Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 9/19 & 9/20

When I saw the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this weekend, my first thought was, "Who in the heck is Ry Cooder?" I only ask that question because the name just didn't ring a bell from country music. Well, Ry Cooder, who is scheduled for the Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, is an artist described as, "His solo work has been electric, encompassing folk, blues, Tex-Mex, soul, gospel, rock and much else. He has colloborated with many musicians, notably including Captain Beefheart, Ali Farka Toure, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Randy Newman, David Lindley, The Chieftains, and The Dobbie Brothers." What is missing from this descripton? Any reference to country music or a country musician? So I ask the question, "Why is he scheduled on the Opry?"

Joining Ry on Saturday night will be bluegrass singer, and Opry member, Ricky Skaggs, along with Steep Canyon Rangers and Mandy Barnett. Oh, yes, there is country music on the Opry Saturday in the form of Jeannie Seely, Connie Smith, Jim Ed Brown and Jan Howard.

The Friday Night Opry is in better shape with Mark Chesnutt making a return appearance, along with frequent Opry guests The Willis Clan and Jim Lauderdale. I am happy to see Ray Pillow back hosting a segment and I am very happy to see Mo Pitney getting another Opry appearance.

Friday September 19
7:00: John Conlee (host); Kelleigh Bannen; Jean Shepard
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Sleepy Man Banjo Boys; Mark Chesnutt
8:15: Ray Pillow (host); Mo Pitney; Steep Canyon Rangers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Jim Lauderdale; The Willis Clan

Saturday September 20
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Henningsens; (Jimmy Dickens?)
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Jim Ed Brown; Steep Canyon Rangers
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Chris Carmack; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Mandy Barnett; Ry Cooder

I am glad that management was able to round up 5 Opry members for Friday night. If Jimmy Dickens makes it on Saturday, they got it up to 7.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, September 18 & 19, 2009:

Friday September 18
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; George Hamilton IV; The Flatlanders
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jim Ed Brown; John Anderson
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Stonewall Jackson; Riders In The Sky; Suzy Bogguss
8:30: Vince Gill (host); Jan Howard; Bobby Osborne; The Whites

Saturday September 19
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Buddy Jewell
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Jim Ed Brown; The Lovell Sisters
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Ray Pillow; Josh Thompson; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites; Raul Malo

And from 10 years ago this weekend, September 17 & 18, 2004:

Friday September 17
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Mel McDaniel; Paul Brandt
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Malibu Storm; John Conlee
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Restless Heart
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Osborne Brothers; Elizabeth Cook
9:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Janie Fricke; Marty Stuart

Saturday September 18
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Jim Lauderdale
7:00: Hal Ketchum (host); The Whites; Paul Brandt
7:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Malibu Storm; Crystal Gayle
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; Suzy Bogguss; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mel McDaniel; Billy Ray Cyrus

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Paul Brandt
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Lauderdale; Billy Ray Cyrus
10:30: Hal Ketchum (host); The Whites; Crystal Gayle; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Stu Phillips; Jack Greene; Suzy Bogguss
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mel McDaniel; Malibu Storm

Finally, it was on Saturday September 20, 1997 that Opry manager Bob Whittaker surprised Johnny Paycheck during a guest appearance on the Opry, with an invitation to join the cast. This was a real surprise considering Johnny's past. Prior to the invitation, he had made several guest appearances on the show and always drew a solid crowd reaction. Johnny officially joined the cast several months late, on November 8, 1997. Sadly, Johnny's time at the Opry would be short. He made 7 appearances in 1997 and 7 more in 1998 before ill health forced Johnny to retire from performing.

Here is the Opry line-up and running order from September 20, 1997, 17 years ago when Johnny Paycheck was invited to join the cast of the Opry.

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Bill Anderson (host): Family Reunion
Bill Carlisle: Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
Bill Anderson: Orange Blossom Special

6:45: Jogging In a Jug
Grandpa Jones (host): Fifteen Cents is All I Got
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Grandpa Jones: Eight More Miles to Louisville

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Jeanne Pruett: Back to Back
The Whites: San Antonio Rose
Ray Pillow: Cinderella
Jimmy C Newman: Big Mamou
Porter Wagoner & Kristy Lynn: Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine
Porter Wagoner: Sugarfoot Rag

7:30: Standard Candy
Steve Wariner (host): On Life's Highway
Country Rose Barbie (Jackie Brown): You're Looking At Country
Johnny Paycheck: Love's on Fire Again/The Old Violin/Please Don't Play A-11
Steve Wariner: Big Empty House

8:00: Martha White
Jack Greene (host): Walking on New Grass
Hal Ketchum: I Know Where Love Lives/Stay Forever
Wilma Lee Cooper: Matthew 24
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durango's Hornpipe
Jack Greene: Follow Me

8:30: Clifty Farms
John Conlee (host): Friday Night Blues
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose
Jean Shepard: Live and Let Live
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down/Smoke, Smoke, Smoke
John Conlee: I Don't Remember Loving You

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Company's Coming
Oswald: Mansion on the Hill
Wilma Lee Cooper: Coming Down from God
Jeanne Pruett: A Poor Man's Woman
Country Rose Barbie (Jackie Brown): You're Looking At Country
Porter Wagoner: & Kristy Lynn: Milwaukee, Here I Come
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

10:00: Massey Ferguson
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Jack
Hal Ketchum: The Way She Loves Me
Grandpa Jones: Any Old Time

10:15: Banquet
Steve Wariner (host): On Life's Highway
Roy Drusky: Jody and the Kid
Steve Wariner: A Big Old Empty House

10:30: Purnell's
Jean Shepard (host): I'll Sail My Ship Alone
Stu Phillips: Colorado
Jean Shepard & Jeannie Seely: Live and Let Live/Farewell Party

10:45: Your Quality Certified Home Dealers
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): Did She Mention My Name
The Whites: Hanging Around/He Took Your Place
Johnny Paycheck: Love's On Fire Again/The Old Violin
Bill Anderson: The Unicorn

11:30: Opry Book
John Conlee (host): Common Man
Jeannie Seely: Burning that Old Memory/Too Far Gone
Billy Walker: Come A Little Bit Closer/Jesus Walks In
John Conlee: Rose Colored Glasses

As far as Johnny Paycheck, I really like what he did early in his career and what he did at the end of his career. I always thought "The Old Violin" was made just for him. I didn't care much for what Johnny did in the middle part of his career and he certainly made some bad choices. I am glad that he got himself turned around at the end.

On a final note, here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, September 23:

7:00: Bill Anderson; Eric Paslay
7:30: Maddie & Tae; Charlie Daniels Band
8:15: Randy Owen; Jonathan Jackson; Sam Palladio
8:45: Brad Paisley

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!


  1. Well, Ry Cooder ain't Porter Wagoner, and he ain't George Jones, and he would have never been one of the Four Guys, but he's actually pretty great, and does a good bit of country music, although in a different way from what the Opry crowd might be used to. I went to the Opry a lot in the early 1970s, when the great old stars still played, and I wish they still did, but I'd be thrilled to see Ry Cooder on the Opry stage. Give him a chance....and if you do go see him, give us a report. Also, thanks for everything you do....I read this blog religiously every week, and especially love the recaps of the old shows. Keep up the good work!

  2. Fred, Bismarck:

    I caught several of Johnny's Opry appearances in the good old days of TNN. Like Byron, I liked his early Little Darlin' material but disliked most of the Epic stuff that put him on the charts. (Altho there was also some strong songs in there, in my opinion -- toward the end -- that made its way into my collection; such as "Fifteen Beers", "Drunk on Arrival" and "Yesterday's News Just Hit Home Today.")

    "Old Violin" was a wonderful cap to his career, altho the unintentional humor of it always made me smile. Johnny gives us three or four minutes on looking into the mirror and seeing that violin. Finally, he slaps himself upside the head: "And then it hit me ... me and that old violin were just alike!"

    Well, yes, Johnny. Most of us were there way ahead of you!

  3. First, I just saw on IV's and V's Facebook page: "Update: "George IV" made some progress Today, but remains in critical condition." Here's hoping.

    Ry Cooder is another example of what would be a great idea if it were a rarity--someone who isn't necessarily associated with country music making an appearance. But the management is too busy trying to create one "Opry moment" instead of letting us see what the rest of the show is or used to be like. Good for Ry Cooder, though. He is a really talented guy, and I hope he knocks 'em dead.

    Five members out of 66? Yeah, I'm sure all 61 of the rest are on the road.

  4. I just saw on Teea Goens page that GEORGE IV has passed away.

  5. In Loving Memory
    George Hege Hamilton IV
    July 19, 1937 - September 17, 2014

  6. Jim Ed Brown has cancelled out for Saturday night and replaced with Chris Janson. I know Jim sounded pretty hoarse last week and I am pretty sure he is scheduled for a live show this week.

    Maybe I was too harsh on Ry Cooder. Yes, he is a good musician and I know that the Opry has been extending it's reach and looking outside the box. I guess with so many Opry members to choose from, I just wish sometimes they would stay a little closer to the box. I am sure he will do well and be well received by the Opry crowd.

  7. I believe Ry Cooder is performing with Ricky Skaggs band, most likely as a guest of Ricky. He was attending the Americana Awards this week, which I'm sure is why the invitation was extended. He's an absolutely incredible and highly influential guitarist and musician, so I'm sure it will be a treat to hear and see.

  8. From Anonymous in PA: Wow, the Friday Opry was very good this evening. Really enjoyed Mo Pitney (first time to hear him). The only weak spot was Kelleigh Bannen. We listened thru XM radio - was anything said on WSM about George Hamilton IV as the show started? no one else mentioned him rest of the night. Hopefully they will do it Saturday night - especially Bill Anderson.

  9. I enjoyed what I heard of the show.
    Missed hearing Kelleigh Bannen.
    Impressed with Mo Pitney.
    This show would have been worth the money.

  10. Really good Saturday night Opry leading off with Tater !! He even told jokes tonight and his singing was pretty healthy sounding. What a spirited and inspirational little man !
    Ricky kept it country with Ry Cooder, and lots of tributes for George Hamilton IV .
    Did my ears decieve me when I heard my beloved Connie Smith refer to the STEEL Canyon Rangers ??????
    Mandy Barnett fantastic as always --why isn't she an Opry member ???
    Jan Howard and Bill Anderson making it a true Opry evening,

    Flushing, Michigan

  11. Aren't the hosts getting pieces of paper from management to read off accomplishments of those in their segment? Maybe Connie needs reading glasses. It's not the first time she's made a name mistake.


  12. Yep, Jeannie Seeley had a "senior moment" as she called it Friday night introducing the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys. Agree Pete Fisher's tribute for George Hamilton IV was very good. Didn't hear all of the show but up to the time Steep Canyon Rangers came on, no one had mentioned George.

  13. A.B., it's part of the charm. It takes us back to the good old days when Mr. Acuff mangled names (as in introducing a certain Opry member who can't be bothered to perform there now as Tom P. Hay--that was back when Mr. Acuff would join the pilgrimage to Tootsie's between shows, as opposed to his later years, when he just had some wonderful senior moments) and Grandpa Jones once asked whoever was coming on stage to tell him who he was (memory tells me it was a veteran member, not a newcomer). It reminds us there are times when the Opry, despite the efforts of Buchanan and Fisher, still has character and uniqueness.