Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 11/27 & 11/28

Before getting into the line-ups for the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, I first want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. I hope that each of you have the opportunity to spend the day with either family or friends and take a moment to appreciate all the each of us are grateful for. I know I am grateful for many things, including each of you who read and comment on the blog. Blessings to all!!

Now as far as this weekend, when I saw the first segment for the Friday Night Opry and the two Saturday night Grand Ole Opry shows, I thought at first that the Opry was going to run the same line-up for all 3 shows!! Well, they did for the 2 Saturday night shows, but the Friday show does have a few different artists scheduled. 

As far as Opry members this weekend, John Conlee, Mike Snider, Riders In The Sky and Connie Smith are scheduled for all 3 shows, while they will be joined by Vince Gill and Jesse McReynolds on Friday night and Bill Anderson and Bobby Osborne on Saturday night. That covers it for Opry members this weekend: 6 on each show. 

Guest artists on Friday include Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys, The Ellas, Elizabeth Cook, TG Sheppard, Chris Jason and Carly Pearce, who is also set for Saturday night. Joining Carly on Saturday night will be Granger Smith, Tracy Lawrence, Mary Gauthier and Restless Heart. 

The two new names on the list, and both making their Opry debuts are The Ellas and Granger Smith. The Ellas are a female trio consisting of Emily James, Jennifer Denmark and Melissa Fuller. They have just released their debut album, which is a Christmas album of all original music. While not a country album, these young ladies are all talented songwriters. 

Granger Smith is also known as Earl Dibbles, Jr. and is a country music singer and songwriter from Texas. He actually has been active in the business since the late 1990's and has recorded 7 albums. His new CD "Backroad Song" was recently released on Broken Bow Records. 

Friday November 27
7:00: John Conlee (host); Carly Pearce; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys; The Ellas
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Elizabeth Cook; TG Sheppard
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Jesse McReynolds; Chris Janson

Saturday November 28
1st show
7:00: John Conlee (host); Carly Pearce; Mike Snider
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Granger Smith; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Tracy Lawrence; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Mary Gauthier; Restless Heart

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee (host); Carly Pearce; Mike Snider
10:00: Connie Smith (host); Granger Smith; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
10:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Tracy Lawrence; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Mary Gauthier; Restless Heart

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of November 26 & 27, 2010:

Friday November 26
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jimmy C Newman; Thompson Square
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Highway 101
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Stu Phillips; Jim Ed Brown; Holly Williams
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; T. Graham Brown

Saturday November 27
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; Brett Eldredge
8:00: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds; Crystal Gayle; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); The Whites; Jim Ed Brown; Restless Heart

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Brett Eldredge
10:30: John Conlee (host); Ray Pillow; Crystal Gayle; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); The Whites; Restless Heart

And from ten years ago, the weekend of November 25 & 26, 2005:

Friday November 25
1st show
6:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Mel McDaniel; Erika Jo
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; Larry Stephenson Band
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jace Everett; Riders In The Sky
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Catherine Britt
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Walker; T. Graham Brown

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Riders In The Sky
10:00: Jimmy C Newman; Mel McDaniel; Erika Joe
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Larry Stephenson Band; Jace Everett
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Louvin; Catherine Britt
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; T. Graham Brown

Saturday November 26
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Osborne Brothers; Danielle Peck
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Mel McDaniel; Restless Heart
7:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Jean Shepard; Shannon Brown
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Walker; Cherryholmes; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; Marty Stuart

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Danielle Peck
10:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Osborne Brothers; Restless Heart
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jack Greene; Shannon Brown; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Mel McDaniel; Marty Stuart
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Walker; Cherryholmes

There are a couple of milestones to mention this week. First, it was on Saturday November 27, 1971 that Margie Bowes made her last appearance as an official member of the Grand Ole Opry. From the WSM Grand Ole Opry History Picture Book, 1969:

"Margie Bowes is an animated, effervescent young singer whose lively presence has sparked the Grand Ole Opry for little more than a decade. Despite her comparative youth, Margie is an old pro when it comes to pleasing her audiences. In 1958, an extremely nervous teenaged Margie Bowes faced up to her first Opry House audience. The occasion was the Pet Milk Grand Ole Opry talent contest. Margie won, hands down."

"The little gal from Roxboro, North Carolina, has parlayed that shaky beginning into stardom. She had prepared for her contest appearance by performing on WRXO Radio in Roxboro. She rehearsed her songs before the other eight members of her family, thereby getting a wide range of opinions on everything she did. Margie is known for the wide variety of costumes in her wardrobe. She has a lively sense of humor, but has the ability to sell the tear-drop songs as well as the bouncier tunes. Margie was also a stand-out in her recent film appearance in 'Cottonpickin' Chickenpickers.' In addition to her performing talents, Margie is also an accomplished songwriter. Her 'When Dreams Go Out of Style' was recorded by Loretta Lynn. Margie's own recordings have steadily increased her nationwide audience. Her releases include 'Understand Your Gal,' 'Big Girl,' 'Lost,' 'I Can't Love That Way,' and 'Funny How Time Slips Away.'"

"The pretty North Carolinian manages to squeeze in an estimated one hundred thousand miles of date-to-date travelling each year but she makes as many Opry appearances as she can. If Margie's second decade with the Opry is as eventful as her first, she should set some impressive records in the future."

Margie was born on March 18, 1941. After winning the Pet Milk Grand Ole Opry contest, she signed with Hickory Records. Her recording career lasted until 1970 and included releases by Mercury and Decca Records. For a time, she was married to Doyle Wilburn. After leaving the Opry, she did make guest appearances, including several on the annual Opry reunion shows. She currently lives in the Nashville area. 

Here is the line-up from 44 years ago, Saturday November 27, 1971:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
4 Guys (host): Let the Sun Keep Shining
Stringbean: Ruby
Margie Bowes: Understand Your Gal/Big City
4 Guys: Shenandoah

6:45: Rudy's
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): This Train
Ernie Ashworth: Sad Face
Del Wood: Raggin' the Keys
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I Couldn't Care Less

7:00: Luzianne
Charlie Louvin (host): I Don't Love You Anymore/Think I'll Go Somewhere and Cry Myself to Sleep/See the Big Man Cry
Earl Scruggs Revue: Lonesome Reuben
Grandpa Jones: Old Blue
Jack Barlow: Birmingham Blues
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: I'm Gonna Leave You
Earl Scruggs Revue: You Ain't Going Nowhere
Grandpa Jones: Eight More Miles to Louisville
Jack Barlow: It Ain't No Big Thing, But It's Growing
Charlie Louvin: Will You Visit Me on Sundays

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Safe in the Loving Arms of Mine
Merle Kilgore: Ring of Fire
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Oswald: Southern Moon
Jean Shepard: Just As Soon As I Get Over Loving You
Merle Kilgore: Honky-Tonk Man
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
George Morgan (host): Easy Lovin'
Skeeter Davis: One Tin Soldier
Archie Campbell: Comedy
George Morgan: The Gentle Rains of Home
Louie Roberts: Sandy
George Morgan: Candy Kisses

8:30: Stephens
Wilburn Brothers (host): Roll Muddy River
Peggy Little: Little Henry Hurt
Jay Lee Webb: She's Looking Better By the Minute
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Walking in My Sleep
Wilburn Brothers: The War Keeps On Dragging On
Peggy Little: Son of A Preacher Man
Jay Lee Webb: The Happiness of Having You
Wilburn Brothers: That She's Leaving Feeling
Ed Hyde: The Grey Eagle

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Doin' My Time
Margie Bowes: Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Louie Roberts: Come Back, Salina
Harold Weakley: Almost Persuaded
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Turn Your Radio On
George McCormick: Big Wind
Stoney Cooper: Back Up & Push

10:00: Fender
4 Guys (host): Over on the Other Side
Stringbean: Train 45 Heading South
Jack Barlow: Child Bride
4 Guys: Let There Be Peace

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Earl Scruggs Revue: Paul and Silas
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Earl Scruggs & Howdy Forrester: Sally Goodin

10:30: Trailblazer
Charlie Louvin (host) & Diane McCall: Something to Brag About
Grandpa Jones: Kitty Klide
Del Wood: Beer Barrel Polka
Charlie Louvin: I Placed a Call to My Conscience

10:45: Beechnut
George Morgan (host): Easy Lovin'
Jean Shepard: Safe in the Loving Arms of Mine
Crook Brothers: Ida Red
George Morgan: The Last Letter

11:00: Coca-Cola
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Skeeter Davis: One Tin Soldier
Merle Kilgore: Wolverton Mountain
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Phil Campbell: A Thing Called Love
Skeeter Davis: Love Takes a Lot of My Time
Sam McGee: Under the Double Eagle
Merle Kilgore: Folsom Prison Blues

11:30: Elm Hill
Wilburn Brothers (host): It Looks Like the Sun's Gonna Shine
Peggy Little: Little Henry Hurt
Jay Lee Webb: The Happiness of Having You
Wilburn Brothers: The War Keeps On Dragging On
Peggy Little: My God is Real
Jay Lee Webb: Heart Over Mind

A couple of names from that night that everyone might not be familiar with: 

Peggy Little was born in Marlin, Texas in 1942. She began her career as a child vocalist on local radio in Texas. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, she had several records on the charts, including "Son of a Preacher Man" that was a cover of the famous Dusty Springfield hit. She recorded for Dot and Epic Records, with her highest charting singles being "Mama, I Won't Be Wearing a Ring" and "Sugarman," both of which reached #37 on the charts. Peggy left the music industry in the mid-1970s and moved back to Texas, where at last report, she still resides. 

Willie Lee Webb, known as Jay, was born in Butcher Hollow, Van Lear in Johnson County, Kentucky on February 12, 1937, and was the brother of Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle. Like his siblings, he began music at an early age. He left home when he was 19 and moved to Washington State, where he lived with Loretta and her family. He was known as a very good guitar player and when Loretta formed her own band in 1959, he joined as the guitar player. After Loretta was a televised talent contest and left Washington, Jay continued to play the local clubs, finally getting noticed by Jack Clement. In 1960, he went to Memphis where Jack held a recording session for Jay, after which he was signed to Sun Records. In November 1960, after no success at Sun, he was offered a contract with Decca Records, but he declined. After the Sun contract expired in 1961, he began work with the Wilburn Brothers Publishing Company and played on their TV show, along with doing session work for Decca Records, playing on recordings by his sister Loretta and Patsy Cline. Eventually getting fired by Decca, Owen Bradley was approached by Loretta and in 1966, he signed Jay to a recording contract. His recording career lasted until into the early 1970s and he had several records on the charts, the most successful being "I Come Home A Drinkin;", which made it to #19 on the charts. All the while he continued to write songs and perform with the Wilburn Brothers. Jay Lee Webb passed away on July 31, 1996 from pancreatic cancer. 

Louie Roberts is the son of the great steel guitar player Kayton Roberts. Louie was 14 and had already made close to 100 guest appearances on the Opry, and also had appeared on several different TV shows, including the Mike Douglas Show and the Andy Williams Show. He also appeared on several country music specials on NBC. His success started when he won a WSM talent contest several years earlier. During this portion of his career, he recorded for Decca Records. Louie would continue to appear on the Opry into the 1980s. 

The final line-up I wanted to post is from Saturday November 27, 1993, as it was on this night 22 years ago that Joe Diffie became a member of the Grand Ole Opry: 

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Bill Monroe (host): Dear Old Dixie
Wilma Lee Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith
Oswald: Columbus Stockade Blues
Bill Monroe: Christmas Time's A Comin'

6:45: Hall of Fame
Jack Greene (host): Walking on New Grass
Bill Carlisle: I've Waited Too Long
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

7:00: Shoney's
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Skeeter Davis: ''T Ain't Nice
Congressman Collin Peterson: Make the World Go Away
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun's Dream
Mike Snider: Foggy Mountain Breakdown/The Fir Coat
Jimmy Dickens: Sleepin' at the Foot of the Bed

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
Joe Diffie: Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox
Jean Shepard: If Teardrops Were Pennies
Alison Krauss: Baby, You Don't Need Me Anymore
Joe Diffie: John Deere Green
Porter Wagoner: Indian Creek

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): I Got the Fever
Billy Walker: A Million and One
Jeannie Seely: Tell Me About It
Charlie Louvin: Think I'll Go Somewhere and Cry Myself to Sleep
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Bill Anderson: Deck of Cards

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Ancient History
Jan Howard: Gold Watch and Chain
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
The Whites: San Antonio Rose
4 Guys: In the Middle of the Night
Hank Snow: Just A Faded Petal from A Beautiful Bouquet

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Jan Howard: Heartaches by the Number
Stonewall Jackson: Old Chuck of Coal
The Whites: Swing Down Chariot
4 Guys: Let There Be Peace
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco
Porter Wagoner: Tennessee Sunshine

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Jean Shepard: Wabash Cannonball
Bill Anderson: Golden Guitar

10:15: Sunbeam/Tennessee Pride
Jimmy Dickens (host): John Henry
Jimmy C Newman; Allons A Lafayette
Jimmy Dickens: Another Bridge to Burn

10:30: Piccadilly
Bill Monroe (host): True Life Blues
Alison Krauss: I Don't Know Why But I Do
Michael Cleveland: Orange Blossom Special
Bill Monroe: I'm Working On a Building

10:45: Opry Book
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
Jeannie Seely: Too Far Gone
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Black Mountain Rag
Jim Ed Brown: The Old Lamplighter

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): From A Jack to A King
Joe Diffie: Together Again/Honky-Tonk Attitude
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
Mike Snider: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas/(?)
Hank Snow: Black Diamond

11:30: General Jackson
Charlie Walker (host): Right or Wrong
Charlie Louvin: Less and Less
Jack Greene: The Great Speckled Bird
Johnny Russell: In A Mansion Stands My Love/He'll Have to Go
Charlie Walker: Take Me Back to Tulsa

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!


  1. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and especially to you, Byron. All of us are blessed to have you and this blog.

    I counted 26 members on the show in 1993, but 18 back in 1971. We don't like it today that there are only six members performing. I suspect that the 1971 lineup irked some who were present because so few Opry members were on there. How times change.

  2. From Anonymous in Kingman:
    First, like Michael said, Byron, we are very blessed to have you and your blog!

    Let’s not forget Harold Weakley (1929 – 1990), “gum-chewing” drummer for the Opry Staff Band for many years. He also did some announcing on the Opry as well, particularly on the Standard Candy portion of the show alongside veteran announcer Hairl Hensley.
    Here is a passage about him from Paul Hemphill’s book, ‘The Nashville Sound’:
    “Hey, there’s old Harold Weakley over there. Hey, Harold, come here, I want you to meet somebody. Tootsie’s son-in-law. Plays drums at the Opry. Tell us how long you been playing the Opry, Harold.”
    “Well, it’s been about…”
    “This is important now. Fella’s writing a book and we gotta get everything right. Go ahead, tell him.”
    “…nine years…”
    “See there?”
    “…without missing. Every Friday and Saturday night.”
    “Harold sings, too. Good singer. Tell him about your singing, Harold. Go ahead. Talk up.”
    “I sing a little. Not as much as I used to.”
    “Come on, Harold, tell us about the first time you played the Opry. You gotta get this. This is great. Don’t be so damned bashful, Harold.”
    Weakley grins and digs out a piece of fried chicken with a toothpick and sucks his teeth, making a sound like air brakes on a diesel rig. “You don’t ever forget the first time you play the Opry,” he says. “I remember I was supposed to play for Billy Walker on the Bill Monroe show. Something happened, I don’t know what, but Monroe and Walker was the only stars that showed up, so Bill, Bill Monroe, not Walker, he came up to me and said, ‘Son, you’re gonna have to sing so we can fill up the time.’ Talk about being scared. Anyway, I sang a spiritual…”
    “…about the only thing I knew…
    “Get this now.”
    “…and I got five encores.”

  3. Ah, those were the days. And they had a backstage newspaper at the Opry that they called The Harold Weakley. I also think of Roger Miller doing a guest shot and saying something like, "Harold, you ain't no better-looking than you've ever been."

    And there's a You Tube clip of Mac Wiseman doing the Opry as a guest and mentioning Harold's death, saying now he's just playing in a better band. And behind Mac, you could see Ralph Davis's eyes well up.

  4. The Friday Night 'Opry was OUTSTANDING. Loved every minute of being there.
    The place was totally sold out (at least I didn't see any empty seats), the atmosphere was electric, and the 'Opry stars were out.

    Chris Jansen absolutely lit up the place, put on a show full of energy, got a standing ovation. Vince Gill remarked, "I don't know what he's on, but I'd like to bottle it up and sell it." Chris stayed late, and a whole bunch of us bought his new album. He was extremely gracious to anybody who wanted their picture taken with him or any autograph seeker.

    Both Vince and Chris used the staff band, and they certainly rocked the joint when Chris was singing.

    Best gag routine was Too Slim doing anything he could think of to distract Eddie Stubbs, who never missed a beat while reading his Cracker Barrel advertisement. The crowd ate it up.

    Best laugh of the night was when the gal asking questions for gift certificates mentioned that "the next category involves dieting, perhaps you can get some help from Vince Gill !" Vince remarked something about "Yeah, go ahead and make fun of the fat guy."

    All in all, a wonderful night at the 'Opry.