Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 3/7 & 3/8

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry.

The Friday Night Opry will feature Gerry House as a guest. He has just written a book on his life in country music. Most of you probably know that Gerry was/is a top rated country music DJ in Nashville. Interesting that he was on a station that directly competed with WSM for many, many years. Joining Gerry on Friday, who is also doing a book signing, will be guest artists Chris Janson, who has been on the Opry the past two years more then most of the members, Elizabeth Cook, Restless Heart and Darryl Worley.

Satuday's Grand Ole Opry will feature the fine bluegrass duo, The Gibson Brothers, along with Drake White and Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys. Also appearing Saturday night will be Blackie and The Rodeo Kings. No, I didn't make up that name. They are described as a "Canadian folk rock/alternative country band with blues and country influences." Yep, just what the Opry needs. I am pretty sure it is their first Opry appearance.

Friday March 7
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Chris Janson; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: The Whites (host); Elizabeth Cook; Restless Heart
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Amber Carrington; Gerry House
8:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jesse McReynolds; Darryl Worley

Saturday March 8
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Drake White; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Janelle Arthur; Blackie and The Rodeo Kings
8:15: The Whites (host); Jean Shepard; Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Craig Campbell; The Gibson Brothers

I am glad that they were able to round up 6 Opry members for each show. Also, Bill Anderson will be hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. With the time changing this weekend, it will be a short Saturday night for those of us listening in the eastern time zone.

On another note, it was announced that finally Jean Shepard's autobiography will be released on April 15. I know that this is years in the making and I hope it is as candid as Jean has mentioned it might be. Either way, it should be a great book.

For this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history, I go to Saturday March 9, 1974. Since next week is the 40th anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry House, it would make sense that it is also the 40th anniversary of the final Opry show at the Ryman Auditorium. This was also the final Saturday night Opry show for Bobby Bare as a member of the Opry as he did not like the move to the new Opry House and quit. (Bobby did appear on the final Friday Night Opry show the following week). Additionally, it was at the time, the final Opry show for Tom T Hall, who also quit the Opry. Tom T would of course, rejoin the show in 6 years later and remains a member to this day. While Bobby Bare never would rejoin the Opry, he has continued to appear at Opry shows.

Here is the Opry line-up from Saturday March 9, 1974:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Willis Brothers (host): Give Me 40 Acres
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way To Say Goodbye
Willis Brothers: Cool Water

6:45: Rudy's
Bobby Bare (host): Detroit City
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
Ernie Ashworth: Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor
Bobby Bare: The Mermaids

7:00: Shoney's
Billy Grammer (host): Under The Double Eagle/Black Mountain Rag/Wildwood Flower
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Nine Pound Hammer
Bill Carlisle: Too Old To Cut The Mustard
Billy Grammer: Orange Blossom Special
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: To My Mansion In The Sky
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jeanne Pruett: You Don't Need To Move A Mountain
Lonzo & Oscar: Charming Betsy
Crook Brothers & The Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Ida Red
Roy Acuff: Back In The Country
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets

8:00: Martha White
Wilburn Brothers (host): Roll, Muddy River
Justin Tubb: Rambling Man
Jody Miller: Good News
Jerry Clower: Comedy
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl
Justin Tubb: Texas Dance Hall Girl
Jody Miller: Let's All Go Down To The River

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Jan Howard: My Kind Of People
4 Guys: Let Me Be There
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Hank Snow: Brand On My Heart
Jan Howard: Sunshine On My Shoulders
4 Guys: Top Of The World
Hank Snow: Hello, Love

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Bobby Bare (host): Come Sundown
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Philadelphia Lawyer
Bobby Bare: Blowing In The Wind/Worried Man Blues/Gotta Travel On
Skeeter Willis: Maiden's Prayer
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I Shall Not Be Moved
Bobby Bare & Bobby Bare, Jr: Daddy, What If

10:00: Fender
Stu Phillips (host): Pride
Jody Miller: Darling, You Can Always Come Back Home
Bill Carlisle: Little Liza Jane
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way To Say Goodbye

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): When I Lay My Burdens Down
Minnie Pearl: Jealous Hearted Me

10:30: Trailblazer
Wilburn Brothers (host): It Looks Like The Sun's Gonna Shine
Lonzo & Oscar: Traces Of Life
Wilburn Brothers: God Bless America Again

10:45: Beech-Nut
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Jerry Clower: The Coon Hunt
Crook Brothers & The Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Liberty
Billy Grammer: How Great Thou Art

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): In The Misty Moonlight
Jan Howard: Where No One Stands Alone
4 Guys: Streaking With My Baby On A Bright & Sunny Sunday Afternoon
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Tanya Tucker: Delta Dawn
Sam McGee: Freight Train/Victor Rag/I Don't Love Nobody
Hank Snow: I Don't Hurt Anymore

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): I Walk Alone
Jeanne Pruett: You Don't Need To Move A Mountain/Satin Sheets
Justin Tubb: Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry/Big Boss Man/I'm Wanting To/Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms/Love Me/Now Is The Hour

The Opry that night lasted until 12:20 a.m. and as you could imagine, with was a very emotional night. Minnie Pearl especially was saddened by all the memories that were being left behind. After the show, Marty Robbins sat outside on the steps of the Ryman signing autographs and visiting with the fans.

On a final note, for it being the last Saturday night at the Ryman, a lot of the star power was missing that night.

The 2nd line-up is from Saturday March 9, 1996 as this was Bill Monroe's final Opry show. Bill was one of the early stars of the Opry, joining the show in October 1939 and would remain a loyal member until ill health forced him to retire. Bill passed away in September 1996 after a serious of strokes left him in declining health.

Here is Bill Monroe's final Opry show, Saturday March 9, 1996:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Bill Monroe (host): My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darling
Jim Ed Brown: I Heard The Bluebird Sing
Bill Monroe: I've Found A Hiding Place

6:45: Joggin' In A Jug
Grandpa Jones (host): Mountain Dew
Mike Snider: Leaning On The Everlasting Arms
Grandpa Jones: Any Old Time

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Oswald: Worry, Worry Blues
The Whites: Making Believe
Bill Carlisle: Go Home
Ricky Skaggs: Highway 40 Blues
Porter Wagoner: Sugarfoot Rag

7:30: Standard Candy
4 Guys (host): Amazing Grace
Stu Phillips: Colorado
Charlie Walker: Smoke, Smoke, Smoke
4 Guys: We're Only Here For A Little While
Opry Ladies (Wilma Lee Cooper, Connie Smith, Skeeter Davis, Jan Howard, Jeanne Pruett, Jeannie Seely, Jean Shepard): Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/You Are My Sunshine

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Family Reunion
Karen Briemer: Just A Closer Walk With Thee
Stonewall Jackson: Life To Go
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Opry Square Dance Band: Sally Goodin
Bill Anderson: Still

8:30: Kraft
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
Roy Drusky: If The Whole World Stopped Loving
John Conlee: I'm Only In It For The Love
Jack Greene: Highway To The Sky
Ray Pillow: Too Many Memories
Jimmy C Newman: (?)/In The Cajun Mood

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Tell Her Lies And Feed Her Candy
Charlie Louvin: I Love You Best Of All
Del Reeves: I Would Like To See You Again
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
The Whites: Pins & Needles
Porter Wagoner & Cristy Lynn: The Last Thing On My Mind

10:00: Massy Ferguson
Grandpa Jones (host): Ball Headed End Of The Broom
Mike Snider: Foggy Mountain Chimes/The Fur Coat
Grandpa Jones: Gooseberry Pie

10:15: Zim's Crack Cream
Bill Monroe (host): It's Mighty Dark For Me To Travel
Jack Greene: He Is My Everything
Bill Monroe: Then Take Courage 'Un Tomorrow

10:30: Gruhn
Bill Anderson (host): Orange Blossom Special
Jean Shepard & Mary Kay James: I'm Not That Good At Goodbyes
Bill Anderson: Golden Guitar

10:45: Fairfield
4 Guys (host): When You Got A Good Woman It Shows
Stonewall Jackson: Waterloo
Opry Square Dance Band: Rachel
4 Guys: Tennessee

11:00: Coca-Cola
Ricky Skaggs (host): I'm Tired
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun Honey
Connie Smith: You And Your Sweet Love
Charlie Walker: Odds & Ends; Bits & Pieces
Jim Ed Brown: The Old Lamplighter
Ricky Skaggs: Loving Only Me

11:30: Loreal
John Conlee (host): Let The Good Times Roll
Jim & Jesse: Dream Of Me
Jeannie Seely: Too Far Gone
Billy Walker: Ashes Of Love/Blue Moon Of Kentucky/That's All Right
John Conlee: Rocking With You

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!


  1. Great stuff as always. But some really different sponsors on the 1996 show. Zim's Crack Cream? And I think I counted 32 members that night.

  2. 1974, 1996 - GREAT ! 2014 - yawn
    I have to go check my programs but am pretty sure we were there on that March 9th, 1996; because we remember it was the last time we saw Bill Monroe. Still have a photo of him on his 75th birthday at a bluegrass festival in PA; it was behind the stage and he was gracious to pose with my husband.

  3. Byron: I sense that these lineups are starting to get to you. :)

    Going back to our recent conversation it just seems they go out of their way to find these alternative, rock, crock, everything but country influenced acts to come to the Opry.. Is there real star power in Janelle Arthur, Amber Carrington, or Blackie? I honestly don't know so someone please enlighten me. If not, then what is the argument against less than superstar real country acts. To me, management is just not that interested.

    Bluegrass is to popular for them to ignore or we wouldn't see the variety of those acts that we do. I love it but is it really mainstream like the other music they seem to embrace? I wonder if the bluegrass acts get the nice applause from the less knowledgeable in the crowd because they recognize the good musicianship and think that THIS the traditional country reflection at the Opry. I'm not cutting bluegrass down at all because I love it and there are a lot of great acts. I just think it has become a substitute for hard real country like Acuff, Jones, Tubb, Snow, Wells or others did.

    I just think the hardcore ballad and honky-tonk style of music is sadly neglected at the Opry with any new acts that appear. Has it become politically incorrect to talk about cheating, drinking or dieing in a more subdued style of old. Is it now more acceptable to just come out an paint a perfect picture with crude expletives and sexy dance moves in skimpy cloths? In other words, try to be as shocking as possible. I'm sure many non country fans would cringe at this thought but I always thought of it as a musical art form good enough to match most others. Where did the art go?

    One more thing. I'm really tired of hearing such a big to do about an artist making their debut on the Opry. It might, using that word lightly, be a great experience for the artist but as a fan I'm tired of a new act each week. I agree it used to be special but you give everyone a blue ribbon then how is it special to anyone? There should certainly be new acts appear but on what seems like every show? I can't believe that the audience knows all these first timers any better than they might the veterans they are trying get rid of!

    Some of you that are long time readers here are probably tired of hearing me say the same thing a different way. I apologize if it is boring anyone. It is just sad to see an old friend abused so badly.

    Is there any hope?

    Knightsville, IN

  4. Sadly, I am reminded each week that the Opry is only a shadow of its former self. At least on Saturday night we can listen to the archives of the Opry from 10:00 p.m. - midnight.

  5. Jim, it seems like more than ever, every Opry show either has a newcomer making their first Opry appearance or a star from the Nashville television show, along with just 6 or 7 Opry members. I don't mind the newcomers, but it would be nice if I had heard of a few of them, and yes, I do listen once in a while to country radio. I am sure Blackie and The Rodeo Kings are a good group; just not sure. On the other side of the coin, you see these great line-ups even from the past, and you just have to shake your head. Even 10 years ago, they were still pretty solid. The money they are making, you would just think they could do better.

  6. @Bruce..... I love Golden Era of The Grand Ole Opry....... I tune in on Friday and Saturday nights over here from Spain to listen in to my favorites that are still on the show, while I tune out the "Nashville" stars, young country wanabees, etc.
    Glad to see Bill Anderson doing the Midnite Jamboree... I will make sure to make breakfast over here before hitting the sack.....

  7. 51 years ago today ....... March 5, 1963 ....... RIP Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas, and Randy Hughes.

    I wonder if Eddie Stubbs will be doing his annual show on them tonite???

  8. Fred, Bismarck:

    Fifty-one years ago I was a college student who still tuned in to Ralph Emery most nights. So, I was listening as the drama unfolded on that fateful March 5th, and will never forget it. There's something about it that reinforces for me country music's connection with the basics of life that used to be the staple of the music, the glad as well as the tragic.

    I share the (apparent) feeling of posters, including our host, that there is something especially dismal about this week's Opry lineups. I can't do better than to urge true hearts to keep the faith and and do as I do nightly, crank up the CD player or phonograph and play the music that is real to us.

    Besides helping ourselves, I think a bell goes off in heaven -- a la It's a Wonderful Life -- and old heroes like Hawkshaw and Copas are thrilled to death to know we're still playing their music.

    Of course, a little beer helps this oldtimer in his nightly deliberations.

    1. Fred, thanks for sharing your personal reflection with me on where you were that day. I love hearing people´s testimonies from where they were on historical days.

      Though I am 41 years old, I have painstakingly taken the time to write down my grandparents thoughts on the Depression, WWII, etc. My parents thoughts on JFK, RFK, MLK, The Moon, 60s etc. .............

      I remember watching Ralph Emery on TNN....... I always liked Ralph Emery.

  9. Looking at the 1996 show you might wonder about the Opry Ladies and the song choices. Minnie Pearl had passed on March 4th and they had Minnie's husband Henry there and were singing a couple of Minnie's favorite songs for him!

    Knightsville, IN

  10. Fred, Bismarck:

    Being brutal, Jim, most of the "ladies" of the Opry came on board after the classical era and sang, to my ear, a lot of poor, when not actually cheap, songs. Just like most of the men. I mean, for the most part, these weren't "Will Your Lawyer Talk to God?" or "Mommy for a Day" (Kitty Wells) or "Rachel's Guitar" (Wilma Lee).

    I always thought songs like "Satin Sheets" and "Midnight Oil" were country's contribution to the coarsening of American culture.

    I'm no prude. I just like my country raunch done with a little sophistication, as by Bob Wills ("Four or Five Times"), Merle Travis ("Fat Girl") or about anything by Jimmie Rodgers.

  11. Happy to say that Steady Eddie is doing his annual show of honoring the contributions and body of work that Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas, Jack Anglin and Randy Hughes all left for us. I know I continue to enjoy their work............ Currently listening to Hawkshaw on Pet Milk Grand Ole Opry.......... great stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    On my facebook, I have been posting pictures of all of them today!!!!!!!!

  12. I agree with you all the line ups blow the week..... only reason I listen in is for:

    Connie Smith, Jimmy C Newman, The Whites, Bill Anderson, Jim Ed Brown; Jesse McReynolds, Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press, George Hamilton IV, Jean Shepard, Opry Square Dancers.

    The rest........ on the line up, I would prefer to be euthanized rather than hear.

  13. Some time ago, roughly 2 years ago, I wrote Jimmy C. Newman at the Opry..... he never wrote me back. Never heard from him. I have often wondered that maybe the postage marks from Spain on the envelope may have caused problems or something................ Had high hopes that I would hear from The Alligator Man, as I love cajun music........

    Speaking of which...... that is one genre of american music on the Opry that is in great risk of going extinct...... I do not see current management making an effort to bring around young talent. There is young talent in Louisiana, and some great artists that could succeed Jimmy C. Newman when the time comes........ but seriously....... what will happen to a minor genre such as cajun country after Jimmy C. Newman??????

  14. Fred, Bismarck:

    Nittannee, your letter to Jimmy 'C' should have been all right, but I was dismayed, several years ago, when my letter to Wilma Lee Cooper, care of the Opry, was returned as "undeliverable." I had written to congratulate her on the just-released Bear Family box set compiling the Coopers' great work.

    True, Wilma Lee was no longer in Nashville (as I later learned, on here); but she was still a member of the Opry, and someone in the mail room should have had a forwarding address on her. Evidently not, or the clerk didn't recognize the name. I repackaged the letter and mailed it to Pete Fisher, with a request that HE forward it.

    Which I assume he did, altho I didn't hear back from Wilma Lee this time. (Correspondence may have been beyond her at that point.)

  15. Fred, Bismarck:

    Jim, I'm afraid I missed the point of your post on the Opry ladies above. I had carelessly overlooked, in the lineup, the group tribute to Minnie. Sorry! (And forgive the irrelevant rave.)

  16. Just to add to the Opry ladies segment, that was the televised segment on TNN, back when the Opry was aired. And Minnie's husband Henry was there that night. I think after Minnie's death, he felt that was the place he needed to be at.

  17. Fred, no problem. I Agree that things have gotten more explicit over the years since the early days of Kitty, Goldie or Wilma Lee. However, in the past decade it has really took a turn and we seem to be getting ever closer to the rap stuff where they seem to use so much profanity. We certainly are not there but we're leaning that way with each passing year.

    Nittannee/Fred, I have sent Christmas cards to the Opry and had some be returned and others not. They all had the same address and were sent at the same time.

    Jimmy C Newman sent me a nice letter after we had given him a nice photo collage at a show and also a note after getting a Christmas card one year. I have gotten other responses from cards or letters sent via the Opry. Sometimes several months pass but they do get answered by some! Those are nice keepsakes!

    Knightsville, IN

  18. Short of the Wilma Lee letter being returned with the "undeliverable", all the Opry members' mailboxes are still there and if you visit backstage, you can see that some have uncollected mail at any given time. We know the multitude of well wishes sent to Little Jimmy were received last year. I don't expect replies from any cards and letters and I would never ask for an acknowledgement; if I get one, it's an unexpected bonus.

  19. I would never ask for a reply but it is really neat to get something back. I enjoy telling friends that some of these folks do that kind of thing. I work with a guy who is into one of the big rock groups of the 80's and he has paid like $200.00 each to meet and have photo's with three of the members. I just thrill at being able to say that the folks I like do it for free! Getting those notes and autographs is more about them than me. I have never looked at any of it as an investment or any kind of money thing. If anything, it is part of the history to be passed along.

    Knightsville, IN

  20. Just to add my 2 cents in on the letter writing: Over the years I have written to Jimmy C. Newman, Bill Anderson, George Hamilton IV, Dottie West, Billy Grammer, George Morgan, Hank Snow, and Roy Drusky, and heard back from all except Drusky. My bedroom is a shrine to Classic Country with autrographed pictures of about 40 or 50 artists adorning the walls, most of which came from concert appearances. I haven't written letters recently, but I've had some success with emails from Bill Anderson, Eddie Stubbs, and others.

  21. we heard some of the Opry tonight; really wish they would get off the "Nashville" kick but know it won't happen; and why bring Charles Esten to introduce Blackie. . . .George Hamilton was cut short because they let them and and Janelle? sing two songs each - not impressed, she was terrible; Chuck Mead was OK but still sounds like BR549. . .

  22. Anon, I don't mind the cross-promotion, but on a two-hour show, it's too much.

    Bobby Osborne sounded like he had a cold or sore throat. I don't mean that unkindly; I just mean that he sounded like he did.

  23. Although Blackie and the Rodeo Kings are not what I want to hear on the Opry they were not as terrible as I anticipated. The Gibson Brothers helped offset some of the others a little!

    Did anyone find the time that Gerry House was on stage Friday night a bit uncomfortable. He may be a great DJ and he wrote a book so forth but did he really add anything to the Opry? Was he really funny? Even if he knows those stars whose names he dropped to try and get laughs I didn't think it was in very good taste. What happened to "here's a friend who has done this and that, has a great new book out", talk to him a couple minutes and find out where to by the book and where he might be autographing and move on. Part of my $60+ admission?

    Knightsville, IN

  24. Country Music Hall of Fame member Jean Shepard has had quite a story to tell about her life and career, but never had the right opportunity. Understanding its potential historic significance, Gus Arrendale, President of Springer Mountain Farms Chicken and Larry Black.