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!!!


  1. Wow! What a pair of shows those were. I wish I'd been there.

    No Jimmy C. Newman again. I'm worried.

  2. Just an observation about Bill Anderson. Remember Saturday September 14. That night he did " I Wonder if Go Likes Country Music" remembering that the next day was the 110th anniversary of Mr Acuff's birth. I don't remember exactly what he said, I'd have to go back and listen to my recording, but he spent some time covering Roy's career and after the song made a couple of comments about older acts at the Opry or the Opry's history. I thought he sounded a little troubled or bothered that maybe the Opry or the fans were loosing their appreciation or respect for the history. I'm just thinking out loud. I picked up on it at the time but it is even more interesting as I think back about it. Kind of ties in to what Barry was relating about Fandango. Not at all implying that it has anything to do with his recent reduction in appearances.

    I think he was on the following weekend and maybe not since then. I see where he has been on vacation and knew about the recording and the book. He along with Jim Ed, Helen and Jeannie Seely are playing Alma, Arkansas Saturday night. I know Bill seems to embrace new comers but maybe he just needs a break from so much of the same sounding debut artist each week! I know I do!

    Knightsville, IN

  3. Agree, shameful lineup this week (7 and 6 Opry mbrs each night). Agree with Jim too, enough of the "same sounding debut artist each week". For some Opry members who are only given one slot on a night that has two shows may not compute to make the trip worthwhile. They could certainly go back to a longer show time period (Fridays, and one-show Saturdays), then more acts could be included. I'm actually getting tired of the same Opry members week after week; although it's not worth asking, where are all the others.

  4. I think if I were Bill Anderson or one of the other long-time Opry members (that regularly play the show), I would be very disheartened and depressed about what the Opry has become and how they are treated by management. I would not blame Bill or any of the other long-time members if they wanted to cut back on their appearances (or sadly stop playing altogether). The Opry that we all loved is dying a slow death (one could make the case that it died several years ago), and I could certainly understand if anyone would not want to play a show where their talents are not appreciated by management and/or the fans. Again, if I were a current veteran Opry member, I don't think I would feel very encouraged to play the Opry frequently.

  5. Fred, Bismarck:

    Only one opinion, but ...

    I think the soul of the show changed way back in TNN days, about Katie Cook time, when the TV segment began cutting away from the stage action -- when a "boring" veteran act was on -- to talk show biz with a hot new act waiting to go on. About this same time Porter was bumped from TNN's pre-Opry -- he was probably too "country." (Just as his Song of the Year, "Carroll County Accident," was too country to be performed on the CMA awards show back whenever, 1968 or thereabouts.)

    The fact is, going back to the founding days of the CMA, country has been ashamed of its roots and real roots performers, and has tried to embrace, as its own, pop-styled performers. We have been living with the fruits of this cultural inferiority complex ever since.

    Today's Opry exhibits the phenomenon in full flower. Which is why -- sorry, Byron -- I can stand to listen to the Opry for about as long as I can stand to listen to country radio. I'm there about five minutes and get so mad I have to turn it off.

    I'm here for the opportunity to talk and listen to other real country fans, the Opry aside.

  6. We heard a song by Randy Travis on Prime Country XM this afternoon; made us wonder how he is doing - have not heard anything about his recovery in quite some time - anyone have an update ?

  7. Fred, you don't have to apologize for not listening to much of the Opry anymore. Even for a fan of the Opry, there are some nights when it is tough to listen.

    As far as Randy Travis, I saw a report either late last week or over the weekend that he was continuing his recovery back home. That could mean a number of different things. The report did not say if there was any change or progress in his condition.

  8. Byron and Anon, I believe Randy is continuing rehab while home, which presumably would be a good sign. We hope so.

    Fred, stop me if you've heard it before. Years ago, WFUV in New York City had a weekly old-time country music show hosted by a guy named Paul Bain, who may have known ALMOST as much as Eddie Stubbs. One night, he played Randy Travis, and a listener called to complain. Paul launched into a monologue about what is country and what isn't, how you know it when you hear it and you know it when you don't. and he proceeded to play a Gene Autry record with dual accordions and I don't know what all, and ripped it off the turntable--you could HEAR the needle--in the middle and went on about how Gene Autry made a song that no one could call country, and we still love him, but no country fan should want to hear it. Oh, it was beautiful. And so a little bit of country DOES poke through now and then by accident these days, and that's why I am here: for REAL country fans and, yes, Opry fans.

  9. I am very happy to see the return of Hal Ketchum next month. He has such a great voice & we know he has not been in good health in recent years. Hopefully his return to the Opry stage means he is doing much better.

    I am in complete agreement with Chris's post. It is possible this is why we see so few Opry members on the Opry stage .... sad & most likely true.

    Enjoy the Opry & your weekend everyone ~


  10. Fred, Bismarck:

    Michael, I remember your story from an earlier telling. It is as valid as can be. There is a lot of early country that has pop touches -- see even Jimmie Rodgers -- but still retains the right spirit. I would include in here Gene Autry's Tin Pan Alley cowboy songs. And all those 1890's "parlor songs" that migrated to the hills and hollows and became country standards.

    So your DJ was correct. You can't always qualify -- or disqualify -- "country" on strictly formal grounds. It's more like, as you say, "You know it when you hear it." Which, of course, makes us harder for us hard-core types to defend ourselves against the pretenders who some back with, "Country is what we say it is." Or, "Country is what we're playing on the radio now."

  11. For several years now we've heard off and on that Jean Shepard is writing a book. Did this ever come out or did her health problems effectively put an end to it? She is a "no holds barred" kind of lady and I got the impression the book was, as Porter Wagoner used to say, going to need as asbestos cover.

    Anyone heard anything about this?

  12. Last I heard was that she was still finishing up the book. I think that has been the case for about the last dozen years. She has mentioned before in interviews that the book will not hold back on anything. When and if it comes out, it should be a good read.

  13. When she was inthe audience of Larry's Country Diner with her friend from Springer Mountain Farms, Larry said they were working to see that it got published this year.

  14. It appears that Stu Phillips has canceled. I hope he's doing ok.

  15. Also, this story: Jimmy C. fell leaving the Opry. His son Gary says he's doing fine.

  16. Sorry to see that about Stu. I hope he is ok also. It does make me wonder how the Opry schedules someone like him. He has been on only once this year so I wonder if he calls the Opry when he thinks he will be able to perform and hopes for the best, or if the Opry makes a twice a year call to him, and he feels inclined to accept as they might not call again this year. I still think Stu is a fine ballad singer.

    Mike, thanks for the link on Jimmy C. Interesting that the only media that seems to have reported on Jimmy C was the "Advertiser", that seems to be based out of Louisiana. Nobody in Nashville picked up the story. I did note however, that the last line is incorrect. They wrote that in 2000 he was inducted into the Country Music Associations Hall of Fame. Sorry to say, but that is not right, although he should be.

  17. Fred, Bismarck:

    Hope Jimmy is merely sore, and hasn't broken anything. For us old folks, broken bones so often are the beginning of the end. I remember how one my favorites, Johnnie Wright, declined after having had merely hip-replacement surgery. Of course, something is going to run all of us into a corner at the end. And why not? Who wants to be 200 years old, drooling and senile?

    On that cheerful note ...