Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 12/20 & 12/21

With only 2 more weekends left in 2013, the Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend. It will be pretty hard for the Opry to follow up on the shows last week as they were among the strongest of the year. But overall, and considering that it is the weekend before Christmas, the Opry has come up with a couple of pretty decent line-ups.

The Friday Night Opry will feature guest artists Love and Theft, Joey+Rory, David Nail, Radney Foster and Maggie Rose. All are no strangers to the Opry. Saturday night's Grand Ole Opry will feature a pair of artists from "Nashville", Jonathan Jackson and Charles Esten, along with Aaron Tippin and Restless Heart.

Friday December 20
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Maggie Rose; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Love and Theft
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Joey+Rory; Radney Foster
8:45: John Conlee (host); David Nail; Del McCoury Band

Saturday December 21
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Corey Smith; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds; Aaron Tippin
8:15: Connie Smith (host); George Hamilton IV; Jonathan Jackson; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Charles Esten; Restless Heart

12 artists for each show of whom 7 are Opry members.

Looking back into Grand Ole Opry history and as we get close to the end of the year, it was 27 years ago this weekend, December 20, 1986 that Randy Travis became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

When Randy came onto the country music scene in the mid 1980's, he was heralded as a "New Traditionalist" who along with Ricky Skaggs, helped to return country music closer to its roots. This movement dominated country music for the next several years.

Of course, just about everyone knows the story on how Randy's former wife and manager Lib Hatcher discovered him as he was working as a dishwasher and short-order cook at the Nashville Palace, right across the street from the Opry House. Shortly after, he signed with Warner Bros. Records and released "On the Other Hand". The song went basically nowhere, but the follow-up release, "1982" was a hit and established Randy as a star. Opry legends such as George Jones and Loretta Lynn gave Randy their approval. In 1986, "On the Other Hand" was re-released and this time went to #1 on the charts and the hits followed. Probably his "career" song was "Forever and Ever, Amen". For his career, Randy has had close to 30 Top 10 hits, including 16 that went to #1. He has won numerous Grammys, ACM awards and five CMA awards. Oddly, he was never voted as the CMA's Entertainer of the Year.

The past several years have been difficult for Randy. There was a very public and nasty divorce and several embarrassing public incidents. His career seemed to stall. Then earlier this year, he suffered a stroke that was so severe that his life was in jeopardy for a period of time. While he is still trying to recover, the odds are that he will never be able to perform again. Really a tragic end to a great career.

Here is the Opry line-up from Saturday December 20, 1986, the night Randy Travis became the Opry's newest member:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars In The Jukebox/A Dime At A Time/Looking At The World Through A Windshield
Skeeter Davis: The Rose
Del Reeves: Anywhere USA

6:45: Rudy's
Porter Wagoner (host): Sugarfoot Rag
Riders In The Sky: Christmas At The Triple X Ranch
Porter Wagoner: Your Old Love Letters

7:00: Shoney's
Ricky Skaggs (host): Love's Gonna Get You Someday
Lorrie Morgan: One Love At A Time
Jim & Jesse: When I Dream About The Southland
Randy Travis: Diggin' Up Bones/White Christmas Makes Me Blue
Ricky Skaggs: Walking In Jerusalem Just Like John

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Kentucky
Roy Drusky: Silent Night
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Chicken Reel
Carolee Singers: A Song The Holy Angels Cannot Sing
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin'

8:00: Martha White
Bill Monroe (host): Can't You Hear Me Calling
The Whites: It Should've Been Easy
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'
Archie Campbell: Make Friends
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
Bill Monroe: Silent Night

8:30: Music Valley Merchants
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Boxcar Willie: Train Melody
Osborne Brothers: Making Plans
Mel McDaniel: Tennessee Saturday Night/Stand On It
Hank Snow: Christmas Roses

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
4 Guys: God Bless The USA
Del Reeves: The Race Is On
Jan Howard: Why Lady Why
Billy Walker: Coffee Brown Eyes
Porter Wagoner: I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name

10:00: Ricky Skaggs (host): Cajun Moon
The Whites: If It Ain't Love
Randy Travis: On The Other Hand
Ricky Skaggs: Country Boy

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting In The Air
George Hamilton IV: CHRISTMAS
Roy Acuff: That's The Man I'm Looking For

10:30: Pet Milk
Bill Monroe (host): Old Ebenezer Scrooge
Charlie Louvin: Sunshine On My Shoulders
Bill Monroe: You're Drifting Away/Christmas Time's A' Comin

10:45: Heil-Quaker
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Crook Brothers/ Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Tangled Mind
Jean Shepard: The Old Rugged Cross
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Mel McDaniel: Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On/Stand On It
Hank Snow: Silent Night

11:30: Quincy's
Boxcar Willie (host): Train Melody
Osborne Brothers: Me & My Old Banjo/Kentucky
Connie Smith: The Deepening Snow
Boxcar Willie: Hank Williams Melody

I should also note that December 20 is also the anniversary of the death of the legendary Hank Snow. He passed away in 1999

Finally, here is another line-up, this one from Saturday December 21, 1974, 39 years ago and the 1st Christmas in the new Grand Ole Opry House.

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissom's
Bill Monroe (host): Get Up, John
Stoney & Carol Lee Cooper: Nobody's Darling But Mine
4 Guys: Shenandoah
Bill Monroe: A Good Woman's Love

6:45: Rudy's
Del Reeves (host): Girl On The Billboard
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Del Reeves: She Thinks I Still Care

7:99: Rudy's
Roy Drusky (host): Dixie Lily
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Jan Howard: Gentle On My Mind
Roy Drusky: One Day At A Time
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Late
Jan Howard: White Christmas
Opry Staff Band: Remington Ride
Roy Drusky: Fraulein

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Poor Sweet Baby
Billy Grammer: Whispering Hope
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Liberty
Oswald: Columbus Stockade Blues
Jimmy C Newman: Potato Song
Jean Shepard: Slipping Away
Roy Acuff: I Saw The Light

8:00: Martha White
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
George Morgan: In The Misty Moonlight
Justin Tubb: Sunshine Lady
Del Wood: Keep On The Firing Line
Phil Campbell: Help Me Make It Through The Night
George Morgan: Release Me

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Your Easy To Love
Jeanne Pruett: Welcome To The Sunshine
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way To Say Goodbye
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Hank Snow: Dear Santa Claus

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Bill Monroe (host): Christmas Time's A Coming
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Jean Shepard: Many Happy Hangovers To You
Del Reeves: Help Me Make It Through The Night
Bill Monroe: I Am A Pilgrim
Stoney & Carol Lee Cooper: Big Midnight Special
Ernie Ashworth: Honky-Tonk Hardwood Floor

10:00: Fender
Roy Acuff (host): Old Time Sunshine Song
Jan Howard: You Win Again
Billy Grammer: Sentimental Journey
Roy Acuff: Cabin In Gloryland

10:15: Union 76
Roy Drusky (host): Don't It Make You Want To Go Home
Bill Carlisle: Leave That Liar Alone
Jimmy C Newman: Blue Lonely Winter
Roy Drusky: The Bitter They Are, The Harder They Fall

10:30: Trailblazer
Stonewall Jackson (host): Washed My Hands In The Muddy Water
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Del Wood: There's A Big Wheel
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Late

10:45: Beechnut
George Morgan (host): You Turn Me On
Phil Campbell: A Thing Called Love
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: (?)
George Morgan: Silent Night

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Hello Love
Stu Phillips: She Thinks I Still Care
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Old Hen Cackle
Hank Snow: Silent Night
Sam McGee: Farewell Blues/Alabama Jubilee/Just Because
Hank Snow: A Letter To Santa Clause

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): Singing The Blues
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets/Welcome To The Sunshine
Justin Tubb: Rambling Man/Loving Arms
Ronnie Robbins: If You Love Me, Let Me Know
Marty Robbins: Love Me/I'm Wanting To/El Paso/Devil Woman

Enjoy the Opry this weekend !!!!!


  1. I would have gladly taken EITHER of those two older lineups.

    When TNN televised the Opry, it became something of a game for me to try to see the lineup posted near the piano. The week after Randy joined, I was staring at it trying to read it and realized that, if I made it out correctly, he was in that week and doing the 7:30 segment with Mr. Acuff. And I thought it was nice that he was there again, and how nice it would be if other big names had that attitude. So it was in 1986.

  2. Fred, Bismarck:

    Byron's old lineups are a reminder of how the weekend before Christmas used to be Old Home Week at the Opry, with just about everybody in off the road, ready to visit with each other and do the show. Where is everybody this year (and most other recent years)?

    I don't know how many "members" are Nashville-based anymore, or who they are; but, sadly, this pre-Christmas bill, instead of being loaded, is one of the weakest of the fall.

  3. Mike, you are absolutely right, as you are most of the time. Randy did come back to the Opry the following weekend as he did appear on the 7:30 segment hosted by Roy Acuff. Randy did "Diggin' Up Bones", "On the Other Hand" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry". He was actually the only guest on that segment as Jeanne Pruett was also scheduled but cancelled. Randy also appeared on the 10:15 segment that night, also hosted by Roy and did "There's No Place Like Home" and "Diggin' Up Bones". What also is interesting on that night, if you remember Mike, the televised segment back then was the 7:00 segment and on that particular night it was hosted by Hank Snow with Jean Shepard, Boxcar Willie and Mel Tillis as his guests.

    Fred, to answer your question on how many members are "Nashville" based, about half of the Opry's members live in the general Nashville area. And you are right in that the shows right before Christmas were some of the strongest of the year with most of the Opry's members there.

  4. Byron, believe me, when I'm right here, I'm making up for being wrong about almost everything else! But it was so much fun to try to see who was on the next segment. Or, as you'll recall, TNN moved the televised portion to 7:30 and did a "pre-game show" at 7 p.m., and they did it from the studio where you could see the Opry stage, so we'd try to figure out who was on stage at the time.

    Great memories. And I neglected to say how sad I am about Randy Travis. I hope he gets better and gets well.

  5. Jesse McReynolds cancelled out tonight and in his place there was a surprise appearance by Little Jimmy Dickens. He did not sing, but he said a few words and Bill Anderson joined host John Conlee and everyone by singing Happy Birthday to Jimmy. They rolled out the cake for him also. Nice to see him back on the Opry, even for a brief appearance.