  3. Fred, Bismarck:

    Lord have mercy, can it have been THIRTY YEARS since those two collaborated on "Islands in the Stream"? (Idiotic song, when you make the mistake of actually listening to the words, but I was captivated by the production ... at the time.)

  4. The new duet has already been released on Itunes, so it's perfectly logical that they'd be itching to perform it! I hope so, because I'll definitely be there!


  5. Some interesting things on the Opry last night. Ray Pillow got more air time in one show than he has had ten or more years. Bet that wasn't planned.

    Listening to Jimmy Dickens was interesting. His voice is obviously in bad shape and hard to listen to but I thought he did a good job on the first half of his song considering. Anyone have an idea who his ventriloquist was? And what was the push about to make sure he knew he was done and had to get off. You could hear someone saying "that's it, your done, your done, that's all" or something along those lines. It didn't sound like he was ready to leave. Did they think he sounded so bad they needed to get him off? I'm just wondering if anyone has any insight. It just sounded odd to me! Did they cut Jimmy short and that is why Ray had so much time?

    Knightsville, IN

  6. Another ho-hum Saturday at the Opry; what happened to Ray Pillow who is usually "mr smooth" - seemed a little "off" when introducing Jimmy C Newman - wonder if that was a quick flip since he was supposed to be Connie Smith's guest and he wasn't prepared; would have loved for Jimmy to do 2 songs; Connie did get 3 songs and she did a good hosting job; unfortunately, after Deana Carter finally stopped telling the "inside story" about Ricky Skaggs and started singing - HAD to turn it off - can't believe her Opry debut and she talked the first 2-3 minutes, what was up with that - have never cared for her and her first song reminded me so that's why I turned it off

  7. Jim, I did not listen on Friday night so I am not sure what was up with what you heard. My only thought is that Jimmy usually hosts a segment and we know that he has a tendency to go long. Perhaps, someone just wanted to make sure that Jimmy stayed within his top slot and did not ramble on. Again, that is just a guess.

    I did listen on Saturday night and in general I will say that while the Opry has had some pretty good shows lately, this one was not in that group. I would go so far as to say that this wasn't worth the $59+ that many people paid for this show. It happens sometimes.

    As far as Ray Pillow and the comment made, I have to agree. He did stumble in the introduction of Jimmy C Newman (and Jimmy C didn't sound so great himself). My only thought is that this was a last minute switch as I am sure they were holding that extra slot in case Jimmy Dickens decided that he was well enough to do the show. Moving Jimmy C over allowed Chris Janson more time, as it did Connie Smith. Since Ray got the extra time on Friday night, perhaps they wanted to even it out and give it to someone else on Saturday.

    Finally, I agree about all the talking between songs, especially in the case of Deana Carter. Joe Mullins was doing some of the same (though not as much). I would rather they took the time and entertained us with another song.

    Again, just my opinion, but Saturday night was not the Opry's best show.

  8. Byron,

    Once they post the Friday night show it would be worth your time to listen to Ray Pillow's segment with Jimmy Dickens. Jimmy came out and told two or three short jokes with whoever was prodding him queuing him on what to say. He did two verses of Family Reunion and then they where telling him he had to go. And when Ray got time to do a two song medley then a closing song I figured Jimmy didn't get all the time allowed for him. Just an odd deal and I wish I could have been there to see it.

    I'll probably offend someone but......maybe there is a reason Deana Carter didn't appear on the Opry in the 90's during her minute of fame. Isn't she connected somehow to a producer or songwriter? Anyway, if I were a performer who wanted to be on the Opry and didn't get to be in the 80's or 90's I'd be calling Mr. Fisher and reminding him I'm still out there. It looks like all the, forgive me, misfits who didn't make the cut back then are finally getting there time in the circle no matter what kind of success they had or what kind of music they performed. Isn't KISS doing some kind of reunion tour or something?

    Saturday wasn't one of the best shows. Has anyone notice that Bobby Osborne turns in some of the most consistent crowd appreciated performances each time he appears. Jesse is not far behind him either. Path Way to Teardrops was one of if not the best performance of the night!

    Knightsville, IN

  9. The "radio ramblers" were good too - the Opry audiences LOVE the bluegrass acts; it would really behoove them to add more!

  10. Fred, Bismarck:

    I listened to the first half-hour Saturday because I wanted to hear Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers. Had heard of them but not caught their act. Liked 'em.

    Along the way I had to listen to James Otto, who has one of the most unpleasant voices I've heard from someone who tries to sing for a living. In addition, his enunciation is terrible, so that a song -- "In Color" -- that might have had story possibilities simply could not be made out.

    After 54 years, Jim Ed can still bring a tear to my eye with "The Three Bells."

    I didn't listen Friday -- would have, if I'd known Jimmy Dickens was going to be on -- but it sounds like he may have finally gone around that bend from which there's no coming back. A graceful retreat might be in order.

  11. My two cents -- I tuned in Friday Night specifically during the 7:30 portion to see if Little Jimmy was going to be on the empty spot. When Ray Pillow brought him on the band went into his theme song. He came out and started to talk instead of sing so I thought maybe he was just going to tell jokes but I could hear him strumming his guitar while he was talking like he used to always do. He kind of fumbled around for a minute and you could clearly hear someone in the background prompting him with the punchlines to a couple of jokes. I couldn't tell if he was a bit disoriented or what was going on then the band launched into "Family Reunion." Of course it was very rough with his voice, but hey, he's almost 93 years old and has just come through radiation and to be honest I was so glad he was back on the stage, I didn't care what he sounded like. He got a little behind with the band on the second verse but eventually caught up. Then when the song was over (if I remember correct) the band immediately launched into his closing theme song. Again, cue the loud voice saying, "Take a bow, take a bow" and I know someone else mentioned they heard the voice say "You're done, that's it." This is where it gets interesting. By this point, I'm really getting concerned that maybe he is disoriented. But then while the band was still playing, he made a remark to this effect (paraphrasing) "I guess when they want you off, you're off, no matter what you had planned." Then he keeps talking and says how much the cards and letters have meant to him, how people are still writing to him after all these years and how much he loves to be on the Grand Ole Opry Stage. Says goodbye and the audience gives him a wild ovation. SO, I'm not as convinced now that he was disoriented. Maybe he was and he recovered. Maybe they messed him up by rushing him. I got the impression HE wasn't happy the way he was done and rushed off. I told my wife I figured they probably wouldn't let him back on Saturday night and unless someone tells me different (I didn't hear it all) I don't think he was. A couple of years ago I was around him in Nashville and someone made a remark to him about what the Management would or would not let them do on the Opry and his response was classic: "Don't worry, they aren't TELLING ME what to do, I don't care what they say." I just hope the Opry Management treasures him for the time he has left, has patience and lets him do what he can do and they don't disrespect or embarrass him by trying to get him off to keep to some time schedule that doesn't matter a thing when you own the radio station and you can run over as long as you like. Here's praying for Little Jimmy and hoping the fans can keep sending their love and affection so he knows how much he means to us. I hope he doesn't get discouraged and he suits up in the rhinestones again this coming week! (oldtimeopry)

  12. I just wish I knew who was talking to him. I agree he seemed a little out of it at different points and I too sensed his frustration at what seemed like being pushed off stage. Surly there wasn't a time issue because Ray Pillow had extra time at the end to torture the crowd with real country music!

    If the crowd had acted unhappy or unappreciative of his performance then I could see management taking control. So far, that hasn't been the case. Each time he has reappeared the crowd has roared with approval. Here I go, but, I'm sure Jimmy knows how bad he sounds right now. That is more than I can say for some of the other young acts they keep having who seem to be tone deaf!

    There was what looked like a spot for him with Ray Pillow again Saturday but he did not appear.

    Here's hoping he continues to improve and will get to spend more time on the Opry stage. When he's gone we just about turn the page on the 40's at the Opry!

    Knightsville, IN

  13. Tuesday's lineup:

    Members: The Whites, Del McCoury, John Conlee, Craig Morgan

    Guests: Craig Campbell, Thompson Square, Love & Theft, Lennon & Maisy

  14. This topic with Jimmy Dickens is tough. On one hand, I want to see him continue to perform on the Opry and he deserves that. Nobody at the Opry should be telling him to stay away. On the other hand, I always hate to see it when performers decline to the extent that it tarnishes their legacy. Sometimes it gets to the point that you wish they would just quietly retire.

    But Jimmy is following in the footsteps of so many others. Roy Acuff declined quickly in his final year and it became difficult to watch and hear him on the Opry stage. I was at a Bob Dylan concert last year and it was sad and horrible at the same time, hearing his voice totally shot. Stu Phillips has had voice issues and I know I am missing some.

    My hope is for Jimmy to get his voice back, but I think at his age and health issues with his throat, that is not going to happen. My thoughts are that instead of singing, just come on and do a few jokes and stories. The fans love those. Give him a 5 minute slot per show, if he wants that, and let him stay until he has had enough. Much like Bill Carlisle.

    After what happened on Friday night, it will be interesting to see if he is back this weekend. It is obvious that based on the Opry schedule, they thought he would be doing both shows last weekend. Whether it was hurt feelings or not feeling well, he wasn't there on Saturday. And nothing was said.

    I remember, as do others, that back in the day if an Opry member was not feeling well or in the hospital, they would usually say something on the Opry, asking for cards and letters. I know that the Opry posted a message on their website regarding Jimmy and on their facebook page, but nothing else after that initial report. And people were asking how he was doing. When Carol Lee Cooper was gone, nothing was said. I didn't even know Stu Phillips was in a serious accident until he mentioned it after he got back. Stonewall with back surgery, Jean Shepard with her issues and Jack Greene at the end. I know some of it is privacy and some of the entertainers do not want their health issues out there. But not everyone and I know many of them would have appreciated the thoughts and cards.

    But back to Jimmy. It should be his decision when it comes time to end it. I am sure it wants to die with his boots on, so to speak. And I applaud him for that. It is just difficult to watch the decline.

    1. I was at the last couple George Jones shows this year which were painful to watch for many reasons. Whereas the voice had been gone for some time, in year's past, he still had some humor and spirit to him which made for a watchable show. The last shows (of his career) that I saw this year were a completely different story. He looked pained to be up on stage and I felt bad for the Possum. He did not look happy; the audience just seemed stunned.

      Jimmy, on the other hand, still seems to have his humor about him. I totally agree with your thought on having him come out to tell some jokes. His songs, while endearing, are not what make up what Little Jimmy is about. He is there to entertain with jokes, stories, and pink rhinestone outfits. He's almost a modern day Minnie Pearl and the audience will always eat it up. A few years back, on the night of one of the Opry birthday shows, he and Jeannie were up in Indiana and it was so great to see a full 75 minutes of Jimmy. He probably sang about 7 songs within that time and that was totally fine... I loved the hour of anecdotes.

      It is kind of odd that Friday's opry is not on the WSM podcasts... I would love to take a listen.

      Hopefully the Opry will continue to respect him and let him do what he wants. He is the face of the Opry and this whole year has just seemed a little off...


  15. Fred, Bismarck:

    I would hope, if Jimmy wants to continue, that the Opry will not hold him to strict standards of timekeeping or even making sense. There's nothing uglier than cues such as "get off" or "your time's up."

    To me, there are acts, just as James Otto, who are more incoherent, who make less musical sense to a country audience, than Jimmy on the worst day of his life.

    If Pete Fisher has any humanity -- never mind common sense -- he will realize this and treat Jimmy's appearances accordingly.

    I only hope Jimmy was not so offended by his treatment Saturday that he will not return.

  16. Havent seen any names for the birthday show 3 weeks away. Does that mean they are trying to finalize some big names that weekend? Im sure artist to be added as they are confirmed are a good group ( just kidding, just looking forward to finding out who we will see that weekend soon)god bless the grand ole opry no matter who graces that beloved round circle.