The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend and before going through the schedule, it is time for a Byron rant!!!
First, the Friday Night Opry has only 5 members on the schedule while Saturday night we get treated to 6 Opry members. This is ridiculous!!! Out of 60+ members, they could only come up with 5 & 6? And while not downgrading the members who are scheduled, as I personally enjoy the veterans, those scheduled are the veterans. None are what you would call "hot" country acts.
Second, and this has happened before, there are only 3 segment hosts for Saturday night. You mean that out of 60+ Opry members, management could not come up with 4 who could host a segment? And one of the 3 is Ray Pillow, who is one of the Opry's senior members and rarely appears. Jimmy C Newman and Jean Shepard are scheduled, but it would appear that they no longer wish to host a segment, or more likely, that management no longer feels they are capable of hosting.
Looking at the actual artists scheduled for this weekend, Elizabeth Cook is scheduled for nights. She usually does a good job, but let's face it, she is not a "big" name. Joining Elizabeth on Friday night will be Carlene Carter. She is out promoting a new CD, "Carter Girl." I will say that I personally enjoy Carlene and looking forward to her new CD, but her hit making days ended a decade ago. Former Opry member BJ Thomas is scheduled and I guess he would be the "star" attraction for Friday. I have seen BJ at the Opry several times and he does a nice job. No complaints on him. Balsam Range and Sundy Best? Previously on.
Saturday's Grand Ole Opry has The Swon Brothers scheduled. They are from The Voice television show and are just starting to get their career going. This will be their debut Opry performance. I love The Secret Sisters. Darryl Worley is on more than a majority of the Opry's members. But again, only 3 segments.
Friday April 11
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds
7:30: The Whites (host); Elizabeth Cook; Balsam Range
8:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Carlene Carter; Sundy Best
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Mark Wills; BJ Thomas
Saturday April 12
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Elizabeth Cook; Jimmy C Newman; The Swon Brothers; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:15: Ray Pillow (host); Jean Shepard; Mallary Hope; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Secret Sisters; Darryl Worley
I almost feel sorry for anyone who has paid $69 for a seat to these shows. Let's just say they are not the strongest this year.
Also, despite appearing 4 weeks in a row, Jimmy Dickens is not on the schedule although he very well may appear. He has sounded good the last couple of weeks and has been singing. Maybe Jimmy waits until the last minute to give the word on appearing. Seeing Jimmy back on the Opry is a good thing and we should all enjoy his appearances as any given week could be his final one.
For this week's look back at past Grand Ole Opry highlights, the first one is from the weekend of April 13 & 14, 1979. There is really nothing special about this line-up but it is an interesting look back at the announced line-ups for both nights.
Friday April 13, 1979
7:30: Lonzon & Oscar (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Ernie Ashworth
8:00: Billy Walker (host); Riders In The Sky; Carlisles
8:30: Roy Acuff (host); The Four Guys; Linda Naile
9:00: David Houston (host); Skeeter Davis; Justin Tubb; The Willis Brothers
9:30: Charlie Walker (host); Stu Phillips; Vern Gosdin
10:00: The Wilburn Brothers (host); Jeannie C Riley; Del Wood
10:30: Billy Grammer (host); Marion Worth; Duke of Paducah
Saturday April 14, 1979
6:30: Billy Walker (host); The Willis Brothers
6:45: The Wilburn Brothers (host); Ernie Ashworth; Del Wood
7:00: Charlie Walker (host); Lonzo & Oscar; David Houston; Roy Drusky
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Billy Grammer; Marion Worth; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mt. Cloggers
8:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Skeeter Davis; Stu Phillips; Justin Tubb; Carlisles
8:30: Hank Snow (host); The Four Guys; Charlie Louvin; Jeanne Pruett; The Fruit Jar Drinkers
9:30: Roy Drusky (host); The Wilburn Brothers; Lonzo & Oscar; Wilma Lee Cooper; Charlie Walker
10:00: Billy Walker (host); Ernie Ashworth; The Willis Brothers
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Marion Worth; Del Wood
10:30: David Houston (host); Skeeter Davis; Billy Grammer
10:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Justin Tubb; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mt. Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Stu Phillips; Carlisles; The Fruit Jar Drinkers; Kirk McGee
11:30: Charlie Louvin (host); The Four Guys; Jeanne Pruett
One of the things that catches my eye when I look at these older line-ups is the variety of the hosts. Today the Opry will have the same hosts hosting the same segments each weekend. On the few times when there are two shows on a Friday or Saturday night, the shows will be identical. Back in the "older" days, just about every artist would be given an opportunity to host at some point. Even in this line-up that I posted, Lonzo & Oscar are hosting, which is rare. I even have a show where Bill Carlisle hosted. Yes, you had a few such as Roy Acuff who always hosted at 7:30 and 10:15, Hank Snow who did 8:30 and 11:00, and Porter Wagoner who would do 7:00 and 9:30, but even those artists were not on every week. Listening to the Opry on the radio, I enjoyed not hearing two identical shows in a row.
The 2nd line-up that I have for this week is from Saturday April 13, 1991, which was the annual reunion show. This one was televised on TNN and it gave the fans at home a chance to see a couple of the "older stars." Of course by this point, a few such as DeFord Bailey and Alcoyne Beasley had passed away, but this particular night had Faron Young and Pee Wee King among the former members returning.
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Grandpa Jones (host): Ball Headed End of A Broom
Bill Anderson: Still
Grandpa Jones: Dear Old Sunny South By the Sea
6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Bill Monroe (host): Molly & Tenbrooks/Blue Moon of Kentucky
Ricky Skaggs: Let It Be You/Honey, Open That Door
Bill Monroe: Southern Flavor
Porter Wagoner (host): Company's Comin'
Jim Ed Brown: The Three Bells
Jan Howard: Heartaches by the Number
Jim & Jesse: It's A Lonesome Feeling
The Whites: He Took Your Place
Porter Wagoner: Ol' Slewfoot
7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy Dickens (host): Country Boy
Margie Bowes: When I Call Your Name
Zeke Clements: No More Smoke on the Water
Faron Young: Wine Me Up/Hello Walls
Jimmy Dickens: Another Bridge to Burn
8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Pee Wee King: Tennessee Waltz
Charlie Louvin: When You Can Only Dream That Far/When I Stop Dreaming
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted/Elvira
Opry Square Dancers/Stoney Mt. Cloggers: Bill Cheatham
8:30: Pops Right
Hank Snow (host): Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Skeeter Davis: Who's Gonna Tell Marie
Ray Pillow: That Ain't No Way to Treat My Heart
Riders In The Sky: How the Yodel Was Born
John Conlee: Common Man
Hank Snow: My Little Old Home Down in New Orleans
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Country Music Has Gone to Town
Wilma Lee Cooper: The Picture on the Wall
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He Is My Everything
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young
The Whites: Doing it By the Book
Porter Wagoner: I'll Go Down Swinging
10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Better Time's A Comin'
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away from Coming Home
Grandpa Jones: The Sweet Sunny South
10:15: Tennssee Pride
Roy Acuff (host): I'll Fly Away
Faron Young: It's 4 In the Morning/After The Loving/Hello Walls
10:30: Pet Milk
Ricky Skaggs (host): He Was On To Something
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Ricky Skaggs: Lovin' Only Me
10:45: B.C. Powder
Bill Anderson (host): Son of the South
Jim & Jesse: Dream of Me
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mt. Cloggers: Rachel
Bill Anderson: Thank You Darling for Loving Me
Hank Snow (host): Frankie & Johnny
Jimmy Dickens: Me and My Big Loud Mouth
Justin Tubb: Keep Me From Blowing Away
John Conlee: Common Man/Rose Colored Glasses
Hank Snow: Whispering Rain
Bill Monroe (host): Old Dangerfield
Mike Snider: Shuckin the Corn
Charlie Louvin: In the Pines
Riders In The Sky: When the Bloom is on the Sage
Charlie Walker: Deep Water
Bill Monroe: Darks as the Night; Blue As the Day
Boy, you look at these old line-ups and sometimes you wonder what has happened in the last 20 years.
Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!