Thursday, January 7, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 1/8 & 1/9

Before getting into this week's Grand Ole Opry line-ups, I just wanted to compliment the Opry and Brad Paisley, who made a special unannounced appearance last Saturday night. Brad came on at the end of the show and did several Jimmy Dickens songs, as it was the one year anniversary of his death. I just thought it was a nice tribute and I congratulate the Opry and Brad for allowing it to happen. Yes, the Opry can still surprise us once in a while, which is why we listen each week. 

As far as the line-up for this weekend, it is certainly not as strong as what we saw to start off the year, but both nights are still pretty solid. Appearing both nights are Opry members Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Del McCoury and Connie Smith. They will be joined on Friday night by Riders In The Sky, Jesse McReynolds and Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, while on Saturday night, The Whites, Terry Clark, Bobby Osborne and Montgomery Gentry are set to appear. That comes out to 7 Opry members on Friday night and 8 on Saturday. 

Appearing with those Opry members on Friday will be Mark Wills, Mo Pitney, LOCASH, The Grascals and Cam, while on Saturday night Holly Williams, Darryl Worley and Dylan Scott will be appearing. For Dylan Scott, who records for Curb Records, it will be his Opry debut. 

As far as hosts this weekend, Jeannie Seely and Connie Smith get the call both nights, with Riders In The Sky and Larry Gatlin hosting Friday and Mike Snider and Terri Clark hosting Saturday. For Terri, this will be her 2nd time hosting a segment and I do like the fact that the Opry is mixing in some new hosts into the rotation. 

Friday January 8
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mark Wills; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Mo Pitney; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Jesse McReynolds; LOCASH
8:45: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); The Grascals; Cam

Saturday January 9
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Holly Williams; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Mike Snider (host); The Whites
8:15: Terri Clark (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Darryl Worley; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Dylan Scott; Montgomery Gentry

Now here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of January 7 & 8, 2011:

Friday January 7
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jeannie Seely; Frankie Ballard
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); George Hamilton IV; Chris Young
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jim Ed Brown; Dailey & Vincent
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Rodney Atkins

Saturday January 8
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; James Wesley
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jim Ed Brown; Suzy Bogguss
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Brett Eldredge
8:45: John Conlee (host); The Whites; The Grascals

And from ten years ago, the weekend of January 6 & 7, 2006:

Friday January 6
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Jimmy C Newman; Alicia Nugent
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); John Conlee; Doyle Dykes
9:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; Danielle Peck
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jim Ed Brown; Jeff Bates

Saturday January 7
1st show
6:30: Mike Snider (host); Jim Ed Brown; Trent Willmon
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jack Greene; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); The Whites; Michael Martin Murphey
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Doyle Dykes; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); George Hamilton IV; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jeff Bates

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Mike Snider; Trent Willmon
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Del McCoury Band
10:30: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; Michael Martin Murphey; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jeff Bates
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Billy Walker; Doyle Dykes

It was 45 years ago this weekend, Saturday January 9, 1971 that Tom T. Hall made his first Grand Ole Opry appearance as a member of the Opry. In the Opry's records, Tom T's induction date is listed as January 1, which was a Friday night. However, January 9 was the first Saturday. 

Here is a short biography of Tom T Hall, courtesy of the Grand Ole Opry's Picture History Book: 

"Country music is celebrated for the strength of its stories, so it means something when one performer is identified simply as 'The Storyteller.' That performer is Tom T Hall. The title is natural enough. Tom T delivered a combination of detailed observation, arresting storyline, and full-bodied characters in such songs as 'The Day Clayton Delaney Died.' 'Old Dogs, Children, and Watermelon Wine,' 'Margie's at the Lincoln Park Inn,' and 'I Flew Over Our House Last Night.' The way he sings these stories-simple, clear, and as understated as a friend talking to you on a porch-matches the songs perfectly. 

One of ten children born to a Baptist minister, Tom T began playing guitar at age four and wrote his first song at nine. In his teens, he formed a bluegrass band, which performed locally. After a stint in the army, while working as a radio copywriter in Roanoke, Virginia, he wrote songs on the side that were recorded by Jimmy C Newman, Johnny Wright, Dave Dudley, and Bobby Bare. After moving to Nashville in 1964, he had several early hit recordings of his own, including 'I Washed My Face in the Morning Dew,' but when Jeannie C. Riley's recording of his 'Harper Valley P.T.A.' sold 6 million copies and swept the 1968 awards, Tom T's own recording career at Mercury Records accelerated. That career continues through more than 45 albums. 

During the decades of the '80s and '90s, Tom T regularly played the Opry. For two years, he also hosted his own syndicated TV program, 'Pop Goes the Country,' which was filmed at Nashville's Opryland complex, and made guest appearances on many other shows. Some claim that the Kentucky-raised singer, songwriter, and author has 'retired' to his farm south of Nashville. Don't believe them. Today Tom T regularly supervises acoustic sessions at his own recording studio, writes those utterly distinctive songs, and can be seen at venues from Nashville's Station Inn to festivals across the country in support of the bluegrass music he holds especially dear. Tom T has authored a string of books, including an autobiography, a songwriting textbook, and several novels. His songs continue to be recorded with great regularity by bluegrass bands, country singers, and Americana acts alike. 

In 2008, Tom T Hall was elected to his rightful place in the Country Music Hall of Fame."

Here is the line-up from Saturday January 9, 1971: 

7:00: Rudy's
Roy Drusky (host): Don't It Make You Want to Go Home
Jimmy C Newman: Louisiana Dirty Rice
Jim & Jesse: Freight Train
Ray Pillow: Heart Over Mind
Roy Drusky: All My Hard Times
Jim & Jesse: My Baby's Gone
Jimmy C Newman: Release Me
Ray Pillow: I'll Break Out Again Tonight
Roy Drusky: Long, Long Texas Road

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Another Lonely Night
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharman
Tom T Hall: Ballad of Forty Dollars
Roy Acuff: Pins & Needles
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Charlie Walker: Waiting For A Train
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Wake Me When It's Over
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Del Wood: Down By the River Side
Lester Flatt: I Can't Tell the Boys From the Girls
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark
Stonewall Jackson: Life to Go
Hank Locklin: If Not For You
Roland White & Vic Jordan: Mocking Banjo

8:30: Stephens
Bill Monroe (host): Mule Skinner Blues
Earl Scruggs Revue: Loraderojosp III Breakdown 
George Morgan: For the Good Times
Stringbean: Mountain Dew
Bill Monroe: Sweetheart, You Done Me Wrong
Stu Phillips: Great El Tigrae
Earl Scruggs Revue: Green Back Dollar
George Morgan: Candy Kisses

9:00: Luzianne
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Dolly Parton: Joshua
Osborne Brothers: You Win Again
Ernie Ashworth: Lips, Start Talking
Porter Wagoner: The Last One to Touch Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldier's Joy
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man
Osborne Brothers: Listening to the Rain

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Willis Brothers: Cimmaron
Del Reeves: Bar Room Talk
Grandpa Jones: Kitty Klide
Marion Worth: Okie From Muskogee
Del Reeves: If I Lived Here
Hank Snow: Traveling Blues

10:00: Fender
Bill Monroe (host): I Haven't Seen Mary In Years
Jean Shepard: I Thought Of You/It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels/You Win Again/A Dear John Letter
Jimmy C Newman: Cry, Cry, Cry/ Blue Lonely Winter
Jim & Jesse: Where the Chilly Winds Don't Blow

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Ball Knob, Arkansas
Earl Scruggs Revue: Nine Pound Hammer
Ray Pillow: Free Born Man
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host): I've Been Walking
Grandpa Jones: I'm Sorry I Caused You to Cry
Willis Brothers: I Still Do
Tom T Hall: 100 Children
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Uncle Josh: Just Joshlin

10:45: Beech-Nut
Porter Wagoner (host): Big Wind
Dolly Parton: Joshua
George Morgan: Snowbird
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Miller's Cave
Osborne Brothers: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Stringbean: Hot Corn; Cold Corn
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Del Wood: Bill Bailey
Margie Bowes: Understand Your Gal/Big City
Sam McGee: Wildwood Flower
Hank Snow: Born to Lose

11:30: Lava
Del Reeves (host): Help Me Make It Through the Night
Marion Worth: Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed
Justin Tubb: Big Fool of the Year
Ernie Ashworth: Love; I Finally Found It
Stu Phillips: For the Good Times
Del Reeves: Women Do Funny Things to Me/Bells of Southern Bell/Girl on the Billboard/The Chair That Rocked Up All

It has been many years since Tom T Hall has last appeared on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. While he says he is retired, he does make occasional appearances. I know many of us miss Tom T at the Opry and wish that he would someday make a return appearance. 

Nevertheless, congratulations to Tom T Hall on his 45th year as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Finally, it was 17 years ago this weekend, Saturday January 9, 1999 that Boxcar Willie made his final appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. Here is the running order of that show: 

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Jimmy C Newman (host): Allons of Lafayette
Skeeter Davis: I Got to the Rock
Jimmy C Newman: Bayou Blues/Cajun Stripper

6:45: Opry Book
Ricky Skaggs (host): A Pig In a Pen
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Ricky Skaggs (host): Boston Boy

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Roy Drusky: Too Old to Die Young
Jan Howard: Uncloudy Day
John Conlee: Rose Colored Glasses
Jim Ed Brown: Distant Drums
Porter Wagoner: One Way Ticket to the Blues/The Blue Velvet Band/Ol' Slewfoot

7:30: Standard Candy
Lorrie Morgan (host): Looking for Something in Red
Oswald: Euneta
Boxcar Willie: Wabash Cannonball/The Great Speckled Bird
Billy Ray Cyrus: A Busy Man/Shot Full of Love
Lorrie Morgan & Jim Ed Brown: Near You

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Son of the South
Holly Dunn: Daddy's Hands
Riders In The Sky: Cowboy Camp Meeting
Daryle Singletary: You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet
Opry Square Dancer Band: Cherokee Shuffle
Bill Anderson: Still

8:30: Physicians Mutual
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Jim & Jesse: You Are the One
Stonewall Jackson: Waterloo
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Mike Snider: Short Little Lulu/Clinch Mountain Backstop/Mississippi Sawyer
Jimmy Dickens: I Learned Over Backwards for You

2nd show
9:30: Opry Book
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Border
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Boxcar Willie: Wabash Cannonball
Billy Ray Cyrus: A Busy Man/Shot Full of Love/Achy Breaky Heart

10:00: Lincoln Mercury
Jack Greene (host): Highway to the Sky
Holly Dunn: We've Got the Love
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He Is My Everything

10:15: Opry Book
Jimmy Dickens (host): Family Reunion
Daryle Singletary: Forever & Always/Yesterday's Wine
Jimmy Dickens: I'd Rather Sleep In Peace Then Know You're Gone

10:30: Epaphone
Ricky Skaggs (host): How Mountain Girls Can Love
The Whites: Hangin' Around
Ricky Skaggs: I'm Bound to Ride

10:45: Jogging In A Jug
Mike Snider (host): Bell Cove Breakdown
John Conlee: Backside of Thirty
Opry Square Dance Band: Durang's Hornpipe
Mike Snider: Snuff Dipper

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): Get A Little Dirt on Your Hands
Jan Howard: Too Many Teardrops Too Late
Billy Walker: I Spend A Lot of Lonely Nights These Days
Vince Gill: Don't Come Cryin' to Me/Which Bridge to Cross; Which Bridge to Burn
Bill Anderson: Before

11:30: Opry Tickets
Johnny Russell (host): Good Hearted Woman
Del Reeves: A Lover's Question
Riders In The Sky: Jingle; Jangle; Jingle
Jim & Jesse: Gosh I Miss You All the Time
Charlie Walker: Does Ft Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
Johnny Russell: Red Necks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer

Boxcar Willie had been in declining health for a number of years and his Opry appearances had dropped dramatically. It was nice that the Opry featured Boxcar on the televised portion that night and I can remember watching and noticing how frail he looked. I think he knew it would be his last time on the Opry and he honored the man who brought him to the Opry, Roy Acuff, by singing Roy's two most famous songs. 

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!


  1. 28 members that night in 1971, 24 in 1999. Where have all the flowers gone?

    Boxcar Willie and my mother suffered from cancer at the same time and died within a few months of each other. His fight helped inspire her.

  2. It would only be six months until Bill Monroe's reunion with Lester Flatt, so it's interesting that Earl was on Bill's 8:30 segment (which followed Lester's segement) on the 1971 lineup. I have to wonder if Bill had made up with Earl by this time.