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!!!


  1. Minnie's 50th was special. If I remember, Mr. Acuff did open the 7:00 portion, though I could be wrong. As I remember, C.B. Atkins sang--he liked to sing--"Have I Told You Lately That I Love You," which was her favorite song. Also, weren't Dwight's flowers the Minnie Pearl rose?

    That 1963 lineup is incredible to contemplate. Just incredible.

  2. Several of those acts (members) from that 1963 lineup, soon thereafter were later dismissed by the Opry; Kitty Wells, Johnnie Wright, Faron Young, Ferlin Husky and even George Morgan and Stonewall Jackson I believe. Could you imagine the reaction today if Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Travis Tritt & others not appearing were dismissed?

  3. Fred, Bismarck:

    1963: Hillbilly heaven!

    David, with today's 24/7 media, the dismissal you contemplate would get a lot of coverage, all right. But I wonder if it would have the impact of 1964 on country fans themselves -- the Opry's presence being so much less than it used to be, and the stars named being well past their prime.

    My own reaction would be a big yawn, if not "good riddance." A further argument for a good healthful purge, opening spots for some younger, hungrier -- I won't go crazy and suggest more-country -- members.

  4. Fayfare: I've been checking the November 2013 schedule daily for weeks now since I will be attending the November 30 7PM show. I'm guessing it will be either one of the best line-ups of the year, or one of the worst. I say this because the shows before and after that date are filling up with artists, but so far there is nobody signed up to play the Nov 30th shows. I'm speculating that could possibly mean one of two things... They have a star studded line up in mind, and want to sell as many tickets as possible for other November shows before announcing it. OR They haven't been successful in getting anybody to commit to play on that date and will have to use whoever they can get at the last minute. Have you ever noticed a pattern in the scheduling whereby a huge night is left entirely blank on the schedule until a week or two before?

  5. Fayfare....and all Opry fans: Here's a link to a portion of the funeral service for Hank Williams in Montgomery, Alabama on Sunday, January 4, 1953. Several members of the Opry came to the funeral, and you'll hear the combined voices of Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe, Lew Childre, Jimmy Dickens, Carl Smith, Red Foley, and Webb Pierce sing "I Saw the Light," and later a beautiful solo by Red Foley of "Peace in the Valley."

  6. Thomas, thanks for the link. Well done!!

    Jim, I have given up long ago trying to figure out how the Opry books their acts and announces them. The birthday weekend was a perfect example as everyone kept waiting for an announcement on the "big names" and it ended up being nobody, although the thought is that they had a semi-commitment from at least one person and it fell through. I do know that they don't like to "overload" any show with too many big names but rather spread them out over several weeks.

    I am sure the Opry is working hard at getting at least a few of the acts from the George Jones tribute to come over and do the Opry. With that many acts scheduled, you have to believe that not everyone will get to sing a solo, but probably be involved in some type of group performances. And I am sure the bigger names will have more than one song. Some of the names I wonder what role they will play on the show.

    I know the George Jones tribute is huge and it should be. George was one of the greatest and deserves all the recognition. But from the Opry's standpoint, and understand I am looking at this from the Opry, they must be thinking that the vast majority of these acts will come to Nashville for a tribute show and probably do 1 song for no pay, yet they can't get these same people, many of whom are Opry members, to come to Nashville and do the Opry. Since George was an Opry member, you would have thought the Opry could have done a much better tribute show than what they did. Again, looking at it from the Opry's standpoint.

  7. Thanks for the insight Fayfare. I heard that Garth Brooks was signed up for the George Jones Tribute concert at the Bridgestone Arena on Nov 22. That gave us some hope that he would stay in town for a few more days and make his first Opry appearance in forever on Nov 30. Most likely just a dream unfortunately. We have a 10 hour drive to the Ryman and have gone to the Opry show at least once a year for the past 6 years (usually in November). Would go more often if is was closer. It is still fun to anticipate who might be there even though we are sometimes pretty disappointed in the final lineup. We have learned to buy our front row balcony tickets far in advance, so always have a long wait before we know who'll we'll be hearing on the night we have chosen.

    1. This raises an interesting question about how folks used to get tickets in years gone by. I went to college in Nashville 1969-1974. In those days the Opry would post Saturday's lineup in the lobby on Tuesday. We'd take the bus down on Tuesdays and see who was coming that week, but my recollection is that tickets did not actually go on sale until we'd take the bus again to go buy tickets. It never occurred to me then to wonder how out-of-towners got tickets. Does anybody know?

  8. Good, question Thomas. That might be why tickets were not sold until Friday night so that out-of-towners would have a chance to get a ticket too.