Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 2/14 & 2/15

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend. The highlight will be another attempt to recognize Opry member Hal Ketchum for 20 years as an Opry member. After having to cancel his last scheduled appearance due to the winter weather, Hal is scheduled for both Friday and Saturday night. Hopefully he makes it.

Joining Hal on Friday night will be guest artists Kristen Kelly, Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, Sundy Best and The Isaacs, all frequent Opry guests. Speaking of frequent Opry guests, how about Striking Matches, who are again scheduled for Saturday night. Also scheduled is another appearance by Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, from southwest Ohio. They have been building up a following and have been impressive in the other Opry appearances.

There are a couple of Opry members scheduled this weekend that we have not seen in a while. Jesse McReynolds has had a few health issues and it is nice to see him set for Saturday night. The Opry is scheduled to honor Jesse for 50 years of Opry membership on March 1. Also joining Jesse will be veteran Opry member Stu Phillips. Nice to see Stu back on the Opry schedule.

Friday February 14
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Kristen Kelly; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Sleepy Man Banjo Boys
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Sundy Best; Hal Ketchum
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Katie Armiger; The Isaacs

Saturday February 15
7:00: Connie Smith (host); JT Hodges; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Sara Haze
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Stu Phillips; Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Striking Matches; Hal Ketchum

For this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history, I have a couple of line-ups to share. The first one is from 34 years ago, Saturday February 16, 1980. There was nothing special that happened on the Opry that night. It is just a line-up that represented the Opry well from that era.

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Jimmy Dickens (host): Family Reunion
Ernie Ashworth: There's No Place I'd Rather Be Tonight
Jimmy Dickens: A Hell Of A Night In Dixie

6:45: Rudy's
Jim Ed Brown (host) & Helen Cornelius: Lyin' In Love With You
Justin Tubb: Cold Brown Bottle
Helen Cornelius: To Daddy
Jim Ed Brown: Morning

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Country Music Has Gone to Town/Hand Me Down My Walking Cane/Going Down the Road Feeling Bad
Skeeter Davis: It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels
David Houston: My Elusive Dreams
Charlie Louvin: Mama's Angels
Vic Willis: Colorado
Porter Wagoner: Everything I Always Wanted/Ole Slewfoot

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Down In Union County
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Boxcar Willie: Fireball Mail/Train of Love/Hand Me Down My Walking Cane/Wreck of the Old 97/Orange Blossom Special/Wabash Cannonball/Night Train to Memphis
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Sally Goodin
Roy Acuff: Amazing Grace/I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): One More Sexy Lady
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun Stripper
Jim & Jesse: Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
Roy Drusky: Welcome Home
Wilma Lee Cooper: I Couldn't Believe It Was True
Bill Anderson: Love Me and I'll Be Your Best Friend

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
Connie Smith: When God Dips His Love In My Heart
Osborne Brothers: Listening to the Rain
Bill Carlisle: Is Zat You Myrtle
Stu Phillips: Come Sundown
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Hank Snow & Kelly Foxton: Hasn't It Been Good Together

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius: You Don't Bring Me Flowers
Ernie Ashworth: I Can't Help It
Jimmy Dickens: Out Behind the Barn
Skeeter Davis: The Old Rugged Cross/The King is Coming
Vic Willis: Ride 'em Cowboy
Dickie Betts: Ramblin' Man
Porter Wagoner: Ole Slewfoot

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Anderson (host): The Reverend Mr. Black
David Houston: There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With the Way That We're Doing It Now
Bill Anderson: Make My Night Time

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Billy Grammer: What A Friend
Roy Acuff: I'll Reap My Harvest In Heaven/I'll Fly Away

10:30: Trailblazer
Osborne Brothers (host): Midnight Flyer
Wilma Lee Cooper: A Daisy A Day
Charlie Louvin: Love Don't Care
Osborne Brothers & Mac Wiseman: Shackles and Chains

10:45: Beechnut
Charlie Walker (host): Don't Play Me No Songs About Texas
Boxcar Willie: Train Melody
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Mississippi Sawyer
Charlie Walker: Crazy Arms

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Merry Go Round of Love
Connie Smith: When I Need Jesus, He's There
Jimmy C Newman: Texa Cajun
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Jim & Jesse: A Memory of You
Kirk McGee: Victory Rag/Freight Train
Hank Snow & Kelly Foxton: My First Night Alone

Roy Drusky (host): Welcome Home
Stu Phillips: Great El Tigrae
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Ray Stevens: Misty/The Shriner's Convention/Everything is Beautiful/The Streak

The 2nd line-up is from Saturday February 16, 1991, 11 years later. In just 11 years, notice the difference in the sponsors and some of the acts and song selection.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Jan Howard: Rock Me Back to Little Rock/Evil On Your Mind
Bill Anderson: Po' Folks

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Charlie Walker (host): A Way to Free Myself
Charlie Louvin: If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink On Me
Charlie Walker: There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere

7:00: Shoney's
Jack Greene (host): Oh, Lonesome Me
Jean Shepard: A Tear Dropped By
Ray Pillow: Days When You Were Still In Love With Me
Mike Snider: Carl's Breakdown
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy C Newman (host): Cajun's Dream
Justin Tubb: Keep Me From Blowing Away
Becky Hobbs: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Mel McDaniel: Stand Up/Turtles and Rabbits
Jimmy C Newman: Thibodeaux and His Cajun Band/La Cajun Band

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: The Key's in the Mailbox/Satisfied
Roy Drusky: Blues in My Heart/One Day At A Time
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Lafayette
Roy Acuff: That's The Man I'm Looking For

8:30: Pop's Right
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
The Whites: Pins & Needles
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Never
John Conlee: Doghouse
Dottie West: All I Ever Need is You
Jim Ed Brown: Send Me The Pillow You Dream On

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jimmy C Newman (host): Lafayette
Charlie Louvin: Buried Alive
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away
Stonewall Jackson: Ol' Chunk of Coal
Wilma Lee Cooper: The Legend of the Dogwood Tree
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya/Cajun Stripper

10:00: Little Debbie
Jack Greene (host): You Love Takes Good Care of Me
Mel McDaniel: Tennessee Saturday Night/Stand Up
Jack Greene: Statue of A Fool

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Just A Friend
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours/Satin Sheets
Roy Acuff: Carry Me Back to the Mountains

10:30: Pet
Roy Drusky (host): Mississippi
Jean Shepard: Are You Teasing Me
Roy Drusky: I Really Don't Want to Know

10:45: B.C. Powder
John Conlee (host): I'm Only In It For The Love
Connie Smith: You've Got Me Right Where You Want Me
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Greenback Dollar
John Conlee: Lifetime Guarantee

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Skeeter Davis: He Will Be There
Charlie Walker: There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere
The Whites: There's Another Soldier Down/Swing Down Chariot
Bill Anderson: Deck of Cards

11:30: Creamette
Jim Ed Brown (host): Don't Bother to Knock
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby/Love Is No Excuse
Johnny Russell: Act Naturally
Jim Ed Brown: Scarlet Ribbons

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!


  1. On the topic of Opry sponsors, it's always interesting to see where certain sponsors bought their time. Earlier in the evening it was usually a "regional" brand (Mrs. Grissom's, Rudy's, Kroger and (in it's early days) Cracker Barrel where the more national brands would appear in "prime time" or later. I also wonder how many shows could have kept the same sponsors for years (in the case of Martha White, Coca Cola and W.E. Stephens 40+). To my way of thinking, the Opry's current decline began with the show began to have trouble finding sponsors in the 90's and turned to "in-house" advertising (General Jackson, Opry Picture Book, Opry Tours, Opryland Hotel, TNN and so forth) to fill the slots. One of the things I miss about the Opry is the full-size painted backdrops that used to hang on the stage for Cracker Barrel, Rudy's, Tennessee Pride, Martha White, Stephens, Little Debbie, Sunbeam, Elm Hill Meats, Coca Cola and others. They were really impressive and added a little bit of variety to the set. Even after they added the projection screen to the old barn they were still running the backdrops in and out well into the 80's. For all I know, those things are still hanging in the fly loft at the Opry House although I know the Tennessee Pride drop was cut up years ago and given away as part of a fund raiser for the Hank Snow child abuse foundation. It would be nice if the others could be put on display somewhere because they were works of art in themselves. Of course, you would need to find a big space but if Milwaukee can turn an NBA basketball court into a hanging piece of art....

  2. Look at the date of that 2nd lineup. That is only about a week prior to the end of the Gulf War. Bill Anderson, The Whites and Charlie Walker all had patriotic songs at some point throughout the night. At this point in time I was only 10 years old. But I remember patriotism being so much stronger during this time period than it is today and more recently in the war we just were in. On television, our homes, the radio and all throughout the country. Those song titles simply reminded me than in less than 25 years many things have changed, not only the Opry. The lineup is still strong even with a few "big" names missing; notably Hall of Famers, Grandpa Jones, Hank Snow and Little Jimmy Dickens and future Hall of Famer Porter Wagoner. All still touring at this point in time I would say.

  3. David, I never thought of that but you are right. And Barry, someday I think I need to do a history of the Opry's sponsors and the segments that they sponsored. That could take a little bit of work to get all the years right. Who knows.....

  4. Fred, Bismarck:

    I used to enjoy the sponsors and commercials too, though I'm afraid only fragments remain in my head. Which was, "Goodness, gracious ... it's good!"? Hearing the announcer talk not just seriously but rapturously about Goo Goo Clusters was fun. And of course there was Martha White, with the music by Lester & Earl.

    Does anybody have insight into exactly why the sponsors fled? (I'm sure air clutter and poor reception has reduced the Opry's range. I used to be able to bring it in like a local station on a clear,cold winter night ... now, not a murmur.) And how big a part this may have played in the shortening of the show?

    Also, in all my reading, I don't recall a discussion of how much of the Opry's revenue was from advertising, versus the box office.

  5. Fred, after the Steve Buchanan/Pete Fisher team took over, one of the things they decided was that they wanted to go with what were called "presenting" or "proud" sponsors. These sponsors, who paid a lot more for the privilage of sponsoring an Opry segment, were on a national level and not only sponored a segment, but were involved in a few other things also.This concept started around 2005 with Cracker Barrel being the "presenting sponor" and Martha White, being a "proud sponsor." A few of the Opry's traditional sponsors stuck around for a while, but left over time.

    The 2 biggest to leave, initially, were Coca-Cola and Standard Candy. The Coca-Cola portion was actually sponsored by the local Coke bottling company and not the national Coca-Cola company. Standard Candy did want't to pay the higher fee expected. The were replaced by US Bank, which became the 2nd "proud" sponsor. (what was interesting was that Coke products and Goo-Goo's were still sold at the Opry House for a number of years, even though they no longer were an Opry sponsor.

    The next 2 to join as "proud sponsors" were Humana and Bass Pro Shops, then Johnson Controls". Humana took over as the "presenting sponsor", which they still are today, around 2010.

    Currently the Opry has Humana as the "presenting sponsor" and Cracker Barrel and Dollar General as the "proud sponsors." The others have come and gone, mostly gone. What is interesting is that over the past year, Mrs. Grissoms sponsored for a while and now the Johnny Cash Museum is sponsoring. But since they are not either "proud or presenting", they are not listed in the Opry program given away at each Opry show.

    With only 4 segments a show and 3 sponsors signed up, that only leaves 1 slot for each show, with Johnny Cash Museum having that spot on Saturday night and Boot Country (or whatever their name now is ), doing the Friday opening segment.

  6. Fred, Bismarck:

    Good and interesting history, Byron -- thanks!

  7. Byron, it occurs to me that Coke sponsored the 11 p.m. segment from 1956 until the early 2000s, and finally left in 2004. Now, wouldn't it be a marketing moment to have a 50-year anniversary for a sponsor? I guess, but it's not an "Opry moment."

    Now Mrs. Grissom's sponsors the intermission.

  8. For those interested in Friday night's show, Jean Shepard has cancelled out and replaced by Mandy Barnett.

  9. On tonight's Friday Night Opry, not only did Jean Shepard cancel out but so did host Jim Ed Brown. So they ran the segment without a host (you mean they couldn't call someone in or switch things around), and had Mandy Barnett do the first 15 minutes and Sleepy Man Banjo Boys doing the 2nd fifteen minutes.

  10. That is obscene. Purely and simply, obscene.

  11. What is obscene? We all want the 'Opry to schedule the old folks. Old folks get sick, sometimes right before the show, I suspect. That may be one reason Pete Fisher is reluctant to schedule some of them on a consistent basis.
    My fear is that two acts per half hour (like the Tuesday night 'Opry) may become the new normal.
    Thanks to Mandy Barnett who is always willing to save the day.
    Why isn't Mandy a member?????? I bought her latest album at proud sponsor Cracker Barrel.

    1. Nat, the obscenity is as follows. If I had bought a ticket to the Opry and there were only about a dozen acts on there, and two of them had canceled and it wound up not looking like the Opry, I would expect my money back. And if I didn't get my money back, I would claim that Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher are frauds. Which they are.

  12. I thoroughly enjoyed the quick history lesson on sponsors. I have to wonder how much value there is for the sponsors, especially when comparing presenting sponsors, proud sponsors, and just regular old sponsors. If I don't know who is what without help from this blog, how much value can there be?
    Have to admit, I hated it when Coke and Goo-Goo gave it up. They seemed to add more local flavor to the event.

  13. Goo-Goo supreme cluster is still my favorite Candy to this day. Here in Missouri the only place I can find them anymore is the Cracker Barrel.

    I agree on Mandy Barnett. She's paid her dues. There is no reason an Opry membership invitation should not be extended to her. I would say more so than Rhonda Vincent, Gene Watson, Crystal Gayle, The Grascals and others. If the "hit record" rule is still in affect, she has had it records. At least 3 or 4 on the Billboard Country charts. In 1996 her single, "Now That's All Right With Me" , was just shy of the top 40, peaking at No. 43. But It was a billboard hit, none the less. My fear is that artists such as Miranda Lambert, at the upcoming celebration in March will get the invitation. Then we'll have another pretty face in the Opry picture book, and the Mandy Barrett's taking the real slack on a weekly, monthly basics on the stage, with no Opry trophy to support her efforts.

    I am leaning toward Michael and Byron: With all the Nashville based Opry members, surely they could have pushed the last scheduled host up to Jim Ed's slot and have someone there to host the last segment. The Whites, Mike Snider, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Connie Smith, Ricky Skaggs, Larry Gatlin all come to mind.... surely they all were not on tour.

    1. And speaking of Mike Snider; I'm worried. I don't know what's going on, but I'm worried. His on and off absence over the last year is troubling to a traditional fan such as myself.

  14. That's ridiculous. Performers show up on Christmas and New Year's. How can they not find another member to host on Valentine's Day? If I were Pete Fisher, I would have moved Bill up to 7:30 and let Hal host 8:15. Still would have only been two at 8:15, but since Hal was celebrating 20 years as a member, it's less of an issue.


  15. Fred, Bismarck:

    The Opry can count on loyalists like Byron, David and Nat ... but I really wonder to whom else it's worth it for the time and expense. For me, in 1969, it was worth a 2000-mile trip from Wyoming, in a VW bus -- we were kind of hippies in those days -- with a wife & 2 kids, camping out along the way.

    Would I do it again? For this weekend's lineup, not even from across the street!

  16. For those listening tonight (Saturday), Jimmy Dickens was on once again. He came on at the end of Connie Smith's segment. What was surprising this time was he told a few jokes and sang. He did "Another Bridge to Burn" and sounded pretty good, much better then he was doing before his illness.

    As far as Friday night, I think the obvious choice would have been to move up Hal Ketchum to host a segment. In fact, he was probably the only choice as the only Opry members who were there and not hosting were Hal and Bobby Osborne. That's what kind of a hole you get yourself into when you schedule so few people and so few members. I would suppose that if Steve or Pete had wanted to, they could have called Jimmy C Newman, who was scheduled for Saturday, or reached out to Ray Pillow, but then maybe they did and could not come up with anyone. And people do get sick, that I understand which is why I have no negative things to say about either Jim Ed or Jean.

    As far as Mandy Barnett and Opry membership, I wouldn't have an issue. In fact, I don't understand why the Opry is stuck on having between 60 and 70 members. They could easily add 15 or 20 more, people like Mandy, Crystal Gayle, Rhonda Vincent, Dailey & Vincent, Gene Watson, The Grascals, Striking Matches and for that matter, could add the Kristen Kelly's of the world. If you got 10 out of each of them, which you do now anyways, it would firm up some of the scheduling problems that they have been having. Yes, Opry membership is a privilage, but only for those who actually show up and that it means something to them.

  17. It was great hearing Little Jimmy Dickens tonite. I sure have missed him. I also liked hearing Jim Ed Brown. Tonite, I also appreciate the shout out to Grandpa Jones by The Radio Ramblers.

    I have been following this blog for about 2 years now. At first I did not have a Google account, but I finally got myself one so I can come and post. I enjoy what is written here each week. I am an ex-pat living in Spain for the past 14 years, and since WSM has made it possible, I listen religiously to the Opry every Friday and Saturday nite live. For me it is 2 a.m. - 4:15 a.m. on weekends....Saturdays I stay up till 8 a.m. and listen to Opry Circle, Golden Era of The Opry, and Ernest Tubb Jamboree........

  18. Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher = Public Enemies ..... but like Byron has stated many times, the relaxing of appearances started before them, yet they have managed to make it worse.

    I also agree with many here that sertain members need to be stripped of their membership, as they do not support the show. I do believe 10 is the requirement as has been stated, and from what I see many do not make 10, nor even show up over the years.
    I also conquer that we need more members in the mold of Norma Jean, Marion Worth, Dell Wood...... that is why The Grascals, Mandy Barnett, Striking Matches, etc.........

  19. Oh yes!!! I forgot.... I have been to The Grand Ol Opry on 2 occasions: 1998 and 2009. The first was when I was a student on spring break, and I decided to go to Nashville. I just wanted to hang out for a week and listen to the music that I grew up listening to in Western Pennsylvania.......... my parents and grandparents gave me a steady diet of Hank Jr., Marty Robbins, Eddie Arnold, and Johnny Cash. Plus, many nites of Hee- Haw.
    In 2009, it was to take my spanish wife, who has learned lots of english from listening to country music, to see the opry. She wanted to se Carrie Underwood, Vince Gill, and see some of Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline´s things at the Opry Museum and Country Hall of Fame. She is a huge Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn fan.

  20. Nittannee, great to see you here.

    Tonight was a bit wild, thanks to Connie Smith getting stuck in traffic, and I missed The Potato, but Hal Ketchum sounded good!

  21. Yes, Hal Ketchum sounded awesome tonite!!!!!! Just listened to Opry Circle, currently listening to Golden Era..... Geroge Morgan is hosting a segment with Marion Worth, 4 Guys, etc.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Nittannee, from the host himself, thanks for commenting and being a part of the blog.

    As far as Saturday night, it was one of those nights that I had another obligation to attend to so I was only able to hear the end of Connie Smith's portion and of course Jimmy Dickens, who actually sounded pretty good. I did get some comments from a few of my loyal readers who told me that Saturday's show had a lot of changes. Apparently Connie Smith was caught in traffic and did not make it on time. Jimmy C Newman opened with 2 songs, then JT, finally Connie. Jimmy C did not host, which I would have tought would be the plan, instead it was Mike Terry doing the heavy work. Then for the 2nd segment, Jim Ed Brown hosted as Riders In The Sky were late getting there. Jim Ed missed Friday night and I don't know if he mentioned anything about it on Saturday. Jesse McReynolds made it and I was told sounded good, however on the next segment no Stu Phillips. Hopefully he is ok and just wasn't up to it last night.

    One of those Opry nights.

  24. Yes... let's make Mandy Barnett an Opry member. That's just what they need, a Patsy Cline impersonator. While we're at it, let's just make that woman that plays Minnie Pearl at the front of the show a member as well. Might as well.

  25. Also... yes, it is kind of Mandy to appear whenever she is asked to do so. I'd also be more than willing to perform on the Opry anytime I'm asked as well. Could anyone please pass my number on to Pete Fisher? I'm likely just as well known.

  26. All I can say about Mandy Barnett is that she can sing and respects and preserves the music of the past. That is much more than I can say for all the other whiny sound alike females they dig up who may not be any better known than Mandy.

    Knightsville, IN

  27. Yikes Leonard - give Mandy a break, she has tremendous talent and does not always do Patsy Cline. She WOULD be a wonderful addition to the Opry. As for the "Minnie Pearl" performer; she is pretty good but I believe Fisher et al have backed off quite a bit on her since she represents the "old Opry" that they are trying to get away from. Geez, if the performers get stuck in traffic, maybe they will realize what those of us trying to get to the shows have to go through; whoever designed that access/egress system adjacent to the mall/hotel/Grand Ole Opry House should go back to engineering school !!!

  28. I must say that with all the schedule changes this weekend it kept me glued to the radio and I found it rather exiting and intriguing. I took a full page of notes. And it reminded me of my earlier days listening when I did not have a schedule in front of me.

    To me the highlight of Saturday was Jimmy Dickens who sounded great considering all he has been through. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time he was singing and almost in tears. I am guessing the side of the stage was full of people from backstage. I would say Jimmy's peers but with so few performing that wouldn't be saying much! On the other hand, to think that Jesse only got one spot so that Sara Haze could appear is disheartening and not just because he is a veteran that I like. Compare the performance of a 20 something to the 93 year old who has been very ill. Tater may not have sounded like Sinatra but I think he out did Haze. I'm not a big fan of Hal Ketchum but that is just preference, nothing wrong with him. He turned in a very nice performance.

    What Byron is saying is true about such a small lineup. When there were 25+ appearing even a host could miss and the audience barely knew the difference unless they had come to see that specific star like Acuff, Monroe Tubb or the like. Now, especially if it is a host, it really puts a kink in things. My negative side is about to show......this could be a situation they hope for so they can further push out the old and in the new and a total format change. Although they may not have the pull of an Acuff or Tubb I have a feeling that the opinions of a few of the veterans still have just a little affect on what goes on at the Opry.

    Jim Ed sounded fine, glad to see he made it for Saturday. Anyone have any idea why he abruptly quit singing is new song "In Style Again"?

    I hope Jean Shepard and Stu Phillips are okay.

    Kinghtsville, IN


  29. OK, I'll confess. I DID cry when listening to Jimmy Dickens and the poignant introduction given him by Connie Smith.
    Say what you will, the 'Opry is a special part of my life, and I will NOT allow Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher to take away my joy.

  30. There's a story that one night, Roy Acuff and Grant Turner got engrossed in a conversation in dressing room #1 and totally forgot that Mr. Acuff had a segment to host and Mr. Turner had the segment to announce! So I guess Hairl Hensley stayed over and whoever was up next on the segment took over as host. Of course that would be noticed, but there was still plenty of show. Last night was a reminder that without depth, the show runs into trouble.

    I'm sorry I missed The Potato, but I'm glad he sounded great. I did hear Hal Ketchum. I've never been a big fan, but I'm glad to hear him, and he "gets" it. As for Mandy Barnett, she wouldn't be my choice for the next female member (yes to Rhonda Vincent, and bring back Martha White Flour!), but she's a wonderful singer and at least she isn't some caterwauling no talent.

  31. Byron: The "lists" are appearing on the web about the Hall of Fame. I found this one today;

    We should be hearing about the announcement soon.

  32. David, thanks for the link.

    For those who haven't seen this site, last year they were way off base on things, but in looking who they have listed as potential candidates this year, they seem to have their act together in the modern category (or at least better), but in the veterans category they have some names that you have to question.

    In the modern era, the 5 main candidates they list are Ricky Skaggs, Ronnie Milsap, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis and Brooks & Dunn, with a few others including The Judds and Oak Ridge Boys as strong contenders.

    In the veterans era, they have Jerry Lee Lewis, Jerry Reed, Hank Williams, Jr., Lynn Anderson, Dottie West, The Maddox Brothers & Rose, Gram Parsons, John Hartford, Tompall and The Glaser Brothers, Johnny Paycheck, David Allen Coe,

    They give a prediction of Ricky Skaggs or Alan Jackson (modern), Jerry Lee Lewis, Vern Gosdin or Jerry Reed (veteran) and Hank Cochran (songwriter).

    I will leave it at that, but like I mentioned, I think a few of the veteran names listed are a little on the thin side.

  33. I agree with the finalists they have for the Modern Era. I personally would pick Ronnie Milsap simply because his large number of #1 records can not be ignored. He is past 70 now and hopefully he doesn't have to wait too long. Some of their names in the Veterans category are puzzling to say the least. Gram Parsons? The Glasers? No offense to their fans but I don't see them or some of the others as HOF worthy. I doubt anyone will dispute Hank Cochran's worthiness.

  34. Fred, Bismarck:

    I try not to get caught up in the HOF horse race, but have learned to keep my expectations low. I don't think much of the savingcountry lists, except for Ricky at the top of them. They seem to be the work of one person, and I'll stick with Byron for my insider's stuff. This other guy seems flat out of the loop on several counts, as when he says voters have no personality issues with Alan Jackson.

  35. Fred, Bismarck:

    I would urge Anonymous, a couple of posts above, to consult a higher standard than No. 1 records, especially from the 1970s through the '90s, when radio made up to 52 of them a year.

    I would not DIS-qualify Ronnie on those grounds -- but I wouldn't qualify him on them, either.

    How many No. 1 records did Grandpa Jones have? The Louvin Brothers? Little Jimmy Dickens? The thing about people like these is they were indelible personalities and performers who gave us many wonderful songs and, in the bargain, were as country as the mud on your boots.

  36. Fred, Bismarck:

    When I spoke of "wonderful songs" above, I meant songs that have stood the test of time, are still being performed and are certainly on that all-time playlist up in Hillbilly Heaven.

    I don't see many of the one-week wonders from the '70s, '80s and '90s qualifying.

    Too much gab for so early in the morning! I'll be quiet now.

  37. Hi Fred,

    Regarding Milsap and #1 records...I never said #1 records were the only criteria, just that Milsap's track record of 40 or more of them can't be ignored. The only artists with more than him are Conway and George Strait both of whom are in the Hall and deservedly so. I honestly don't know how that doesn't qualify someone for HOF induction. He consistently had hit records from the 70s through the 90s and remains a popular touring act to this day and has been a great ambassador for country music with his scandal free career and his inspirational refusal to let his disability hinder him. Do I think Ricky Skaggs, Randy Travis et al are deserving? Absolutely, but in all fairness Milsap should be in first.

  38. I'll just wade in and say that the Hall of Fame wouldn't go wrong with Skaggs or Travis or Milsap. No matter who is chosen, some of us will complain that someone was more deserving, but it seems unlikely that we'll say anybody was undeserving.