Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 10/23 & 10/24

Before getting into this week's Grand Ole Opry line-ups, I want to offer my thanks and appreciation for all those who have commented on my open letter to Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher. The post generated more comments then anything I have posted previously, and more page views of the blog then any other post. In addition, I received numerous emails, text messages and Facebook messages of people who had the same thoughts that I did. Finally, the post showed up on many country music websites and Facebook pages. It was a response that I never dreamed of. Even my wife, who does not follow the blog, was amazed at the attention it created. 

As far as the Opry itself, I have not heard a thing, nor did I expect to. They pulled one out of their hat last Saturday night when Merle Haggard made a surprise appearance, his first in over a decade. But even with Merle, who in my opinion saved the show that night, the original line-up was still very week. 

As always, you hope someone is paying attention to what is going on over there. Time will tell if the Opry was just in a short term "slump" in getting members or bigger named guest artists to appear, or if the trend will continue. The Opry starts their winter run at the Ryman in several weeks and usually those shows are very good. As far as the short term, this week's line-up is much improved from last weekend, especially the Friday Night Opry which has some star power with Opry members Loretta Lynn and Alison Krauss scheduled. More on that in a moment, but again, my thanks to all. And while some in the Opry's office may not think so, there are still many of us who care what is being presented. 

Now as far as this week, the Opry has managed to come up with 7 Opry members for the Friday Night Opry and 6 for Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. While that may not sound impressive, it is double the number from last weekend. The only 2 Opry members who are scheduled both nights are Connie Smith and Mike Snider. On Friday night they will be joined by Jeannie Seely, Bobby Osborne, Alison Krauss, John Conlee and Loretta Lynn, with The Whites, Jesse McReynolds, Ray Pillow and Jan Howard joining them on Saturday night. It is really nice to see Loretta back on the Opry. This will be just her 2nd Opry appearance for 2015, while for Alison, it will be her 3rd. 

Among the guests appearing this weekend, "Nashville" will be represented by Clare Bowen on Friday night and Rainey Qualley on Saturday. Making their Opry debut this week will be Haley & Michaels on Saturday night. Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels, who are married, are from Northern California. 2015 has been their breakout year as they have had a recording, "Just Another Love Song" hit #59 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. They also have received air play on SiriusXM and have had videos played on CMT and GAC. 

Rounding out the Friday line-up is Phil Vassar and Larry Sparks and The Cox Family, both of whom will be appearing with Alison, recreating the segment they shared from an Opry appearance several months ago. And Saturday night will feature Casey James, Jim Lauderdale, EmiSunshine and T. Graham Brown. I am a fan of T. Graham and he used to make a lot of Opry guest appearances. It is nice to see him back. 

Friday October 23
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider; Clare Bowen
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Phil Vassar
8:15: Alison Krauss (host); Larry Sparks; The Cox Family
8:45: John Conlee (host); Loretta Lynn

Saturday October 24
7:00: The Whites (host); Casey James; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Haley & Michaels; Jim Lauderdale
8:15: Ray Pillow (host); Jan Howard; Rainey Qualley; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); EmiSunshine; T. Graham Brown

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago this weekend, October 22 & 23, 2010. During Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, Blake Shelton officially became the Opry's newest member and this year he will be celebrating five years of Opry membership. 

Friday October 22
7:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jimmy C Newman; Daryle Singletary
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Rodney Atkins
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Stonewall Jackson; John Michael Montgomery
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; Dailey & Vincent

Saturday October 23
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Emily West
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jimmy C Newman; Steve Wariner
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Trace Adkins; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Blake Shelton

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Emily West
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Jim Ed Brown; Steve Wariner
10:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Trace Adkins; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Blake Shelton

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of October 21 & 22, 2005. What is interesting from this weekend is on Saturday night, the entire televised portion was devoted to Martina McBride, who was supporting her new album. 

Friday October 21
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; George Hamilton IV; Tim O'Brien
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; The Wrights
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Erika Jo
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Restless Heart
9:30: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jack Greene; Buddy Jewell

Saturday October 22
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jimmy Wayne
7:00: Martina McBride
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy C Newman; The Wrights Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Mike Snider (host); Jim Ed Brown w/The Browns; Ray Price

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; The Whites; Martina McBride
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Jimmy C Newman; Jimmy Wayne
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Lynn Anderson; Catherine Britt; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jean Shepard; Ray Price
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host) w/The Browns; Ray Pillow; The Wrights

Looking back in Grand Ole Opry history, it was 50 years ago Saturday, October 23, 1965 that Roy Acuff, Jr. made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. 

Roy Acuff  Jr. was born on July 25, 1943 in Nashville, Tennessee. Roy graduated from high school in 1962 and after graduating he worked as a guide at Dunbar Cave, which was owned by his father. The following year he became interested in music and learned to play guitar and drums. By 1964 he was working in the shipping department of Acuff-Rose. The following year, he was heard singing by producer Don Gant, who had him make a private demo recording. Wesley Rose like what he heard and signed Roy Jr. to the company's Hickory Records. His first recording session was held on September 30, 1965, and he recorded "Baby Just Said Goodbye" and "Wabash Cannonball," both of which he sang on the Opry on the night of his debut. The following year, he had three singles on the charts, "Stand Tall," "Victim of Life's Circumstances," and "Lament of the Cherokee Reservation." 

Roy continued to tour and record, but with no real success and in 1976 he retired from performing. He took a job running the promotion department at Hickory Records. He stayed there until 1982 and after his mother died, he quit the business. He was considered a gifted artist and when he left the music business, he resumed painting and in 1990 had showing at a gallery in Florida. He is considered a great animal lover and environmentalist. Since the death of his father, he has largely disappeared from public view. 

Here is the running order from October 23, 1965, the night Roy Acuff Jr. made his Grand Ole Opry debut:

6:00: Vietti
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Big Midnight Special
Ernest Ashworth: A Week in the Country
Jim & Jesse: Memphis
Bob Luman: Love Worked a Miracle
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I Couldn't Care Less
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Stoney Cooper: (?)

6:30: Sealtest
Jimmy Newman (host): Artificial Rose
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Connie Smith: If I Talk To Him
Stringbean: Big Ball in Nashville
Osborne Brothers: I'll Be Alright Tomorrow
Curly Fox: Orange Blossom Special 
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Jimmy Newman: Cry, Cry Darling

7:00: Rudy's
Roy Drusky (host): Strangers
Margie Bowes: Lost
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco
The Browns: I Heard the Bluebird Sing
George Hamilton IV: Write Me A Picture
Bobby Bare: Four Strong Winds
Margie Bowes: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
The Browns: The 3 Bells
Roy Drusky: Peel Me A Nanner
Jimmy Wilson & Pete Wade: Alabama Jubilee

7:30: Luzianne
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Bill Monroe: There's An Old, Old House
Leroy Van Dyke: Walk On By
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Willie Nelson: I Just Can't Let You Say Goodbye
Buck Trent & Mac Magaha: Turkey in the Straw
Norma Jean: Let's Go All the Way
Bill Monroe: Panhandle Country
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): The Ballad of Jed Clampett
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Bobby Lord: Life Can Have Meaning
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Bill Anderson: City Lights/I've Enjoyed As Much of This As I Can Stand/That's What It's Like to Be Lonesome/I Don't Love You Anymore/Once A Day/Bright Lights & Country Music

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Roy Acuff, Jr.: Baby Just Said Goodbye/Wabash Cannonball
Wilburn Brothers: Making Plans
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Loretta Lynn: The Home You're Tearin' Down 
Lonzo & Oscar: There's A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea

9:00: Pet Milk
Ernest Tubb (host): Walking the Floor Over You
Sonny James: You're the Only World I Know/I'll Keep Holding On/Behind the Tear
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Gray Eagle
Tex Ritter: Take Him Fishing
Glaser Brothers: Teardrops Til Dawn
Jean Shepard: Ain't You Ashamed
Stringbean: String's A' Pickin

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Carter Family: Cottonfields
Charlie Louvin: Think I'll Go Somewhere and Cry Myself to Sleep
Anita & Helen Carter: Twelve O'Clock Hour
Jim & Jesse: Memphis
Marion Worth: I Will Not Blow Out the Light
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such As I

10:00: Schick
Porter Wagoner (host): I'm Gonna Feed You Now
Leroy Van Dyke: Auctioneer
Norma Jean: I Wouldn't Buy A Used Car from Him
Ernest Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Speck Rhodes: Hound Dog

10:15: Mary Carter Paints
Roy Acuff (host): Freight Train Blues
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Satisfied
Jimmy Newman: Artificial Rose
Wilburn Brothers: It's Another World

10:30: Harvey's
Flatt & Scruggs (host): The Wreck of the Old 97
Billy Walker: Forever
Skeeter Davis: Silver Threads & Golden Needles
Flatt & Scruggs: Father's Table Grace

10:45: Newport
Ernest Tubb (host): For God & Country & You
Loretta Lynn: Blue Kentucky Girl
Bill Carlisle: What Kind of Deal is This
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark
Ernest Tubb & Loretta Lynn: We're Not Kids Anymore

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Bill Monroe: I'll Live in the Past
Glaser Brothers: Molly Darling
Margie Bowes: I Can't Love That Way
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cacklin' Hen
Bill Anderson: Bright Lights & Country Music/Still
Sam & Kirk McGee: Don't Let Your Deal Go Down
Hank Snow: From A Beggar to a King

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): Ribbon of Darkness
Willis Brothers: Pinball Anonymous
Dottie West: All the World Is Lonely Now
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Curly Fox: The Old Gray Mule
Marion Worth: Mansion of the Hill
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry/Bouquet of Roses/I Could Never Be Ashamed of You/Lovesick Blues

There you have it. I don't thank anyone could complain about the Opry that Saturday night. And I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend.  


  1. That lineup of members on the night Roy Acuff, Jr., debuted ranks with the opening night at the "new" Opry House. Wow!

    I believe Roy, Jr. (who really isn't a junior--his name is Roy Neill Acuff, for his grandfather) was there for the centennial of his father's birth, in the audience, and Vince Gill introduced him?

  2. Byron, once again, thank you for writing your open letter, expressing your feelings & opinions. I fully share the same thought & opinions of yours & others.

    I can pretty much assure you that no one from Opry management will not reach out directly to you.

    However, I can pretty much assure you that all of us will receive Opry management's response solely by the acts they put on their stage since reading your letter & there is no way that they did not read what you & others had to say. And no one should be dumbing the other side down. If Opry management cannot or does not want to get their members to do more shows, they won't have us in their seats. That, in my opinion, would not only be Opry management's fault, what does that say about their members? To me? Not a whole lot. I continually hear of all the Opry appearances current members say they made before becoming members (Brad Paisley) & once they become members, they forget where the stage is or they appear maybe a handful of times in the five or ten years after becoming a member. In my opinion, that is pathetic.

    Opry management has to know that unless they get their Opry members on that stage & totally consistently, they will not have us spending our money. Opry management cannot be that naive to think otherwise. This is a huge business & I remember many years ago listening to an interview with Reba McEntire saying that Conway Twitty told her to always remember it is a business first & yes that is correct. WE fans love the music ... THEY are in a business.

    In my opinion, the Opry reached out to Merle Haggard, knowing full well that he was in Nashville recording. I heard on Eddie Stubbs' show last week that Merle was in Nashville recording. The Opry really must start doing things differently or they will be going down to one hour shows. To have Alan Jackson get to the stage once every year & a half or more is totally ridiculous. IF he loves being a member as much as he says he does, show up!!! He is a beloved member, I LOVE his music, always have, it just seems to me that the only time he gets to the stage is when he has another album coming out.

    And I agree, what about Travis Tritt, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Clint Black, Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss (even though she is on this weekend) & others? I don't CARE where these people live & I certainly do not CARE about their touring schedule(s.) When they were invited to become members, I fully recall their answers being yes, so now that they are members, seems to me, that if someone is a member of a very small prestigious group, of which not everyone in the genre of country music will be, PLEASE behave like a member & join in on the fun. If they repeatedly choose not to, then in my opinion, Opry management should ask them to turn in their membership OR the member should turn in their "beloved" membership ... because membership cannot mean that much to them if they just pay lip service about how they love being a member & then not appear on the stage.

    I rarely get to Nashville anymore, there was a time when I went once or twice a year. Now I get there every 4/5 years, I sound like an Opry member for Pete sakes & that is not even remotely funny. I would most likely get to Nashville more, if the Opry had consistently great line-ups. For what they are putting on stage, I will stay home & listen online & the cost of me doing that will be mere pennies for the electric bill. So if the Opry is saying THEY don't have to do any better, well, neither do I & I have been going to Nashville & the Opry since 1992.

    There are two old sayings out there that go:

    "When you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you already have."


    "Where there's a will, there's a way."

    It's up to Opry management first & foremost.


  3. Jeanene, thank you for the wonderful comment. Well said and I agree with you that Eddie or someone from the Opry reached out to Merle. No matter who did or how it came about, it was a great Opry moment.

    Agreeing to become an Opry member and not showing up or supporting the show really puzzles me. In simple terms, I look at Opry membership much like membership in a club on the local level. If you join the PTA in your school district, you are expected to attend the meetings. If you join the Elks or the Eagles, you are expected to attend and contribute to the functions of the club. If you join a local golf league, you are expected to be there and play or you are dismissed. The Opry is the same. You join and you are expected to contribute and attend, at whatever requirements that are set. If you no longer want to attend or support the Opry, or whatever organization you belong to, you quit.

    I think part of what is happening with the younger entertainers is that they think of Opry membership as a reward, much like winning a CMA or ACM Award. You appear and accept the "trophy" and then brag about it and that's it. I think the part about actually performing and supporting the show doesn't get through to them, Carrie being the exception. The older members who have joined in recent years, such as Charlie Daniels, Mel Tillis and the Oak Ridge Boys, do understand what Opry membership is all about and they do support the show through their appearances. Maybe it is a generational thing.

  4. A generational thing indeed. How many of these new members really understand the Opry, know the Opry history, not just the great names that appeared before. Anyone that remotely knows anything about country music can say that Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, George Jones or Johnny Cash were part of the Opry at some point but what do they really know about their contributions to the show or what roll the show played in their career.

    The evolving nature of radio, TV and the record business has de-emphasized the Opry's role and these young folks only know it is a house in Nashville that has some prestige and is a career goal. A trophy to set on the self and brag about is exactly right in most cases. How many of the new members honestly call country greats as there influence. They can drop names like Cash, Jones, Haggard, Loretta or Tammy but they will more likely list some rock, pop or southern rock act as that influence. Further, who is Ray Price, ET, Acuff, Snow, Thompson, Wells, or Shepard?

    On the other hand, many of the more traditional guests that appear many many times understand the Opry and would likely respect the membership but due to the nature of the business they do not have the name recognition the Opry is looking for to fill those seats that one time until they play out the masses. So, they fill the voids like the remaining veterans.

    Sadly, maybe the Opry has outlived it's time. Like the entertainer who gets out at the top of their game instead of fading away and being remember as a has been, maybe the Opry needs to be retired and the house and show be be re branded. You all know it hurts me to say that but I hate to see our beloved Opry drug though the mud and abused as it appears is now happening.

    Knightsville, IN

  5. From Anonymous in PA: Jim, your last paragraph above is unfortunate but very close to coming true. On a very sad note, Joey Feek (of Joey&Rory, the frequent, talented, and well liked Opry guests) has stopped her cancer treatments.

    1. @Anonymous ~ incredibly sad news regarding Joey Feek ... their little daughter, Indiana, will never truly know her Mother. I receive Rory's blog, these two wonderful human beings are two of the strongest people I am aware of. When I read that he threw away their calendar, I could not hold back the tears any longer. When we all say "life ain't fair" no, it is not. May they find peace and comfort at this very sad time.


  6. With the Hall of Fame Medallion ceremony this Sunday, there are probably Hall of Fame members in town. Why not invite all of them who are willing and able to perform. Maybe an Opry Salute to Hall of Fame members. It would probably sell out two shows each night and would be a real Opry weekend. The fact that those in charge don't think of things like this is so sad. What a great weekend it would have made.

  7. Funny you should mention a salute to the Hall of Fame. Remember when the latest gimmick was the "Signature" Show? The Opry staged a salute to the Hall of Fame the Saturday night after the new Hall was dedicated in 2001 and I was there for both shows and management managed to foul up that show too! At the Hall of Fame dedication they had a red carpet procession with Hall of Famers followed by members of the Grand Ole Opry in the order of their Opry induction. There were probably 10 or 12 Hall of Famers and at least 20 or 30 veteran Opry stars there. Remember that at that time Porter, Bill, Jean and Connie were not Hall of Famers. So while we saw George Jones at the Hall of Fame, we got Billy Yates singing a tribute to Jones on the Opry that weekend, just like we got Brenda Lee sitting in the front row of the Opry not singing and instead we got Mandy Barnett (for goodness, make the poor woman a member, already, this is getting embarrassing) doing her tribute to Patsy Cline. We also got Dean Miller singing a tribute to his dad. I will give them credit they had Kitty Wells on the first show of the Opry and I think Earl Scruggs was a surprise guest, but then again let's not forget both those greats were turned down when they asked to rejoin the cast. Oh and did I mention many, many of the Opry members who were at the Hall of Fame dedication were nowhere to be found on the Opry that weekend AND both Saturday night shows were identical? But hey, now that I think about it we actually got TWO shows that were 2 1/2 hrs long with probably 15 acts... wouldn't it be nice to have that show today?

  8. That was on Saturday May 19, 2001. To make it worse, the Opry was not televised that night. It would have been a great night to have featured the Opry Hall of Fame members, if they were so inclined.

    1st show
    6:30: Riders In The Sky; Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; Billy Yates
    7:00: Porter Wagoner; Ray Pillow; The Whites; Elizabeth Cook; Mel McDaniel
    7:30: Jimmy Dickens; Chalee Tennison; Mandy Barnett; Charley Pride
    8:00: Mike Snider; Charlie Walker; Osborne Brothers; Sherrie Austin; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
    8:30: Jimmy C Newman; Dean Miller; Cindy Moore; Kitty Wells

    2nd show
    9:30: Porter Wagoner; Connie Smith; Mel McDaniel
    10:00: Jimmy Dickens; Ray Pillow; Billy Yates; Elizabeth Cook
    10:30: Riders In The Sky; The Whites; Charlie Walker; Mandy Barnett; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
    11:00: Jimmy C Newman; Charlie Louvin; Osborne Brothers; Charley Pride
    11:30: Mike Snider; Sherrie Austin; Dean Miller; Chalee Tennison; Cindy Moore

    And yes, Earl the first show

  9. And just to finish the thought for any newcomers who are here, there are reports from highly reliable sources that Kitty Wells and Earl Scruggs both asked to be reinstated as Opry members, right around this time period. Their primary reason was in order to receive the benefits of Opry members, such as the insurance. And they would have been at the Opry performing also. Whether they made a formal request to join, or had others ask for them, I am not sure. What I do know for sure is that they both were turned down. Even after being turned down to rejoin, Earl especially would still show up at the Opry once in a while. Kitty retired from performing and traveling not long after this.

    1. I remember the last time Webb Pierce was on the Opry. He was on the Backstage at the Opry on TNN. He said he would like to be an Opry Member again. I would have thought the Opry would have inducted him that night. But no . How sad the great Webb Pierce wanted to be on the Opry again but wasn't asked. What a loss for Opry fans.

  10. In all fairness, I hope Webb had conquered his alcohol demons before asking to come back on the Opry.
    He was a total disaster in 2 shows I saw in Michigan a few years before. Webb was an industry joke for his unreadyness many years before "no-show" Jones. But what a great voice when he was sober !!! By the way, has Leona Williams ever been considered for Opry membership ??? She is always terrific as she is on the "ET shop tonight "

    Dashmann - Flushing, Michigan

  11. Fred, Bismarck:

    Dash, I had heard of Webb's fondness for the bottle -- "many a good man's fault," as the Irish used to say --but thought the damage was limited to some relationships within the industry. Didn't realize it had carried over into his personal appearances, which is bad, bad, bad.

    You're sure right about Webb being on when he was on. As late as his album with Willie Nelson, c. 1982, he could still bring it. Too bad he got lazy about his recorded music in the 1960s; it surely affected his legacy and helped delay his election to the Hall. Guess he got too rich and comfortable.

    I like to remember Webb as he was in the '50s, at the top of his game, turning out hit after hit. I'm not as fond of what Billboard called the "weepers" as I used to be, but oh some of those others, like "Walkin' the Dog," "Why, Baby, Why," "In the Jailhouse Now," "I'm Tired," "Any Old Time," and on and on. And his band, adding to the trademark Pierce sound, was one of the sharpest in the business.

    Any other big Webb fans in Fayfare Land?

    1. Good Sunday morning, Fred ~

      Loved Webb Pierce's music and he sure did have a great voice. I remember my parents having a small record player and buying the "In The Jailhouse Now" 45 record. We played that record until it was practically worn out.

      Some of my all time favorite Webb songs are "There Stands The Glass", "More and More", "Wondering" and "In The Jailhouse Now." However, I will listen to any Webb Pierce song, especially when Eddie Stubbs plays them, then we get the backstory of the song, who wrote it, who played on it and where it was recorded.


    2. If you love country music, you love Webb Pierce. That's all there is to it.

      I hadn't heard stories about Webb and the bottle, but, let's face it, it was a common affliction in country music. Some handled it better than others. One of the old jokes about the Opry is that the later shows were always more "interesting" than the early ones because people had gone across to Tootsie's. There's a story of Earl Scruggs playing a song perfectly and everybody marveling that he could even stand up to play it, much less do it so well.

  12. As a Webb Pierce fan myself, I will say that Webb did himself no favors within the Nashville community when he had his spat with Ray Stevens over the backyard guitar shaped swimming pool. Especially after the tour buses began parking in front of the house and the gift shop got going. And let's face it, the stories are out there about Webb, and the wish of many took place when Webb, who was the biggest country music star in the 1950s, was not elected to the Hall of Fame until after he passed away.

    Webb joined the Opry in 1952 after Hank Williams left and resigned from the Opry on February 19, 1957. Webb's first single was "Wondering" in 1952 and it went to #1 on the country charts. That was followed by "That Heart Belongs To Me" and "Back Street Affair", both of which also went to #1. After that, he had 32 straight country singles that all went to the Top 10, a streak that lasted until 1957. His biggest hit was "In The Jailhouse Now" that was #1 for 21 weeks and was on the charts for 37 weeks.

    Interesting fact that I know some are aware of, maybe others are not, but Webb's former home with the guitar shaped swimming pool is now owned by Colin Reed, the Chairman and CEO of Ryman Hospitalities, the owners of WSM and the Grand Ole Opry. And the pool is still there although off limits to the public.

  13. Fred, Bismarck:

    Thank you to Anon, Dashmann, Jeanene, Michael and Byron for your recollections and appreciation of Webb Pierce. They put Webb in my head again, and he'll be kicking off my CD lineup tonight.

  14. Fred, Bismarck:

    Re. Byron's recollection of Ray Stevens' problem with Webb's swimming pool:

    Stevens may have won the court case but surely lost on public relations. The impression I carried away was, Stevens loved us dumb fans when we bought the records and concert tickets, but didn't want to intruding on his "off" time. He fed Webb the perfect squelch: "That's what (Stevens) gets for living across the street from a star."

    Thought more highly of Webb's pool, and less of Stevens, ever since.

  15. Fred, Bismarck:

    Sorry for the typo, intended "didn't want US intruding."

    P.S. Webb sounded as great as ever tonight! Catch up with "True Love Never Dies," a 1958 cut that was never issued as a single, courtesy of the pop disruption.