Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Review of the Grand Ole Opry Family Album-90th Anniversary

Earlier this year, the Grand Ole Opry published and put on sale their new "Grand Ole Opry Family Album-90th Anniversary" which is the new name of what was formally called "Grand Ole Opry History Picture Book." I had heard a lot of positive remarks about this new book and this past week when I was in Nashville for the Opry's 90th birthday bash, I picked up my copy. 

The first thing I noticed with this book was the price. There is a hardback version that includes a few extra items such as a bumper sticker and some peel off stickers that sells for right around $30, and a paperback version that sold for just under $20. I went with the paperback one. The book appears thicker then the old book, but in reality it is about 200 pages, the same size as the previous ones. The difference is that the cover is made out of a heavier paper and is double sided, with every current Opry member pictured either on the front or back cover. The book is definitely heavier then the old books. 

The book itself is well worth the price. There are lots and lots of photos, including many from the Opry's early days. I would have to check for sure, but it would appear that somewhere in the book, almost every Opry member in the history of the Opry is pictured. The first section of the book is a decade by decade history of the Opry, broken down into 5 year increments, with a little write-up of what happened during those years. In the 1925-1934 section, the members are listed in alphabetical order, while from 1935 to the present, they are listed in the order that they joined. And it looks like it is a very accurate list, including those who were around for just a short period of time, such as Slim Whitman. In addition, actual induction dates are listed for some of those older members. 

The main portion of the book has 2 pages for each Opry member, in the same format as the History Picture Book. Jim Ed Brown is included, as he was still living earlier in the year when the book was printed, with Little Big Town listed as the most recent member. The left side of each members page lists the same information as the old book which includes date of Opry induction, birthplace and date born. There is a fairly short biography and a short quote from each member. For example, Reba's quote is " The Grand Ole Opry is home. It's like a family reunion when you come back and get to see everyone." Instead of just a full size photo on the right hand side of the page, the page instead has between four and six photos of the member throughout their career, including a recent publicity shot and for many, a picture from the night they became a member. 

There are a couple of changes in the book from the most recent History Picture Book. For example, the Osborne Brothers are both listed as members instead of just Bobby Osborne as in the previous edition. I guess the Opry realized that if Barbara Mandrell, Ricky Van Shelton and Jeanne Pruett are still considered Opry members even though they are retired, then Sonny Osborne is still considered an Opry member. And what is a new edition of the book without at least one Opry member's induction date changing? Connie Smith is the one change in this book, as her Opry induction date is now listed as August 21, 1965. The previous books had listed either June or September, depending on the edition. 

All in all, this book is well worth the price and every Opry fan should have this most recent book included in their collection. 


  1. From Anonymous in PA: We bought ours (paperback) last week too; concur with your review/description. I especially like the members' photo pages.

  2. Fred, Bismarck:

    Great review. Thanks, Byron.