Thursday, February 20, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 2/21 & 2/22

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and the Grand Ole Opry. After the problems that the Opry had last weekend, I was interested to see what they would come up with this weekend.

The Friday Night Opry will feature guest artist Kellie Pickler. She will also be signing copies of her new album prior to the show that night. Also appearing will be Opry member Pam Tillis, who will be hosting a segment featuring her dad, Mel Tillis. (Seems like it should be the other way around; Mel should be introducing Pam). Also appearing will be Diamond Rio. And making her first Opry appearance this weekend will be Lucy Hale. She was the recent winner of the reality show, American Juniors. She also stars in Pretty Little Liars, which is on ABC Family.

The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night is interesting. For one thing, John Conlee will be hosting the entire first hour (2 segments). You telling me the Opry could not come up with four members capable of hosting? But wait, Jean Shepard is one of John's guests. I would think she could have been capable of handling the role. The only concern they might have is she missed last week and perhaps they wanted to make sure she would be there. Either way, it sets a poor example, but it is not the first time the Opry has combined segments. Pam Tillis is back again, along with guest artists Mark Wills, Maggie Rose, Chris Janson and The Willis Clan, all frequent Opry guests. Also appearing will be Chaley Rose, and yes, she is a star on Nashville. What would an Opry show be without someone from the televison show?

Friday February 21
7:00: Diamond Rio (host); Jim Ed Brown; Kellie Pickler
7:30: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds; Lucy Hale
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Joel Crouse
8:45: Pam Tillis (host); Chuck Wicks; Mel Tillis

Saturday February 22
7:00: John Conlee (host); Maggie Rose; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jean Shepard; Mark Wills
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Jan Howard; Chris Janson; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Pam Tillis (host); Chaley Rose; The Willis Clan

8 Opry members on Friday night and just 6 on Saturday.

For this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history, I go to Saturday February 23, 1974. The Opry was only 3 weeks away from moving to the new Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland. And it was on this night that the Opry had it's first "offical" Old-Timer's Night. The Opry decided that it would be nice to invite back some of the Opry's former members to perform on the Ryman stage for a final time before moving to the new building. What made this night so special was that it marked the return of DeFord Bailey to the Opry for the first time since being fired in 1941.

DeFord Bailey was one of the original stars of the Opry. He made his first Opry appearance on June 19, 1926 and would continue to be a regular and very popular performer until he was dismissed. DeFord was "discovered" by Dr. Humphrey Bate, who brought him to the attention of George D. Hay who was thrilled by his harmonica playing and immediately made him part of the Opry's cast.

But in 1941, and in one of the more controversial incidents in Opry history, he was fired by Hay. Here is the quote from Judge Hay regarding the firing. "DeFord Bailey was a little crippled colored boy who was a bright feature on our show for about fifteen years. Like some members of his race and other races, DeFord was lazy. He knew about a dozen numbers, which he put on the air and recorded for a major company, but he refused to learn any more, even though his reward was great. We gave him a whole year's notice to learn some more tunes, but he would not. When we were forced to give him his final notice, DeFord said, without malice, 'I knowed it wuz comin', Judge, I knowed it wuz comin.' ' "

Later events would suggest that DeFord did not accept the firing in the manner that Judge Hay suggested. After the firing, DeFord set up shop at a shoeshine stand at Twelfth Avenue South and Edgehill in Nashville and remained there until he passed away in 1982.

What was interesting is that in 1978 he was approached to be part of a NBC television special "Fifty Years of Country Music." The producers of the show wanted to book DeFord and have him re-create the moment when he played "Pan American Blues" on the "WSM Barn Dance" and Judge Hay followed with his comment naming the show "The Grand Ole Opry." DeFord refused saying, "No, I don't wanna work with 'em again." What makes that comment interesting was that DeFord was already making annual appearances at the Opry as part of the Old-Timer's Night reunions.

Even after DeFord left the Opry, there were Opry members who still checked up on DeFord and visited with him. They included Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Bill Monroe and Herman Crook.

Here is the line-up from Saturday February 23, 1974, which marked the return of DeFord Bailey to the Opry stage.

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Willis Brothers (host): Big Daddy
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop/Give Me 40 Acres

6:45: Rudy's
Roy Drusky (host): Second Hand Rose
Jimmy Newman: Potato Song
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Roy Drusky: Don't It Make You Want To Go Home

7:00: Rudy's
Roy Acuff (host): Whoa, Mule, Whoa
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Pee Wee King: Bonaparte's Retreat/Slowpoke
Redd Stewart: Tennessee Waltz
Sid Harkreader: Mockingbird Breakdown/How Beautiful Heaven Must Be
DeFord Bailey: Pan American/Fox Chase
Roy Acuff: I Saw The Light

7:30: Standard Candy
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
David Houston: I Love You; I Love You; I Love You
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Black Mountain Rag
Jim Ed Brown: The Old Lamplighter/Scarlet Ribbons/The 3 Bells
David Houston: Good Things
Billy Grammer: How Great Thou Art

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Salty Dog Blues
Grandpa Jones w/Ramona Jones: Heading South With Nashville On My Mind
Charlie Louvin: Little Reasons/Will You Visit Me On Sundays/What Are Those Things
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I Shall Not Be Moved
Bill Carlisle: Same Old Tale That The Crow Told Me
Lester Flatt: Is Anybody Going North To Cincinnati
Grandpa Jones: You Don't Love Me Like You Used To Do
Lester Flatt: Train 45

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everythere
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Charlie Walker: Wanting My Woman Again
Fruit Far Drinkers: Katy Hill
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way To Say Goodbye
Jean Shepard: At The Time
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On

2nd show
9:30: Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Clyde Moody: I Know What It Means To Be Lonesome
Curly Fox: The Old Gray Mule/Listen To The Mockingbird

10:00: Fender
David Houston (host): Living In A House Full Of Love
Charlie Louvin: You're My Wife; She's My Woman
David Houston: Almost Persuaded

10:15: Union 76
Jimmy Newman (host): Jambalaya
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I Couldn't Care Less
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Jimmy Newman: Cry, Cry Darling

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host): Nine Pound Hammer
Grandpa Jones: Ol' Rattler Left Us Years Ago
Jean Shepard: Slipping Away
Lester Flatt: Homestead On The Farm

10:45: Beech-Nut
Billy Grammer (host): Detroit City
Jim Ed Brown: Sometimes Sunshine
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Soldier's Joy
Billy Grammer: Just A Closer Walk With Thee

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Hello Love
Stu Phillips: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/You Win Again/Release Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink On Me
Sam McGee: Farewell Blues/Alabama Jubilee.Just Because
Hank Snow: Paper Roses

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): Devil Woman
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down/Wanting My Woman Again
Justin Tubb: Texas Dance Hall Girl/Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
Ronnie Robbins: Broke Down And Alone
Marty Robbins: I'm Wanting To/Don't Worry/Big Boss Man/They'll Never Take Her Love From Me/Love Me/I Couldn't Believe It Was True/Driftwood On The River/I'll Step Aside/El Paso

The 2nd line-up I want to post is from Saturday February 23, 1963 (51 years ago), as it was on this Saturday night that Patsy Cline made her final Grand Ole Opry appearance. Patsy joined the Opry on January 9, 1960. Even though she was an Opry member for just a little over 3 years, she had a big impact on the show. I have posted this before but I know there are new readers who might appreciate seeing this.

7:30: Kellogg's
Faron Young (host): Yellow Bandana
Willis Brothers: San Antonio Rose
Marion Worth: Shake Me; I Rattle
Harold Morrison: Beaver Creek
Faron Young: How Much I Must Have Loved You
Del Wood: 12th St. Rag
Merle Kilgore: I Am
Willis Brothers: Big Daddy
Faron Young: Hello Walls

8:00: Martha White
Ray Price (host): Heartaches By The Numbers
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Doing My Time
Hawshaw Hawkins: Silver Threads And Golden Needles
Patsy Cline: Leavin' On Your Mind
Ray Price: Walk Me To The Door
Crook Brothers: Love Somebody
Billy Walker: Charlie's Shoes
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Satisfied
Ray Price: Crazy Arms

8:30: Stephens
George Morgan (host): Mississippi
Cowboy Copas: Alabam
Lefty Frizzell: (?)
Archie Campbell: Comedy
George Morgan: Almost
Curly Fox: (?)
Melba Montgomery: (?)
Cowboy Copas: Don't Shake Hands With The Devil
George Morgan: Rainbow In My Heart

9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Roy Acuff (host): New River Train
June Stearns: Call Me Up
Bill Monroe: How Will I Explain About You
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Roy Acuff: Sweeter Than The Flowers
Oswald: Southern Moon
Bill Monroe: Were You There
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldiers Joy
Roy Acuff: Stay A Little Longer
Howdy Forrester & Jimmy Riddle: Cowbell Polka

9:30: Pet Milk
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Glaser Brothers: Lover's Farewell
Sonny James: (?)
Cousin Jody: Lady Cop
Hank Snow: Begger To A King
Margie Bowes: Think It Over
Sonny James: (?)
Glaser Brothers: I Wish I Had Never Seen Sunshine
Hank Snow: These Hands

Faron Young (host): Safely In Love
Marion Worth: Tennessee Teardrops
Curly Fox: (?)
Faron Young: Alone With You

10:15: Luzianne
Hawkshaw Hawkins (host): Darkness On The Face Of The Earth
George Morgan: Allegheny Rose
Del Wood: Blue Eagle
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Twenty Miles From Shore

10:30: Harvey's
Ray Price (host): (?)
Cowboy Copas: Filipino Baby
Patsy Cline: Bill Bailey
Ray Price: (?)

10:45: Sustaining
Roy Acuff (host): I Don't Know Why
Willis Brothers: Footprints In The Snow
Oswald: Mountain Dew
Crook Brothers: Soldiers Joy
Ray Price: So Many Times

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): Big Wheel
Bill Monroe: A Good Woman's Love
Billy Walker: Thank You For Calling
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: There's A Higher Power
Hank Snow: Yellow Roses
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bile Them Cabbage Down
Glaser Brothers: Odds & Ends
Sam & Kirk McGee: Freight Train Blues
Bill Monroe: Big Sandy Breakdown
Hank Snow: Wreck Of The Old 97

11:30: SSS Tonic
Marty Robbins (host): Ruby Ann
Margie Bowes: Within Your Crowd
Sonny James: (?)
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Marty Robbins: Devil Woman
Don Winters: Too Many Times
Margie Bowes: I Really Don't Want To Know
Sonny James: (?)
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!!


  1. It was interesting that Mr. Acuff hosted both of the "oldtimer" segments, and they did only one show. It also looks like the first show ran long and Mr. Acuff abbreviated the first segment of the second show to get them closer to being on schedule. Ah, the good old days.

    Thanks, as always, Byron. Great stuff!

  2. Fred, Bismarck:

    Loved Marty's show-closing lineup from '74, especially the old numbers. "I Couldn't Believe It Was True," the Eddy Arnold song, had recently been included in one of Marty's MCA albums. "I'll Step Aside" he used to include in his Opry medley way back in the 1950s. (He had recorded it in SONG OF ROBBINS, the wonderful country album he cut at about the time he hit it big on the pop scene with "White Sport Coat.")

    To the best of my knowledge, Marty never recorded "Driftwood," and I never had the privilege of hearing him do it on the Opry. Wish I had!

  3. I love seeing these old line ups posted. I like seeing many of my favorites. How fortunate I am to have seen many of them on television or dvd, and some of them in person!!!!!!!! Glad I was born in 1973, though I did miss out on Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw, and Cowboy Copas........ but like I said, I can see them anytime I want with technology we have today.

  4. How much did it cost to go to the Opry in 1963 and 1974?


  5. Byron, what were the problems that the Opry had last weekend?

  6. Danny, last weekend Jim Ed Brown and Jean Shepard both cancelled on Friday night. Jean was replaced by Mandy Barnett. Nobody replaced Jim Ed. The 2nd segment ended up with no host. Eddie Stubbs introduced Mandy Barnett for the first half of that segment and Sleep Man Banjo Boys played the last half of the segment.

    Saturday night, Connie Smith was caught in traffic and missed hosting the first segment. Jimmy C did the first 2 songs, but did not host, then JT, performed, then finally Connie. She was the one that introduced Jimmy Dickens.

    The next segment had Riders In The Sky coming in late, so they did not host. Jim Ed Brown, who was not scheduled, did host that segment and Riders performed mid-way through. It was just a mess of a night.

    I don't have a ticket price in front of me forn 1964, but in 1974 it was $3.50 for the main floor and $2.00 for the balcony.

  7. I remember it was $8.00 for balcony seats in June 1979!

    Knightsville, IN

  8. I'll retract my previous statement. Since I don't have my stub in front of me I'm questioning that it might have been $6.00 for those balcony seats in 79. Sorry.

    Knightsville, IN

  9. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come again this weekend, but Lucy Hale has cancelled out for tonight. She has been replaced by The Willis Clan, which I would say is an upgrade.

  10. I am pretty sure it wasn't just me, but didn't Diamond Rio sound terrible last night? Totally out of key!! Hopefully, it was just the internet, but Jim Ed and the rest sounded ok.

  11. Well, since you mentioned it and you are our leader I'll weigh in. I don't mind Diamond Rio our them being part of the Opry and I think they are respectful members. But they are the generation next in line behind Jim Ed, Jean and others. Per our discussion on the staff band here is a case where a group just 23 years old sounds worse than a fifty year member about to turn 80 in a month. How can we say it is time for some veterans to step aside if this is the replacement.

    Yes, they did sound off but I don't feel it is anything new.

    Knightsville, IN

  12. Fred, Bismarck:

    It's often complained on here that this or that frequent guest ought to be invited to become a member of the Opry.

    In that spirit, how many Fayfarers think membership should be extended to frequent guest Mark Wills, who was on tonight?

    1. Hi Fred,

      I am coming into this conversation four days later but wanted to respond to your question. While I am not a fan of Mark Wills & never have been, I have always said, and will always say, that whoever gets to become a Grand Ole Opry member or a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, I am happy for them. So few get the honor to settle in either house.

      Hi Byron, in answer to your question, every time I hear Diamond Rio, Marty Roe is out of tune. Not sure if his voice is gone or if the recording studio made it sound better on recordings than it actually is. It isn't as if that hasn't been done before however, I am not at all saying the studio doctored his voice up in any way either. I listen to someone's voice live first & then I go from there. One singer sounds great either way - Josh Turner - his voice is great live or on Memorex .... m m m - :-)

      I came into the Opry late the other night, that is what Connie Smith was referring to when she said something about only introducing Little Jimmy Dickens - I wasn't able to listen to the Opry until that very moment. Briley Parkway is one happenin' roadway - have driven on it many a time, just not recently darn it all! :-(

      I remember Opry ticket prices back in the mid-90's being under $20.00 for many a good seat. Not sure I have the ticket stubs anymore.


  13. Just to note, American Juniors isn't a recent show. It aired eleven years ago in 2003. The purpose of the show was to form a singing group of five kids. After the show, the group went nowhere.