Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 6/27 & 6/28

The Grand Ole Opry finishes up the month of June with 2 shows, both of which I am sure will be dedicated to Jimmy C Newman. I would expect Pete Fisher to do a nice tribute to Jimmy before Saturday's show. As an extra added attraction, Cajun Country, which was the name of Jimmy's back-up group is scheduled. So it would appear that the Opry is going to do a little tribute to Jimmy. It will be interesting to see who all appears as part of Cajun Country, as the membership has been greatly reduced over the years as Jimmy's touring days ended. At the very least, you would expect Bassyl Duhon to be there.

As far as the shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry will feature the annual performance by the ACM Lifting Lives Music Campers. This is always a special night for those young people. Also appearing on Friday will be guest artists Lee Greenwood, Mark Wills and Kim Richey, along with Opry members Joe Diffie and Larry Gatlin.

Larry will also be appearing on Saturday night, and he will be joined by guest artists Kree Harrison, Carolina Story, Exile and again, Mark Wills. Also scheduled on Saturday night is The Dave Rawlings Machine. It took me just a minute to realize that this is the same Dave Rawlings who toured and recorded for many years with Gillian Welch. In checking his website, I notice that Gillian is still part of his show. So while it will be the first Opry appearance for this group under that name, Dave is no stranger to the Opry stage.

Oh, and in case I forgot to mention it, Chris Janson is scheduled for Friday night. My count has this as his 15th Opry appearance for this year. Only 11 Opry members have appeared more often.

Friday June 27
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Joe Diffie; The Whites
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mark Wills
8:15: Larry Gatlin (host); Kim Richey; Lee Greenwood
8:45: John Conlee (host); Chris Janson; ACM Lifting Lives Music Campers

Saturday June 28
7:00: John Conlee (host); Cajun Country; Kree Harrison
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Carolina Story; Exile
8:15: Larry Gatlin (host); Jesse McReynolds; Mark Wills; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; The Dave Rawlings Machine

Looking back, here is the posted Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, June 26 and 27, 2009:

Friday June 26
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Mark Wills
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Ray Pillow; John Anderson
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Tracy Byrd
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Whites

Saturday June 27
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jamie O'Neal
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; David Nail
8:00: Steve Wariner (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jim Ed Brown; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Yates; Wynonna

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jamie O'Neal
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Steve Wariner
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jimmy C Newman; David Nail; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Yates; Wynonna

And, here is the Opry line-up from 10 years ago this weekend, June 25 & 26, 2004:

Friday June 25
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Robbie Fulks
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Dale Ann Bradley & Coon Creek; Rachel Proctor
8:30: Charlie Walker (host); Connie Smith; Steve Azar
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Monte Warden; Bubba Bechtol
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Billy Dean

Saturday June 26
1st show
6:30: Vince Gill (host); Jimmy C Newman; Elizabeth Cook
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Alecia Nugent; Steve Azar
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bubba Bechtol; David Ball
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Rebecca Lynn Howard; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jedd Hughes; Connie Smith

2nd show
9:30: Vince Gill (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jedd Hughes
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); David Ball; Steve Azar
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Alecia Nugent; Rebecca Lynn Howard; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Bubba Bechtol
11:30: Mike Snider (host); Ray Pillow; Elizabeth Cook

Finally, it was Saturday June 28, 1975, 39 years ago this weekend that George Morgan made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Shortly after this appearance, he suffered a heart attack, that led to open heart surgery. There were complications and on July 7, he passed away.

This is what was written about George in the 1957 edition of WSM's Official Grand Ole Opry History-Picture Book:

"Ask anyone who possesses the 'sweetest' voice on the Grand Ole Opry.....and they'll say George Morgan! This 'sweetness' is an end result of the full, rich, resonance of his voice, the sincerity and feeling which George pours into every note, and his musical know-how gleamed from some formal training and much experience.

George was born in Waverly, Tennessee....but within a few years his family moved to Barberton, Ohio. It was here that he first sang over a local radio station. An offer from the Grand Ole Opry sent him to Nashville in 1948 where he wrote 'Candy Kisses'....recorded it and sold over two million copies. This early success established him as a Country Music star and Columbia Records signed him to a long term contract. More hits followed... such as 'Mansion Over the Hilltop.' 'Almost.' You Love Me Just Enough to Hurt Me' which he recorded with Rosemary Clooney, 'I think I'm Going to Cry.' 'I'm In Love Again'.....and of course his latest....'Little Dutch Girl' and 'You're The Only Good Thing.'

George's warm personality both on stage and off has won him millions of fans and he becomes a friend with everyone he meets. He is highly regarded by his fellow entertainers....and is often referred to as the 'Perry Como' of the Country and Western Field. He is married to the former Anna Peridon and they have five children, Candy Kay, Bethany Belle, Liana, Marty (named for one of George's closest friends, Marty Robbins) and Loretta."

Here is the running order from Saturday June 28, 1975:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Big Midnight Special
Leona Williams: I Can't Help It
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Hallelujah, We Shall Rise/There's A Big Wheel

6:45: Rudy's
Wilburn Brothers (host): Roll, Muddy River
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby On My Mind
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Wilburn Brothers: Someone Before Me

7:00: Shoney's
Charlie Louvin (host): Will You Visit Me On Sundays
Skeeter Davis: Wishful Thinking
Narvel Felts: Reconsider Me
Stu Stevens: Five and Dimers
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Skeeter Davis: Midnight Blue
Narvel Felts: Drift Away

7:30: Standard Candy
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Jan Howard: Evil On Your Mind
Johnny Carver: Tie A Yellow Ribbon
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Liberty
Billy Grammer: Family Man
Jan Howard: You Don't Know Me
Billy Grammer: Just A Closer Walk With Thee
Johnny Carver: Country Lullaby

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Cottonfields/Night Train to Memphis
Jeanne Pruett: Hold To My Unchanging Love/Love Me/You Don't Need to Move A Mountain/Satin Sheets
Kenny Price: Walking On New Grass
Del Wood: Cajun Stripper
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Jeanne Pruett: The Poor Man's Woman
Kenny Price: Birds And Children Fly Away
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:30: Stephens
George Morgan (host): Before You
Willis Brothers: Cimarron
Joe Douglas: Before The Next Teardrop Falls
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
George Morgan: From The Moment On
Lorrie Morgan: Smile For Me
Joe Douglas: Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Wilburn Brothers (host): It Looks Like the Sun's Gonna Shine
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Connie Smith: Dallas
Stu Stevens: Five and Dimers
Connie Smith: Down in the Vally
Wilburn Brothers: God Bless America Again

10:00: Fender
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Poor Ellen Smith
Skeeter Davis: If You Love Me, Let Me Know/Midnight Blue
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Will the Circle Be Unbroken

10:15: Union 76
Charlie Louvin (host): When You Have To Fly Alone
Leona Williams: I Can't Help It
Narvel Felts: Reconsider Me
Charlie Louvin: When I Stop Dreaming

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jan Howard: You'll Never Know
Del Wood: The Entertainer
Roy Acuff: Carry Me Back to the Mountains

10:45: Beech-Nut
Billy Grammer (host): Family Man
Johnny Carver: Tie A Yellow Ribbon
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Sally Goodin
Billy Grammer: How Great Thou Art

11:00: Coca-Cola
George Morgan (host): You Turn Me On
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Marcelle Dotty: Saturday Night Shuffle
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Gray Eagle
Jeanne Pruett: The Poor Man's Woman
Sam McGee: Weary, Weary Blues
George Morgan: The Last Letter

11:30: Elm Hill
4 Guys (host): Down By The Lazy River
Kenny Price: She's Got That Easy Look/Sheriff of Boone County
Duke of Paducah: The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise
Joe Douglas: Linda On My Mind
4 Guys: Catfish John

There are a few interesting names that were scheduled that night including George's daughter Lorrie. You also had a guest appearance by the Duke of Paducah, in the final segment, along with Kenny Price, Leona Willians, Narvel Felts and Johnny Carver. And interesting that many of the Opry's "bigger" names were missing including Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Grandpa Jones, Lester Flatt, Bill Monroe, Porter Wagoner, Bill Anderson and Marty Robbins, just to name a few.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!


  1. Byron, thanks for sharing the final lineup with George Morgan. I THINK the excerpt is from a later Opry history book? Lorrie wasn't born until 1959. Also, didn't he leave the Opry from 1956 to 1959 to do a TV show on another Nashville station?

    Apropos of George Morgan, Jimmy C. talked about how, on the night he joined, he was nervous, and George came over and talked with him and calmed him down. What always struck me about that is that he also talked with Tom T. Hall the night he made his Opry debut, but T didn't see that George was loosening his guitar strings, so that when T hit the first note on his guitar on stage, he said it sounded like a screen door closing. He WAS the Opry's chief practical joker.

    I'm glad to see Cajun Country listed. I think only Bessyl and Randy Mason have been working with Jimmy C. Kenny Sears played fiddle for him but not as a full-time band member. Anyway, I'm glad to see them listed, and I have to say that it has been heartwarming to see the reactions coming out of Nashville. I'm sure it means a lot to Miss Mae and the family.

  2. You know Mike, the Lorrie date of birth didn't cross my mind as I typed that. I double checked and the copyright date is 1957, but I noticed in going through it, that there were apparent updates to it.

  3. Those books ARE a bit quirky!

  4. Also, this Saturday night, my special friend, Paul Eckhart will be "retiring" from the Opry. Paul is a very unassuming man and would not want me to make a big deal out of this, but Paul will soon be 84 years old and he has attended at least one Opry show every weekend for the last 42 years! He is "retiring" because 42 years is half of his life, and Paul thought that would be a good stopping point for this amazing run/streak. Actually, Paul still loves the Opry and enjoys it each Saturday along with visiting with the Opry staff, and would have likely tried for 45 or maybe even 50 years, but many years of vertigo has taken its toll.

    Paul moved to Nashville from Pennsylvania and began attending Opry shows weekly in 1972...first at the Ryman...and since then at the Opry House(including the winter Ryman runs). He began his streak by attending every Friday night for many years (because the Friday Opry was a much longer show than Saturday, at 3 1/2 hours). When the Friday shows were shortened, Paul began attending on Saturday nights instead.

    Paul has been recognized several times over the years from the Opry stage as various milestones passed. Pete Fisher and his staff have been particularly nice and kind to Paul the last few years. In fact, Pete and his staff recognized Paul in June, 2012, with a tremendous presentation from the stage on the Saturday night that marked his 40th year of attending Opry shows every weekend. A metal plate was put on Paul's "seat" at the Opry House in Section 5, Row BB, Seat 1 to recognize his 40 years at that time of being a loyal Opry fan. Pete also presented Paul with a nice wooden plate made from the flood damaged pews of the Opry House engraved with some very nice words.

    Looking forward and at the same time "not" looking forward (hate to see him give this up!) to being with Paul and his wife this Saturday for his last regular show. Hopefully he will be able to get out there for an occasional Opry show from time to time after the streak ends this Saturday. He has promised he will visit occasionally, and I have his promise he will be there with me on October 11 for the Opry's 89th anniversary show.

    Quite an achievement, and best wishes and congrats to my wonderful friend, Paul Eckhart.

  5. It's odd to me that from that 1975 show, The Duke of Paducah (a one time Opry staple, and future Hall of Famer) is given only one slot on the very last segment? You would have thought his guest appearance would have been given a little better showing by the Opry.

  6. Fred, Bismarck:

    Agreed it looks odd, David. I don't know how busy the Duke was at that date, but you know those country entertainers and their crazy schedules. Could he have made it back to town only in time to do that last segment?

  7. Lindy, thanks for posting the information about Paul. His record of Opry shows is one many of us wish we could match. I am sure he has seen a lot of changes in the Opry over the years and a lot of great shows. Please give him our best wishes and I hope to see him when coming down for the 89th birthday bash.

  8. Currently listening from over here in Valencia, Spain....and....The show has opened with Cajun Country after Pete Fisher read a dedication. The dedication was well done. I hope that the distinct style of Cajun Music continues to be played at the Opry......

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  10. An outstanding job tonight by Pete Fisher. The Opry started off with the dedication by Pete and it was one of his longer ones and I felt much of it was from the heart. After the moment of silence, Mike Terry immediately introduced John Conlee, who introduced Cajun Country. They did "Alligator Man." A very nice tribute to Jimmy C. Simple, yet effective. And no square dancers tonight to start the show.

  11. I just hope they can find somebody who plays the "hot" Cajun music Jimmy C. played.
    I tell you, his band was loud and had a really driving beat.
    Pete Fisher said that Cajun music would live on at the 'Opry, so here's hoping.

  12. Fred, Bismarck:

    Nice tribute, as far as it went. I agree Fisher's words seemed heartfelt. And Cajun Country's job on "Alligator Man" was fine, missing only Jimmy's voice -- which added to the poignancy.

    The whole took 10 minutes, and was followed by 20 minutes of the lesser fare we've grown accustomed to. With 2 minutes to spare after John Conlee got off, I thought maybe we'd get Cajun Country back, but no such luck.

    Pete promised Jimmy's music will be kept alive on the Opry "for years to come." But Conlee was probably closer to the mark when he said, "We'll miss that music, and even more the man."

    This is what recorded music is made for. Now I'm headed downstairs for a dose of my recent Saturday-night fare from even before we lost Jimmy, the Bear Family Cajun box set. (And a little from another good Louisiana man, Fats Domino!)

  13. I agree this was one of Fisher's better dedications and I do think it was from the heart.

    Knightsville, IN

  14. will gene Watson never get an invite to be a member of the opry; no legend represents the country music tradition like this man!!

    1. will pete fisher ever invite gene to become a member? another overlook for a long time who would never have to be reminded to do his share of opry shows...

  15. I sure liked listening to the country Cajuns on the grand old Opry tonight. It made me want to go to Popeyes and get me some crawfish and Cajun shrimp. Does anybody else like Popeye's?

  16. I agree about mr geane Watson. He's real good. Me and my wife saw him in Florida a couple years back. it wasssd such a good show. I like his song about the paper flowers. I think the osmond girl sings it too. I forget the name.

  17. Ha, Hank! I've never had any Popeye's, I really enjoyed the Cajun Country tribute tonight as well. I hope they will really keep the Cajun sound alive at the Opry. It'd sure be real nice if they'd invite them to play every now and then. The Opry sure could use them. I get really tired of the same old, same old.

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  19. Gene Watson's song is Paper ROSIE, not Paper Roses - two different songs

  20. Hank, thanks for posting--great to see you on Byron's blog. Anonymous beat me to it, but I'll throw in that, if I'm correct, Sonny James produced that song for Marie Osmond, and it was the first song that 13-year-old Lorrie Morgan sang on the Opry under her father's watchful eye.

  21. Also, the tribute was beautifully done and, while I could be wrong, I think the band played "Alligator Man" just a beat slower, which gave it, to me, more of a funereal quality. At the end, I think it was Mike Terry who said, "Thank you, Cajun Country." Then he paused and said, "And thank you, Jimmy C. Newman." Riders in the Sky also did a tribute at the end. We were traveling, so I had to get parts of it when I could, but I'll be checking the archives.