Monday, June 30, 2014

July Opry Highlights

As we enter the month of July, here are the important and historical events that have taken place at the Grand Ole Opry, or with Opry members, during the month of July.

July 15, 1913: Cowboy Copas was born in Adams County, Ohio. Although he went by the name of Cowboy, and many thought he was from the West, his actual name was Lloyd Estel. Cowboy Copas joined the Grand Ole Opry in January 1946 and would remain an Opry member until his death in 1963.

July 27, 1925: Former Opry member Annie Lou Dill was born. Along with her husband Danny, they were known as "The Sweethearts of Country Music." They were a part of the Opry from 1946 until the mid 1950s. They remained popular into the 1960s, when they divorced and the duo ended. Annie passed away in January 1982.

July 24, 1926: The Crook Brothers made their first appearance on the WSM Barn Dance. The Crook Brothers, in one form or another, would remain a part of the Opry until the death of Herman Crook in June 1988. That covers a period of 62 years.

July 7, 1927: Charles Loudermilk, better known as Charlie Louvin, was born near Section, Alabama.

July 9, 1929: Grand Ole Opry member Jesse McReynolds was born in Coeburn, Virginia. One of the true legends in bluegrass music, Jesse recently celebrated 50 years as an Opry member and you will still find him at the Opry most weekends.

July 7, 1930: The late Doyle Wilburn was born in Hardy, Arkansas. Along with his brother Teddy, the Wilburn Brothers were long time members of the Opry.

July 14, 1933: One of the great personalities in the history of the Opry, and in country music, Del Reeves, was born in Sparta, North Carolina.

July 4, 1934: Over 8,000 people showed up for an all-day Opry sponsored show in West Tennessee. The show featured Opry stars Uncle Dave Macon, Fiddlin' Arthur Smith, the Gully Jumpers and the Crook Brothers. As a result of the success of this show, George D. Hay started the Artists Service Bureau, which would become the official booking agency for Opry members. In the future, this would become controversial and would eventually lead to several acts quiting the Opry, including Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright.

July 4, 1937: Grand Ole Opry member Ray Pillow was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. Ray came to the Opry in 1966, and although his appearances are down, he remains an Opry member today.

July 19, 1937: George Hamilton IV was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. George has been an Opry member for 54 years and is known as the "International Ambassador of Country Music" for his world-wide travels to promote country. George continues to travel and still makes regular appearances at the Opry. In fact, even on the nights he does not perform, he is usually backstage giving tours to the fans. I might add that George is about the nicest man anyone could ever meet.

July 11, 1939: The Grand Ole Opry moved to the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville. They would only stay for a few years as Opry people were not the type of crowd that they wanted at War Memorial. The Opry moved here from the Dixie Tabernacle, which held more people but was in horrible condition. Because of the lower capacity, which was listed as 2,200, the Opry for the first time began to charge admission, which was 25 cents. War Memorial still is in use today and in fact, the Opry used it for a time after the flood in 2010.

July 6, 1940: "Miss Country Soul" Jeannie Seely was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Jeannie has been an Opry member since 1967 and even at the age of 74 can still belt out a good ballad. And she does a nice job hosting Opry segments.

July 15, 1944: Country Music Hall of Fame member Rod Brasfield officially joined the cast of the Opry. Rod was hired to replace comedian Whitey Ford, the Duke of Paducah, on the Prince Albert portion of the show after Whitey had a contract dispute with R.J. Reynolds and their advertising agency. Whitey would remain on the Opry, just in another time slot. Rod remained an Opry member until he passed away in September 1958. Years later, Minnie Pearl would lead the effort to get him elected to the Hall of Fame. Rod was not only a gifted comedian but a fine actor who had a difficult personal life. One of his great movie roles was with Andy Griffith in "A Face in the Crowd."

July 24, 1948: Roy Acuff announced that he was running for Governor of Tennessee after he felt that the current Governor had made some poor comments regarding country music. As a Republican in Tennessee in 1948, Roy didn't really stand a chance of being elected and he lost the election by a wide margin. It was said that his campaign rallies drew large crowds that would listen to him sing and play but would leave once the political speeches started. Despite losing the election, Roy would remain a life long Republican and a friend to several Presidents.

July 21, 1951: Lefty Frizzell made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He would become a member in 1952 but was gone pretty quick. Lefty just said that it didn't work out and that the Opry just wasn't the dream he thought it would be.

July 5, 1952: Ralph Sloan and The Tennessee Travelers become members of the Grand Ole Opry. This group was formed in 1949 and was originally called the Cedar Hill Square Dancers. In 1980, Ralph passed away and his brother Melvin took over and the dancers became known as the Melvin Sloan Dancers. Melvin has since retired and the group now is simply the Opry Square Dancers.

July 9, 1952: Opry members Carl Smith and June Carter were married. Their marriage only lasted several years but it did produce on daughter, Rebecca Carlene Smiht, better known to her fans as Carlene Carter. Carl would go on to marry country star Goldie Hill and June would eventually settle down with Johnny Cash. Both Carl and June would eventually leave the Opry.

July 18, 1954: Grand Ole Opry member Ricky Skaggs was born in Cordell, Kentucky. It is hard to believe, but Ricky will be 60 years old. It seems like just a few short years ago, he along with Lorrie Morgan, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless and Marty Stuart, were considered the future stars of the Opry.

July 28, 1956: Johnny Cash becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry, after making a guest appearance several weeks earlier. He would remain a member only until 1958 when he moved to California. Even though he gave up his Opry membership, Johnny would continue to perform on the Opry whenever he was in Nashville, and especially when June Carter was around. It was during one such performance in 1965 that he kicked out the Opry stage lights and was told not to come back. He stayed away for a few years, but by the late 1960s, he was back, making occasional appearances. Toward the end of his life, Roy Acuff asked Johnny to become an Opry member again, but Johnny declined due to his heavy touring schedule.

July 24, 1957: Grand Ole Opry member Pam Tillis was born in Plant City, Florida. She is, of course, the daughter of Opry member Mel Tillis.

July 12, 1961: Bill Anderson becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 53rd year as an Opry member. Bill made his first guest appearance in 1958 and the Opry continued to invite him back. Ott Devine was the Opry manager that asked Bill to join the cast and this came after Ott saw Bill perform a concert in Panama City, Florida. Ott was impressed and told Bill to expect a call after he returned to Nashville.

July 18, 1964: Future Grand Ole Opry member Connie Smith makes her Opry debut. She would become an Opry member the following year.

July 31, 1964: Former Opry member Jim Reeves, along with Dean Manuel, died in a plane crash just outside Nashville. Jim was just 39. While he had given up his Opry membership, he was still a beloved figure around the Opry. Thanks to some forward thinking by Jim, there were many new recordings of Jim to enjoy for many years after his death.

July 10, 1965: Roy Acuff was seriously injured in a car accident near Sparta, Tennessee. Roy suffered two pelvic fractures, a broken collarbone and broken ribs. Also injured in the accident were band members Shot Jackson and June Stearns. Roy would return to the Opry stage in August. June decided to no longer tour with Roy.

July 26, 1966: Opry member Martina McBride was born in Sharon, Kansas.

July 8, 1972: Barbara Mandrell joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Although retired, this will be her 42nd year as an Opry member. Once in a while, you will still see Barbara visiting friends at the Opry.

July 21, 1973: Almost a year after Barbara Mandrell joined the cast of the Opry, Jeanne Pruett became an Opry member. Like Barbara, Jeanne is now retired. Last year, for her 40th anniversary as an Opry member, Jeanne did appear on stage and was recognized on her anniversary. Her last "official" Opry appearance was in 2001. Before becoming successful herself, she was a songwriter for Marty Robbins Enterprises and after joining the Opry, she would often appear on Marty's segments. She was the last singing artist to join the Opry prior to its move to the new Opry House.

July 7, 1975: Opry member George Morgan died in a Nashville hospital after suffering a heart attack. He had been an Opry member since 1948, and was brought to the show as a replacement for the departing Eddy Arnold. George did leave the Opry in 1956 to star in a television show, but returned in 1959. He had originally suffered a heart attack in May but had returned to the Opry in June, prior to leaving for open heart surgery. There were complications that led to his death. He would later be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

July 4, 1980: Future Diamond Rio member Dana Williams makes his first appearance at the Opry as a bass player for Jimmy C Newman.

July 5, 1980: John Conlee makes his Opry debut.

July 2, 1982: Former Opry member, and Hall of Famer, DeFord Bailey died in Nashville at the age of 82. DeFord was one of the first members of the Opry, but was fired by George D. Hay in 1941. There were various reasons and excuses given for the dismissal, but race would become a major issue in the discussion. He resisted many invitations to return to the Opry for guest appearances, but finally on February 23, 1974, he returned as part of the Opry's annual "Old-Timer's Night." Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl looked over DeFord and mad sure he was treated with the respect he deserved. Many said he was the highlight of the night and he performed "Pan American" and "Fox Chase." He would make several more appearances over the years, with the final one coming on April 3, 1982.

July 1, 1983: Gaylord Broadcasting Company purchased the Grand Ole Opry and WSM radio from American General Corporation. Even though it was called Gaylord Broadcasting, it was actually Edward Gaylord and his wife Thelma who were the actual owners. At the time, the Gaylords owned the television show "Hee Haw." Not only did they purchase the Opry and WSM, but they bought the entire Opry complex. The price was rumored to be between $250 and $300 million. Over time, Gaylord Broadcasting would become Gaylord Entertainment and would go from a privately held company to a public company. The focus of the company would also change from broadcasting and entertainment to resort and hotel management. The company is now known as Ryman Hospitalities.

July 6, 1985: Johnny Russell joined the cast of the Opry. Johnny would remain an Opry member until his death on July 3, 2001 after a long illness. Johnny was always funny, but he was a talented singer and songwriter. After joining the Opry, he would normally appear during the final segment of the 2nd show, trying to follow the pattern set by Marty Robbins. Having had the opportunity to meet Johnny and share lunch with him, I can tell you he was a great person to meet.

July 3, 1996: Alison Krauss becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 18th year as an Opry member. At the time she joined the Opry, she was the youngest member. Garth Brooks officially inducted her that night.

July 15, 2008: Future Grand Ole Opry member Darius Rucker makes his debut on the Opry, singing "Don't Think I Don't Think About It."

July 8, 2011: Little Jimmy Dickens makes a surprise appearance on the Opry stage while the Oak Ridge Boys are performing, to ask them if they would like to become the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. Of course they accept.

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!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jimmy C Newman

I know by now that the passing of Opry star Jimmy C Newman has been reported by many media outlets and on his Facebook page. Jimmy had a unique sound at the Opry that will be missed and probably never replaced. I had the honor, and yes I call it an honor, to meet Jimmy twice. The first time was about 20 years ago at Opryland during the Opry's birthday bash. He was kind enough to sign a birthday card for my wife and even asked a few questions about her. The second time was last year at the Opry. Again, very polite and a true gentleman.

Lots has been written about Jimmy and his career. Peter Cooper, of the Tennessean, wrote an excellent piece and I hope he doesn't mind if I use parts of it:

Jimmy Yves Newman, known to Grand Ole Opry fans as Jimmy C Newman, died June 21. He was 86 and suffered from cancer. For more than 50 years, Mr. Newman was a mainstay on the Opry, where he performed rollickling, Cajun-inflected songs such as "Alligator Man" and "Bayou Talk." He added the "C" to his name in the early 1960s, saying that it stood for "Cajun," and he took pride in his designation as the first Cajun artist to join the Opry. His first Top 10 country hit, "Cry, Cry, Darling," came 60 years ago, in the summer of 1954.

He was born in High Point, Louisiana, near Big Mamou, raised in a bilingual family with parents who delighted in the cowboy sounds of Gene Autrey and the country music of Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family. His father died when he was a teenager, and he left school after six years of education to wrok on a farm. During World War II, he worked in a defense plant as a welder's helper, and there he met an electrician and music aficionado named J.D. Miller. After Mr. Newman's recorded debut in 1946 for Modern Records, Miller determined to record Jimmy on his own Feature label. He did so, but without commercial success.

"I said to myself, I gotta write a hit song, he told author and music historian Colin Escott for the liner notes of a Bear Family album called 'Bop A Hula,' so I wrote 'Cry, Cry Darling.'" "Cry, Cry Darling was later recorded by Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs, Ronnie Milsap and others. Jimmy's recording was his first national success.

In 1954 he joined the Louisiana Hayride, but after having five straight Top 10 records, he came to the Opry in 1956. In 1957, he notched his highest-charting record with "A Fallen Star," which reached #2 on the Billboard country charts and #23 on the pop chart.

He moved around various record labels and in 1961 he ended up on Decca records. In the 1960s he recorded 16 Top 40 country hits including 1963's "D.J. For A Day," which was the first country hit written by Tom Hall, who would later add a "T" to his name. Jimmy was also a partner in a publishing house, Newkeys Music, and in 1963 Tom T began writing for the company.

Jimmy also offered a boost to teenager Dolly Parton, allowing her to take part of his allotted "Friday Night Opry" stage time in 1959 so that she could make her debut on the show. He also helped Eddy Raven to a publishing deal in the 1970s and he gave a gleaming yellow stage suit to a scuffling young Marty Stuart so that Stuart could look like a bandleader. That suit was one of the first pieces in Marty's collection of country memorabilia, a collection that is now museum-quality.

In 1963, he recorded "Folk Songs of the Bayou Country," with fiddler Rufus Thibodeaux and accordionist Shorty LeBlanc, and he sung some of that album's lyrics in French. From that point on he took care to include Cajun music in his concerts and to hold high his Louisiana heritage. In 2009, he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, an honor that followed by five years his induction into the Cajun Music Hall of Fame.

Jimmy's last Top 10 country hits came in 1965 and 1966 with several Tom T songs, but he remained a formidable and popular presence on the Opry and on television. In 1991, his "Alligator Man" album received a Grammy nomination.

By all accounts, he knew how to hold success. Never a chart dynamo, he was a steadily entertaining personality for a majority of country music's commercial life and a spice of life for more than a half-century on the Opry. He was a devoted husband to Mae Newman: their marriage lasted for more than 60 years. He was a cultural ambassador for southeastern Louisiana, and a kind and gracious presence offstage. And he was a smiling engaging performer to the end. His final Opry performance came on Friday June 6.

A public service will be held Wednesday June 25 at the Ryman Auditorium at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a private visitation and memorial service for close friends and family. Contributions may be made to the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund.

I can really add much to what Peter wrote except for say that it is always sad when another Opry legend has passed away and even more so with Jimmy C Newman. He was a devoted Opry member for almost 58 years and he always brought excitement and spunk to the show.

He will be missed and my thoughts and prayers go to his family.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 6/20 & 6/21

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend and I am almost to the point of asking the question, "are The Willis Clan the newest members of the Opry?" No, they are not, but it sure seems like they are on the schedule a lot. I am sure all have noticed that over the years, the Opry seems to settle on a group of non-members that they will put on the schedule pretty much on a regular basis. Over the past few years, Mandy Barnett and Jimmy Wayne were a couple of the favorites, and now it seems that Chris Janson and The Willis Clan are the ones that they go to.

As you can guess from the above comments, The Willis Clan are scheduled for both shows this weekend. Joining them on the Friday Night Opry will be The Steeldrives, who I personally enjoy, The Isaacs, Collin Raye, and a name from the recent past, Bryan White. Also scheduled, and making his Opry debut, is Mo Pitney.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, in addition to The Willis Clan, has a return appearance by Mary Gauthier booked. Also featured is Opry member Steve Wariner. And, while not on the schedule, there is the usual slot saved for Jimmy Dickens.

Friday June 20
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Steeldrivers; Jean Shepard
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Bryan White; The Isaacs
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; Mo Pitney
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Collin Raye; The Willis Clan

Saturday June 21
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Greg Bates
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mary Gauthier
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Lucy Hale; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Steve Wariner (host); The Whites; The Willis Clan

And no, I do not dislike The Willis Clan. I have seen them on the Opry previously and they are a talented family. And they are promoting a television show.

As is the custom, here is the posted Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, June 19 & 20, 2009:

Friday June 19
7:00: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Emily West
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Tracy Byrd
8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Jan Howard; George Hamilton IV; Connie Smith
8:30: Vince Gill (host); John Conlee; Alison Krauss

Saturday June 20
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Rhonda Vincent
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Hal Ketchum; Point Of Grace
8:00: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds; Jim Ed Brown; Sammy Johns; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Vince Gill (host); Alison Krauss; The Whites

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Rhonda Vincent
10:00: Vince Gill (host); Mike Snider; Point Of Grace
10:30: John Conlee (host); Hal Ketchum; Sammy Johns; Orpy Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Alison Krauss; The Whites

And now from 10 years ago, the weekend of June 18 & 19, 2004:

Friday June 18
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; BR549
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Christy Sutherland; Stonewall Jackson; Alecia Nugent
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); TG Sheppard; Billy Currington
9:00: Mike Snider (host); Charlie Louvin; Billy Walker; Mandy Barnett
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Gail Davies; Joe Nichols

Saturday June 19
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Eddy Raven
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Chely Wright
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Billy Walker; Alecia Nugent
8:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Riders In The Sky; Jon Randall; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Radney Foster

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Chely Wright
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Radney Foster
10:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Stu Phillips; Eddy Raven; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Alecia Nugent
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Charlie Nagatani; Jon Randall

There are a couple of shows that I did want to mention. One took place on Friday June 20, 1980. That was the night Boxcar Willie made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. The story about Boxcar has been told many times but how he got to Nashville and the Opry is thanks to Wesley Rose, who alerted Roy Acuff. Wesley saw Boxcar at the Wembley Festival in England and he asked Boxcar, "Would you like to be on the Opry?" Boxcar told Wesley that he had been trying to get on the Opry for forty years, of which Wesley told him that when he got back to Nashville, to see him and he would introduce Boxcar to Roy Acuff. The introduction took place, along with an interview and as a result, Boxcar Willie got his guest slot on the Opry. Thanks to that appearance, and the influence of Roy Acuff, Boxcar Willie joined the Opry on February 21, 1981. Here is the line-up from Friday June 20, 1980, the night that Boxcar Willie made his Opry debut.

1st show
6:30: Roy Drusky (host); Justin Tubb; Ernie Ashworth; Connie Smith; Lonzo & Oscar; Little General Cloggers
7:00: Billy Walker (host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Louvin; Wilma Lee Cooper; Del Wood
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Stu Phillips; Charlie Daniels
8:00: Grandpa Jones (host) David Houston; Ray Pillow; Wilburn Brothers; Little General Cloggers
8:30: Charlie Walker (host); Four Guys; Bill Carlisle; Stonewall Jackson; Vic Willis Trio

2nd show
9:30: Billy Walker (host); Four Guys; Charlie Louvin; Wilma Lee Cooper; Del Wood
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; Lonzo & Oscar; Boxcar Willie; Little General Cloggers
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Charlie Walker; Jean Shepard; Ernie Ashworth
11:00: Stonewall Jackson (host); Stu Phillips; Justin Tubb
11:30: David Houston (host); Bill Carlisle; Vic Willis Trio; Ray Pillow

Another solid night at the Opry.

The last line-up to post is from Saturday June 19, 1982, as it was 32 years ago this Saturday night that Riders In The Sky became members of the Grand Ole Opry. The Riders were a trio that consisted of Doug Green, Woody Paul and Too Slim (Fred LaBour), and that brought the songs of the west back to the Opry. They also added a touch of humor to the show.

Doug Green, who wrote the book, "Country Roots: The Origins of Country Music", offered these thoughts on joining the Opry. "It beats me. It just comes so loaded with tradition and emotion and feeling for anybody who cares the least little bit about country music. The first time we were on it was just a magical experience. We guested on the Opry twenty-five times and then they made us members in June of '82, and it's still a magical experience. It's still really wonderful. I'm not as scared as I used to be, but you just feel like you're part of this continuous line of tradition."

Woody Paul had his own thoughts: "I remember when we joined we had been playing a lot on the road. We played in Texas at noon and they chartered a plane and flew us to Fort Worth to get a plane to come be here our first night as members of the Opry. When we walked in at seven o'clock, Hal Durham said, 'Welcome home.' He was sincere about it and suddenly we were just part of this great family."

Not only have the Riders been members of the Opry for 32 years, but they have been great members. Even with the touring and movie soundtracks, they have been very loyal members of the cast and have always made time for the Opry. They are great hosts and add a lot of humor to the show, besides being fine musicians.

Here is the running order from Saturday June 19, 1982, the night Riders In The Sky became members of the Grand Ole Opry.

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me and You and A Dog Named Boo
Ernie Ashworth: There's No Place I'd Rather Be Tonight
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry

6:45: Rudy's
Jack Greene (host): Walking on New Grass
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

7:00: Shoney's
Ernest Tubb (host): Letters Have No Arms
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Bobby Lord: Fall Away
Riders In The Sky: How the Yodel Was Born/Tumbling Tumbleweeds
Jack Leonard: Back On My Mind Again
Ernest Tubb: Rainbow at Midnight

7:30: Standard Candy
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Jack
Jean Shepard: Cryin' My Heart Out Over You/Slipping Away
Wilburn Brothers: Making Plans
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Rachel
Grandpa Jones: Four Stone Walls and A Ceiling/What'll I Do With the Baby'O

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Lonzo & Oscar: All the Gold in California
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Connie Smith: I Just Had You On My Mind/Once A Day
Roy Acuff: Stream Line Cannonball

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): Storms Never Last
4 Guys: I Think About Your Loving All the Time
Ray Pillow: She's Doing it to Me Again
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away Too Long
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Saturday Night Hop
Hank Snow: I Have You and That's Enough For Me

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Ernest Tubb (host): Have You Ever Been Lonely
Ernie Ashworth: Memphis Memory
Del Wood: Just Because/Bill Bailey/Beer Barrel Polka
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'/Ol' Chunck of Coal
Jack Leonard: Lone Star Beer and Bob Wills Music
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): The Banjo Is the Instrument for Me
Jeanne Pruett: It's Too Late/Temporarily Yours
Grandpa Jones: There's A Grave in the Waves of the Ocean

10:15 Sunbeam
Jack Greene (host): Try A Little Kindness
Justin Tubb: Take A Letter Miss Gray
Jack Greene: Your's For the Taking

10:30: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Down in Union County
Riders In The Sky: (?)/Turkey in the Straw/Chicken Reel/Devil's Dream
Roy Acuff: In The Center of the Grand Ole Stage/I Saw the Light

10:45: Beech-Nut
Roy Drusky (host): Second Hand Rose
Connie Smith: Lovin' You Baby
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Mississippi Sawyer
Roy Drusky: Blues In My Heart

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Right or Wrong
Jean Shepard: Alabama Jubilee
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Saturday Night Hop
Wilburn Brothers: Release Me
Eldridge Brothers/Lonzo & Oscar: Little Cabin Home on the Hill
Kirk McGee: While I'm Away
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me of Me

11:30: Bama
4 Guys (host): I Think About Your Loving All the Time
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink of Me
Sheila & Bill Carlisle, Jr: In the Pines
Ray Pillow: All You Have to Do Is Come Back Home/Remember Me
4 Guys: Swing Down Chariot

Congratulations again to the Riders In The Sky, and enjoy the Opry this weekend!!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

I just wanted to take a moment to say Happy Father's Day to all of the Dads that are out there. I am lucky that I have 4 great children who I am proud of, even though none have followed in my footsteps as far as country music and the Grand Ole Opry.

But being Father's Day, it got me to thinking of some of the Fathers and Sons, or Daughters, that we have seen together on the Opry stage. The easy ones would be:

Roy and Roy Acuff, Jr.
Ernest and Justin Tubb
Hank and Jimmie Snow
Bill and James Monroe
Bill and Bill Carlisle, Jr.
Buck and Sharon/Cheryl White
George and Lorrie Morgan
Marty and Ronnie Robbins
George IV and George V Hamilton
Grandpa and Alisa Jones
Bobby and Bobby Bare, Jr
Charlie and Sonny Louvin
Porter and Denise Wagoner
Bobby and Bobby Osborne, Jr.

I know that there have been some fathers and children who have appeared separately on the Opry, such as Hank and Hank Williams, Jr., but I was thinking of those together. I know there are many, many, that I am missing, so let's see what else we can come up with.

Again, Happy Father's Day to all!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 6/13 & 6/14

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend. There will be the usual Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. I have to admit that after looking at the line-ups, they are certainly not the best that the Opry has had lately.

The Friday Night Opry will feature another artist from "Nashville", Chaley Rose, along with frequent Opry guests The Willis Clan and TG Sheppard. As far as Opry members, it is limited pretty much to several of the veteran artists.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will feature a few guests that have seen the Opry stage before, including Keith Anderson, Aubrey Peoples and Annie Moses Band. Nothing against Annie Moses Band, as they are talented, but unless they fill another act into that last segment, they are the only guest and I don't think they are good enough for that.

So far, Jeannie Seely is the only artist listed for the 1st segment on Saturday night. You have to think Jimmy Dickens is on stand-by for one of those slots, and I am sure the other slot will be filled by someone that has seen the Opry stage many times, as Pete seems to have his "go-to" list to use.

Friday June 13
7:00: John Conlee (host); Kalisa Ewing; Jean Shepard
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; Jimmy C Newman; Chaley Rose
8:45: Connie Smith (host); TG Sheppard; The Willis Clan

Saturday June 14
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host);
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Keith Anderson
8:15: The Whites (host); George Hamilton IV; Aubrey Peoples; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Annie Moses Band

8 and 6 Opry members each night. Terrible!! The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree is hosted this week by one of my favorites and former Opry guest, Suzy Bogguss. Personally, I would call her to see if she had an interest in the Opry on Saturday night. Based on what is scheduled, they could use her.

For comparison, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from this weekend 5 years ago, June 12 & 13, 2009:

Friday June 12
7:00: Pam Tillis (host); Jimmy C Newman; Riders In The Sky; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider; Emerson Drive
8:30: Charley Pride (host); Stu Phillips; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Collin Raye

Saturday June 13
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Mandy Barnett
7:30: Charley Pride (host); Connie Smith; Jim Ed Brown; Mike Snider
8:00: Mel Tillis (host); Charlie Louvin; Pam Tillis; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Tracy Byrd

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Mandy Barnett
10:00: Charley Pride (host); Jeannie Seely; George Hamilton IV; Mike Snider
10:30: Mel Tillis (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Pam Tillis; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Ray Pillow; Jean Shepard; Tracy Byrd

And, here is the posted line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of June 11 & 12, 2004. It should be noted that on Saturday's 1st show, Terri Clark was inducted as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. She became the 3rd Canadian to become an Opry member, following in the footsteps of Hank Snow and Stu Phillips

Friday June 11
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Dale Watson
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Charlie Walker; Little General Cloggers; T. Graham Brown
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Pam Tillis
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Mark Wills
9:30: Brad Paisley (host); Jean Shepard; Osborne Brothers

Saturday June 12
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Osborne Brothers
7:00: Marty Stuart (host); Terri Clark; Mel Tillis; Billy Dean
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Billy Walker; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); George Hamilton IV; Jimmy C Newman; Pam Tillis

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Billy Dean
10:00: Pam Tillis (host); Jean Shepard; Mel Tillis
10:30: Marty Stuart (host); Hank Locklin; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); George Hamilton IV; Jimmy C Newman; Terri Clark
11:30: Mike Snider (host); Billy Walker; Jack Greene; Julie Roberts

I think it is safe to say that these past line-up are a significant upgrade from what is scheduled for this weekend!!

Finally, it was on Saturday June 17, 1967 that Stu Phillips became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will mark Stu's 47th year as an Opry member and although he rarely appears on the show, he has been over the years, a very solid member of the Opry.

Stu was born on January 19, 1933 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He grew up in Calgary, Alberta, which is an area of country music and as a youngster he was able to listen to the Grand Ole Opry. At an early age, he formed his own band and was featured on various Canadian radio and television programs. In 1965, he moved to Nashville and signed with RCA Records. His recording career was not very successful as he had only 13 singles that made it on the charts, the best of which was "Juanita Jones", which went to #13 in 1967. He was much more successful in Canada, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, where he had several gold records.

In 1993, Stu was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and during the July 4th weekend in 1998, he and his wife, Aldona, became American citizens, taking the oath on the stage of the Opry.

The are 2 interesting facts about Stu. The first is that he is a minister in the Episcopal Church, receiving his divinity degree from the University of the South, and secondly, he owns the Long Hollow Winery in Goodlettsville.

From the night of June 17, 1967, here is the running order from what would be the 2nd half of the show, on the night that Stu Phillips became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

9:30: Kellogg's
Charlie Louvin (host): See the Big Man Cry
Willis Brothers: Somebody Knows My Dog
Bob Luman: Why Don't You Leave Me Alone
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Charlie Louvin: How Great Thou Art
Bobby Lord: Life Can Have Meaning
Charlie Louvin: Off and On

10:00: Schick
Billy Grammer (host): Wabash Cannonball
Del Wood: Under the Double Eagle
Stringbean: The Big 'Un Got Away
Billy Grammer: Detroit City

10:15: Pure
Justin Tubb (host): You Nearly Lose Your Mind
Osborne Brothers: Roll, Muddy River
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday

10:30: Buckley's
The Browns (host): Where Does the Good Times Go
Stu Phillips: (?)
The Browns: All of Me Belongs to You

10:45: Newport
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: The Birds Are Back to Sing
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bob Luman (host): Let's Think About Living
Marion Worth: Your Good Girls Gonna Go Bad
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fire on the Mountain
Duke of Paducah: Four Leaf Clover
Bob Luman: Memphis
Sam McGee: Amos Johnson Rag
Marion Worth: He Thinks I Still Care
Bob Luman: You Can Take the Boy From the Country

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): No Tears Milady
Ernie Ashworth: At Ease, Heart
Wilma Burgess: There Goes My Everything
Don Winters: Chime Bells
Marty Robbins: Tonight Carmen
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry/Begging to You/Bouquet of Roses/I Could Never Be Ashamed of You/You Know How Talk Gets Around/Lovesick Blues/El Paso

Congratulations to Terri Clark for 10 years of Opry membership and Stu Phillips for 47 years.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 11, 1949-Hank Williams Opry Debut

(Last week, I received an email from my friend Michael, who offers many comments on the blog, which I appreciate, and thought I would share some of the information that I uncovered in researching this timely topic).

It was 64 years ago this week, June 11, 1949, that Hank Williams made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Most accounts of that night have Hank on "The Prince Albert Show" portion of the Opry the was hosted by Red Foley. It has also been written that Hank was called back out for six encores with Red finally settling down the crowd by promising that Hank would be heard again on the Opry.

Roy Acuff had his own memory of Hank's debut and he has claimed that he was the one who first introduced Hank at the Opry. Roy had known Hank for several years, as the two had met in the early 1940s when Roy and his Smoky Mountain Boys did a concert in Montgomery, Alabama and Hank came backstage. On future trips, Hank would show up and would share songs with Roy, leading up to the 1946 audition that Hank did for Fred Rose.

In a 1967 interview, Roy said the following, "Vito, it would really be a feather in your cap if you could get this boy on the Opry.....I was glad to take Hank under my wing. I introduced him to everyone backstage and then brought him out on the stage and introduced him to the crowd. You might hear it a lot of ways, but that's the way it happened." (The Vito Roy is referring to is Vito Pellettieri, the Opry's stage manager.)

Then there was Grant Turner's memory of Hank's debut. "Hank brought that song 'Lovesick Blues' to the Opry. They brought him in that first night and put him in the boss's office so he could relax, and when it came him time, they brought him down, and Red Foley introduced him. People loved that 'Lovesick Blues' song so much, they kicked up the dust in the auditorium. The spotlights looked like they were picking up smoke, there was so much dust kicked up."

Finally, here is how Red Foley introduced Hank on the Prince Albert Opry. "Well, sir, tonight's big name guest is making his first appearance on Prince Albert Grand Ole Opry. He's a Montgomery, Alabama, boy. Been pickin' and singin' about twelve years, but it's been about the last year he's really come into his own, and we're proud to give a rousing Prince Albert welcome to the Lovesick Blues Boy, Hank Williams." (Notice that Red said Hank was making his "first appearance on the Prince Albert Opry"!!)

The facts are that it was neither Roy or Red who introduced Hank Williams his first night at the Opry, but instead it was Ernest Tubb, a fact that is confirmed not only by Ronnie Pugh's excellent Ernest Tubb biography, but from the actual line-up from that night.

On his first night at the Opry, June 11, 1949, Hank appeared on the Warren Paint portion of the Opry, which was "hosted" by Ernest Tubb. Ernest introduced Hank and he did sing "Lovesick Blues." He was then on again during the 11:00 portion sponsored by Allen Manufacturing Company and hosted by George Morgan. During that portion he did "Mind Your Own Business." Both Red Foley and Roy Acuff were on the Opry that night, but Hank did not appear during their segments.

Hank was back on the Opry the following Saturday night, June 18, and it was on that night that he did appear on the Prince Albert Show hosted by Red Foley and did "Lovesick Blues." Later on that portion, he did "Wedding Bells." He later appeared that night on the 11:30 segment hosted by Jimmy Dickens.

My opinion is that his June 11 debut was sort of an audition (which is how the Opry tried out new acts in those days), and the management wanted to see how Hank would go over. After the initial reception, the following week he was given a prime spot on the network show. Also, I think the 6 encores took place during that first night and not during the Prince Albert portion the following week. The Prince Albert Show, being a network 30 minute show, was highly scripted and I don't think the time would have been allowed for the encores. For what it is worth, Jimmy Dickens was on the Opry both weeks, June 11 and 18, so he would have witnessed both events.

I have a copy of the Grand Ole Opry line-up from June 11, 1949, and here is the line-up from that night:

7:30: American Ace Coffee
Roy Acuff: Low and Lonely
Tommy Magness: Black Mountain Rag
Dot & Smokey: Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain
Jimmy Riddle: Dill Pickle Rag
Roy and Oswald: Eye From on High
Uncle Dave Macon and Doris: Take Me Back to My Old Carolina Home
Jug Band: Johnson's Old Grey Mule
Roy Acuff: Unclouded Day
Joe Zinkas: 12th Street Rag
Dot & Smokey: Are You Tired of Me Darling
Rachel & Oswald: Jesse James

8:00: Purina Show
Cowboy Copas: Dolly Dear
Uncle Dave Macon: Chewing Gum
George Morgan: Candy Kisses
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Girl I Left Behind Me
Cowboy Copas: Careless Hands
Lazy Jim Day: Singing the News
George Morgan: Rainbow In My Heart
Robert Lunn: Talking Blues
Hank Garland: Short Creek Shuffle
Cowboy Copas: One Step More

8:30: Prince Albert
Red Foley: Tennessee Polka
Tommy Wakeley: Try to Understand
Fowler Quartet: Old Blind Bartemus
Red Foley: Just A Closer Walk With Thee
Jimmy Wakeley: Someday You'll Call My Name and I Won't Answer
Old Hickory Quartet: In the Good Ole Summertime
Red Foley: I'm Throwing Rice at the Girl I Love
Square Dance: Stony Point

9:00: Royal Crown Cola
Possom Hunters: Widow McGraw
Roy Acuff: Tennessee Central Number 9
Jamup & Honey: Jokes
Jimmy Riddle: Wabash Blues
Jimmy Dickens: Cold Tater
Jug Band: Uncle Noah's Ark
Lonzo and Oscar: I Wish I Had A Nickle
Rachel & Oswald: Rabbit in the Log
Roy Acuff: Waiting for My Call to Glory
Bradley Kinkaid: Won't You Come Over to My House
Tommy Magness: Leather Britches

9:30: Warren Paint
Lew Childre: My Mammy
Ernest Tubb: Biting My Finger Nails and Thinking of You
Bill Monroe: To Be Announced
Hank Williams: Lovesick Blues
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark
Ernest Tubb: Daddy When Is Mommy Coming Home
String Beans: Cross Eyed Gal
Mel & Stan: I'll Gladly Take You Back Again
Bill Monroe: To Be Announced
Ernest Tubb: I Hung My Head and Cried

10:00: Wallrite
Bill Monroe: Kitty Clyde
Bradley Kinkaid: When I Was A Boy From the Mountains
Blue Grass Quartet: Goodbye Old Pal
Shenandoah Valley: Live and Let Live

10:15: Gaylark
Milton Estes: John Henry
Jimmy Dickens: Bible on the Table
Jimmy Selph: A Petal From A Faded Rose
Milton Estes: Build Me A Cabin in Glory

10:30: Royal Flour
Roy Acuff: Coming From the Ball
Uncle Dave Macon and Doris: Kissing on the Sly
Roy Acuff: Poem
Roy and Gang: Farther Along
Tommy Magness: Cackling Hen

10:45: Dr. Le Gear
Cowboy Copas: Package of Lies Tied in Blue
Mel & Stan: Two Little Rose Buds
Lazy Jim Day: Singing the News
Cowboy Copas: Waltzing With Tears in My Eyes
Red Herron: Sally Goodin

11:00: Allen Manufacturing Company
George Morgan: Need You
Hank Williams: Mind Your Own Business
Velma: The Little Kid Sister of Mine
George Morgan: Put All Your Love In A Cookie Jar
Gully Jumpers: Going Cross the Sea

11:15: Sustaining
Ernest Tubb: Don't Rob Another Man's Castle
Lew & String Bean: Darling Nelly Grey
Butter Ball: I Can't Go for That
Ernest Tubb: Frankie & Johnny

11:30: Sustaining
Jimmy Dickens: The Rose from the Brides Bouquet
Lonzo and Oscar: Sour Wood Mountain
Crook Brothers: Ida Red
Jimmy Dickens: Pennies for Papa
Zeb Turner:

11:45: Sustaining
Wally Fowler: Lead Me to that Rock
Robert Lunn: Corina
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Alabama Jubilee
Wally Fowler: May the Circle Be Unbroken
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Leather Britches
Wally Fowler: Get on Board

Time changes people's memories and I don't blame Roy or Red for having different versions of Hank's first night at the Opry. It is possible that Red was thinking of the Prince Albert Show, and not the Opry in general. And I am sure it was Roy who took Hank around backstage and introduced him to folks. Regardless, it was a great night in the Opry's history and many people today still consider it the greatest night in the history of the Opry.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 6/6 & 6/7

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend. There is the usual Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, along with a Saturday matinee. Overall, the quality of the line-ups is pretty good, especially the Friday Night Opry.

The Friday Night Opry will mark the return of Mel Tillis, as this will be his first show anywhere since his heart surgery earlier this year. And for Mel, it will be a very busy weekend as in addition to the Friday Opry, he is scheduled for both shows on Saturday, along with hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree.

Also on Friday Night, Lorrie Morgan is scheduled and it will mark her 30th anniversary as an Opry member. Lorrie joined the Opry on June 9, 1984. In her early years as an Opry member, Lorrie made many appearances on the show. In her first year, 1984, she appeared 79 times. In 1985 it was 120 appearances and in 1986, 116. But as her career took off, the appearances reduced and by 1991 she was down to just 5 appearances that year. Lately, she has been a little bit better, but I think there is still room for improvement.

Joining Mel and Lorrie on Friday night will be Opry members Rascal Flatts, along with Ricky Skaggs and Charley Pride, both of whom are also scheduled for Saturday Night. Along with Mel, Charley and Ricky, Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will feature Opry member Craig Morgan, along with guest artists Billy Ray Cyrus and Lindsay Eli.

Friday June 6
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jimmy C Newman; One More Girl; Scotty McCreery
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Mel Tillis; Lorrie Morgan; Jesse Keith Whitley
8:15: Charley Pride (host); Connie Smith; Sara Evans
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Rascal Flatts

Saturday June 7 Matinee
3:00: Charley Pride; Robin Meade
3:30: Jesse McReynolds; Charles Esten
4:00: Jim Ed Brown; The Willis Clan
5:00: Kree Harrison; Mel Tillis

Saturday June 7
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Lindsay Eli; Jim Ed Brown
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Billy Ray Cyrus
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Mel Tillis; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Charley Pride (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Craig Morgan

Now here is the Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, June 5 & 6, 2009:

Friday June 5, 2009
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; George Hamilton IV; Little General Cloggers
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; Carter Twins
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jack Greene; Kathy Mattea
8:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Helen Cornelius; Stonewall Jackson; The Whites; Mark Chesnutt

Saturday June 6, 2009
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mark Wills
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; George Hamilton IV; Crystal Gayle
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Stonewall Jackson; Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Patty Loveless

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mark Wills
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Crystal Gayle
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Stonewall Jackson; Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Patty Loveless

Now the line-up from 10 years ago this weekend, June 4 & 5, 2004:

Friday June 4, 2004
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jack Greene; Amy Dalley
8:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Connie Smith; Marty Raybon
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Osborne Brothers; Rushlow
9:00: Jean Shepard (host); Stu Phillips; Elizabeth Cook; Eddy Raven
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Pinmonkey; Ralph Stanley

Saturday June 5, 2004
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Amy Dalley
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Dale Ann Bradley & Coon Creek
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Osborne Brothers; Eddy Raven
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Walker; Pinmonkey; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; T. Graham Brown

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Amy Dally
10:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jack Greene; Dale Ann Bradley & Coon Creek
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Billy Walker; Eddy Raven; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers; Pinmonkey
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; T. Graham Brown

As already mentioned, this will be Lorrie Morgan's 30th anniversary as an Opry member. When Lorrie joined the Opry, it was based on the fact that she was George Morgan's daughter and as someone who looked like they had a bright future in country music. It wasn't until 1989 that her career really took off with her hit, "Dear Me." As she said, "The Opry gave me my start in country music. It's a place we all need to go from time to time to remember why we're here and what gave us the opportunity to be here."

This week's feature line-up is from Saturday June 6, 1984, which was the night 30 years ago that Lorrie Morgan became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Connie Smith: Had a Dream (For the Heart)
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water

6:45: Rudy's
Del Reeves (host); Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime At A Time/Looking At the World Through A Windshield
Jeannie Seely: Your Sweet Lies Just Turned Down My Sheets Again
Del Reeves: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me

7:00: Shoney's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Lying In Love With You
Billy Grammer: Homestead on the Farm
Skeeter Davis: Turning Away
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On
Jean Shepard: Virginia
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Anderson (host): Po Folks
Lorrie Morgan: Candy Kisses/Stand By Your Man
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away
Bill Anderson: Still

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
The Whites: Forever You/Swing Down, Sweet Chariot
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin
Jeanne Pruett: Back to Back
Howdy Forrester: (?)
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): Forever and One Day
Dottie West: It's High Time/I Fall to Pieces/Sweet Dreams
4 Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah
Roy Drusky: The Last Farewell
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Hank Snow: I Don't Hurt Anymore

2nd show
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Lovin'
4 Guys: How Married Are You Mary Ann
Jeannie Seely: When Your Hearts Been Stepped On
Del Reeves: Good Hearted Woman
Wilma Lee Cooper: Daisy A Day
Jim Ed Brown: You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Anderson (host): I Love You Drops
Jan Howard: Lord, I Hope this Day is Good
Ray Pillow: Julie Loved Boston More Than Me
Bill Anderson: Southern Fried

10:15: Sunbeam
Billy Walker (host): Cross the Brazos at Waco
Hank Locklin: Danny Boy
Skeeter Davis: Turning Away
Billy Walker: He Sang the Songs About El Paso

10:30: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Roy Thackerson: Eighth of January

10:45: Beech-Nut
Roy Drusky (host): Don't It Make You Want to Go Home
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Gray Eagle
Roy Drusky: One Day at a time

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Dottie West: It's High Time/Here Comes My Baby
The Whites: Hangin' Around
Jerry Douglas: Cincinnati Rag
Hank Snow: Born For You

11:30: Quincy's
Stonewall Jackson (host): Why I'm Walking
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard/Oh, What A Party
Lorrie Morgan: What I've Got in Mind/Crazy
Stonewall Jackson: Old Chunk of Coal

Congratulations to Lorrie Morgan for 30 years of membership on the Grand Ole Opry, and to all, enjoy the Opry this weekend!!