Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 11/1 & 11/2

The Grand Ole Opry returns this weekend to the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville for the next 3 months. With the return downtown and the approaching holiday season, the Opry will return to 2 shows on Saturday night in addition to the single Friday Night Opry.

The Friday Night Opry will feature Little Big Town, and they currently are John Conlee's only guest on the final segment. Also appearing will be Josh Turner, who on October 27th celebrated his 6th year as an Opry member. Also appearing will be guest artists Jim Lauderdale and Chris Janson.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will feature the return appearance of Deana Carter. She did the Opry several months back and was very impressive in her appearance and well received. Joining Deana for both shows will be The Grascals, along with Mandy Barnett. Opry member Terri Clark will appear on the 1st show only.

Friday November 1:
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Sara Haze
7:30: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; Josh Turner
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Jim Lauderdale; Chris Janson
8:45: John Conlee (host); Little Big Town

Saturday November 2:
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Frankie Ballard; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: The Whites (host); Terri Clark; The Grascals
8:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jean Shepard; Mandy Barnett; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); Sturgill Simpson; Deana Carter

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Frankie Ballard; Jimmy C Newman
10:00: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mandy Barnett
10:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Jean Shepard; The Grascals; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: John Conlee (host); Sturgill Simpson; Deana Carter

6 Opry members on Friday night with 7 for each show on Saturday night.

For this week's look back in Grand Ole Opry history, we go to 50 years ago this Saturday night as on Saturday November 2, 1963, the Opry celebrated its 38th birthday. If you remember, the early DJ Conventions were held in November, only moving to the October dates when October became recognized as "Country Music Month", which also was part of the CMA Awards show.

As you would expect, it was a loaded Opry that night with just about every Opry member present. Normally the Opry ran one show from 7:30-Midnight, however on the birthday night, it was the one show starting at 6:30. Here is the line-up and running order from that night:

6:30: Rudy's
Jimmy Newman (host): The Mover
Kitty Wells: Heartaches For A Keepsake
Johnny Wright: Oh Baby Mine (I Get So Lonely)
Stringbean: There Will Be Moonshine In Them Old Kentucky Hills
Bobby Lord: Out Behind The Barn
Curly Fox: The Old Gray Mule
Kitty Wells: I Gave My Wedding Dress Away
Jimmy Newman: D.J. For A Day

7:00: Delited
Porter Wagoner (host): I've Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand
Roy Drusky: Peel Me A Nanner
Carl Butler: Don't Let Me Cross Over
Melba Montgomery: What's Bad For You Is Good For Me
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Billy Walker: The Morning Paper
George Hamilton IV: Abilene
Porter Wagoner: In The Shadow Of The Wine

7:30: Kellogg's
George Morgan (host): Alright, I'll Sign The Papers
Marion Worth: (?)
Hank Locklin: Send Me The Pillow You Dream On
Willis Brothers: Private Lee
Bill Anderson: Still
Del Wood: Piano Roll Blues
Tex Ritter: Boll Weevil
Square Dancers: Soap Suds Over The Fence
George Morgan: One Dozen Roses

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): New York Town
Ferlin Husky: Gone
Loretta Lynn: Before I'm Over You
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Flatt & Scruggs: Mama Don't Allow It
Billy Grammer: (?)
Louvin Brothers: (?)
Crook Brothers: Lafayette
Flatt & Scruggs: Flint Hill Special

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Bill Monroe: John Henry
Ray Price: San Antonio Rose
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Sonny James: Going Through The Motions
Lonzo & Oscar: There's A Hole In The Bottom Of The Sea
Skeeter Davis: The End Of The World
Brother Oswald: Roll On Buddy, Roll On
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks A Lot
Wilburn Brothers: (?)
Johnny Cash: (?)
Stringbean: Pretty Polly
June Carter & The Carter Family: (?)
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldier's Joy
Margie Bowes: Our Things
Ernest Tubb: The Way Your Living

9:30: Pet Milk
Hank Snow (host): Ninety Miles An Hour (Down A Dead End Street)
The Browns: The Three Bells
Faron Young: Yellow Bandana
Jean Shepard: (?)
Porter Wagoner: Your Old Love Letters
Leroy Van Dyke: Happy To Be Unhappy
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: There's A Big Wheel
Stonewall Jackson: B.J. The D.J.
Hank Snow: Blue Roses

10:00: Gates Rubber
Billy Grammer (host): (?)
Bobby Lord: Life Can Have Meaning
Curly Fox: Model T And The Train Race
Billy Walker: Heart, Be Careful
Billy Grammer: (?)

10:15: Luzianne
Roy Acuff (host): The Great Speckled Bird
Del Wood: Columbus Stockade Blues
Jimmy Newman: D.J. For A Day
Roy Acuff: Wreck On The Highway
Howdy Forrester & Jimmy Riddle: Apple Blossoms

10:30: Harvey's
Ferlin Husky (host): Wings Of A Dove
Louvin Brothers: (?)
Tex Ritter: (?)
Simon Crum: (?)

10:45: Ford
Faron Young (host): (?)
George Morgan: You're The Only Good Thing
Bill Anderson: Eight By Ten
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Faron Young: (?)

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Skeeter Davis: Something Precious
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose
The Browns: Oh, No
Lonzo & Oscar: Hand Holding
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Gloryland March
Sam & Kirk McGee: Let's Meet At The Old Oaken Bucket
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Love Somebody
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such As I

11:30: SSS Tonic
Marty Robbins (host): Devil Woman
Bill Monroe: Blue Moon Of Kentucky
Hank Locklin: Flying South
Wilburn Brothers: (?)
Stonewall Jackson: Wild, Wild Wind
Margie Bowes: Judge Not
Sonny James: The Minute Your Gone
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry

I would have to go back and do some checking, but this might be the best Opry line-up I have ever posted. Considering that Brother Oswald, Howdy Forrester and Jimmy Riddle worked for Roy Acuff, the only non-Opry members on this line-up were Johnny Cash (who had moved to California by this time), Tex Ritter (who would join the Opry later) and Melba Montgomery. 25 of the acts did 2 spots that night, while 18 others appeared just one time. You can see how important the birthday shows and DJ Convention was back during that time period.

I will also mention that Saturday November 3, 1990 was Minnie Pearl's 50th anniversary show as an Opry member. I have posted the details of that night before, so here briefly, is the line-up from that night:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Del Reeves (host); Jeannie Seely
6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard
7:00: Shoney's
Minnie Pearl; Gary Morris; Jimmy Dickens; Connie Smith; Grandpa Jones; Hank Snow
7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff; Chet Atkins; Minnie Pearl
8:00: Martha White
Jack Greene (host); 4 Guys; Skeeter Davis; Jimmy C Newman; Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Pops Rite
Jim Ed Brown (host); Charlie Louvin; Jan Howard; The Whites; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jimmy Dickens (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Roy Drusky; Gary Morris
10:00: Little Debbie
Jack Greene (host); Del Reeves
10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host); Jeannie Pruett; Bill Carlisle
10:30: Pet Milk
Grandpa Jones (host); Jean Shepard; Ray Pillow
10:45: B. C. Powder
Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Walker; Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host); Jimmy C Newman; Justin Tubb; The Whites; Mike Snider
11:30: Creamette
Jim Ed Brown (host); 4 Guys; Charlie Louvin; Johnny Russell

Gary Morris and Chet Atkins were the only non-Opry members to appear on that night. Gary Morris did a special song for Minnie that started off the televised portion (which was the entire hour), and Chet Atkins was there because of Minnie. Also the televised portion that night featured the Opry's Hall of Famers who were present (Jimmy Dickens, Grandpa Jones, Hank Snow and Roy Acuff). And as a special surprise, Dwight Yoakam had 50 dozen roses delivered to Minnie that night. A very special night in the Opry's history.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tuesday Night Opry 10/29 & Opry Country Classics 10/31

The line-ups have been posted for the mid-week Opry shows and both nights look pretty good. The Tuesday Night Opry will take place at the Grand Ole Opry House, which will host its final Opry show for this year prior to moving to the Ryman Auditorium starting on Friday Night. Making a return appearance to the Opry on Tuesday will be Barry Gibb. Barry did the Opry once previously and was actually well received. He will be appearing with special guest Kelly Lang, along with Opry member Ricky Skaggs. Kelly's husband, TG Sheppard is also scheduled, as are Opry members Montgomery Gentry, Del McCoury and Larry Gatlin.

Tuesday October 29:
7:00: Maggie Rose; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Dustin Lynch; Larry Gatlin
8:15: TG Sheppard; Montgomery Gentry
8:45: Barry Gibb w/special guest Kelly Lang; Ricky Skaggs

Charlie Daniels will be the Spotlight Artist for the final Opry Country Classics show for this year. The show will be hosted by Larry Gatlin and will also feature Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie McCoy.

Thursday October 31:
Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist-Charlie Daniels Band
Also Appearing: Rebecca Lynn Howard; Charlie McCoy; Chuck Mead; Jeannie Seely

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 10/25 & 10/26

The Grand Ole Opry closes out the year at the Grand Ole Opry House this weekend before moving downtown next week to the Ryman Auditorium for the annual winter run of shows. There will be the usual one show each night and the line-ups for this weekend look very solid.

The Friday Night Opry will feature super-group Lady Antebellum. The will be joined by guest artists Love and Theft, Darryl Worley and The Isaacs. Also scheduled is Opry member Marty Stuart, who will be joined on his segment by newcomer Brandy Clark, who has impressed Opry audiences in her previous appearances.

The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night also is looking solid with Opry members Steve Wariner and Del McCoury leading the way, along with guest artists Elizabeth Cook, Chuck Wicks, Mark Wills and Mallary Hope, all of whom visit the Opry frequently.

Also scheduled are two Opry members who have been missing in recent weeks. Mike Snider is back on the schedule, along with Jimmy C Newman, who has been missing from the Opry because of a fall at the Opry House. Glad to see Jimmy C back.

Friday October 25:
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Love and Theft; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Darryl Worley; The Isaacs
8:15: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Brandy Clark
8:45: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Lady Antebellum

Saturday October 26:
7:00: John Conlee (host); Mallary Hope; The Whites
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jesse McReynolds; Mark Wills
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; Chuck Wicks; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Steve Wariner (host); Elizabeth Cook; Del McCoury Band

Wow!! We are up to 9 Opry members on Saturday night. That is one of the higher numbers in recent weeks. The one thing I will say as the Opry prepares to move downtown to the Ryman is that the quality of the line-ups generally improve greatly during November and December as many of the Opry's members are home for the holidays or coming off of holiday tours. Along with the guest artists that are scheduled, it creates some good shows.

In what should be an outstanding Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree this week, Steve Wariner will be the host. I am sure he will be playing many of his hits along with songs from his new CD. Should be a good night.

Now for this week's look back into past Grand Ole Opry line-ups, it was 40 years ago on Saturday October 27, 1973 that Jerry Clower joined the Grand Ole Opry. Jerry was the last artist to join the cast of the Opry before it left the Ryman Auditorium and moved to the Grand Ole Opry House.

He was born on September 28, 1926 in Liberty, Mississippi. After serving in World War II, he returned home and attended Mississippi State University. After finishing school, he worked as a county agent, a seed salesman and finally selling fertilizer for the Mississippi Chemical Corporation. As a salesman, he became successful and popular for his story telling and tapes of his speaking engagements eventually led to a recording contract thanks to Edwin Wilkes and Bud Andrews. Wilkes sent a copy of a tape to Grant Turner at WSM and Turner played it on the air. It was such a hit that MCA signed him to the label and his first album in 1971 "Jerry Clower from Yazoo, City, Mississippi Talkin'" reached the Top 20 and stayed on the charts for 30 weeks. Over the course of his career, he made 27 albums, all but one released on MCA.

Jerry was also known for his deep religious convictions, which played a part in many of his stories. In addition to his speaking engagements, he also co-hosted "Nashville On The Road", the popular television series hosted by Jim Ed Brown. The show aired from 1975 through 1981. He also wrote several books.

Jerry Clower was an Opry member until he died on August 24, 1998 following heart bypass surgery. He was 71. He had been married to Homerline, who played many a part in Jerry's stories, for 51 years.

When Jerry joined the Opry, Hal Durham mentioned that there had not been a new "straight comic" signed in years and immediately saw the potential for Jerry to be a part of the Opry. Jerry said of his Opry membership, "It's undescribable, because, you see, I had prayed as a little boy that at the end of a crop year we'd clear enough money for us to go see the Grand Ole Opry. And we never did make it. Now, here I was on it! Grand Ole Opry star Jerry Clower! Woooo!"

Here is the Grand Ole Opry line-up and running order from Saturday October 27, 1973, the night Jerry Clower joined the Grand Ole Opry.

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Osborne Brothers (host): Fireball Mail
Bill Carlisle: What Kind of Deal Is This
Sonny Osborne: Earl's Breakdown
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top

6:45: Rudy's
Willis Brothers (host): Chant of the Plains
Louie Roberts: Singing the Blues/Lovesick Blues
Willis Brothers: Cool Water

7:00: Rudy's
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die
Jim & Jesse: A Bird With Broken Wings Can't Fly
Hank Wada: Columbus Stockade Blues
Wilma Lee Cooper: I Don't Care If Tomorrow Never Comes
Jim & Jesse: Ashes of Love
Hank Wada: Jambalaya
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I Shall Not Be Moved

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): Wake Up, Jacob
Dolly Parton: Joshua
Crook Brothers: Gray Eagle
Harold Weakley: Is Anybody Going to San Antone
Dolly Parton: My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man
Mac McGaha: Mockingbird/Orange Blossom Special
Porter Wagoner: What Ain't To Be Just Might Happen

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Grandpa Jones: Kitty Klide
Del Wood: There's A Big Wheel
Jerry Clower: I'm That Country
Grandpa Jones: Any Old Time
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Miller's Cave
Bobby Bare: Ride Me Down Easy
Ray Pillow: Excuse Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me of Me
Bobby Bare: Come Sundown
Ray Pillow: I Wish Somebody Loved Me That Much
Hank Snow: Tammy

2nd show
9:30: Kelloggs
Osborne Brothers (host): Rocky Top
Willis Brothers: Pretty Diamonds
Louie Roberts: Way Out There
Del Wood: There's A Big Wheel
Osborne Brothers: You Win Again/Today I Started Loving You Again
Willis Brothers: Bob
Osborne Brothers: Ruby

10:00: Fender
Jim & Jesse (host): I've Been Everywhere
Bill Carlisle: Jack of All Trades
Jim & Jesse: Johnny  B. Goode

10:15: Union 76
Porter Wagoner (host): Company's Coming
Dolly Parton: My Tennessee Mountain Home
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: We Found It/If Tear Drops Were Pennies

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Cottonfields/Night Train to Memphis
Grandpa Jones: Banjo Sam
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Little Darling Pal of Mine
Larry McNeely: Breakaway

10:45: Beech-Nut
Bobby Bare (host): Detroit City
Jerry Clower: The Coon Hunt
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January
Bobby Bare: The Streets of Baltimore

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): The Wreck of the Old 97/One More Ride
Ray Pillow: She's Doing It To Me Again
Hank Wada: Columbus Stockade Blues
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Old Hen Cackle
Hank Snow: Black Diamond
Sam McGee: Worry, Worry Blues
Hank Snow: Send Me The Pillow You Dream On

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): Devil Woman
Mary Lou Turner: Slipping Away/Poor Sweet Baby
Marty Mitchell: Washed My Hands In Muddy Water/You Gave Me A Mountain
Marty Robbins: Love Me/Big Boss Man/Don't Worry/It's Not Love/El Paso

I have said before that comedy is a lost art at the Opry. Country comedy that is. And that is what Jerry Clower brought to the Opry. Some of his stories were classics and while he didn't appear at the Opry as often as many would have liked, he was always proud of his Opry membership and a good loyal Opry member.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tuesday Night Opry 10/22 & Opry Country Classics 10/24

The Grand Ole Opry will honor breast cancer awareness on Tuesday October 22, as the Opry will do the annual "Opry Goes Pink" Tuesday Night Opry. Unlike past years, this year it will be an all-female line-up and a pretty good one:

7:00: Mandisa; Lorrie Morgan; Pam Tillis
8:15: Jeannie Seely; Natalie Grant
8:45: Amy Grant; LeAnn Rimes

A nice mixure of talent on what will probably be a sold-out show.

Meanwhile, Opry Country Classics continues its run with Hall of Fame member Bobby Bare as the spotlight artist this week. I saw Bobby at Jim Ed Brown's 50th anniversary show in August, said hi to him, and he looks fine and sounded great.

Appearing with him will be Daryle Singletary, Joanna Smith and The Whites, with Larry Gatlin the host. Just on his own, Bobby is worth the price of admission.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 50th & 75th Birthday Celebrations

Two of the most important anniversaries in the history of the Grand Ole Opry were the 50th, which took place in 1975, and the 75th, which took place in 2000. The 50th anniversary show took place the weekend of October 17th & 18th, with 1 show on Friday Night and 2 shows on Saturday night. As you would expect, Saturday was the big night of the weekend as in those days the Friday night show was not considered in the same class as Saturday's. In fact, many of the Opry's stars, including Hank Snow, would not do the Friday show.

Just to point that out, here is the line-up from Friday October 17, 1975, the night before the actual 50th anniversary show:

7:00: Cracker Barrel
Charlie Louvin (host); Skeeter Davis; Jim & Jesse
7:30: Varallo
Lester Flatt (host); Dottie West; Ray Pillow; 4 Guys
8:00: Odom Sausage/U.S. Borax
Del Reeves (host); The Carlisles; Willis Brothers
8:30: Kroger/Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; The Promenaders
9:00: Baltz Bros./Schlitz
David Houston (host); Tammy Wynette; Roy Drusky
9:30: Acme Boot/Beech-Nut
Charlie Walker (host); Billy Grammer; Barbara Mandrell
10:00: Cee Bee/Schlitz
Archie Campbell (host); Marion Worth; Hank Locklin
10:30: Shoney's
Stonewall Jackson (host); Jeanne Pruett; Wilburn Brothers; Del Wood

Not really a bad line up, but compare that to the birthday celebration that took place the following night, Saturday October 18, 1975, 38 years ago this weekend. Here is that line-up:

1st show:
6:00: Vietti
Bill Anderson (host): Don't She Look Good
Stonewall Jackson: Waterloo
Billy Grammer: Family Man
Stu Phillips: Only You Can Hush the Wind
Justin Tubb: Keep Me From Blowing Away
Jimmy Gately: The Angel of the Bar Room
Bill Anderson: Thanks

6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Jack Greene (host): He Little Thing'd Her Out Of My Arms
Jeannie Seely: Take My Hand
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
4 Guys: Hello Walls/Big Bad John/Wings Of A Dove

6:45: Rudy's
Del Reeves (host): Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song
Barbara Mandrell: I Know My Lord Will Lead Me Home
Charlie Louvin: Little Reasons/Will You Visit Me On Sundays/What Are Those Things
Jimmy C Newman: When The Saints Go Marching In

7:00: Shoney's
Ernest Tubb (host): In The Jailhouse Now
Hank Locklin: Send Me The Pillow You Dream On
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jim & Jesse: The Magic Little Garden
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Willis Brothers: Country Honey
Wayne Hammond: Release Me
Skeeter Davis: Silver Threads and Golden Needles

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: I'm A Believer
Minnie Pearl: Careless Love
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Don Gibson: Oh, Lonesome Me
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Gray Eagle
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie/Down Yonder/There's A Big Wheel
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Dolly Parton: The Seeker
David Houston: Almost Persuaded
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Wilma Lee Cooper: Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Say Forever You'll Be Mine
Porter Wagoner: Indian Creek

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Roy Drusky: Sunrise
Willis Brothers: Cimarron
Marion Worth: For The Good Times
Ray Pillow: Roll On Truckers
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Hank Snow: Paper Roses

2nd show:
9:30: Kelloggs
Ernest Tubb (host): If You Don't Quit Checking On Me
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Connie Smith: How Can You Refuse Him Now
Stonewall Jackson: Waterloo
Barbara Mandrell: Johnny B. Goode
Stu Phillips: Only You Can Hush The Wind
Bill Carlisle: Same Old Tale That The Crow Told Me
Jim & Jesse: Paradise

10:00: Fender
Bill Anderson (host): Country DJ
Jean Shepard: I'm A Believer
Del Reeves: Half A Mind/I'm Moving On/Chug-A-Lug/Hillbilly Heaven
Skeeter Davis: On The Way Home
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Cottonfields
Roy Clark & Family: Sweet Bunch of Daisies/A Pain In My Heart/Blues On My Mind/John Henry
Minnie Pearl: I'm Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes
Tammy Wynette: Clap Your Hands
Charlie Louvin: American Trilogy
Billy Grammer: Somewhere My Love
Jimmy C Newman: Alligator Man

10:30: Trailblazer
Porter Wagoner (host): Indian Creek
Dolly Parton: We Used To
4 Guys: Down By The Lazy River
Jack Greene: Statue of A Fool
Jeannie Seely & Dottie West: Don't Touch Me
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Say Forever You'll Be Mine
Dolly Parton: The Seeker

10:45: Beech-Nut
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Dottie West & Jeannie Seely: Here Comes My Baby
Wilburn Brothers: Country Honey
Susan Raye: He Gives Me Something To Forgive Him For
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Black Mountain Rag

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Jeanne Pruett& Dottie West & Jeannie Seely: Satin Sheets
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Del Wood: Keep On The Firing Line
Kirk McGee: Freight Train
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such As I

11:30: Elm Hill
Roy Drusky (host): Sunrise
David Houston & Calvin Crawford: Sweet Molly
Marion Worth: For the Good Times
Ray Pillow: Roll On Truckers
Roy Drusky: I Really Don't Want to Know/I'm Throwing Rice/Four Walls

Wow, what a show!! The first show actually ran pretty much on time, while the 2nd show ended at 1:15 a.m. and that was with Hank Snow's segment lasting 25 minutes and Roy Drusky's just 20. Roy Acuff's segment, that was supposed to last 15 minutes, actually took 50. It was during that segment that the birthday cake was rolled out and all the speeches made. Also, Minnie Pearl had just been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame earlier that week and she received a long, standing ovation. And, for those counting, that was over 40 acts on the 1st show and 42 acts on the 2nd show, all but Roy Clark and Susan Raye being Opry members. (if I counted right)

After the 2nd show ended, the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree took place, lasting 2 hours. The guests included, in addition to Ernest, Moe Bandy, Willie Nelson, Jimmie Skinner, Lois Johnson, Justin Tubb, Brian Collins, Barbara Fairchild, Atlanta James and The Tumbleweeds.

Moving ahead to 2000,  when the Grand Ole Opry celebrated it's 75th anniversary with 2 shows each on Friday and Saturday night. Most of the Opry's members were scheduled for at least one of the shows that weekend and as you would expect, each of the shows were sold out. One of the things that I thought was nice about these shows was the mixure of veterans and new acts, including Garth Brooks doing all 4 shows that weekend.

Here is the line-up from Friday October 13, 2000:

1st show:
6:30: Gibson Musical Instruments
Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; The Whites; Hal Ketchum; Jack Greene
7:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; Jeanne Pruett; Diamond Rio
7:30: Cracker Barrel
Steve Wariner (host); Holly Dunn; Del Reeves; Ronnie Milsap
8:00: Dickie's Workwear/Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce
Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Jimmy C Newman; Alison Krauss
8:30: Johnny Walker Tours/Fiddlers Inn/MCA
Jimmy Dickens (host); Osborne Brothers; Martina McBride; Garth Brooks

2nd show:
9:30: RCA
Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Ed Brown; Billy Walker; Jack Greene; Diamond Rio
10:00: Standard Candy
Jimmy Dickens (host); Hal Ketchum; Ernie Ashworth; Del Reeves; Connie Smith
10:30: Shoney's
Steve Wariner (host); Osborne Brothers; Charlie Louvin; Jeanne Pruett; Alison Krauss
11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Hank Locklin; Garth Brooks
11:30: Opry Picture History Book/Opry 75th Merchandise
Charlie Walker (host); Stu Phillips; Holly Dunn; Mel McDaniel

Here is the Opry show from Saturday October 14, 2000, the night of the 75th birthday celebration, which included the birthday cake on both shows, with the 7:00 hour televised.

1st show:
6:30: Tex-Mex Dinners
Jeannie Seely (host): You Don't Need Me, But You Will
Connie Smith: I Love Charlie Brown
Bill Carlisle: Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
Lorrie Morgan: Opry Walls/Crazy

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Howdy Neighbor, Howdy
Marty Stuart: Rock Island Line
Travis Tritt: Best of Intentions
Marty Stuart & Travis Tritt: The Whiskey Ain't Working Anymore/Here's A Quarter
Riders In The Sky: Woody's Roundup/You've Got A Friend In Me

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy Dickens & Pam Tillis: Out Behind the Barn
Trisha Yearwood: She's In Love With Boy/Till I Can Get It Right
Loretta Lynn: Country In My Genes/Coal Miner's Daughter
Grand Ole Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Porter Wagoner: Y'All Come

8:00: Martha White
Vince Gill (host): The Key to Life
Alison Krauss: Ghost In The House/Carry Me Across the Mountain
Dolly Parton: Train, Train/Coat of Many Colors
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
Vince Gill & Alison Krauss: High Lonesome Sound

8:30: Physican's Mutual Insurance
Jean Shepard (host): Slippin' Away
Ricky Van Shelton: Matchbox/I Got A Hole In My Pocket
Steve Wariner: (?)/I'm Already Taken
Garth Brooks: Two Of A Kind
Garth Brooks & Steve Wariner: Long Neck Bottle
Garth Brooks: Make You Feel My Love

2nd show:
Porter Wagoner (host): Katy Did
Marty Stuart: Just To Satisfy You
Connie Smith: Wayfaring Stranger
Wilma Lee Cooper: Big Midnight Special
Alison Krauss: Baby, Now That I've Found You
Porter Wagoner: She Burned the Little Roadside Tavern Down

10:00: Local Lincoln Mercury Dealers/The Restaurants at the Opryland Hotel
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Pam Tillis: Ophelia/How Strange/Heart Over Mind
Ronnie Milsap: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me/All is Fair In Love and War
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her That Way

10:30: Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover/Jogging In A Jug
Vince Gill (host): The Key to Life
Ralph Stanley: If I Lose
Lorrie Morgan: Good Lovin'/Standing Tall
Jack Greene: Highway To The Sky
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Grand Ole Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry

11:00: Coca-Cola
Riders In The Sky (host): How the Yodel Was Born
Jean Shepard: Tennessee Waltz
Ricky Van Shelton: Matchbox/I Got A Hole In My Pocket
Ricky Van Shelton & Jack Greene: Statue Of A Fool
Steve Wariner: Holes In The Floor of Heaven
Riders In The Sky: Rawhide

11:30: Grand Ole Opry Cruise
Johnny Russell (host): Truck Driving Man
Jan Howard: Where No One Stands Alone
Ray Pillow: That Ain't No Way To Treat My Heart
Charlie Walker: Home In San Antone
Garth Brooks: Two Of A Kind/It's What I Didn't Do
Garth Brooks & Steve Wariner: Long Neck Bottle
Garth Brooks: Til The River Runs Dry/Friends In Low Places/The Dance

When you look at the 75th line-up, it is hard to believe that this was just 13 years ago and Pete Fisher/Steve Buchanan had just taken over at the Opry. And it is hard to think that in just the last 13 years, the Opry members we have lost that were there for the 75th. Stars such as Porter Wagoner, Johnny Russell, Charlie Walker, Jack Greene, Wilma Lee Cooper, Bill Carlisle, Billy Walker, Del Reeves, Hank Locklin, Ernie Ashworth, Mel McDaniel and Charlie Louvin. Such great veterans. And of course, when you compare the 2013 birthday show to the 2000 show, the only Opry members who appeared then and now were Jan Howard, Steve Wariner, Jean Shepard, Jimmy Dickens, Connie Smith, Jeannie Seely, Jim Ed Brown and The Whites. Just 8. My, things have changed at the Opry in the last decade and you can really tell the difference as you go back and look at these great birthday celebrations from the past.

Enjoy the Opry!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 10/18 & 10/19

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-up for the two shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry.

Let's start with Saturday night, which looks like the stronger of the two. American Idol star Scotty McCreery will be making another Opry appearance. I have seen him several times on the Opry and he has done a nice job each time. Also guesting will be The Willis Clan, very talented and popular stars from their GAC show, along with former Statler Brother Jimmy Fortune. This week's guest from the "Nashville" show will be Charles Esten. I have seen that the ratings are way down for this show, so I have to be wondering if this will be the final year, which would seem to mean more openings on the Opry's schedule as they have been scheduling pretty heavy from the tv show. And, for the 2nd time this year, Stu Phillips is on the schedule. I hope he is in good voice.

Friday's show has guest artists Greg Bates, Danny Gokey, Restless Heart and Joanna Smith scheduled, all familar to Opry audiences, along with comedian Henry Cho. We have commented before how comedy seems to have disappeared from the Opry. There use to be such great comedians as Opry members, but outside of Mike Snider, who seems to be focusing more on his music, there is not much to laugh about on the show.

Friday October 18:
7:00: John Conlee (host); Greg Bates; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Connie Smith (host); The Whites; Henry Cho
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Danny Gokey
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Joanna Smith; Restless Heart

Saturday October 19:
7:00: The Whites (host); Katie Armiger; Jimmy Fortune
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; The Willis Clan
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Stu Phillips; Charles Esten; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Exile; Scotty McCreery

7 Opry members on Friday night and just 6 on Saturday. Shameful!! And is it just me, or have others noticed that Bill Anderson seem to really be cutting back on his Opry appearances? I know he has been working on a new CD, a book and taking some vacation time, but it used to be that if Bill did not have a tour date, you could count on him at the Opry.

And, a few have noticed on the scheduling of upcoming Opry appearances, but Hal Ketchum is scheduled for the Tuesday Night Opry on November 19. Good for Hal and good for the Opry. I am looking forward to his return and am very interested in how he sounds. He has been missed at the Opry and I am glad he is well enough to come back.

Looking back into Grand Ole Opry history, and sticking with the theme of the month, which is past Opry birthday/DJ conventions, I want to post the line-up from Saturday October 18, 1969, which was the Opry's 44th birthday. What makes this show so interesting is that parts of it were filmed and included in a CD that is available called, "The Nashville Sound." If you have not seen this CD, I would recommend getting it as it is a real nice view of the Opry and Nashville from that era.

1st show:
6:00: Vietti
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Glaser Brothers: Wicked California
Skeeter Davis: Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad
George Hamilton IV: Canadian Pacific
4 Guys: My Special Angel
Justin Tubb: Be Glad
Margie Bowes: Understand Your Gal/Big City
Bill Carlisle: Polka Salad Annie
Bill Anderson: This Land Is Your Land

6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Tex Ritter (host): Growing Up
Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely: Wish I Didn't Have to Miss You
Jack Greene: Statue of a Fool
Bobby Lord: Live Your Life Out Loud

6:45: Rudy's
Porter Wagoner (host): Big Wind
Dolly Parton: My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy
Willis Brothers: Buying Popcorn
Mel Tillis: Ruby, Don't Take Your Guns to Town
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Someone I Used to Know

7:00: Luzianne
Roy Acuff (host): Low & Lonely
Earl Scruggs Revue: Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Charlie Louvin: Little Reasons/Will You Visit Me On Sundays/What Are Those Things
Stonewall Jackson: Ship in the Bottle
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalya
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

7:30: Standard Candy
Ernest Tubb (host): Walking the Floor Over You
Grandpa Jones: Old Dan Tucker
Loretta Lynn: To Make A Man
Wilburn Brothers: It Looks like the Sun's Gonna Shine
Archie Campbell: The Cockfight
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January
Stu Phillips: Little Tin God
Del Wood: Beer Barrel Polka

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Little Maggie
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
Dottie West: Clinging to My Baby's Hands
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
George Morgan: Molly Darling
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Ray Pillow: Proud Mary
Lester Flatt: Folsom Prison Blues

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Roy Drusky: Strangers
Del Reeves: Women Do Funny Things to Me/Girl on the Billboard/There Wouldn't Be A Lonely Heart in Town
Jean Shepard: Seven Lonely Days
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Dance All Night
Bob Luman: Memphis
Jim & Jesse: My Baby's Gone
Wilma Lee Cooper: The Right to Love What's Left
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On

2nd show:
9:30: Kelloggs
Porter Wagoner (host): Big Wind
Dolly Parton: My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy
Johnny Cash: Folsom Prison Blues/A Boy Named Sue
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Jimmy C Newman: Alligator Man
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
4 Guys: Turn Around; Look at Me
Mel Tillis: These Lonely Hands of Mine
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Someone I Used to Know

10:00: Fender
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Earl Scruggs Revue: Girl From the North Country
Margie Bowes: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Diane McCall: Ready Made Home
Bobby Lord: Rainbow Girl
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:15: Pure
Bill Anderson (host): But You Know I Love You
Grandpa Jones: Are You From Dixie
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Bob Luman: Guitar Man
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Stu Phillips: Little Tin God
Jeannie C Riley: Harper Valley PTA
Bill Anderson: This Land Is Your Land

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host): Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms
Tex Ritter: High Noon
George Morgan: You Gave Me A Mountain
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Lester Flatt: I'll Be Your Baby Tonight

10:45: Beech-Nut
Ernest Tubb (host): Waltz Across Texas
Loretta Lynn: Your Squaw Is On The Warpath
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Wilburn Brothers: Hurt Her Once For Me

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Hank Locklin: Please Help Me I'm Falling
Charlie Walker: Moffitt, Oklahoma
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Alabama Gal
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such As I
Sam McGee: Steel Guitar Rag
Hank Snow: The Gold Rush is Over/Wreck of the Old 97/One More Ride

11:30: Lava
Bill Monroe (host): Fireball Mail
Ray Pillow: Working Man Blues
Bill Monroe: Body & Soul
Ray Pillow: Heart Over Mind
Bill Monroe: I Haven't Seen Mary In Years/Blue Moon of Kentucky

Every segment hosted by a current or future Hall of Famer. As far as the timing of the show, the 2nd show ended at 1:00am, and that was with Hank Snow's segment lasting only 25 minutes and Bill Monroe getting on and off in 20. The only Opry members missing were Ernie Ashworth, Billy Grammer, Lonzo & Oscar, Norma Jean, Marty Robbins, Stringbean, Marion Worth, George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Finally, when you watch the DVD, you will notice that the acts are out of sequence to how they appeared on the actual show and the film shows Charley Pride performing on the Opry, yet he did not appear on this particular night. And as good as the first show was, the 2nd show included Johnny Cash and Jeannie C Riley!!

For the 2nd line-up, I want to go to Saturday October 16, 1971, 42 years ago this week and other DJ convention show. This line-up was certainly impressive and included the Opry debut of Freddie Hart, who at the time had his great #1 hit, "Easy Lovin'", which in my view is one of the all time classic hits in country music history. Last year, Freddie was on the "Marty Stuart Show", and considering that he is over 80, he looked good and could still hit the notes. And yes, he did "Easy Lovin'".

1st show:
6:00: Vietti
Tex Ritter (host): Just Beyond the Moon
Dolly Parton: Coat of Many Colors
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Stonewall Jackson: Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Roy Drusky: Long, Long Texas Road
Willis Brothers: Women's Liberation
Tex Ritter: Fall Away

6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Bill Anderson (host) & Jan Howard: Dissatisfied
Jan Howard: Hurt All Over
Ray Pillow: Haven't You Heard
Ernie Ashworth: A Bottle of the Blues
Bill Anderson: Quits

6:45: Rudy's
Bill Monroe (host): I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Bill Monroe: Katy Hill

7:00: Luzianne
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Coming Down From God
Tom T Hall: I Remember the Year that Clayton Delaney Died
Del Wood: Gloryland March
Howdy Forrester: Sally Goodin
George Morgan: Gentle Rains of Home
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

7:30: Standard Candy
Ernest Tubb (host): Answer the Phone
Loretta Lynn: Put Your Hand in the Hand
Charlie Louvin & Melba Montgomery: Something to Brag About
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: All Right, I'll Sign the Papers
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Ernest Tubb: Shenandoah Waltz

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Will You Be Loving Another Man
Grandpa Jones: Are You From Dixie
Dottie West: Country Girl
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Del Reeves: Philadelphia Fillies
Justin Tubb: Big Fool of the Year
Lester Flatt: Foggy Mountain Breakdown

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Sea Shores of Old Mexico
Wilburn Brothers: That She's Leaving Feeling
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Devil's Dream
Bob Luman: Today I Started Loving You Again/Honky Tonk Man
4 Guys: Shenandoah
Hank Snow: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On

2nd show:
9:30: Kelloggs
Tex Ritter (host): Fall Away
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Dolly Parton: Coat of Many Colors
Jim Ed Brown: She's Leaving
Roy Drusky: I Love the Way That You've Been Loving Me
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Jimmy C Newman: Louisiana Dirty Rice
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie

10:00: Fender
Bill Anderson (host): Quits
Bill Anderson & Jan Howard: Dissatisfied
Grandpa Jones: Mountain Dew
Ray Pillow: The Waitress

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry
George Morgan: Gentle Rains of Home
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host): The Bluebirds Singing for Me
Tom T Hall: I Remember the Year That Clayton Delaney Died
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Lester Flatt: Orange Blossom Special

10:45: Beech-Nut
Ernest Tubb (host): Letters Have No Arms
Loretta Lynn: Lead Me On
Billy Walker: How Great Thou Art
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Snowbird
Earl Scruggs Revue: T for Texas
Jack Greene: There's A Whole Lot About A Woman A Man Don't Know
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Del Reeves: Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On/Hound Dog
Freddie Hart: Easy Lovin/My Hangup is You
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): Devil Woman
Wilburn Brothers: That She's Leaving Feeling
Connie Smith: Just One Time
4 Guys: Let The Sun Keep Shining
Bob Luman: Getting Back to Norma
Marty Robbins: I Walk Alone/Begging to You/Don't Worry/Big Boss Man/They'll Never Take Her Love From Me/Singing The Blues/El Paso

At 12:58, they were finally done!! This is what I call a Grand Ole Opry show. Again, every segment hosted by a either a current or future Hall of Fame member. And, Porter Wagoner, Glaser Brothers, Jim & Jesse and Coz. Jody were also scheduled but cancelled out, while Bill Monroe was also scheduled for the 2nd show and did not appear. The only Opry members who did not appear on this show were Bobby Bare, Margie Bowes, Archie Campbell, Skeeter Davis, Billy Grammer, Hank Locklin, Lonzo & Oscar, Bobby Lord, Osborne Brothers, Jean Shepard, Stringbean, Marion Worth and George Hamilton IV.

I think it is safe to say that this year's Opry birthday bash didn't measure up to either of these shows!!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Disc Jockey Convention/Opry's Birthday Weekend

As most of the Grand Ole Opry's annual birthday celebrations have taken place during the month of October, I thought it would be nice to take a few moments and review the history of the event and how it grew into what takes place each year.

Originally known as the DJ (Disc Jockey) Convention, it was organized to honor the Grand Ole Opry while consolidating Nashville's role in the country music industry. The event, which originally commemorated the Grand Ole Opry's Birthday Celebration, was suggested in 1951 by Harianne Moore of WSM's advertising department. The idea was for the country music artists to thank the disc jockeys for playing their records and promoting their concerts, while giving the disc jockeys the opportunity to meet the stars and to tape spots with the artists to be played on their local stations.

The first event took place in November 1952 and involved about 100 DJs, who were invited from a list that was furnished by Acuff-Rose Publications, which kept a national list of disc jockeys. They were welcomed to WSM radio and treated to a Grand Ole Opry show. The first year was considered enough of a success that it was repeated the following year and extended over two days, with record companies and publishers hosting receptions and BMI giving its first country music awards for radio airplay. In addition, DJs organized the Country Music Disc Jockeys Association, precursor to the CMA. By 1958 attendance had grown to over 2,000 with more and more entertainers taking part. In addition to the formal and informal parties, there were now panels on industry issues.

That same year the CMDJ disbanded and the CMA was organized. Since then, the CMA has taken over the event. In 1963, thanks to a push by the CMA, October was declared Country Music Month and the event, which had taken place in November, switched to October to take advantage of the better weather. As attendance continued to grow, the CMA organized their own awards show, along with ASCAP and SESAC, both industry publishing houses. In 1969, the first Country Radio Broadcasters seminar was held and the CRB soon established their own organization.

Because so many country music fans had begun coming to Nashville for the DJ Convention week, the CMA created a festival for just the fans, which was named Fan Fair. Fan Fair still exists today, but has been renamed the CMA Music Festival, while the Country Radio Broadcasters hold their own event.

While the DJ convention no longer exists as it once did, the Opry's Birthday Celebration, which was one of the primary reasons for the convention starting, continues. The birthday celebration grew into such a big event because the majority of Opry members would be in town for the event. That was how important the DJs were to their careers. However, as time goes on, and while the birthday celebration continues, it is not the primary event that it used to be.

As the Opry's birthday month continues, so do the line-ups from past birthday celebrations. On October 13, 1979, the 54th birthday show took place as part of the DJ convention. Here is the line-up from that year's show:

1st show:
6:00: Vietti
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Skeeter Davis: Isn't It Always Love/The Old Rugged Cross
Charlie Louvin: Will You Visit Me On Sundays/Love Don't Care
Billy Grammer: Steel Guitar Rag

6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Ray Pillow (host): Hungry Man's Dream
Del Wood: Keep on the Firing Line
Wilma Lee Cooper: A Daisy A Day
Ray Pillow: Super Lady

6:45: Rudy's
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks A Lot
Ernie Ashworth: You Can't Pick A Rose In December
Tinker Tubb: Good Hearted Woman
Ronnie Dale: Sweet Memories

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ole Slewfoot
Jan Howard: I Will Survive
Charlie Walker: Don't Play Me No Songs About Texas
Wilburn Brothers: Arkansas
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With the Way That We're Doing it Now
Susan McCann: Someone Is Looking For Someone Like You
Porter Wagoner: Everything I've Always Wanted

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Virginia/Many Happy Hangovers to You
Stonewall Jackson: Come on Home
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin
Roy Acuff: Lord, Don't Give Up On Me/I'll Fly Away

8:00: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): Cindy
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On/Danny Boy
Vic Willis & Curtis Young: Shenendoah
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Grandpa Jones: I'll Meet You in the Morning

8:30: Acme
George Hamilton IV (host): Early Morning Rain
4 Guys: Mama Rocked Us to Sleep with Country Music/When Will I Be Loved
Stu Phillips: Thank God She's Mine
Marion Worth: Take These Chains From My Heart
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Alabama Gal
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young

2nd show:
9:30: Kelloggs
Ernest Tubb (host): Waltz Across Texas
Skeeter Davis: Just When I Needed You Most
Billy Grammer: Steel Guitar Rag
Charlie Louvin: That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine
Wilma Lee Cooper: As Long As I Live
Ray Pillow: Super Lady
Ernest & Justin Tubb: Blue Eyed Elaine

10:00: Fender
Stonewall Jackson (host): Don't Be Angry
Ernie Ashworth: The DJ Cried
Del Wood: Alabama Jubilee
Stonewall Jackson: Washed My Hands in Muddy Water

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Jan Howard: Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Roy Acuff & Cast: Happy Birthday, Honey
Lamar Alexander & Roy Acuff: Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Roy Acuff & Jan Howard: I Saw the Light

10:30: Trailblazer
Grandpa Jones (host): Little Pink
Jean Shepard: Virginia
Wilburn Brothers: It's Another World
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young

10:45: Beech-Nut
Charlie Walker (host): Don't Play Me No Songs About Texas
Vic Willis & Curtis Young: Last Cheater's Waltz
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With the Way that We're Doing it Now
Crook Brothers: Durango's Hornpipe

11:00: Coca-Cola
4 Guys (host): Mama Rocked Us to Sleep with Country Music
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Marion Worth: Someone is Looking for Someone Like You
4 Guys: Fire

11:30: Little Debbie
Marty Robbins (host): El Paso City
Jeanne Pruett: Please Sing Satin Sheets for Me/Break My Mind
Stu Phillips: Blue Canadian Rockies
Bill Carlisle: Same Ol Tale That the Crow Told Me
Marty Robbins: All Around Cowboy/Don't Worry/Buenos Dios Argentina/Touch Me With Majic/Love Me/Muddy Water/Among My Souvenirs

Another fine birthday show

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 10/11 & 10/12

After the "big" Grand Ole Opry birthday bash last weekend, the Opry moves on with 2 more shows this weekend at the Opry House. Over all, the shows do not look that bad with the Friday Night Opry featuring guest artists, and frequent Opry performers, Sunny Sweeney, James Wesley, Sam Bush, Moe Bandy, Wade Hayes and Collin Raye. In addition, Amber Carrington from season 4 of "The Voice" will be making an Opry appearance. If that sounds like a lot of non-Opry members on Friday night, it is as only 5 Opry members are scheduled.

It is a little better on Saturday night, as there are 6 Opry members listed. Among the guests artists listed this week are Gwen Sebastian and The Black Lillies, who are always entertaining. Junior Brown makes one of his rare Opry appearances, along with Chris Carmack, who has you might suspect, has been on the "Nashville" program. Also scheduled is Joey + Rory, 2 people who I really think would make great Opry members.

Missing this weekend is Jimmy Dickens, along with Jimmy C Newman, who cancelled out last weekend.

Friday October 11:
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Sunny Sweeney; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); James Wesley; Sam Bush
8:15: Ray Pillow (host); Moe Bandy; Wade Hayes
8:45: John Conlee (host); Amber Carrington; Collin Raye

Saturday October 12:
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Morgan Frazier; Junior Brown
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; Chris Camack
8:15: The Whites (host); Jean Shepard; Joey + Rory; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Gwen Sebastian; The Black Lillies

As we continue through the month of October, this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history will continue to focus on past birthday shows and I have a couple of more to share. The 1st is from Saturday October 12, 1985, 28 years ago this weekend, which was the Opry's 60th birthday celebration. Here is the running order from that night:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the Juke Box/A Dime at a Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
4 Guys: Whiskey & Water
Del Reeves: Louisiana Legs

6:45: Rudy's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
John Conlee: The Old School
Jim Ed Brown: Morning

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Larry Gatlin: Houston/Run Away, Go Home
Charley Pride: Lovesick Blues
Raymond & Leo Duffy: Somebody Touched Me
Roy Acuff & Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Porter Wagoner & Cast: Y'all Come

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Monroe (host): It's Mighty Dark For Me to Travel
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
The Whites: I Don't Wanna Get Over You
Jimmy C Newman: My Toot Toot
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Bill Monroe: Just A Little Talk With Jesus

8:00: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): Baptism of Jesse Taylor
Jeannie Seely: How Will I Stand the Pain Once You're Gone
Billy Walker: Coffee Brown Eyes
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Bill Carlisle: In The Pines
Grandpa Jones: The Sweet Sunny South

8:30: Music Valley Drive
Hank Snow (host): Bluebird
Roy Drusky: If the Whole World Stopped Loving
Wilma Lee Cooper: Honey in the Rock
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Hank Snow: I Stepped Over the Line

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
4 Guys: How Married Are You Mary Ann
Lorrie Morgan: Crazy
Ray Pillow: Dim Lights; Thick Smoke
Larry Gatlin: Run Away; Go Home
Bill Monroe: Wayfaring Stranger

10:00: Little Debbie
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Connie Smith: Did We Have to Come This Far to Say Goodbye
Charlie Louvin: Near the Cross
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'/Waterloo

10:15: Sunbeam
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
John Conlee: Rose Colored Glasses
Del Reeves: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
Roy Acuff & Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry

10:30: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): Nashville on My Mind
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
Jean Shepard & Roy Drusky: Will There Be Sweethearts in Heaven
Grandpa Jones: I'll Meet You In the Morning

10:45: Beech-Nut
Jack Greene (host): Try A Little Kindness
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
The Whites: The House of Gold
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Instrumental
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Why Don't You Punish Me
Osborne Brothers: Old Flames
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Justin Tubb: Thanks, Troubadour, Thanks
Charley Pride: Now & Then/Kiss An Angel Good Morning
Raymond & Leo Duffy: Cryin' My Heart Out Over You
Hank Snow: Bluebird Island

11:30: Quincy's
George Hamilton IV (host): Abilene
Wilma Lee Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith
Hank Locklin: Please Help Me I'm Falling
Jeannie Seely: When Your Hearts Been Stepped On
Bill Carlisle: Is Zat You Myrtle
George Hamilton IV: The Way Old Friends Do

A very nice line-up with Charley Pride as a guest. Also, I am sure it was noticed when reading the line-up that Roy Acuff did not perform, only coming on stage to help the Opry celebrate it's birthday. On June 16, Roy had chest pains and was taken to the hospital. He spent 2 days there and doctors found a blood clot on his right lung and he was given blood thinners. It was later found that he also was suffering from anemia and diverticulitis. On Saturday September 14, Roy was on Bill Anderson's segment and announced that he would be 82 years old the next day, but he didn't sing. In honor of his birthday, WSM sent Roy and some of his friends to Atlanta where they watched the Braves play the Reds. Roy's next appearance at the Opry was on the night of the Opry's 60th anniversary, when he came out on stage, but he did not sing. He did finally return to the Opry the following Saturday night, October 19.

The 2nd line-up is from 5 years later, on Saturday October 13, 1990 when the Opry celebrated it's 65th birthday. Again, a very solid line-up for the birthday show:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Jimmy C Newman (host): Cajun's Dream
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya/Cajun Stripper

6:45: Rudy's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Fools
Wilma Lee Cooper: Come Walk With Me
Jim Ed Brown: Scarlet Ribbons

7:00: Shoney's
Tom T Hall (host): Country Is
Stu Phillips: Great El Tigre
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Steve Wariner: Til I Can Come Home to You/Kansas City Lights
Tom T Hall: Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter/Bye, Bye Love/Don't Come Home A' Drinkin/I Wanna Be Free
Minnie Pearl: Comedy

8:00: Martha White
Jimmy Dickens (host): John Henry
Jack Greene: The Last Letter
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
The Whites: Keep on the Sunny Side
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Bill Cheatham
Jimmy Dickens: What Will I Do Then

8:30: Pops Right
Hank Snow (host): Gonna Find Me A Bluebird
Billy Walker: She's A Heartache In High Heel Shoes
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Bill Carlisle: Same Old Tale That the Crow Told Me
Hank Snow: I've Cried A Mile

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
Jan Howard: Wind Beneath My Wings
Ray Pillow: Your Favorite Fool
Charlie Walker: Silver Dew on the Bluegrass Tonight
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Jim Ed Brown: Four Walls/The Old Lamplighter

10:00: Little Debbie
Tom T Hall (host): The Year That Clayton Delaney Died
Steve Wariner: Your Love is A Precious Thing/On Life's Highway
Tom T Hall: I Love

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Loretta Lynn: They Don't Make 'em Like My Daddy Anymore/Coal Miner's Daughter
Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry

10:30: Pet Milk
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jimmy C Newman: Big Mamou

10:45: B.C. Powder
Jack Greene (host): My Cherokee Rose
Jean Shepard: Why Don't You Haul Off And Love Me
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Rachel
Jack Greene: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Snowbird
Osborne Brothers: My Favorite Memory
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Jeannie Seely: It Should Be Easier Now
The Whites: Swing Down, Chariot
Hank Snow: Among My Souvenirs

11:30: Creamettes
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Hank Locklin: Please Help Me I'm Falling/Danny Boy
Charlie Louvin: I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow/Everytime You Leave
Jimmy Dickens: Shopping for Dresses

Certainly, the birthday weekend from this year does not measure up to either of these 2 shows.

As always, enjoy the Opry this weekend!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

88th Birthday Weekend Wrap-Up

I somewhat hesitate in offering my comments on the Grand Ole Opry's 88th birthday weekend, as I read some of the comments that have already been made and found almost off of them right on with my own thoughts. As you would expect, the weekend had its good and bad moments. More on that in a minute, but first I wanted to thank all of you who have been reading the blog and especially those who offer their comments. Sometimes I do wonder if anyone is reading. Well, not to brag, but I do have a counter on the blog and since I started this in 2009, the blog has been viewed just over 279,500 times, and in the past 30 days, has been viewed just under 14,000 time, Wow!! And many thanks.

I also want to say thanks to all of those I met during the Opry's birthday weekend. It's nice to see who the readers of the blog are and it's also nice to know that there are others out there who share my love and appreciation of the Opry. I have said it before, it is not easy some days being an Opry fan or listening to the Opry. But it still has its magic moments and to me, it is still the best country music show out there. Thanks again. Now for the birthday weekend:

As several of you have already mentioned, the Friday Night Opry was good. Among those who I thought did very well were The Steeldrivers, who have always impressed me with their energy and musical skills. They have been guests at the Opry before and always do a fine job. Jesse McReynolds has had some health issues lately, but you would not have known it seeing and hearing him. He again did a fine Grateful Dead number from the album that Jessie says has sold more than any other album that he has done, and he showed that at the age of 84, he has not lost any of his skills. In March, he will be celebrating 50 years as an Opry member. Crystal Gayle and Kathy Mattea again showed why they should be Opry members. They both enjoy the Opry and are always entertaining. This was the second time that I have seen The Secret Sisters, and they have also been impressive both times I have seen them perform. Very simple with their vocals, and they also keep the music simple. And not to forget Mark Wills, who always does a nice job. The hosts for each segment, John Conlee, Jeannie Seely, The Whites and Jim Ed Brown all did a nice job. The one name that I have not mentioned is Kristen Kelly. She does the Opry quite often and is familiar to many of us. That said, she was not impressive. She, along with the music, were loud and she just didn't seem to add anything to the show. The Opry House was about two-thirds filled, with just the upper balcony and wings empty.

The Opry's birthday concert Saturday afternoon featured Steve Wariner. Steve was outstanding, performing just about all of his hits, honoring Chet Atkins with a few songs, and doing a couple of numbers from his new CD. He told a few stories and certainly gave the audience their money's worth. I think they said the crowd was right around 1500, which isn't too bad for a hot, sunny afternoon. After the show, he signed and did pictures for all who were there.

As far as Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, I went in expecting the show not to be that great, considering it was the birthday weekend, but it turned out good, especially the 1st show. Jean Shepard looked better than I have seen her lately and continues to sound great. And Jeannie Seely really gave her a nice introduction. Sarah Darling continues to impress. A fantastic voice and she had some good song selections. Her career continues to move forward. It was my first time to see Tate Stevens, and I was surprised. He was very good and very country. His band was tight. It was mentioned that if he was a little younger he would have a real future in the industry, but his age might work against him. Mandy Barnett was Mandy Barnett, if you know what I mean. In addition to Jeannie, Connie Smith, John Conlee and Steve Wariner all did good jobs hosting. It was mentioned in the comments that Connie seems to be getting more comfortable in the role of hosting and I have to agree. Finally, there was Sam Palladio from the Nashville televison show. Sam and his band did a very nice job. The music was good and he did a couple of ballads that were heart felt.

You will notice that I left 3 names off. Jan Howard would have been fine if she and the Opry Staff Band were on the same page. The band was playing the song faster than she wanted to sing it, and you could tell she was not a happy camper. She left the stage quickly. Too bad, as her voice was good. This makes 2 years in a row for Casey James at the birthday bash and in my opinion, it is 2 years too many. Not country at all and very loud. But we all know why he was there and he met the goal. Finally there was Jimmy Dickens. I got word before the show he was backstage, and it had been hinted on Friday night that he would be there. For those who were there, or listened on the radio, you know the segment did not go well. He did seem confused and obviously was either not hearing or understanding the questions that Bill Cody was asking. I do know that after his segment, he left the Opry House very quickly. Other than that, I am not going to be hard on Jimmy. At 93 years of age, and the year he has had with his health, just the fact that he was there was a surprise. But from what I saw, I wouldn't be surprised at all if we didn't see him at the Opry again, at least for a while. I also wanted to mention that Jimmy C Newman was on the schedule for both shows on Saturday night. The word that I got was he wasn't feeling well and that was why he was not there.

As far as the 2nd show, it was pretty much a carbon copy of the first, with the exception of George Hamilton IV appearing instead of Jan Howard. George did "Forever Young", which he does quite often and as usual, did a very nice job. Tate, Sam and Mandy all repeated the same songs they did on the first show, which is something I don't like.

As for some other Opry comments from Saturday, the attendance for the 1st show was just over 4,000 with some seats in the upper balcony empty. The 2nd show drew about 1700, not good at all for a birthday show. For those of you who have not been to the Opry in a while, there was an incident at the Opry House a couple of months back, and as a result those sitting in the balcony are no longer allowed to come down on the main floor to take pictures. There is a hostess at each door to the main floor and you have to show you ticket to get it. I know what many of you are thinking, but don't blame Pete Fisher and the Opry on this one. It had to do with aisles being blocked and people sitting down front not being able to get out of their seats. If you have a seat in the lower level, you can still go up and take a picture, but you can no longer stay up front, having to return to your seat.

There were also comments about the lack of any major stars for the birthday weekend, which did hold the crowd down. The general opinion of many of us is that Pete Fisher did try to book some big names, and might actually have had a commitment from a few, but those fell through. Most of the Opry's bigger name members, along with many of the usual non-members that they use, were out on the road doing shows. And I am pretty sure they would not have scheduled a 2nd show with out thinking that there would have been a star or two to draw in the fans. The other factor is that this is the 1st year that the Opry's birthday show has not been televised, and television was a draw. I know that Jason Aldean last year appeared because of GAC. Now, we all know that the birthday weekend is announced a year in advance, and I know you would think Pete Fisher would book some people well ahead of time, but we also know that if a paying concert comes up for an Opry member, they will do that instead of the Opry. And for those who are interested, the birthday weekend next year has been moved back a week to the 2nd weekend in October.

Finally, there was the cake. For each show over the weekend, it was rolled out at the end by the stage hands. No Opry stars came out either night. They pushed it out after either Jim Ed Brown, Steve Wariner or John Conlee's final song, sang happy birthday, and pulled down the curtain. No sparklers and no real cake.

That puts another birthday weekend in the books. It was still a fine trip to Nashville, as always, and it was nice seeing friends and fellow Opry fans. For those who went, hopefully it was good enough to get you back next year. All things equal, I am sure I will keep my streak alive and make it back for the 89th. Then in 2015, you have the 90th, which I am sure the Opry will hit big.

Thanks again, and that is what I thought of the birthday weekend. I am always interested in how others saw it so please keep the comments coming.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 10/4 & 10/5-88th Birthday Celebration

This weekend the Grand Ole Opry will be celebrating it's 88th birthday with 1 show on Friday night and 2 shows on Saturday night. In years past, all of us looked forward to the birthday weekend as the shows usually featured some of the best line-ups of the year. The past few years have seen the quality and quanity of the shows decrease, yet we still look forward to the birthday shows hoping that this will be the year. Well, sorry to say, 2013 is not that year. To be honest, the line-up for the shows this weekend look no different than what we have seen most weeks at the Opry. For the birthday shows on Saturday night, there are no huge guest-stars and only 8 Opry members scheduled, the biggest name being Steve Wariner. There is no Bill Anderson, no Marty Stuart, no Dolly Parton, no Vince get the drift. And not even Ricky Skaggs, who traditionally has opened the Saturday shows playing Uncle Jimmy Thompson's fiddle. ( In what I call a strange booking, Ricky is actually scheduled for a show at the Ryman Auditorium on Saturday night with Bruce Hornsby. An Opry member in competition with the Opry!!).

What we do have on Saturday night are guest artists Casey James, who has appeared at the past several birthday shows, Sam Palladio, Tate Stevens and Sarah Darling, along with Opry favorite Mandy Barnett. As far as Opry members, Pete Fisher was nice enough to give us a few of the Opry's veterans. When you do look at the line-ups, you will notice an available slot during the first show. Perhaps Jimmy Dickens making a surprise appearance?

As far as the Friday Night Opry, this is the stronger of the 2 nights. Friday will feature two female artists who I wouldn't mind seeing as Opry members: Kathy Mattea and Crystal Gayle. Also scheduled are the very talented Secret Sisters, along with The Steeldrivers.

Friday October 4:
7:00: John Conlee (host); Kristen Kelly; Connie Smith
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Steeldrivers; Kathy Mattea
8:15: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; The Secret Sisters
8:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mark Wills; Crystal Gayle

Saturday October 5
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Sarah Darling; Jimmy C Newman; Jean Shepard
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Tate Stevens
8:00: John Conlee (host); Jan Howard; Sam Palladio; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Steve Wariner (host); Mandy Barnett; Casey James

2nd show
9:30: Steve Wariner (host); Sarah Darling; Jimmy C Newman
10:00: Connie Smith (host); Jean Shepard; Tate Stevens
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); George Hamilton IV; Sam Palladio; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: John Conlee (host); Mandy Barnett; Casey James

I mentioned the lack of star power this year for the birthday shows. Just for the heck of it, I went back over the past few years of the birthday shows and here is who they have booked in the past, that would be considered in the 'big name' category:

2012-Steve Wariner; Ray Stevens; Jason Aldean; Casey James; Ricky Skaggs
2011-Craig Morgan; Ronnie Dunn; Rascal Flatts; Vince Gill; Charley Pride
2010-Dolly Parton; Taylor Swift; Roy Clark; Crystal Gayle; Trace Adkins; Del McCoury
2009-BJ Thomas; Josh Turner; Patty Loveless; Ricky Skaggs; Montgomery Gentry; Lorrie Morgan; Joe Diffie; Kathy Mattea
2008-Jamey Johnson; Ricky Skaggs; Kenny Rogers; Darryl Worley; Lorrie Morgan
2007- Vince Gill; Carrie Underwood; Travis Tritt; Ronnie Milsap; Emerson Drive

I think all of you get the drift. Also of note, and perhaps why there is a lack of star power this year, there is no televison for the birthday show. Even up to last year, GAC still televised the the anniversary shows.

For those who haven't bought tickets yet, there are thousands still available for the 2nd show. Why in the world would they schedule 2 shows for the birthday weekend without a few big names and still expect to sell tickets? The thought is that the Opry did reach out to a few people, and might have gotten the impression that one or two might appear, but apparently they fell through. At least that is my hope, that management actually tried.

As noted in the October Opry Highlights, I am going to post numerous Grand Ole Opry birthday show line-ups from past years so that all of you new Opry fans can see what great events these birthday shows were. The 1st one I am going to post is from 22 years ago this Saturday night, October 5, 1991, when the Opry celebrated it's 66th birthday.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Bill Monroe (host): I'm Going Back to Old Kentucky
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Bill Monroe: Dark as the Night; Blue as the Day

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Charlie Walker (host): Right or Wrong
George Hamilton IV: Til I Can Gain Control Again
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Charlie Walker: Drinking Champagne

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Funky Grass Band
Wilma Lee Cooper: Ghost Train
Bill Carlisle: Leave That Liar Alone
Roy Drusky: The Last Farewell
Osborne Brothers: Kentucky

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: You've Got Me Right Where You Want Me
Jim Ed Brown: Just For Old Time Sake
Vince Gill: Little Liza Jane/When I Call Your Name
Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Roy Acuff & Cast: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Jack
Jim & Jesse: When I Dream About the Southland
The Whites: Doing It By the Book
Bill Anderson: Still/Southern Fried
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sugar in the Goard
Grandpa Jones: Gooseberry Pie

8:30: Opryland
Hank Snow (host): Address Unknown
4 Guys: Way Down Deep
Del Reeves: A Dozen Pair of Boots
Mike Snider: Old Joe Clark/Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Jeannie Seely: When He Leaves You
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I Got To See You Once Again

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): You Gotta Have A License
Osborne Brothers: Tennessee Hound Dog
Ray Pillow: The Days When You Were Still In Love With Me
Vince Gill: Look At Us/Crying Holy Unto The Lord/When I Call Your Name
Porter Wagoner: Big Wind

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Kitty Clyde
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Roy Drusky: Mississippi
Grandpa Jones: Tritzem Yodel

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Low & Lonely
Connie Smith: The Key's In The Mailbox/Satisfied
Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Roy Acuff & Cast: I Saw the Light

10:30: Pet Milk
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars In the Jukebox/A Dime At A Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
David Houston: I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin On Me

10:45: B. C. Powder
Bill Monroe (host): Mary Jane, Won't You Be Mine
Charlie Walker: Drinking Champagne
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Bill Monroe: Wicked Path of Sin

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): White Silver Sands
Bill Carlisle: Knothole
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
4 Guys: We're Only Here For A Little While
Jim & Jesse: A Flower In The Desert
Hank Snow: That Lucky Old Sun

11:30: Creamette
Bill Anderson (host): Don't She Look Good
The Whites: Love Is A Rose
Jeannie Seely: I'll Be Around When It's Over
Mike Snider: Foggy Mountain Breakdown/Putting On the Dog
Bill Anderson: Deck of Cards

You will notice that these birthday shows featured only Opry members, with Vince Gill being the newest member as he had joined the Opry in August of 1991. A lot different than this weekend. Also, I have a VHS tape of the televised segment and a few things stand out; first, Connie Smith stands out in the dress she is wearing. After her song, Roy tells her what a great job she did but there is no time for an encore. Second, after the birthday cake comes out, Roy has trouble finding his band to do the final song. Most of them eventually show up to play. And finally, most of the Opry's cast comes out to sing Happy Birthday with Hank Snow being the exception that stands out. And if Hank was not scheduled on the televised portion of the birthday show, he never came out with the cake.

To complete the Opry birthday weekend in 1991, here is the line-up from the Friday Night Opry, October 4. As with the Friday night show during the summer/fall months, there were 2 shows that night.

1st show
6:30: Grand Ole Opry Tours
Bill Monroe (host); Skeeter Davis; Jim Ed Brown; Charlie Louvin; George Hamilton IV
7:00: Randy Travis Enterprises
Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; Wilma Lee Cooper; Bill Carlisle; Del Reeves
7:30: Cracker Barrel
Roy Acuff (host); Grandpa Jones; Connie Smith; Jim & Jesse
8:00: Bush's Baked Beans/Rudy's
Bill Anderson (host); 4 Guys; Jeannie Seely
8:30: GMC Trucks/Hamburger Helper
Hank Snow (host); The Whites; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host); Hank Locklin; Ray Pillow; Jimmy C Newman; Diamond Rio
10:00: Goody's
Roy Acuff (host); Grandpa Jones; Jim Ed Brown; Skeeter Davis
10:30: Hungry Jack
Bill Monroe (host); 4 Guys; George Hamilton IV; Charlie Louvin; Connie Smith
11:00: Fab-Ultra Laundry
Hank Snow (host); Justin Tubb; Del Reeves; Mike Snider; David Houston
11:30: Kraft
Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Jim & Jesse; Johnny Russell

Even though it is not a line-up worth of the birthday weekend, it should still be a good time in Nashville. I will be there and will offer a full report of all the festivities when I return. Enjoy the Opry this weekend.