Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Remembering Jimmy Dickens

A great Opry friend of mine, and a frequent reader of the blog, asked if I would post a few line-ups that highlighted Jimmy Dickens. He specifically asked for a couple, so here you go.

As everyone knows, while Jimmy Dickens joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1948, he left the show in 1957. He returned to the Opry as a member on February 8, 1975. On that night, Hank Snow introduced him by saying, "Jimmy is one of the greatest showmen of all time. It's like replacing the most important spoke in a wheel to have him back on the Opry. We need more Jimmy Dickenses." That first night back, Jimmy sang, "Family Reunion." Jimmy told a reporter later, "I thought that it was appropriate. It's hard to put in words and how how you feel about being back in the family. It's been so long."

Here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry, Saturday February 8, 1975, the night Jimmy Dickens rejoined the Opry:

1st show
6:00: Vietti
David Houston (host): She's All Woman/Baby;Baby/Living In A House Full of Love
Charlie Louvin: (?)
Ernie Ashworth: The High Cost of Living
David Houston: Nashville
Charlie Louvin: When You Have to Fly Alone
Ernie Ashworth: Love-I Finally Found It
Kenny Penny: Devil's Dream
David Houston: Almost Persuaded

6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Billy Walker (host): Smokey Places
Justin Tubb: Ramblin' Man
Jim & Jesse: Please Be My Love
Billy Walker: You Gave Me a Mountain

6:45: Rudy's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Don't Let Go
Billy Grammer: Wabash Cannonball/God Will Take Care of You
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top

7:00: Rudy's
Bill Monroe (host): I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
Loretta Lynn: The Pill
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow
Jimmy C Newman: Big Mamou
Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky
Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Did You Think to Pray
Bill Monroe: Bluegrass Breakdown

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Marion Worth: Sleeping At the Foot of the Bed
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Barbara Lea: Ain't Love Grand
Crook Brothers/ Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Black Mountain Rag
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home/Cold Hard Facts of Life/The Carroll County Accident

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Wonder If You're Lonesome Too
Grandpa Jones: Ol' Rattler's Pup
Willis Brothers: Wild Side of Life
Stu Phillips: Loving You; Still Loving You
Lester Flatt: Great Big Woman and A Little Biddy Bottle of Wine
Grandpa & Ramona Jones: Fallen Leaves
Willis Brothers: Big Daddy
Lester Flatt: Foggy Mountain Breakdown

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Jeanne Pruett: Just Like Your Daddy
Jimmy Dickens: Family Reunion
Bill Carlisle: Shanghai Rooster
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Jeanne Pruett: Hold to My Unchanging Love/Love Me/You Don't Need to Move A Mountain/Satin Sheets
Hank Snow: Indian Love Call

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
David Houston (host): Jambalaya
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco
Charlie Louvin: Mary of the Wild Moor
David Houston: Good Things
Ernie Ashworth: The High Cost of Living
David Houston: Almost Persuaded

10:00: Fender
Bill Monroe (host): Never Again Will I Knock on Your Door
Jimmy C Newman: Potato Song
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Bill Monroe: Mule Skinner Blues

10:15: Union 76
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Loretta Lynn: The Pill
Billy Grammer: What A Friend
Porter Wagoner: Carolina Moonshiner
Mac McGaha: Orange Blossom Special

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host): Little Maggie
Grandpa & Ramona Jones: Arkansas Traveler
Justin Tubb: Loving Arms
Lester Flatt: Let the Church Roll On

10:45: Beech-Nut
Jim Ed Brown (host): The Three Bells
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Thank God I Am Free
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Ida Red
Jim Ed Brown: Southern Loving

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): You're Easy to Love
Jeanne Pruett: Just Like Your Daddy
Osborne Brothers: Ruby
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Jeanne Pruett: Welcome to the Sunshine
Sam McGee: Victor Rag
Hank Snow: My Mother

11:30: Elm Hill
Stu Phillips (host): Loving You; Still Loving You
Jimmy Dickens: I'm Little But I'm Loud/I Love Lucy Brown
Marion Worth: Delta Dawn
Bill Calisle: Have A Drink on Me
Ronnie Robbins: Mama Tried/If You Love Me, Let Me Know
Stu Phillips: No One Knows

While we know that Jimmy Dickens came to the Opry in 1948, the exact date has changed several times over the years, the majority of the time it is listed as August. In going through my Opry progams, I have several from 1948 with the first one listing Jimmy dated October 9, 1948. Here is the Opry line-up from that early Jimmy Dickens appearance.

7:30: American Ace Coffee
Roy Acuff (host): Its So Hard to Smile
Tommy Magness: Blackberry Blossom
Dot and Smokey: To Be Announced
Jimmy Riddle: Listen to the Mocking Bird
Roy Acuff: Waltz of the Wind
Uncle Dave Macon: Only Been Down to the Club
Jug Band: Call Old Rattler
Roy Acuff: Take My Hand Precious Lord
Sonny: Red River Valley
Dot and Smokey: To Be Announced
Oswald: Coming From the Ball
Roy Acuff: Will the Circle Be Unbroken

8:00: Purina Show
Ernest Tubb (host): Long Gone Daddy
Bill Monroe: The Girl With the Blue Velvet Band
Mel and Stan: I've Lost All
Jimmy Dickens: John Henry
Crook Brothers: Billy in the Low Ground
Ernest Tubb: Seaman's Blues
Blue Grass Quartet: He'll Set Your Fields on Fire
Velma: Mother's Old Sunbonnet
Butterball: There'll Be No Tears Tonight
Ernest Tubb: Darling What More Can I Do
Hal Smith: Tennessee Wagoner

8:30: Warren Paint
Cowboy Copas (host): Believe It Or Not
Lew Childre: Dis Train
Robert Lunn: To Be Announced
Uncle Dave Macon: Hesitation Blues
Possum Hunters: Old Joe
Cowboy Copas: The Hope of a Broken Heart
String Beans: Crazy War
Okey Dokies: To Be Announced
Rusty and Dusty: The Farmer's Daughter
Cowboy Copas: Kentucky Waltz
Red Herron: To Be Announced

9:00: Roy Acuff (host): Little Moses
Jimmy Riddle: You Call Everybody Darlin'
George Morgan: Please Don't Let Me Love You
Lonzo and Oscar: I Didn't Know the Gun Was Loaded
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Old Joe Clark
Pap and Jug Band: Roly Poly
Lazy Jim Day: Singing the News
Roy Acuff: This World Can't Stand Long
Oswald: Nobody's Business
Tommy Magness: Grey Eagle

9:30: Prince Albert
Red Foley (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
Red Foley: I Just Can't Keep from Crying
Red Foley: No One Will Ever Know
Bradley Kincaid: Blue Tail Fly
Old Hickory Quartet: Waiting for the Robert E. Lee
Wally Fowler: I Got Faith
Floyd Ethridge: Mississippi Sawyer
Floyd Ethridge: Leather Britches

10:00: Walrite
To Be Announced
To Be Announded
Bradley Kincaid: The Miner's Song
To Be Announced
To Be Announced

10:15: Gaylark
Roy Acuff (host): The Heart That Was Broken for Me
Oswald: Roll On Buddy, Roll On
Uncle Dave Macon: Rock of Ages
Roy Acuff: Poem
Gang: Precious Memories
Tommy: Bully of the Town

10:30: Fletcher-Wilson
Cowboy Copas (host): Too Many Tear Drops
Lazy Jim Day: Singing the News
Lew and String Beans: Working on a Building
Cowboy Copas: Tragic Romance
Okey Dokies: To Be Announced
Red Herron: To Be Announced

10:45: Royal Flour
Milton Estes (host): Life Gets Tedious
Mel and Stan: God's River of Blessing
Jimmy Selph: I Got a Hundred and Sixty Acres
Milton Estes: Lay Down Your Soul

11:00: Jefferson Island
George Morgan (host): Petal from a Faded Rose
Crook Brothers: Dust on the Bible
To Be Announced
George Morgan: Lonely River
Crook Brothers: Ida Red

11:15: Ernest Tubb Songbook
Ernest Tubb (host): When a Soldier Knocks and Finds Nobody Home
Velma: They Warned Me About You
Drake Brothers: Highways are Happy Ways
Ernest Tubb: I'll Get Along Somehow

11:30: Farmers Wholesale Nursery
Jimmy Dickens (host): Wedding Bells
Gully Jumpers: To Be Announced
Lonzo and Oscar: To Be Announced
To Be Announced
Jimmy Dickens: Tramp on the Street

11:45: Bob West Guitar
Wally Fowler (host): One Has My Name, the Other Has My Heart
Robert Lunn: To Be Announced
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Bailey
Wally Fowler: Ten Commandments
Robert Lunn: To Be Announced
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Going Up Town

One of the early Opry books that I have in my collection is "Grand Ole Opry" by William McDaniel. This book came out in 1952 and was one of the first that covered the history of the Opry and the members of that time period. Here is what was written about Jimmy Dickens in that book:

Little Jimmy Dickens is definitely the smallest star on the Grand Ole Opry, and he probably has the loudest voice of any man his size in the entertainment field. He is only four feet and eleven inches tall, but every inch of him helps to make up a dynamo of energy and a captivating personality.

Jimmy was born in Raleigh County, West Virginia, near Bolt, and was brought up on a farm. When he was seventeen years old, he entered radio in Beckley, West Virginia, where his big voice and friendly smile made him a local success. From there he went to stations in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Jimmy joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1948, and within a short time he had become a nationwide favorite for his performances both on the air and in personal appearances. The songs that Jimmy sings most are those reminiscent of rural customs and the country way of life, some serious, some humorous. Best example of this is the song that first made him famous: "Old Cold Tater." It harks back to childhood days when he had to wait to eat at the second table on Sunday when the preacher came for dinner at his house, and his mother said, "Jim, take a 'tater and wait." Similar songs that he has made famous and recorded for Columbia are "Sleepin' At The Foot Of The Bed," "The Galvanized Washing Tub" (a familiar bathing vessel), "Get Them Cold Feet Over On The Other Side," etc.

Others of slightly different nature but equally successful are "Bessie The Heifer," "I'm Little But I'm Loud," and "It May Be Silly, But Ain't It Fun." Like all other folk artists, he also sings religious songs. One of his latest is "They Locked God Outside The Iron Curtain."

During his performances, Jimmy is a diminutive cowboy. He wears a smaller version of the traditional Western garb, usually two-toned. He wears cowboy boots, and his favorite pair have sterling silver toes. As his loud voice goes into action, he pats his foot vigorously, jumps and bounces in time with the music. He never loses his infectious smile, and his eyes twinkle with good humor. Between his turns at the microphone, he is usually engaged in some spontaneous comic routine with other members of the cast.

Jimmy is married, but he has no children. He and his wife live in a modest home in Nashville's suburbs. He keeps a horse and is found of riding and hunting.

(The visitation for Jimmy Dickens will be Wednesday evening with the public service on Thursday at 11:00am. WSM radio is broadcasting the service live, both on the AM channel and on-line).


  1. Incredible to look at those lineups. Thanks for sharing them.

    It's interesting that Mr. Acuff wasn't there the night The Potato returned to the Opry, and of course he discovered him. I wonder if he would have done the induction if so, instead of Hank Snow.

  2. Fred, Bismarck:

    "It's never too late," as the Stanley Bros. sang, "to start over new."

    Who would have guessed, when Jimmy returned in 1975, after 18 years, that he would have nearly another 40 years in him at the Opry?

    Thanks for the great lineups!

  3. The service will also be aired live on RFDTV.

  4. Little Jimmy's Celebration of Life service will be broadcast over 650 AM WSM, www.wsmonline.com or through the free WSM mobile app. It will also be live streamed on www.opry.com. Sirius/XM Satellite Radio will air the service on its Willie’s Roadhouse channel & as well as RFD-TV.

    It sure has been a sad week. Little Jimmy was a larger than life character & a character he was. I think Pete Fisher & the Grand Ole Opry did a great job of honoring Little Jimmy last Friday & Saturday evenings & Eddie Stubbs has done his usual excellent job of playing Little Jimmy Dickens music every night this week. And as has been previously announced, Eddie will pay tribute during his entire 5 hour show tomorrow night on the life & music of Little Jimmy. Monday morning Bill Cody dedicated his show to Little Jimmy - he interviewed Bill Anderson, Charley Pride, Andy Griggs, Charlie Daniels & others, which was great. Bill played "I Love Lucy Brown" - I hadn't heard that song in quite a while & as I listened to it, it reminded me of Connie's Smith's answer to Little Jimmy with her song "I Love Charlie Brown." They would do those two songs on the Opry but haven't in quite a while. Always thought it was very cool the way Little Jimmy flipped his guitar up & over & then totally around with his left hand. Sure going to miss him but what a great gift of the body of work he has left behind for us to enjoy.

    Rest in Peace Jimmy ~


  5. I drove 260 miles to Nashville and 260 miles back home to attend the Celebration of Jimmy's life Thursday. It was a very emotional and amazing service. Here was a man who was LOVED by thousands of people, and as best I can tell, had no enemies.
    We should all do as well in our lives.

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