Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 10/30 & 10/31

Two weeks ago, the Grand Ole Opry had what was probably the worst line-up of the year. It was a very poorly scheduled Saturday night. Two weeks later, the Opry has one of the best line-ups of the year scheduled as both the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry look very, very good. The majority of the artists both nights are Opry members, and the members that are scheduled are some of the Opry's better members. 

Appearing both nights this weekend are Opry members Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Hall of Fame members Bill Anderson and Mel Tillis, and two future Hall of Fame members in Ricky Skaggs and Charlie Daniels. They will be joined on Friday night by members Connie Smith, also a Hall of Fame member, Jeannie Seely, Jesse McReynolds, and by an Opry member who we all wish was at the Opry more often, Brad Paisley. Then on Saturday night, in addition to those already mentioned, you have John Conlee, The Whites, Bobby Osborne, and Hall of Fame member Vince Gill.

As far as guest artists, Chris Janson is scheduled for Friday night. He will also be signing copies of his new CD, and he has a new single out that is moving rapidly up the charts. And yes, I think it is about time that he becomes an Opry member. Everything I have read indicates to me that he appreciates the Opry, understands the history and tradition of the Opry, and I believe he will appear after joining. It's about time. 

Joining Chris on Friday night will be The Willis Clan and John Rich (of Big & Rich), with Bradley Gaskin. Bradley was discovered by John Rich in a talent contest a few years ago and has been working hard to get Bradley going on his career, so far with mixed results. As far as Saturday night, Morgan Evans and Restless Heart are the only non-members scheduled. 

Friday October 30
7:00: Connie Smith (host); The Willis Clan; Jeannie Seely; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); John Rich with Bradley Gaskin; Mel Tillis
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Chris Janson; Charlie Daniels Band
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Brad Paisley

Saturday October 31
7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Morgan Evans; John Conlee
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Restless Heart
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mel Tillis; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Charlie Daniels

Over the years, there have been a few weekends that are generally stronger then others. For whatever reason, the December Ryman shows fall into that group, along with the 1st weekend back at the Opry House in February and the final October weekend prior to the move to the Ryman. The pattern continues this year with a great weekend scheduled. And, I am sure a few of the 90th anniversary awards will be given out this weekend. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of October 29 & 30, 2010:

Friday October 29
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; Joe Diffie
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Rodney Atkins
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Brett Eldredge; Craig Morgan
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds; Oak Ridge Boys

Saturday October 30
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Whites
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Laura Bell Bundy
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Josh Thompson; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Rascal Flatts

And from ten years ago, October 28 & 29, 2005:

Friday October 28
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Billy Walker; Alecia Nugent
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Charlie Louvin; Jack Greene; Emerson Drive
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); John Conlee; Blue Highway
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Restless Heart
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Osborne Brothers; Mandy Barnett

Saturday October 29
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; John Anderson
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Brad Paisley; Wynonna; Cherryholmes
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; John Conlee; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Rhonda Vincent

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; John Anderson
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Rhonda Vincent
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Wynonna; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; The Whites
11:30: John Conlee (host); Cherryholmes

Now for this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history, I have the line-up from Saturday October 30, 1943. Here is the show from 72 years ago, or just 18 years after the Opry started:

8:00: Purina
Bill Monroe: Train 45
Uncle Dave Macon and Doris: Jenny Put the Kettle On
Bill Monroe: Never No More Blues
Daniel Quartette: The Sweetest Song I Know
Wilbur: Sweet Evalina
Curly Williams and Georgia Peach Pickers: Home In San Antone
Ernest Tubb: Blue Eyed Elaine
Carl Story: Bile Them Cabbage Down
Uncle Dave Macon and Doris: Chewing Gum
Bill and Clyde: In The Pines
Chubby Wise: Fishers Hornpipe
Bill Monroe: John Henry

8:30: Crazy Water Crystals
Paul Howard and Arkansas Cotton Pickers: With Tears In My Eyes
Marie and Clyde Dillaha: I Can't Go On
Crook Brothers: 8th of January
Eddy Arnold: The Hand Is Writing On The Wall
Jack Shook and The Missouri Mountaineers: Be Honest With Me
Possum Hunters: Ragged Bill
Ford Rush: Silver Threads Among The Gold
Sam, Kirk, and the Boys from Tennessee: If I Had My Life To Live Over
Lonny and Tommy Thompson: You're My Darling You're My Sunshine
Smith Sisters: No Letter Today
Uncle Rufus: My Mother In Law
Gully Jumpers: Chinese Breakdown

9:00: Royal Crown
Golden West Cowboys: Better Quit It Now
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Rolling Down The Line
Ernest Tubb: Last Night I Dreamed
Curly Williams and the Georgia Peach Pickers: When the Sun Goes Down
Robert Lunn: Military Talking Blues
Little Becky Barfield: Don't Forget
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Old Hen Cackled
Ernest Tubb: My Time Will Come Some Day
Curly Williams and The Georgia Peach Pickers: Columbus Stockade Blues
Tex Summey: Hawaiian Sunset
Golden West Cowboys: I Can't Forget Loving You

9:30: Prince Albert
Roy Acuff and His Smokey Mountain Boys: Green Back Dollar
Roy Acuff and His Smokey Mountain Boys: Live and Let Live
Minnie Pearl: In the Shade of the Pines
Mack McGarr: D Chord
Hoe Down: Arkansas Traveler
Jug Band: Pistol Packing Mama
Old Hickory Singers: Birmingham Jail
Whitey Ford: The Duke of Paducah
Jimmy Riddle: Fox Chase

10:00: Wallrite
Bill Monroe: Turkey In The Straw
Sally Ann: Nobody's Darling On Earth
Blue Grass Quartet: Lord Lead Me On
Clyde Moody: The Face I See At Evening
Chubby Wise: Here and There

10:15: Weatherman
Daniel Quartet: Waiting for the Boys to Come Home
Uncle Dave Macon and Doris: Going Down This Road Feeling Bad
Possum Hunters: Take Your Foot Out of the Mud
Eddy Arnold: I'm Coming Home Darling
Marie and Clyde Dillaha: Someday You'll Be Sorry
Uncle Dave Macon and Doris: Take Me Back to My Old Carolina Home
Daniel Quartet: We Are Climbing
Possum Hunters: Durang Hornpipe

10:30: Cherokee Mills
Roy Acuff: Beautiful Brown Eyes
Roy Acuff: Mother the Queen of My Heart
Rachel and Oswald: Gathering Flowers from the Hillside
Jimmy Riddle: San Antonio Rose
Jug Band: Hi-Di-Ho-Baby

10:45: Lazyu
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Uncle Rufus: The Cat Came Back
Sam, Kirk, Art and Goldie: While I'm Away
Robert Lunn, Floyd and Goldie: Riding Down the Canyon
Lonny and Tommy Thompson: Song of the Bandit
Gully Jumpers: Grey Eagle
Sam and Kirk: It's Too Late to Say You Are Wrong
Crook Brothers: John Henry

11:00: Roy Acuff Song Book
Roy Acuff: I'll Reap My Harvest In Heaven
Roy Acuff: Pins and Needles
Rachel and Oswald: Girl I Love Don't Pay Me No Mine
Velma Williams: Too Late
Jimmy Riddle: Wang-Wang Blues

11:15: Ernest Tubb Songbook
Ernest Tubb: When the World Has Turned You Down
Ernest Tubb: I'm Tired of You
Leon Short: Won't You Come Back to Me
Ernest Tubb: I'm Wondering How

11:30: Saf-Kill
Golden West Cowboys: Just That Kind
Little Becky Barfield: I'll Betcha' My Heart I Love You
Tex Summey: San Antonio Rose
Pete Pyle: That Cheap Look In Your Eyes
Jal Smith: Black Mountain Stomp
Trio: Old Dusty Saddle

11:45: Coyne Electric
Curly Williams and The Georgia Peach Pickers: I'll Get Along Somehow
Smith Sisters: Columbus Stockade Blues
Paul Howard and The Arkansas Cotton Pickers: I'm Sending You Red Roses
Fruit Jar Drinkers: 8th of January
Curly Williams and The Georgia Peach Pickers: So Long to the Red River Valley

As you can see from this line-up, the show was still heavily packaged with some of the early string bands, many of whom were very familiar Opry members, including Curly Williams and his Georgia Peach Pickers, Possum Hunters, Gully Jumpers, Paul Howard and The Arkansas Cotton Pickers, Crook Brothers and Fruit Jar Drinkers. And of course, everyone knows who Roy Acuff, Eddy Arnold, Uncle Dave Macon, Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys and Ernest Tubb are. But there are a few acts who were on that night that some folks might have forgotten as early Opry members:

The John Daniel Quartet was one of the best known and most influential gospel music artists of the period. John Daniel, the leader, was born in Boaz, Alabama in 1903. He came from a musical family and in the 1930s he formed his group, which included his brothers John and Troy, along with friends Carl Rains and E.C. Littlejohn. They signed with the A.J. Showalter Company, which was one of the leading songbook publishing companies. By 1937, they had joined the Vaughan organization and their popularity took off. By the end of the 1930s, they had appeared in 38 states and Canada. In 1936, Wally Fowler joined the group and he would remain until 1943, when he left to form the Oak Ridge Quartet, later known as the Oak Ridge Boys. In 1942, the quartet signed a radio contract with WSM to do a morning program and this eventually led to them becoming members of the Grand Ole Opry. The John Daniel Quartet continued into the 1950s, when their popularity began to be surpassed by the new gospel quartets coming on the scene, which included the Blackwood Brothers and the Statesmen. John Daniel passed away in 1961.

Clarence "Mac" McGarr was considered an excellent mandolin player and fiddler who would become the fiddler for the Opry stage band. He was at one time a part of The Missouri Mountaineers and later did some work with Ernest Tubb. He was a part of the Opry through most of the 1940s and would become the leader of the Opry stage band and fill in for other acts as needed. 

Jack Shook and his Missouri Mountaineers were considered the Opry's most popular band in the late 1930s. They originally came to the Opry in February 1935. Jack Shook was born in 1910 and passed away in September 1987. Very little is known about the Missouri Mountaineers as they group was made up of primarily WSM staff musicians and rarely toured. In later years, after the group ended, Jack Shook continued to work at WSM and would often appear as part of the early morning staff band that worked WSM's TV shows. He also became one of Nashville's first studio session men, playing rhythm guitar for folks such as Hank Williams and Chet Atkins. 

The Smith Sisters largely came and went unnoticed. I could not even find a biography of them other then to confirm that they were actually Opry members in the early 1940s. 

Pete Pyle was born on April 18, 1920 and passed away in March 1995. He came to the Opry as a solo performer in the late 1930s and then in 1941 he became a member of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys. He served in the Army in World War II and upon returning to the Opry, he first became a member of Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys, then forming his own group, the Mississippi Valley Boys. By 1953, he was back with Bill Monroe, eventually becoming the leader of the house band at his Brown County Jamboree in Bean Blossom. 

Little Becky Barfield was never an Opry member, although she did perform with Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys. She was the featured vocalist, following in the footsteps of Eddy Arnold and had just joined Pee Wee's group in 1943, at the age of 15. She passed away in California in 1958 at the young age of 31. 

Tex Summey was not actually a solo Opry member in 1943, joining the cast later as Cousin Jody. 

Finally, there was Carl Story. He never became an Opry member however in 1942 he was the fiddler for Bill Monroe, replacing Howdy Forrester who had been drafted into the Army. Carl stayed with Bill for about a year, until he himself was drafted. Carl had a long and successful career in bluegrass music, and he was called "The Father of Bluegrass Gospel Music." Carl passed away in 1995 at the age of 78.

That covers a few of the names people might have forgotten. 

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!!

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.  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

An Open Letter to Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher

Dear Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Fisher: 

As someone who has attended and listened to Grand Ole Opry shows for the past 40+ years, I have seen and heard some great moments at the Opry. Among those are the Grand Ole Opry's PBS shows, the 75th anniversary weekend, the Opry's return to the Ryman Auditorium, the 50th anniversary shows of various Opry members, new Opry member inductions, birthday weekends, and last year, the 40th anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry House. There have been so many that I cannot list them all. 

I have also seen lots of changes that have taken place at the Grand Ole Opry, some positive, and some not so. The improvements that have been made to the Grand Ole Opry House have been outstanding; items such as better lighting and sound, the expanded gift shop and ticket areas, and the atmosphere of the Opry Plaza. On the negative side, I have seen the number of weekend Opry shows cut back, the length shortened, the number of performers and amount of music per show reduced, veteran Opry members having reduced appearances and a steep rise in ticket prices. Yet even though it all, I have remained a fan of the Opry and hope for the Opry's continued success. 

However, when I see Grand Ole Opry line-ups, such as the one for this coming Saturday night, I get discouraged very quickly. I think both of you would have to admit that what you have scheduled for this Saturday night is not the best of Opry line-ups. To see only two segments and three Opry members scheduled is very troublesome, especially considering that the Opry has 63 members. And it is not just the lack of Opry members, but the quality of the line-up in general. Of the eight acts appearing who are not Opry members, two of the performers are actors who performed in a play, another is an actor who stars in a television series, while several of the others are still looking for their first recorded hit records. And this is not the first time we have seen shows such as this scheduled. It seems to be happening more and more. Last Saturday night resulted in a poor line-up and the line-up for the Opry's 89th Birthday Weekend, particularly on Saturday night, might have been the worst birthday show in the Opry's history. Many times I will ask myself if a certain Opry show is worth the premium ticket price of $75, and I think the answer many times is no. 

I know you can do better. The real disturbing thing is the lack of Opry members who seem to want to appear on the Opry. For example, Travis Tritt has not appeared on the Grand Ole Opry stage since 2007. Reba McEntire recently made her first Opry appearance in a decade, as did Garth Brooks. Dolly Parton hasn't appeared in several years, while Keith Urban has made just one Opry appearance in two years. I could name a few others such as Brad Paisley, Clint Black, Alan Jackson, Darius Rucker, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride and Blake Shelton, among others, who seem to appear only once or twice every year. What is really discouraging about these members is that in many of the interviews that they have done, they all say how proud they are of being an Opry member and what Opry membership means to them. Yet, they seldom appear. And while I understand the reluctance to dismiss an Opry member, it has been done in the recent past. The Four Guys and Holly Dunn lost their membership. Perhaps it is time that Travis Tritt lose his. 

While I am grateful for the members who did appear during the recent Grand Ole Opry 90th birthday weekend, I think many of us were expecting more. Based on what was being said and written, the expectation was that a large number of the Opry's members would be there for at least part of the weekend and that the 90th anniversary of the Opry would truly be something special. My thanks to Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town, Oak Ridge Boys, Diamond Rio, Joe Diffie, Lorrie Morgan and all of the others who were there. But where were the rest? Mr. Fisher has talked in the past that the goal is to have every new Opry member that is being asked to join the Opry to commit to ten shows per year. Obviously, many of forgotten. 

Then there is the reliance and constant booking of the actors from the television series "Nashville." Yes, I know that Opry Entertainment and Mr. Buchanan are producers of the show and I understand about cross promotion, but to devote an entire half hour of the two Saturday birthday shows to "Nashville" was just plain wrong. I realize that "Nashville" is bringing new and younger fans to the Opry and the Opry needs these new fans to survive in the future. But the show is not going to be on the air forever, and when it does end, I am sure that the majority of those actors who have been appearing on the Opry will no longer do so. And besides, I think many of these new fans coming to the Opry want to see the stars of the Opry, not actors portraying themselves as singers.

Over the past dozen years, the Opry seems to be relying more on guests than members. Many of these, such as Rhonda Vincent, Dailey & Vincent, T.G. Sheppard, Chris Janson, Jimmy Wayne, Gene Watson, Crystal Gayle and Love & Theft, just to name a few, appear on the Opry many more times then Opry members. So I ask the question, "Why not offer membership to some of these artists?" After all, it has been a year since a new member has joined the Opry. And speaking of Opry members, the number continues to go down as many of the veteran members have passed away or have retired due to health reasons. And no new members have been added to replace them. Currently there are 63 Opry members, but why not have 70 or 75? Especially if those added as members commit to showing up and performing on the show. 

It is not every Opry member that does not support the show. As fans, we should all be grateful that a number of the Opry's more popular members do support the show. Members such as Carrie Underwood, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Larry Gatlin, Diamond Rio and Lorrie Morgan, among many others. And where would the Opry be without the veteran members such as Bill Anderson, John Conlee, Connie Smith and Jeannie Seely. 

I do want to mention the additional Opry shows on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night. While I enjoy the additional shows, they seem to have been added at the expense of the traditional weekend shows. Many of the bigger names and popular young artists seem to be showing up more during the week then on the weekend, thus taking away from the historic Saturday night Grand Ole Opry. 

In conclusion, let me offer a quote from the December 8, 1964 Nashville Tennessean, that I believe is still relevant today: 

"Most of the thousands of people who line up at the Opry House every Friday and Saturday night have traveled long distances to see in person the stars that they have come to love by radio. It must be a disappointment for these fans to arrive at the Opry on this one big night for them and find that their favorite stars have found a more profitable audience in some other state."

Much as those words were true in 1964, they are still true in 2015. Many of those attending the Opry on Saturday night will be there for their first time. Or perhaps due to work or financial concerns, they are only able to come to the Opry once a year and this will be that special night. They will pay $50-$75 for each seat, buy food and drink, perhaps a souvenir to take home, and probably the new 90th anniversary family album. But on this particular Saturday night, will they see any of the Opry's superstars that are pictured in that book? Sorry to say, but the answer will be no. And as they look through that book, I am sure many will be wondering where some of these members are. Surely not at the Opry, at least on this Saturday night. Then I am sure the thought will go through their heads, "Was it worth the price." Many will say no. 


Byron Fay

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 10/16 & 10/17

Well, I thought it could not get much worse then the line-up from last Saturday night, but Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher and the rest of the Opry's management have topped it. On Saturday night, there are only 3 Opry members scheduled (which might be a record for the lowest number of Opry members on a Saturday night show) and the Opry will have just 2 segments!! Once again, I ask the question, "Out of 63 Opry members, can anyone explain how only 3 would commit to do the Opry on a Saturday night?" To me, it is just unbelievable. 

If that isn't enough, let's look at a few of the guests that are appearing on Saturday night:

Rose Hemingway is described as an American actress, performer and singer, known for performing in musical theater productions. She has appeared in numerous plays around the country. Her Facebook page has not been updated since August, so I can't tell you much from that. Now, what I can tell you is that she, along with Kim Clark, who is also scheduled on Saturday night, appeared in the Dallas Theater production of "Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical." So why are they scheduled to be on the Opry? Easy answer to that one: The production was produced by Opry Entertainment, with Steve Buchanan and Sally Williams listed as producers. Nothing like a little cross promotion. 

Josh Wilson is a contemporary Christian artist who is out promoting, "That Was Then, This Is Now." He has had some limited success on the charts. Also appearing will be Jackie Lee, Gary Mule Deer, from "Nashville" Jonathan Jackson, and The Grascals, who have been guests on the Opry on a frequent basis. I am actually fine with The Grascals. 

As far as Opry members on Saturday night, the two hosts are Jeannie Seely and Connie Smith, with Jesse McReynolds as the other Opry member. On an additional note, even though there are just 2 segments, I think this is the first time each segment host has been a female. 

I don't mean to sound so negative about Saturday's line-up, but there are folks paying $75 a ticket and are expecting to see Opry members performing on the show. Especially some of the Opry's newer members and bigger names. I just don't think the overall quality of the performers justifies a $75 price. 

As far as Friday night, certainly a better show. Opry members include Jeannie Seely, The Whites, Connie Smith, Riders In The Sky (your 4 hosts) and Bobby Osborne. It is nice to see Lee Greenwood back at the Opry, and a return appearance by Flatt Lonesome. 

Friday October 16
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jenn Bostic
7:30: The Whites (host); Canaan Smith; Flatt Lonesome
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Nathan Chapman
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Lee Greenwood

Saturday October 17
Jeannie Seely (host)
Jackie Lee
The Grascals
Kim Clark 
Rose Hemingway

Connie Smith (host)
Jesse McReynolds
Johnathan Jackson
Opry Square Dancers
Gary Mule Deer
Josh Wilson

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of October 15 & 16, 2010:

Friday October 15
7:00: Marty Stuart (host); Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; John Anderson
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds; Joey+Rory
8:45: Mike Snider (host); The Judds

Saturday October 16
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Holly Williams
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jeannie Seely; The Whites; James Wesley
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy Wayne; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Eamonn McCrystal; Randy Travis

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Holly Williams
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites
10:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Stonewall Jackson; James Wesley; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy Wayne

Now from ten years ago this weekend, October 14 & 15, 2005. This was also the Grand Ole Opry's 80th birthday weekend: 

Friday October 14
1st show
6:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Robbie Fulks
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Osborne Brothers; Carolyn Dawn Johnson
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Charlie Walker; John Michael Montgomery
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); George Hamilton IV; Connie Smith; Lee Greenwood
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Alison Krauss

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Carolyn Dawn Johnson
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Grammer; Jack Greene; Alison Krauss
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Osborne Brothers; John Michael Montgomery
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Lee Greenwood
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Robbie Fulks

Saturday October 15
1st show
6:30: Cracker Barrel
Jimmy Dickens (host): Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed
Connie Smith: Once A Day/Fight On
Jimmy C Newman: La Cajun Band/Jambalaya
Jimmy Dickens: I Leaned Over Backwards for You/Mountain Dew

7:00: Tootsie's/Standard Candy
Travis Tritt: What's the Use
Steve Wariner: Baby, I'm Yours/Two Teardrops
Diamond Rio: What A Beautiful Mess I'm In/In God We Trust
Travis Tritt: 10 Feet Tall; Bullet Proof/Where Corn Don't Grow
Jimmy Dickens & Garth Brooks: My The Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
Bill Anderson & Garth Brooks: Bright Lights & Country Music
Porter Wagoner & Garth Brooks: Green, Green Grass of Home
Jimmy Dickens/Bill Anderson/Porter Wagoner/Garth Brooks: Y'All Come
Garth Brooks & Steve Wariner: Long Neck Bottle
Steve Wariner: Some Fools Never Learn
Grand Ole Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Charlie Louvin: When I Stop Dreaming
Jeannie Seely: Sentimental Journey
The Whites: Swing Down Chariot
Opry Square Dance Band/Opry Square Dancers: Cherokee Shuffle
Porter Wagoner & Pam Gadd: Golden Ring

8:30: Tennessee Pride
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Josh Turner: Long Black Train/(?)
Ralph Stanley: I'm A Man of Constant Sorrow/O Death
Bill Anderson: I Wonder If God Likes Country Music

2nd show
9:30: Cracker Barrel
Jimmy Dickens (host); Family Reunion
Connie Smith: If I Talk to Him/You've Got Me Right Where You Want Me
Steve Wariner: Two Teardrops/Baby, I'm Yours

Porter Wagoner: Eli Stubbs & The Funky Grass Band
Billy Grammer: Plickin, Pluckin, Pluggin Along
Little Big Town: Bring It On Home
Travis Tritt: What's The Use/Where Corn Don't Grow

10:30: Johnny Walker Tours
Diamond Rio (host): That's How Your Love Makes Me Feel Inside
Stu Phillips: Great El Tigre
Ralph Stanley: Nine Pound Hammer
Opry Square Dance Band/Opry Square Dancers: Here & There
Diamond Rio: In God We Trust

11:00: Opry Visa
Bill Anderson (host): Po' Folks
The Whites: Keep on the Sunny Side
Garth Brooks & Steve Wariner: Long Neck Bottle
Garth Brooks: The Dance
Jimmy Dickens & Garth Brooks: May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
Bill Anderson & Garth Brooks: Bright Lights & Country Music
Porter Wagoner & Garth Brooks: Green, Green Grass of Home
Jimmy Dickens/Bill Anderson/Porter Wagoner/Garth Brooks: Y'All Come
Grand Ole Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry

11:30: Gaylord
Jeannie Seely (host): Anytime
Jack Greene: Statue of A Fool
Josh Turner: Your Man/Long Black Train
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me

Isn't it amazing what the birthday weekend was like just 10 years ago? What a difference between the 80th and 90th. 

Finally, as the look continues back at past Grand Ole Opry birthday shows, how about Saturday October 17, 1970. That was the Opry's 45th birthday celebration and considering it was 45 years ago, here is that line-up: 

1st show
6:00: Vietti
Bill Anderson (host): But You Know I Love You/Wild Weekend
Charlie Walker: God Save the Queen (of the Honky Tonks)
Wilma Lee Cooper: Teardrops Falling in the Snow
Skeeter Davis: Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Jimmy C Newman: I'm Holding Your Memories
Willis Brothers: There Goes the Farm
Bill Anderson: Po' Folks

6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Bill Monroe (host): Blue Moon of Kentucky
Charlie Louvin: Little Reasons/Will You Visit Me on Sundays/What Are These Things
George Morgan: I Wouldn't Have You Any Other Way
Del Wood: Music, Music, Music
Bill Monroe: Rawhide

6:45: Rudy's
Tex Ritter (host): Wayward Wind
Jack Greene: The Whole World Comes to Me
Jeannie Seely: Please Be My Love
4 Guys: Get Together/Let the Sunshine In

7:00: Luzianne
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Margie Bowes: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Glaser Brothers: California Girl and the Tennessee Square
Billy Walker: She Goes Walking Through My Mind
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Jim & Jesse: Diesel on My Tail
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): Big Wind
Dolly Parton: Mule Skinner Blues
Mel Tillis: Too Lonely Too Long
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Jean Shepard: Another Lonely Night
Justin Tubb: Ballad of Forty Dollars
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man
Wagonmasters: John Henry

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Lonesome Road Blues
Del Reeves: Girl on the Billboard
Dottie West: Paper Mansions
Osborne Brothers: My Old Kentucky Home
Billy Grammer: Jesus Is a Soul Man
Ernie Ashworth: Lips, Start Talking
Lester Flatt: Nine Pound Hammer
Roland White: Turkey in the Straw

8:30: Stephens
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks A Lot
Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter
Bobby Lord: Wake Me Up Early in the Morning
Earl Scruggs Revue: Green Back Dollar
Stu Phillips: For the Good Times
Wilburn Brothers: Sing Your Heart Out Country Boy
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Ernest Tubb & Loretta Lynn: We're Not Kids Anymore

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Porter Wagoner (host): Big Wind
Dolly Parton: Mule Skinner Blues
Jimmy C Newman: I'm Holding Your Memories
Jean Shepard: Another Lonely Night
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Justin Tubb: Looking Out My Back Door
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man

10:00: Fender
Bill Anderson (host): I Love Your Drops
George Morgan: I Wouldn't Have You Any Other Way
Wilma Lee Cooper: Tramp on the Street
Charlie Louvin: I Don't Believe You're Met My Baby/Don't Laugh/My Baby's Gone/When I Stop Dreaming
Skeeter Davis: Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Charlie Walker: God Save the Queen (of the Honky Tonks)
Bill Anderson: Where Have All our Heroes Gone

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of A Hillbilly Heaven
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Billy Grammer: What A Friend
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host): Little Maggie
Margie Bowes: Understand Your Gal/Big City
Jim & Jesse: I've Got A Freight Train In My Mind
Lester Flatt: I've Been Walking

10:45: Beech-Nut
Ernest Tubb (host): In the Jailhouse Now
Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Wilburn Brothers: Sing Your Heart Out, Country Boy
Crook Brothers: Arkansas Traveler

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Monroe (host): Train 45/Little Maggie/I'm Breaking In A Brand New Pair of Shoes/Nine Pound Hammer/Molly & Tenbrooks/My Little Georgia Rose
Dottie West: Willy's Winter Love
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fire on the Mountain
Mel Tillis: Heart Over Mind/Old Faithful
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose
Bill Monroe: I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): Singing the Blues

Del Reeves: Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On/The Matador & I Walk the Line/Hound Dog
4 Guys:Get Together/Let The Sunshine In
Bobby Lord: You & Me Against the World
Stu Phillips: For the Good Times
Ernie Ashworth: Lips, Start Talking
Marty Robbins: Begging to You/Don't Worry/I Walk Alone

As you can see, it was quite a night at the Opry. The first show started at 6:00, 
a half hour early to fit all the acts in, and the second show ended at 1:05 a.m. 

The only Opry members who did not make it that night were Archie Campbell, Bill Carlisle, George Hamilton IV, Grandpa Jones, Cousin Jody, Lonzo & Oscar, Ray Pillow, Hank Snow, Bobby Bare, Stringbean and Marion Worth. Additionally, Roy Drusky and Stonewall Jackson both failed to appear, Stoney Cooper was ill and did not perform with Wilma Lee, Hank Locklin, The Glaser Brothers and Billy Walker were scheduled for both shows but only appeared on the first, and Earl Scruggs also only appeared on the first show as he was not scheduled for the second, while Marty Robbins was only set for the final segment of the night. 

Finally, you will notice Mel Tillis on both shows. This was the period of time that it would appear that Mel was actually an Opry member, although the Opry does not recognize that fact in its history. 

I will leave everyone with one more Opry line-up. October 17, 1992 was the Grand Ole Opry's 67th birthday celebration. It was also the final Saturday night that Roy Acuff appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. Roy would make one more Opry appearance the next Friday night, which would be his final appearance on the Opry stage. From 23 years ago, here is the running order from Saturday October 17, 1992. (And yes, I was there that night).

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Bill Monroe (host): Mule Skinner Blues
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top
Bill Monroe: Ozark Rag

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Cindy
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Roy Drusky: Peel Me A Nanner
Grandpa Jones: Gone Home

7:00: Shoney's
George Hamilton IV (host): Abilene
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Mike Snider: Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Hank Locklin: Please Help Me I'm Falling
Jean Shepard: Let's All Go Down to the River/I Saw the Light/Will the Circle Be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away/Somebody Touched Me
George Hamilton IV: Break My Mind

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Shelly West: Standing in Sorrow's Way/You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma
John Conlee: Hit the Ground Running/Miss Emily's Picture
Grand Ole Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Porter Wagoner: Y'All Come

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: Then & Only Then/Sing, Sing, Sing
Bill Anderson & Roy Acuff: I Wonder If God Likes Country Music
Bill Anderson: Still
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Dan Kelly: Turkey Buzzard

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Ancient History
4 Guys: Big River
Jan Howard: You Don't Know Me
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
The Whites: San Antonio Rose
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me of Me

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Wilma Lee Cooper: Singing Waterfall
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Mike Snider: Green Sleeves
Grand Ole Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Porter Wagoner: Big Wind

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Monroe (host): Life's Highway
Roy Drusky: All For the Love of A Girl
Jimmy Campbell: The Old Tennessee River

10:15: Sunbeam/Tennessee Pride
Roy Acuff (host): Once More
Hank Locklin: Danny Boy/Send Me the Pillow You Dream On

10:30: Pet Milk
Grandpa Jones (host): Don't 'Cha Cry Melinda
Jean Shepard: Someone's Gotta Cry
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Grandpa Jones: My Little Old Home Down in New Orleans

10:45: BC Powder
George Hamilton IV (host): Life's Railway to Heaven
Shelly West: Jose Quervo
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Black Mountain Rag
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
4 Guys: How Married Are You Mary Ann
Connie Smith: Once A Day
John Conlee: Before My Time/Rose Colored Glasses
Hank Snow: On That Hawaiian Shore With You

11:30: Creamette
Jim Ed Brown (host): Morning
Jan Howard: Together When We Tried
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
The Whites: Swing Down Chariot
Johnny Russell: Why Me Lord
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells

Much has been written about that final Saturday night for Roy Acuff, specifically in Bill Anderson's book. He describes the evening much better than I ever could. The emotion was strong as you could anticipate that you were witnessing history. As I wrote, for those of us who were there that night, the memory will always be with us. 

Boy, you look at these older line-ups and remember what the Opry once was and sometimes you just have to wonder. Where has it all gone? 

The best you can, enjoy the Opry this weekend!!