Thursday, July 31, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 8/1 & 8/2

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend. Of course, the big news is that Saturday night, Bobby Osborne will be honored for 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. The Osborne Brothers, Bobby and Sonny, joined the Opry on August 8, 1964. While Sonny retired in 2005, Bobby has continued on and sounds as great as ever. It was a real treat on Monday night to listen to Eddie Stubbs on WSM, who had both Bobby and Sonny on as his guests. It will be interesting to see, and I hope it does happen, if Sonny will join Bobby at the Opry on Saturday. While I wouldn't expect Sonny to perform, it would be nice to have him there, much like last year when Jim Ed Brown had his sisters with him for his 50th Opry anniversary.

Along with Bobby Osborne on Saturday night, Crystal Gayle is scheduled for a guest appearance, along with Sturgill Simpson. And there is the usual spot saved for Jimmy Dickens.

The news for the Friday Night Opry is that it looks like they have gone back to the usual format with segment hosts. The last 2 weeks, the Friday show has looked much like the Tuesday and Wednesday night Opry. Among those scheduled for Friday are Opry member Lorrie Morgan, along with Dale Ann Bradley, Elizabeth Cook and the ever present Sarah Darling.

Friday August 1
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Sarah Darling; Jim Ed Brown
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Dale Ann Bradley
8:15: John Conlee (host); Jan Howard; Elizabeth Cook
8:45: Lorrie Morgan (host); JT Hodges; Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys

Saturday August 2
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Emily West
7:30: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:15: The Whites (host); Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Sturgill Simpson; Crystal Gayle

Still a couple of spots to fill. And, Bobby Osborne will be the host of the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. That comes after last week's Midnight Jamboree was cancelled.

Before getting into the past Opry line-ups that I post, here is the line-up from Saturday August 8, 1964, the night that the Osborne Brothers became members of the Grand Ole Opry

7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Don Gibson; Glaser Brothers
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; Charlie Louvin
8:30: Faron Young (host); Carter Family; Billy Grammer; Archie Campbell; Del Wood
9:00: Jimmy Newman (host); Bill Monroe; George Hamilton IV
9:30: George Morgan (host); The Browns; Sonny James; Bill Carlisle; Marion Worth
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Carter Family; Del Wood
10:15: Don Gibson (host); Bill Monroe; Glaser Brothers
10:30: Faron Young (host); Charlie Louvin
10:45: Billy Grammer (host); Skeeter Davis
11:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Sonny James; Bill Carlisle; Archie Campbell
11:30: George Morgan (host); The Browns; Jimmy Newman; Marion Worth; George Hamilton IV

And now here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of July 31 & August 1, 2009:

Friday July 31
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jonathan Singleton & The Grove
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Ray Pillow; Buddy Jewell
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; Chris Young
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper; Jamie O'Neal

Saturday August 1
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Trent Tomlinson
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Ashton Shepherd
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; Jason Crabb; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Charlie Louvin; George Hamilton IV; Live Issue; Restless Heart

And from 10 years ago this weekend, July 30 & 31, 2004:

Friday July 30
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Alecia Nugent
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); The Whites; T.G. Sheppard
8:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Charlie Walker; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Sherrie Austin
9:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Osborne Brothers; Jimmy Wayne
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Rebecca Lynn Howard; Mel McDaniel

Saturday July 31
1st show
6:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; The Derailers
7:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jimmy C Newman; Anita Cochran
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); Osborne Brothers; Ryan Tyler
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Louvin; Billy Walker; Rodney Atkins; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Alecia Nugent; Eddy Raven

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Rodney Atkins
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Osborne Brothers; Anita Cochran
10:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Stonewall Jackson; Alecia Nugent; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jean Shepard (host); Ryan Tyler; Eddy Raven
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Ray Pillow; The Derailers

For this week's featured line-up, I go to Saturday July 31, 1976. This was the 1st Saturday night appearance by new member Don Williams. Don actually joined the Opry on April 23, 1976, which was a Friday night. As many of you know, Don was not an Opry member for very long. In fact, his last Opry appearance was on August 22, 1981. That gave him a little over 5 years as an Opry member. In those 5 years, Don only made 10 Opry appearances which would meet the 2014 requirements, but in the late 1970s, that was not what was expected from Opry members.

Here is the line-up and show running order from Saturday July 31, 1976:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Big Midnight Special
Willis Brothers: Home on the Range
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Nobody's Darling But Mine

6:45: Rudy's
George Hamilton IV (host): Country Music In My Soul
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
O.B. McClinton: Blanket on the Ground
George Hamilton IV: Early Morning Rain

7:00: Shoney's
Charlie Louvin (host) w/Pam Dickinson: Did You Ever
Billy Grammer: Detroit City
JustinTubb: Cold Brown Bottle
Oswald: Mountain Dew
Charlie Louvin: Let's Put Our World Back Together/A Toast to Mama/Love Has to Die/I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow/I Want A Happy Life
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On
Justin Tubb: Keep me From Blowing Away

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Drusky (host): Second Hand Rose
Bob Luman: Neither One of Us
Don Williams: You're My Best Friend/Turn Out the Light and Love Me Tonight
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Soldier's Joy
Bob Luman: A Satisfied Mind
Roy Drusky: I Really Don't Want to Know

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host) w/Nashville Grass: Ain't Nobody Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone
4 Guys: Top of the World
Melba Montgomery: Lonely Street
Jim Mundy: Never Met A Girl I Didn't Like
Paul Warren: Orange Blossom Special
4 Guys: The Morning Sun
Melba Montgomery: Don't Let the Good Times Fool You
Lester Flatt: Great Big Woman and A Little Biddy Bottle of Wine

8:30: Stephen's
Hank Snow (host): Miller's Cave
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Ronnie Milsap: I'm A Stand By My Woman Man/Day Dreams About Night Things
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Jeanne Pruett: I Doesn't Hurt to Ask
Hank Snow: That's When He Dropped the World in My Hands

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Charlie Louvin (host): Will You Visit Me on Sundays
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Where is America Going
Bill Carlisle: Business Man
Charlie Louvin: Poisen Red Berries
O.B. McClinton: I'm the Other One
Oswald: Dobro Chimes
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith

10:00: Fender
Roy Drusky (host): Fraulein
Willis Brothers: Ghost Riders in the Sky
Don Williams: I Recall A Gypsy Woman
Roy Drusky: Alone With You

10:15: Union 76
Billy Grammer (host): Under the Double Eagle
Melba Montgomery: Don't Keep Me Lonely Too Long
George Hamilton IV: Break My Mind
Billy Grammer: Somewhere My Love

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host) w/Paul Warren: Black-Eyed Susie
Justin Tubb: Sweetwater Texas
Bob Luman: A Satisfied Mind
Lester Flatt: Mama Don't Allow It

10:45: Beech-Nut
4 Guys (host): Turn Your Radio On
Ronnie Milsap: What Goes on When the Sun Goes Down
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Gray Eagle
4 Guys: The Morning Sun

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Hello, Love
Jim Mundy: Never Met A Girl I Didn't Like
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Hank Snow: Old Doc Brown
Jim Mundy: The River's Too Wide
Kirk McGee: The End of Forever
Hank Snow: Traveling Blues

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): El Paso City
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets/Break my Mind
Ronnie Robbins: Good Hearted Woman/The Bitter They Are
Marty Robbins: Cool Water/Love Me/Don't Worry/El Paso

Finally, on Friday August 1, the Opry will begin selling tickets to the 2015 shows, which will include the 90th Opry birthday celebration the weekend of October 3. Of interest will be the 50th anniversary of Connie Smith as an Opry member, the 60th for Jean Shepard, along with the one that will probably bring the most attention, the 25th anniversary of for Garth Brooks as an Opry member. The date is October 6, and don't be surprised if Garth is not at the Opry, either for the birthday bash or the following Tuesday night. Just rumors, but they seem to be out there. Oh, and when buying your tickets for next year, keep your wallet open. The prices are going up and for a tier 1 seat it will be $72 in 2015, while the next level will cost you $60. And people like many of us, keep buying those tickets.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend and congratulations again to Bobby Osborne for 50 years of Opry membership.


  1. Fred, Bismarck:

    Bobby's run is truly amazing. Perhaps because he is bluegrass, I sometimes forget to count him among that handful of 1950s stalwarts who are not just still out there but picking and grinning. My first Osborne Brothers -- one of those little yellow MGM 45s -- dates from 1958 and was bought with lawnmowing money. Now I'm an old man myself, and there's Bobby, still hitting those high notes! (In falsetto, it's true, but what the hey!)

  2. Fred, Bismarck:

    I posted the above before my remembering machine was done.

    Remember the good old days, when a really good country song would be covered by multiple artists? And, if you were like me, with limited money to spend at a whole dollar a pop, you had to choose among an embarrassment of riches?

    My first Osborne Brothers 45 was "Once More." I chose their version over the Roy Acuff cover, which was equally meritorious (and I caught up with a few years later, as an album cut). Both made the charts in a day when bluegrass could be played on the radio and, in any case, the most-important charts were based on sales rather than on what a consultant told stations to play.


  3. A couple of changes for both nights. TG Sheppard has been added on the 2nd segment on Friday night. For Saturday night, add Kree Harrison into the 1st segment instead of Emily West, who slides down to the 3rd segment. Still a spot open for Jimmy Dickens. Dean Miller has been added into the 2nd segment, giving the Opry a "full" line-up for both nights.

  4. Anyone know if the schedule was as fluid 20, 30 years ago. I' m sure folks had to cancel but today it seems like we are not replacing people but adding still trying to get a decent show, a dozen maybe, wow, right up to the last minute. Are folks that busy or hard to come by or is it just that we only want certain acts on the show unless we are in total desperation, which I think we are!

    Knightsville, IN

  5. Jim, it seems to me that back then, at least on Saturday night, there usually were enough acts present for there to be no big deal when somebody canceled. There would be enough other acts present, or they would give the Carol Lee Singers or the staff band a number. Byron has posted about Roy Acuff's last Saturday night at the Opry. Bill Anderson has said that Hal Durham had come in and told him to be ready to host the Martha White segment because Mr. Acuff wouldn't make it. There were three other acts besides Bill on that portion, so the time would have been filled. It didn't have to be, as it turned out.

  6. Jim, I know you do an excellent job at tracking the weekly line-ups like I do, and I would tend to agree with you. Over the past couple of years, they seem to publish the weekly line-ups before they are completed. I don't know if the Opry is waiting for a few last minute commitments from people and decide to go with what they have, or if they are actually having trouble finding folks to fill out the shows.

    As far as cancellations, I think there have always been those. Usually someone will get a road date and obviously getting paid more than the Opry, will take the date.

    As far as not replacing the people, that does seem to be a new trend. Back in the day, if someone cancelled, you usually got a "special" guest in the spot. With only 10-14 acts a show, when someone cancels and no one replaces them, it really puts a hole in the schedule.

  7. Was it just me or did everyone on the Opry talk more than usual last night? I'm not complaining at all because over the years that is how I feel I came to know little things about all these folks that made them approachable and real people. However, in recent years, it has felt like everyone except the big star of the night or the new act being promoted was told to keep it short, do your song and get out of the way. I think Byron stated that they were ask not to promote show dates. Maybe I was just paying more attention last night. I will say this, if they have been ask to keep it short on talk Jesse and Bobby certainly do not fall in line because they always get their band introduced. Good for them!

    Thanks for the above response Byron and Michael.

    Knightsville, IN

  8. Fred, Bismarck:

    Loved Bobby Osborne tonight. If you're going to put yourself out there and sing into your 80s, the only way to do it is the way Bobby did ... let it all hang out, flat notes and all. The point was the history, the remaining energy -- which was in abundance -- and all the love out there for the Osborne Brothers. The crowd sure seemed turned on.

    Dean Miller -- first I ever heard of him -- demonstrated that life is fair: Wealth and royalty may be hereditary, but talent ain't.

  9. Fred, Bismarck:

    Thought I had posted before, but I guess not.

    Loved Bobby Osborne tonight. If you're going to present yourself to the folks into your 80s, the only way to do it is as he did, letting it all hang out, flat notes and all. The point was the energy -- still there -- the history and the ample love for the Osborne Brothers showed by the audience.


  10. From Anonymous in PA: missed the first segment, did Jimmy Dickens make it tonight ? was that a negative for Dean Miller? Thought the presentation to Bobby Osborne was a little flat - in defense of Pete Fisher, he usually does a better job than that for special presentations.

  11. Jimmy Dickens was not on Saturday night.

    As far as Bobby Osborne, John Conlee gave him a very nice introduction. Bobby did "Ruby" and talked after the song about coming to the Opry with his brother Sonny, who was not there. Bobby said he didn't know where Sonny was, that he was retired but hoped he was listening. I thought that was a little strange so maybe there was no intention to have Sonny there. As far as who was there, in addition to Bobby Osborne, Jr., there was Wynn and Dean Osborne with the group.

    Steve Buchanan did the formal 50th anniversary presentation to Bobby after "Rocky Top", and he seemed to have stumbled through it. Not as smooth as when Pete Fisher does these events, and I will say that Pete does a very nice job with these special presentations. I don't know why Pete didn't do it last night, or if he was even at the Opry last night.

    As far as the audience, there was a long standing ovation and well deserved.

  12. I must say that the presentation made to Bobby was pretty weak by Buchanan. A little surprising because I thought he was a big proponent of bluegrass in years past. I remember a certain well known bluegrass performer praising Buchanan for his involvement with bluegrass and his involvement with the Opry when we visited with him in 1998. Bobby may have been a little flat but it takes guts and determination to go out there at that age a even think you can hit those high notes let alone do it.

    As for Sonny, several years ago he was very vocal about where bluegrass was going. He didn't appreciate all the non bluegrass acts whose career's were tailing off so they cut a bluegrass album since it had become a hot item. Listening to part of his views of the Opry and what it means to performers today both professionally and emotionally, or doesn't, with Eddie the other night makes me think he would just as soon stay clear of the Opry. On the other hand he seemed very proud of Bobby for staying with it and I thought he might just show up. As usual, we may be missing some things that would explain why he wasn't there.

    Knightsville, IN

  13. Fred, Bismarck:

    Another thing that drove Sonny crazy -- and I got this off his blog while he was still performing -- was legitimate bluegrass acts who copied Osborne Brothers arrangements. He singled out for complaint Rhonda Vincent's job on "Bluegrass Express."

    I have that cut, from her first or second straight-bluegrass album, and -- Sonny's right -- it is a carbon copy of the brothers' wonderful job, c. 1965, on their own tune. On the other hand: I'm not sure how you're supposed to sing a previously recorded song without being more or less true to the original. Get too creative, and you can get in trouble too -- as when Webb Pierce was chided by Ernest Tubb for taking liberties with Jimmie Rodgers' "In the Jailhouse Now" and "Any Old Time." (Personally, I thought Webb improved both, and I'm a big J.R. fan.)

    And many of us will remember how Bill Monroe wouldn't talk to Porter Wagoner for a long time because of the liberties Porter took with the lyrics on his version of "Uncle Pen"!