Thursday, March 31, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 4/1 & 4/2

Before getting to the line-ups for the three Opry shows this weekend, congratulations once again as two of the Opry's members have been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. With the edition of Charlie Daniels and Randy Travis, that brings to 18 the number of Opry members who are Hall of Fame members. And who are those 18? Besides Charlie and Randy, you have Bill Anderson, Garth Brooks, Roy Clark, Vince Gill, Tom T Hall, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Jean Shepard, Connie Smith and Mel Tillis. Not a bad group. 

Now as far as the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, let's first look at the Friday Night Opry and it is great to see Opry member Ray Pillow on the schedule. This will be the 1st Opry appearance in 2016 for Ray, who on April 30 will be celebrating 50 years as a member of the Opry. Other Opry members scheduled include Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Pam Tillis, Bobby Osborne and two Hall of Fame members, Connie Smith and Vince Gill. As far as guest artists, it is a pleasure to see Mickey Gilley once again scheduled for the Opry. He will be joined by Elizabeth Cook, Striking Matches, Craig Wayne Boyd and Aubrey Peeples. 

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will feature Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Lorrie Morgan, Bill Anderson and Josh Turner for both shows, while Terri Clark is schedule for the first show and, like last weekend, Connie Smith is scheduled for just the 2nd show. Additionally, Jesse McReynolds is scheduled but only for one show, which will be the first one. This is similar to last weekend when Bobby Osborne was only scheduled for the 2nd Saturday show. Among the guest artists for both shows, there is Ray Scott, Jimmy Wayne, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers and Restless Heart. 

Overall, two pretty nice Opry shows this weekend. 

Friday April 1
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Elizabeth Cook; Mike Snider
7:30: Pam Tillis (host); Ray Pillow; Striking Matches
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Craig Wayne Boyd
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Aubrey Peeples; Mickey Gilley

Saturday April 2
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Ray Scott; Mike Snider
7:30: Terri Clark (host); Jimmy Wayne; Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers
8:00: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jesse McReynolds; Restless Heart; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Josh Turner

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Ray Scott; Mike Snider
10:00: Connie Smith (host); Jimmy Wayne; Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers
10:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Restless Heart; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Josh Turner

That comes out to 12 acts on Friday night, of which 7 are Opry members, and 11 acts for the 1st show on Saturday night, with 7 Opry members, and 10 acts for the 2nd show, with 6 Opry members. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of April 1 & 2, 2011: 

Friday April 1
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jimmy Wayne
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Mel Tillis
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Kellie Pickler
8:45: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Connie Smith; Dailey & Vincent

Saturday April 2
1st show
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jimmy Wayne; The Whites
7:30: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds; Henry Cho
8:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Darryl Worley

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy Wayne; The Whites
10:00: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; Henry Cho
10:30: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Jack Greene; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Darryl Worley

And now from ten years ago, the weekend of March 31 & April 1, 2006: 

Friday March 31
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Billy Walker; Jake Owen
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Jean Shepard; Pinkeye
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Whites; Roy Clark
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jack Greene; Joe Nichols

Saturday April 1
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jimmy C Newman; Jeannie Seely
7:00: Diamond Rio (host); Jeff Bates; Julie Roberts; Trent Tomlinson; Rodney Foster
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Jim Ed Brown; Eric Church; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Roy Clark (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Alison Brown Band

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jean Shepard; Julie Roberts
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Mel McDaniel; Jeff Bates
10:30: Diamond Rio (host); Jack Greene; Radney Foster; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Roy Clark (host); Connie Smith; Trent Tomlinson
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Eric Church; Alison Brown Band

Finally, from fifteen years ago, the weekend of March 30 & 31, 2001: 

Friday March 30
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Bill Carlisle; Craig Morgan
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Ernie Ashworth; Riders In The Sky
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeanne Pruett; T. Bubba Bechtol; Rhonda Vincent
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Adam Harvey; Sherrie Austin
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Osborne Brothers; Mandy Barnett; Jim Ed Brown

Saturday March 31
1st show
6:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Riders In The Sky; Bill Carlisle; Mike Snider
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Billy Walker; Jeanne Pruett; Jim Ed Brown
7:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Sherrie Austin; T. Bubba Bechtol; Joe Diffie
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Rhonda Vincent; The Derailers; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Del Reeves; Jack Greene; Ricky Skaggs

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; The Whites; Joe Diffie
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Del Reeves; Jack Greene; Sherrie Austin
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Rhonda Vincent; Billy Walker; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); T. Bubba Bechtol; The Derailers; Ricky Skaggs
11:30: Mike Snider (host); Charlie Walker; Ray Pillow; Riders In The Sky

Now for a couple more Reunion show line-ups. The first one goes back 38 years, to Saturday April 1, 1978:

6:00: Vietti
Jimmy C Newman (host): Jambalaya
Wilma Lee Cooper: Come Walk With Me
Lonzo & Oscar: Crawdad Song
Charlie Louvin: Warm, Warm Woman
Zeke Clements: Live & Learn/Somebody's Been Beating My Time/Why Should I Cry Over You/Just A Little Lovin'/Hope on the Water
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy Liggy Lo

6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Don't Be Angry
Sid Harkreader: Mockingbird Breakdown
Stonewall Jackson: Waterloo

6:45: Rudy's
Jack Greene (host): You Love Takes Care of Me
Jeannie Seely: Since I Met 'Cha, Baby
Curly Fox: The Old Gray Mule
Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely: Sing for the Good Times

7:00: Shoney's
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With the Way That We're Doing it Now
Pee Wee King: Deck of Cards/Tennessee Waltz
Billy Grammer: Bonaparte's Retreat

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball/Tennessee Central No 9/Sunshine Special
Minnie Pearl: Careless Love
Alcyone Beasley: My Wild Irish Rose
Jack Shook: Along the Santa Fe Trail
Alcyone Beasley & Jack Shook: When the Desert Sun Goes Down
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Eighth of January
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): Big Wind's A  Comin'
Del Reeves: When My Angel Turns Into A Devil
Guy Willis: Boots & Saddle
4 Guys: You've Got Me Runnin'
Porter Wagoner: Katy Did/Swing Low Sweet Chariot

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): In the Misty Moonlight
Billy Walker: San Antonio Rose/You Gave Me a Mountain
Paul Howard: Stay A Little Longer
Wilburn Brothers: Trouble's Back in Town
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbin' Ridge
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me of Me

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at a Time
Jimmy C Newman: Colinda
Wilma Lee Cooper: Bucket to the South
Lonzo & Oscar: No Relief in Sight
Charlie Louvin: If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again
Ernie Ashworth: You Can't Pick A Rose in December
Del Reeves: When My Angel Turns Into A Devil

10:00: Fender
Jack Greene (host): Your Love Takes Good Care of Me
Jeannie Seely: Who Needs You
Del Wood: There's A Big Wheel
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Pee Wee King: Tennessee Waltz/Beer Barrel Polka
Roy Acuff: I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

10:30: Trailblazer
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
Billy Grammer: I Still Love You As I Did Yesterday
Stonewall Jackson: Angry Words
Porter Wagoner: I've Enjoyed As Much of This As I Can Stand/On a Highway Headed South

10:45: Beech-Nut
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With the Way That We're Doing it Now
Crook Brothers w/Sid Harkreader/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Gray Eagle

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
4 Guys: When Will I Be Loved/The Wurlitzer Prize
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Guy Willis: Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain
Kirk McGee: Victory Rag/Freight Train
Hank Snow: Paper Roses

11:30: Elm Hill
Billy Walker (host): Sing Me A Love Song to Baby
Stu Phillips: Let Me Love You All Over Again/Crystal Chandeliers
Wilburn Brothers: It Looks Like the Suns Gonna Shine/The Light House
Billy Walker: A Legend in My Mind

Finally, here is the running order for the Reunion show ten years later, Saturday April 2, 1988:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Grandpa Jones (host): Cindy
Zeke Clements: Nobody Loves Me
Clyde Moody: I Know What it Means to Be Lonesome
Alisa Jones: Marmaduke's Hornpipe

6:45: Rudy's
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Connie Smith: You've Got Me Right Where You Want Me
Porter Wagoner: Your Old Love Letters/Y' All Come

7:00: Shoney's
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Pee Wee King: Deck of Cards
Jean Shepard: Why Don't You Haul Off & Love Me/Second Fiddle
George Jones: The Race is On/Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes/I Put A Golden Band on the Right Left Hand
Roy Acuff (host): Somebody Touched Me

7:30: Standard Candy
Ricky Skaggs (host): I've Got A New Heartache
Kitty Wells: Thank You For the Roses
Johnny Wright: Ashes of Love
Mel McDaniel: Stand Up/Stand on It
Ricky Skaggs: Why I'm Walkin'

8:00: Martha White
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
Skeeter Davis: I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know
Jack Greene: Walkin' On New Grass
Ferlin Husky: Country Music is Here to Stay/Gone
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Black Mountain Rag
Bill Monroe: My Florida Sunshine

8:30: Music Valley Merchants
Hank Snow (host): Bummin' Around
Osborne Brothers: Old Flames
Del Reeves: Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at a Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
Billy Walker: It Was Love and Not the Nails
Curly Fox: Milkcow Blues
Hank Snow: Easter Parade

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Border
4 Guys: I'm Bound for Higher Ground
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away Too Long
Jeannie Seely: One Bad Old Memory
Mel McDaniel: Stand Up
Porter Wagoner: Carroll County Accident
Glenda Faye Kniphfer: Bill Cheatham

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Banjo Sam
Kitty Wells: It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels
Johnny Wright & Family: Stop the World And Let Me Off
Alisa Jones: Golden Slippers

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting In the Air
George Jones: The Corvette Song
George Jones & Shelby Lynn: Amazing Grace/I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin

10:30: Pet Milk
Bill Monroe (host): Love, Come Home
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Bill Monroe: It's Me Again Lord

10:45: B.C. Powder
Del Reeves (host): Be Glad
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink On Me
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Sugar in the Goard
Del Reeves: The Only Girl I Can't Forget

11:00: Coca-Cola 
Hank Snow (host): Fraulein
Ray Pillow: Days When You Were Still In Love With Me
Charlie Louvin: When I Stop Dreaming
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
David Houston: In the Garden
Hank Snow: A Tribute to Mother

11:30: Creamette
Charlie Walker (host): Right or Wrong
Jan Howard: When I Dream
Curly Fox: The Old Gray Mule
Osborne Brothers: If Should Wander Back Tonight/Shackles & Chains
Charlie Walker: Take Me Back to Tulsa

As you compare the various reunion shows you will notice a few things. First, for the most part, the old-timers performed only on the first show. There were exceptions, notably Pee Wee King and Curly Fox, who seemed to show up every year and did both shows. Second, you can see the drop off over the years as the old-timers passed away or became too ill to come back. By the late 1980s, there were not many left. 

And last but not least, here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, April 5:

7:00: Connie Smith; Michael Ray
7:30: Riders In The Sky; Jason Crabb
8:15: John Conlee; Charles Esten
8:45: Del McCoury Band; Chris Janson 

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!


  1. to Bryon Can you answer my question? I'm looking for the last surviving member of Bluegrass Boys,Texas Troubadors & The Buckaroos? I already found Joe Pennington,last surviving member of the Drifting Cowboys,Buddy Emmons,last surviving member of the Texas Troubadours,Charlie Collins,one of the last surviving member of the Smokey Mountain Boys.Unless there are others I don't know about.Will you help me find any other last survivor of any country group? Thanks

    1. Hi Johnny,

      Sorry to say, but Buddy Emmons passed within the last year. Charlie Collins passed some years back.

    2. Here's some info about another ex-Texas Troubadour (that's still living), Billy Parker:
      While Billy Parker was a mainstay on country radio, his claim to fame was as an influential disc jockey, not as a performer; ironically, for all of the Top 40 hits he spun over the course of his decades on the air, not one of them was his own. Born July 19, 1939, in Okemah, OK, he began playing guitar as a child and by the age of 14 had made his professional debut on the Tulsa radio program Big Red Jamboree. A few years later, he began performing in clubs and in 1959 landed his first DJ work.
      By 1963, Parker was the regular daytime disc jockey on Wichita, KS' KFDI and also hosted a Tulsa television program. In the same year, he cut his first single, "The Line Between Love and Hate," and was named "Mr. DJ U.S.A." in a nationwide poll, which helped land him at Nashville's WSM. After releasing another record, "I'm Drinking All the Time," in 1966, Parker began playing with Ernest Tubb's Troubadours in 1968 and stayed with the group for three years, when he joined Tulsa's KVOO.
      In 1975, Parker was named Disc Jockey of the Year by the Academy of Country & Western Music; he won the award again in 1977, 1978, and 1984. In 1976, he scored his first chart hit with "It's Bad When You're Caught (With the Goods)," from the album Average Man. A series of singles followed, including a tribute to Ernest Tubb titled "Thanks E.T. Thanks a Lot"; while most charted, none came in higher than number 50. In 1982, he scored his biggest success with the title track from the LP (Who's Gonna Sing) The Last Country Song, an album of collaborations with the likes of Darrell McCall and Vassar Clements.
      After a record of duets, 1983's Something Old, Something New, he retreated from performing to focus on his work as KVOO's program director but returned in 1988 with the album Always Country. In 1990, he released a gospel record, I'll Speak Out for You, Jesus; two years later, he was inducted into the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame. At about the same time, he was appointed KVOO's executive director.
      Note: Billy Parker retired in December 2015 after being on the air in Tulsa for 44 consecutive years.
      - Frank Apperson

  2. Johnny, I'm not Byron, but I'll mention this. So far as I know, the last two surviving members of the Smoky Mountain Boys are Larry McNeely, who moved to North Carolina with his wife and performs very rarely (a shame because he is a great musician), and Dan Kelly, who performs with the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, among others.

    As for the others, Pete Mitchell, who was ET's last guitar player, is on Facebook. A lot of Bluegrass Boys are still around, and some of the Buckaroos still play at the Crystal Palace in Bakersfield.

  3. Fred, Bismarck:

    And Lynn Owsley, E.T.'s last steel man -- at least as far as I know. I can't get on his long-time web site today -- don't know what the matter is -- but another site shows him still alive as of Oct. 2015, anyway.

    1. Lynn is on facebook. Bob Bien

  4. Leon Rhodes is a former Trubador who is still alive and active. Also there are two Smoky Mountain Girls June Webb and June Stearns.

  5. Thank you so much guys

  6. What a special 'Opry moment' during 'Opry Classics last night.
    Featured artist Connie Smith sang her great "Once a Day," then did it again but mimicked Loretta Lynn, quite skillfully I might add.
    Crowd ate it up!

    1. Funny thing: Loretta Lynn does a GREAT Bill Anderson impression.

  7. Fred, Bismarck:

    Tomorrow night will tell the tale, and I hope I'm wrong, but I wonder if the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree is not kaput.

    No updated reference on the Record Shops web site to the advertised April 2 return, and when I tried to go to the Glenn Douglas Tubb web site for the Midnite Jamboree Association, organized a year ago to raise money to save the show, I found it had expired as of March 18.

    I wonder if the Record Shops can be far behind. I do wonder why a specialized shop like this can fail -- even in this day, especially on mail-order -- but who knows what may be going on behind the scenes?

    1. Fred, I thought I read somewhere that the new date was either going to be later in May or the 1st of June. Either way, not good news at all especially with the website not being updated. I also read a quote from the owner of the theater saying that the midnight jamboree was coming back and he wasn't going to charge them any rent.

    2. I drove by on Friday and they're promoting Rhonda Vincent. She's playing April 30th.

  8. As a side note to the April second 1988 weekend at the Opry I found the following when I looked at my notes.

    On Friday night the 1st, Roy Acuff introduced Minnie Pearl knowing she wasn't there, as a April Fools joke on the audience. He said Boxcar Willie played one on him backstage so he decided to pull one on the audience. Then, when he introduced Jimmy Dickens, they sent Billy Walker's grandson on stage ahead of Jimmy as a joke!

    Just thought you might find this interesting. Good memories!

    Knightsville, IN

    1. Sometimes it wasn't an April Fool. One time, Mr. Acuff totally blew off his segment because he was in a long conversation with Grant Turner and no one wanted to interrupt them!

  9. For those who listened to the Friday Night Opry last night, we almost had a train wreck with Ray Pillow. Ray did two songs and sounded ok, a bit chirpy at times. First song went great, introduced the 2nd song, with a little trouble, then he started into one song and the band played another melody. After one line he stopped and asked the band what song they were playing!!! It took a few seconds, but they got it figured out. But boy, a rough moment for Ray. Then Pam Tillis, the segment host, had to kill time as Striking Matches had an issue with an instrument, and let's just say she wasn't prepared to kill any time. But, it's live radio.

    1. Yes, the joys of live radio :) Did Pam say anything about Mel? There has been virtually no official word from either Pam or Carrie recently although a post by Carrie a month ago or so indicated he was still in the hospital. Mel's website has indicated that all tour appearances have been officially cancelled which is not a surprise.

  10. I was just looking at the Nashville Songwriters hall of fame & noticed one name missing ---that of Rev.Andrew Jenkins [b.1885-d.1957]He wrote 800 songs---300 of them were non sacred.Why is Jenkins not in the Hall of Fame?