Tuesday, May 31, 2016

June Opry Highlights

In the history of the Grand Ole Opry, June has been one of the more active months. Here is a look at the historical and important events that have taken place at the Grand Ole Opry, or regarding Opry members, during the month of June. 

June 17, 1910: Clyde Julian Foley was born in Blue Lick, Kentucky. Better known as Red, he joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1946, replacing Roy Acuff as the host of the Prince Albert portion of the Opry. He stayed with the Opry until 1954, when he left Nashville and went to Springfield, Missouri as the host of the Ozark Jubilee. 

June 19, 1914: Lester Flatt was born in Overton County, Tennessee. Lester would became famous as a member of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, then later teaming with Earl Scruggs. After a successful run, Lester and Earl split over the direction of their music, with Lester favoring a more traditional bluegrass sound. Lester formed the Nashville Grass and enjoyed great success. He was an Opry member until his death in 1979 and while on the Opry he traditionally hosted the Martha White portion. 

June 17, 1916: David Akeman, better known as Stringbean, was born in Anniville, Kentucky. Stringbean had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for years, famous for his comedy and banjo playing, but it was his role on Hee Haw that brought him the most fame. Stringbean died in November 1973 when he, along with his wife Estelle, were murdered upon returning home from an Opry appearance. 

June 28, 1924: George Morgan was born in Waverly, Tennessee. George spent several years in Ohio, calling Barberton his home. Later, he was a star on the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree and then came to Nashville and the Opry in 1948 as the replacement for Eddy Arnold. George would remain a popular Opry member until his death in 1975. On a historical note, George hosted the final segment of the Friday Night Opry prior to the move to the new Grand Ole Opry House in March 1974. The father of Opry member Lorrie Morgan, George is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

June 19, 1926: DeFord Bailey made his debut on the WSM Barn Dance. DeFord was a member of the Grand Ole Opry until he was fired by George D. Hay in 1941. His song, "Pan American Blues" would often be the opening number on the Opry's early broadcasts. After he was fired from the Opry, he remained bitter toward WSM and the Opry for many years, refusing several invitations to return to the show. Finally, on February 23, 1974 he returned for the annual Old Timers Night. He was introduced by Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl and received a great ovation. He would return several more times to the Opry, making his final appearance in April 1982, several months before his death. 

June 2, 1927: Former Grand Ole Opry member Carl Butler was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. Along with his wife Pearl, Carl had one of the biggest hits in country music history, "Don't Let Me Cross Over." Carl and Pearl were members of the Opry for several years in the early 1960s. He passed away in 1992.

June 23, 1929: Valarie June Carter was born in Maces Springs, Virginia. She, along with her sisters Anita and Helen, and their mother Maybelle, came to the Opry in 1950. While June was not much of a singer, she did have great talent as a comedian and she was often teamed with Rod Brasfield and Jimmy Dickens. 

June 12, 1936: Dr. Humphrey Bate, founder and leader of the Possum Hunters, died at the age of 61. Following Uncle Jimmy Thompson, Dr. Bate is considered the Opry's 2nd original member. In fact, many historians feel that he may actually have been the first rural performer to be featured on WSM. Either way, Dr. Bate and the Possum Hunters were an important part of the Opry in the early days and his contributions are often overlooked. 

June 13, 1936: Because of the size of the crowds, the Opry moves to the Dixie Tabernacle, located on Fatherland Street in East Nashville. While sounding impressive, the Tabernacle was actually a very primitive facility with wooden benches, sawdust floors and no dressing rooms. It was basically an old barn that had sides that were opened in the summer to keep the air flowing through. But it did seat 3.500 and contributed to the growth of the Opry. 

June 5, 1937: Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys became members of the Grand Ole Opry. Pee Wee was one of the first professional entertainers to join the show and he helped to bring a more professional look to the Opry as the Golden West Cowboys were one of the sharpest groups around. Pee Wee and the Opry's founder, George D. Hay, had many disagreements as the founder felt that Pee Wee's group was not country enough. Pee Wee stayed with the Opry for a number of years before leaving and moving to Louisville, Kentucky to work in television. He had a successful show that aired in several markets for a number of years. Later becoming famous for the "Tennessee Waltz" Pee Wee would continue to make guest appearances on the Opry. His autobiography, "Hell-Bent for Music" is excellent and I highly recommend the book. 

June 25, 1940: Republic Pictures released the movie "Grand Ole Opry" which starred Roy Acuff, George D. Hay and Uncle Dave Macon. It was a basic movie for the times and while it was not an academy award winner by any means, it offers a great look at an early Roy Acuff. 

June 5, 1943: The Grand Ole Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium, which it would stay until March 1974. Known today as "The Mother Church of Country Music," to many the Ryman is still considered the true home of the Opry and where it enjoyed its greatest growth. Many consider the years at the Ryman as the Opry's golden years. Since 1999, the Opry has returned to the Ryman for a series of shows during the winter months. 

June 6, 1944: D-Day, and the day that Grant Turner began working at WSM radio. Over time, Grant would become known as the dean of the Opry announcers and was probably the most famous announcer that the Opry has had. He would remain an Opry announcer until his death in October 1991. He was such an influence that in 1981 he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

June 17, 1944: The Poe Sisters, Ruth and Nelle, joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Their idols were the Delmore Brothers, and George D Hay would often refer to them as the "female Delmore Brothers." The Poe Sisters performed regionally in the Northeast before coming to Nashville and the Opry. Their time at the Opry, however, was very short, originally leaving in 1945 when Ruth got married. They were gone for a few months, returned until August 1946, then were gone for good. 

June 17, 1944: On the same night that Ruth and Nelle joined the Opry, future Opry member Rod Brasfield made his Opry debut. 

June 11, 1949: Hank Williams made his Grand Ole Opry debut. The performance was one for the ages as Hank was called back for 6 encores after singing "Lovesick Blues." Jimmy Dickens would call it the greatest Opry performance he had ever seen. 

June 12, 1954: Ferlin Husky became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Ferlin would be an Opry member until December 1964 when he was fired for failing to make the required number of Opry appearances. Like a few of the others who were fired, Ferlin would not rejoin the Opry cast but would return for guest appearances. 

June 1, 1957: As part of a youth movement that took place at the Opry in an effort to improve attendance, the Everly Brothers became members of the Opry. The Everly Brothers did not stay long as they moved on to bigger and better things. 

June 13, 1959: Roy Drusky became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Roy came to the Opry from Atlanta and he would remain an Opry until his death in September 2004. In my opinion, Roy had one of the smoothest voices in country music and was a terrific ballad singer. 

June 17, 1959: Opry member Loretta Lynn Morgan, better known as Lorrie, was born. 

June 14, 1961: Opry member Patsy Cline was seriously injured in an automobile accident in Nashville. It would take her 8 months to recover from her injuries, which left a scar on her forehead. Because of that scar, Patsy would wear a wig just about every time she would perform after the accident. 

June 29, 1963: Jim Reeves made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Jim joined the Opry in 1955, coming to Nashville from the Louisiana Hayride. At the time he left the Opry, he felt that he had outgrown the show and was already moving toward a more contemporary sound. 

June 8, 1964: Alton Delmore died at the age of 55 in Huntsville, Alabama. The Delmore Brothers were members of the Opry in the 1930s and their influence over brother acts was felt for many years. 

June 12, 1965: Tex Ritter became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. When Tex joined, he was at the tail end of his great western movie career and may wondered why Tex would want to come to Nashville and join the cast of the Opry. Tex surprised everyone by becoming one of the Opry's most popular and loyal members and really becoming involved in the Nashville community. He also co-hosted a late night radio program on WSM with Ralph Emery. Tex, who was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1964, was one of the early leaders and founding members of the Country Music Association. Tex passed away in January 1974.

June 20, 1965: Ira Louvin, the older brother of Charlie Louvin, was killed in an auto accident. One of the greatest duos in country music history, the Louvin Brothers were finally elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. 

June 25, 1966: Grand Ole Opry member Willie Nelson made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance as a member of the Opry. Willie had joined the cast in November 1964 and at the time Willie left, Nashville was just not working well for Willie. He returned to Texas, developed a new look and sound, and became of the biggest artists in country music. While never coming back has a member, Willie has made guest appearances on the Opry since leaving. 

June 1, 1967: Stu Phillips became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 49th year as an Opry member. Along with Hank Snow and Terri Clark, Stu is one of the Opry members born in Canada. While Stu never had that career hit record, he is still one of the finest ballad singers around. Sadly, he very rarely performs on the Opry anymore. 

June 28, 1974: Former Beatles member Paul McCarthy in introduced on the stage of the Opry by Roy Acuff. Paul did not perform as he was visiting Nashville as part of a vacation trip. 

June 28, 1974: Opry member George Morgan made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance. Included on the show that night was his daughter Lorrie, and they performed a duet together, "Smile for Me." Shortly afterwards, George would pass away after suffering a heart attack. 

June 17, 1978: Marty Robbins drove his new custom-made Panther Deville automobile onto the stage of the Opry. In a moment of good humor, Roy Acuff found a security guard who wrote out a parking ticket to Marty. 

June 20, 1980: Boxcar Willie made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Boxcar, of course, would later become an Opry member. 

June 19, 1982: Riders In The Sky became members of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be their 34th year as Opry members and they remain the only current Opry members keeping the sound of western music alive on the Opry stage. 

June 9, 1984: Following in the footsteps of her father, Lorrie Morgan became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 32nd year as an Opry member. Lorrie made her first Opry appearance at the age of 13, singing "Paper Roses."

June 18, 1984: Former Grand Ole Opry member Paul Howard passed away in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was 75. Paul joined the Opry in 1942 with his group, the Arkansas Cotton Pickers. Grady Martin and Hank Garland were members of that group, which specialized in western music. Paul stayed with the Opry through the 1940s before leaving. He did return for the Opry's reunion shows. 

June 20, 1986: Whitey Ford, The Duke of Paducah, died at the age of 85. Whitey joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1942,remaining an Opry member until 1959. Like others who left the cast, he would return and make guest appearances. Along with Minnie Pearl, Whitey was the featured comedian on the Prince Albert shows before he was replaced by Rod Brasfield. After Rod joined, Whitey stayed on the Opry and was scheduled in other segments. 

June 4, 1988: Herman Crook, the last living link to the start of the Grand Ole Opry, performed on the Opry for the final time. Herman was a part of the Opry for 62 years, first appearing in 1926. Herman was a harmonica player and was a part of the Crook Brothers, the last true string band to appear on the Opry. Over the years, the famous string bands such as the Possum Hunters, Gully Jumpers and Fruit Jar Drinkers would disappear, with the members merged into various other groups until finally, only the Crook Brothers were left. Herman passed away the following week, on June 10 and shortly afterwards, the Crook Brothers name would disappear from the Opry line-ups. 

June 10, 1988: Ricky Van Shelton became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Now retired, this will be his 28th year as an Opry member. 

June 11, 1988: The evening after Ricky became an Opry member, Patty Loveless joined the cast of the Opry. At one time, Patty was a part of the Wilburn Brothers television show and performed as a part of Porter Wagoner's show. Many times she will talk about how much Porter influenced her career. On the night of Patty's induction, it was Porter who handled the official duties. 

June 24, 1989: Future Grand Ole Opry member Garth Brooks made his first guest appearance on the show. Garth would become an Opry member the following year. 

June 2, 1990: Mike Snider became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 26th year as an Opry member. Mike is a great comedian and leads a great string band that performs the music that the Opry was founded on. In fact, Mike favors the old time music versus the comedy these days when he is on the Opry. 

June 7, 1991: Alan Jackson became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 25th year as an Opry member, and although he rarely appears on the Opry, he will be there to be honored for 25 years of Opry membership. 

June 14, 1991: Future Grand Ole Opry member Clint Black made his debut on the Opry. 

June 15, 1991: Minnie Pearl made her last appearance associated with an Opry show. That night she performed in Joliet, Illinois, after which several days later she suffered a massive stroke that would end her performing days. 

June 3, 1994: The Ryman Auditorium reopened for the first time since the building was renovated as Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion was broadcast live from the auditorium. After the Opry left in 1974, the building was left basically empty and as it was when the Opry left, until Gaylord Entertainment made the decision to renovate. It is now one of Nashville's treasures and the Gaylord decision was one of the best they ever made. 

June 3, 1994: Former Grand Ole Opry member Wally Fowler passed away at the age of 77. Wally came to Nashville in 1948 with his Oak Ridge Quartet. He was a part of the Opry until 1950. During the time that the Oak Ridge Quartet were on the Opry, they were featured on the Prince Albert portion of the show and Wally would many times host the final quarter hour. It would take a few years after Wally left, but the Oak Ridge Quartet would eventually become the Oak Ridge Boys and would once again become members of the Opry. 

June 4, 1994: Former Opry member Zeke Clements died at the age of 82. Zeke came to the Opry in the 1930s as a member of the Bronco Busters, which were led by Texas Ruby. 

June 17, 1994: Sarah Wilson of Sarie and Sallie, died at the age of 97. Sarie and Sallie were Opry members from 1934-1939. And no, there real names were not Sarie and Sallie, but were actually Edna Wilson and her sister Margaret Waters. 

June 28, 1999: Pete Fisher became the new general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, the first person hired specifically for that position. While it might be hard to believe, Pete has now been at the Opry for 17 years. 

June 10, 2000: The Grand Ole Opry introduced a new Opry backdrop. The new state of the art lighting replaced the old red barn that in various forms had been used since the Opry House opened in 1974. It was reported at the time that the old backdrop had been donated to the Country Music Hall of Fame, but if it has, it as never been put out on display. 

June 17, 2000: The Opry begins streaming its shows live on the internet, giving those around the world the opportunity to listen to the Opry. For many, it was the first chance to hear the show without the static. 

June 14, 2003: While Trace Adkins was performing on the Opry, Jimmy Dickens came out with a ladder, climbed it and asked Trace if he would like to become a member of the cast. Trace, of course, said yes, and would later be inducted. 

June 12, 2004: Terri Clark became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 12 year of Opry membership and she is one of only three members in the history of the Opry to have come from Canada. 

June 9, 2007: Mel Tillis was introduced by his daughter Pam as the Opry's newest member. This will be his 9th year as an Opry member, although he had been a part of the Opry previously as a member of Porter Wagoner's Wagonmasters. Back during that time period, there is a belief that Mel was actually asked to become an Opry member, accepted and then backed out. He even made it into one edition of the Opry's History Picture Book. Sadly, Mel suffered a serious health crisis earlier this year and continues his recovery. 

June 6, 2008: The 4 Guys made guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, which was their first appearance since being fired from the cast in 2000. This was also their final Opry appearance. 

June 28, 2008: The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night became for the final time at 6:30. The following week, the show would begin at 7, ending a scheduled that had been in effect since the 1970s. 

June 23, 2009: Montgomery Gentry became members of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be their 7th year as Opry members. They were brought to the show upon the recommendation of fellow Opry member Charlie Daniels, who had joined the previous year. 

June 15, 2013: Patty Loveless was honored on her 25th anniversary as an Opry member. Vince Gill was the host of the segment and they finished with "Go Rest High On That Mountain."

June 6, 2014: Grand Ole Opry member Jimmy C Newman made his final appearance as a member of the Opry. Jimmy had been an Opry member since 1948. He passed away several weeks later. 

June 11, 2015: Jim Ed Brown passed away after a short illness. Jim Ed had been an Opry member for over 50 years and had recently been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

June 19, 2015: Garth Brooks made a surprise appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, his first Opry appearance since inducting Carrie Underwood in 2008, and his first singing appearance since the Opry's 80th anniversary show in 2005. He was joined by his wife, Trisha Yearwood. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 5/27 & 5/28

Welcome to Memorial Day weekend and what many consider the unofficial start of summer. Holiday weekends are traditionally a tough time at the Opry as many of the Opry's members are out on the road. But for this holiday weekend, the Opry has come up with a couple of pretty nice line-ups. 

Vince Gill leads the group of Opry members who will be appearing both Friday and Saturday night. He will be joined both nights by members Mike Snider, John Conlee, Connie Smith and Riders In The Sky. Joining that group on Friday will be Joe Diffie, who is also hosting a segment, and Bobby Osborne. Saturday night, Opry members The Whites and Jesse McReynolds are set to appear. 

As far as guest artists this weekend, Chris Janson will be making another appearance. Chris continues to excite Opry audiences with his passion and enthusiasm each time he appears. Veterans Restless Heart and John Berry are also scheduled, in addition to Striking Matches and Johnny Counterfit, who is someone that you never know what to expect. Saturday night will feature John Thompson, Craig Wayne Boyd, William Michael Morgan, The Grascals and The Secret Sisters. 

Friday May 27
7:00: John Conlee (host); Striking Matches; Mike Snider
7:30: Joe Diffie (host); Johnny Counterfit; Restless Heart
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; John Berry
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Connie Smith; Chris Janson

Saturday May 28
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Josh Thompson; The Whites
7:30: John Conlee (host); Mike Snider: The Secret Sisters
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Craig Wayne Boyd; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); William Michael Morgan; The Grascals

That comes out to 12 acts for each show, of whom 7 are Opry members. 

And now, there is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of May 27 & 28, 2011:

Friday May 27
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Sunny Sweeney
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jake Owen
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jack Greene; Heidi Newfield
8:45: Vince Gill (host); The Whites; Lee Greenwood

Saturday May 28
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Johnny Counterfit; Sarah Jarosz
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; Josh Turner; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Jean Shepard; Connie Smith

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of May 26 & 27, 2006:

Friday May 26
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; David Ball
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Charlie Walker; Ricky Skaggs
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Jean Shepard; Mandy Barnett
9:30: Marty Stuart (host); Earl Scruggs; John Conlee; Mel McDaniel

Saturday May 27
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Rhonda Vincent
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Darryl Worley; Rockie Lynne; Chely Wright
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Jimmy C Newman; Cherryholmes; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; The Whites; Mandy Barnett

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Rhonda Vincent
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Rockie Lynne
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Darryl Worley; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; Chely Wright
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Cherryholmes; Charlie Louvin; Mandy Barnett

Finally, from fifteen years ago, May 25 & 26, 2001:

Friday May 25
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Bill Carlisle; Mandy Barnett
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Charlie Walker; Matt King; Jack Greene
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Stu Phillips; Billy Walker; Jim Ed Brown
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Andy Griggs; George Lindsay
9:30: John Conlee (host); Del McCoury Band; Brad Paisley

Saturday May 26 
1st show
6:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); The Whites; Bill Carlisle; Craig Morgan; Osborne Brothers
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Stonewall Jackson; Billy Walker; Matt King
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); George Lindsay; Lee Greenwood
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Mandy Barnett; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Del Reeves; Jack Greene; Andy Griggs

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Osborne Brothers; Craig Morgan
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Del Reeves; Jack Greene
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Charlie Louvin; Mandy Barnett; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); George Lindsay; Lee Greenwood
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Matt King; Ray Pillow; And Griggs

Looking back, here is the Grand Ole Opry line-up and running order from 44 years ago, Saturday May 27, 1972:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Justin Tubb (host): Lodi
Ernie Ashworth: Wanted Man
Jimmy Capps & Spider Wilson: Buckaroo
Justin Tubb: Traveling Singing Man

6:45: Rudy's
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Penny DeHaven: Down In the Boondocks
Charlie Moore: Leaving Detroit; Heading South
Billy Grammer: Whispering Hope

7:00: Luzianne
George Morgan (host): Easy Loving
Wilma Lee Cooper: You're Never Very Far From My Mind
Stringbean: Lonesome Road Blues
Joe & Rose Lee Maphis: Honey, Be My Honey Bee
George Morgan: To Get to You
Wilma Lee Cooper: I Couldn't Care Less
Stringbean: Hot Corn; Cold Corn
Joe Maphis: Under the Double Eagle

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Earl Scruggs Revue: Nashville Skyline Rag
Willis Brothers: I Still Do
Crook Brothers: Cotton Eyed Joe
Roy Acuff: Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain
Earl Scruggs Revue: The Banks of the Ohio
Willis Brothers: Buying Popcorn

8:00: Martha White
Hank Locklin (host): Please Help Me, I'm Falling
Grandpa Jones: Dooley
Connie Smith: You & Your Sweet Love
Del Wood: Gloryland March
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Grandpa Jones: The Valley of the Never Do No Good
Connie Smith: He Touched Me

8:30: Stephens
Ernest Tubb (host): Waiting For A Train
Stu Phillips: That's A Chance I'll Have to Take
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Walking In My Sleep
Wayne Hammond: To Get to You
Stu Phillips: Help Me Make It Through the Night
4 Guys: Shenandoah
Ernest Tubb: Say Something Nice to Sara

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Justin Tubb (host): Looking Back to See
Willis Brothers: Cool Water
Wilma Lee Cooper: Satisfied
Stringbean: Train 45
Justin Tubb: Traveling Singing Man
Willis Brothers: Bob
Wilma Lee Cooper: The Birds Are Back
Stringbean: The Battle of New Orleans

10:00: Fender
George Morgan (host): Candy Kisses
Charlie Moore: Legend of the Rebel Soldier
Del Wood: Gloryland March
George Morgan: To Get to You

10:15: Union 76
Billy Grammer (host): Bonaparte's Retreat
Earl Scruggs Revue: Lonesome Road Blues/T For Texas
Billy Grammer: Just A Closer Walk With Thee

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Grandpa Jones: Living In A Coal Can
Howdy Forrester: Bill Cheatham
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:45: Beech-Nut
Ernest Tubb (host): I'll Step Aside
Joe & Rose Lee Maphis: Run That By Me One More Time
Crook Brothers: Mississippi Sawyer
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

11:00: Coca-Cola
Stu Phillips (host): Crystal Chandeliers
Penny DeHaven: Down In the Boondocks
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Stu Phillips: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/You Win Again/Release Me
Penny DeHaven: Crying In the Rain
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose
Stu Phillips: A Castle; A Cabin

11:30: Elm Hill
Hank Locklin (host): Country Hall of Fame
Connie Smith: Just One Time
4 Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah/Turn Your Radio On
Hank Locklin: Jealous Heart
Connie Smith: Too Far From Calvary
Hank Locklin: Bouquet of Roses

There you have it. I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!

Have a safe Memorial Day!!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 5/20 & 5/21

The Grand Ole Opry has announced the schedule for the four shows this weekend. Yes, that is correct as the Opry has scheduled two shows for Friday and Saturday night. The reason? An appearance this weekend by Grand Ole Opry member Carrie Underwood, who is scheduled for all four shows. 

I have written about Carrie Underwood and her commitment to the Opry before but it needs repeating. In today's world of the Opry, when a new member comes on, Pete Fisher asks for a commitment of 10 appearances each year. Carrie joined in 2008, and that year she made 9 appearances. Since then, her record is as follows: 2009-10; 2010-6; 2011 & 2012-8; 2013, 2014 and 2015-10. For 2016, these are her first 4 appearances and she has 2 more scheduled in June. That will put her up to 6. There is no doubt she will get close to the magic number of 10 again this year. This is from a person who had a baby last year and has been touring heavily. (in fact, she was in Cleveland last night). You compare her record with Keith Urban, who hasn't been on the Opry since 2014 and since he joined in 2012, has made just 10 total appearances, or Blake Shelton, who since 2012 has appeared just 7 times. The attendance for a few others, including Trisha Yearwood, who joined in 1999 is even worse. (and I didn't even include those who joined prior to Pete taking over when there was no commitment, which I think some of the artists took as no commitment). While I know that not everyone is a Carrie fan, I think we all appreciate that she does take time to do the Opry. 

As far as other Opry members this weekend, Mike Snider and Bill Anderson will also be on all 4 shows, while Friday night will include John Conlee, Riders In The Sky, Jesse McReynolds (1st show only) and Bobby Osborne (2nd show only). Saturday night, it will be Connie Smith and The Whites joining Mike, Bill and Carrie. 

The big name guest artist on Friday night is Toby Keith. Toby has appeared on the Opry before and I am sure he will be well received. Exile and Daryle Singletary will join Toby along with Charles Esten from the recently cancelled Nashville show. Speaking of Nashville, the word on the street is that it is going into world-wide syndication and that the show producers are shopping it around to another network, probably on cable. There is interest in the show if the costs can be brought down. 

Saturday night's guest artists include Exile, as they are appearing on all 4 weekend shows, bluegrass group Mountain Heart and Maren Morris, a young female country singer making her Opry debut. She currently tours with Keith Urban and is touring in support of new music. Finally, Dallas Wayne is making a guest Opry appearance. In addition to being a host on Sirius/XM satellite radio, Dallas is also a fine country music singer. It will be nice hearing him on the Opry. 

Friday May 20
1st show
7:00: John Conlee (host); Daryle Singletary; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Exile; Charles Esten
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Toby Keith
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Daryle Singletary; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
10:00: John Conlee (host); Carrie Underwood
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Exile; Charles Esten
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Toby Keith

Saturday May 21
1st show
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Mike Snider; Maren Morris
7:30: The Whites (host); Exile
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Dallas Wayne; Mountain Heart; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Connie Smith (host); Maren Morris
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Carrie Underwood
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Dallas Wayne; Mountain Heart; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: The Whites (host); Exile

That comes out to 10 acts for each show on Friday night, with Jesse McReynolds and Bobby Osborne the only non-repeats. Of the 10, 6 are Opry members. On Saturday night, it is just 9 for each show, of whom 5 are Opry members. 

Now what is interesting is that on Saturday night, Dallas Wayne is scheduled to be hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. The website is still listing the taping of the jamboree at 10:00. With Dallas scheduled to appear on the 10:30 segment of the Opry, it will be interesting to see how he pulls that off. I am also a little surprised that the Opry didn't work with him more regarding the schedule. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of May 20 & 21, 2011:

Friday May 20
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Rhonda Vincent
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Mark Wills
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Dierks Bentley
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Mike Snider; Patty Loveless

Saturday May 21
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; James Wesley
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Gene Watson
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Bo Bice; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Patty Loveless

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of May 19 & 20, 2006:

Friday May 19
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Trent Willmon
8:30: John Conlee (host); Jack Greene; Wylie & The Wild West
9:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; T. Graham Brown
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Susan Haynes; Mountain Heart

Saturday May 20
1st show
6:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Lane Turner
7:00: Pam Tillis (host); Catherine Britt; Del McCoury Band
7:30: John Conlee (host); Elizabeth Cook; Wylie & The Wild West
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Stu Phillips; T. Graham Brown; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Andy Griggs

2nd show
9:30: Pam Tillis (host); The Whites; Catherine Britt
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Lane Turner; Del McCoury Band
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Elizabeth Cook; T. Graham Brown; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Wylie & The Wild West
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Ray Pillow; Charlie Nagatani; Andy Griggs

Finally, from fifteen years ago, the weekend of May 18 & 19, 2001:

Friday May 18
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; The Whites
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeanne Pruett; Billy Walker; Tammy Cochran
8:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Stu Phillips; Hot Club of Cowtown; Mel McDaniel

9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Billy Yates; Ricky Skaggs
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jack Greene; Mike Snider; Charley Pride

Saturday May 19
1st show
6:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; Billy Yates
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Ray Pillow; The Whites; Elizabeth Cook; Mel McDaniel
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Chalee Tennison; Mandy Barnett; Charley Pride
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Charlie Walker; Osborne Brothers; Sherrie Austin; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Dean Miller; Cindy Moore; Kitty Wells

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

For this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history, let's go way, way back. 67 years back to be exact, to Saturday May 21, 1949. Remember during that year, the Opry was around for just 24 years. 

7:30: American Ace Coffee
Roy Acuff (host): Little Moses
Tommy Magness: Florida Blues
Dot & Smokey: I'll Never Let You Go
Jimmy Riddle: Wreck of The Old Ninety Seven
Roy Acuff: Brother Take Warning
Uncle Dave Macon & Dorris: Walking In My Sleep
Jug Band: Uncle Eph
Roy Acuff: Mother's Not Dead She's Only Sleeping
Joe Zinkas: She's My Curly Headed Baby
Oswald: You Are My Sunshine

8:00: Purina Show
Bill Monroe (host): Train 45
Mel & Stan: Jimmy Brown The News Boy
George Morgan: Are The Roses of Yesterday Still Blooming
Robert Lunn: Milk'em In The Morning
Blue Grass Quartet: I've Been Waiting
Uncle Dave Macon & Dorris: Take Me Back To Tulsa
Velma & Hal: Blue Eyes Crying in The Rain
George Morgan: Don't Make Sorry
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Mississippi Sawyer
Bill Monroe: Goodbye Old Pal

8:30: Prince Albert
Red Foley (host): Just Because
Bill Monroe: I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling
Rod Brasfield: Jokes
Red Foley: I Just Can't Keep From Crying
Fowler Quartet: Keep On The Firing Line
Bill Monroe: To Be Selected
Minnie Pearl: Jokes
Old Hickory Singers: Carry Me Back To Old Virginia
Red Foley: Old Shep
Square Dance: Wake Up Susan

9:00: Royal Crown Cola
Possum Hunters: Off To Charleston
Roy Acuff (host): Stay A Little Longer
Jamup & Honey: Jokes
Jimmy Riddle: St. Louis Blues
Jimmy Dickens: I'll Be Back A Sunday
Jug Band: Mountain Maw
Lonzo & Oscar: Tickle A Tom Cat's Tail
Rachel & Oswald: Little Darling
Roy Acuff: Shake Hands With Mother Again
Jimmy Dickens: Country Boy
Tommy Magness: Fire In The Mountain

9:30: Warren Paint
Lew Childre: I'm Saving Up Coupons
Ernest Tubb (host): I'm A Long Gone Daddy
String Beans: Rose of Old Kentucky
George Morgan: To Be Selected
Crook Brothers: Hop Light Ladies
Ernest Tubb: Have You Ever Been Lonely
Bradley Kincaid: Ain't We Crazy
George Morgan: To Be Selected
Don Davis: Bye Bye Blues
Ernest Tubb: Daisey Mae

10:00: Wallrite
Bill (host) & Don: White House Blues
Shenandoah Trio: Steel Guitar Blues
Mel & Stan: God's River of Blessing
Blue Grass Quartet: Remember The Cross
Bill Monroe: When The Cactus Are In Bloom

10:15: Gaylark: 
Roy Acuff (host): Cindy
Uncle Dave Macon & Dorris & Kirk: Listen To The Mocking Bird
Roy Acuff: Poem
Bill & Gang: Turn Your Radio On
Tommy Magness: Kicking Mule

10:30: Royal Flour
Milton Estes (host): Red Rosey Cheeks and Big Brown Eyes
Jimmy Dickens: I Wish I Had A Nickle
Jimmy Selph: Don't Rob Another Mans Castle
Milton Estes: When God Dips His Love In My Heart

10:45: Dr. Le Gear
Lew Childre (host): Hog Calling Blues
Bradley Kincaid: Old Smokey
String Beans: Big Ball In Town
Lew & String: Maggie
Mark McGarr: China Boy

George Morgan (host): I Love None But You
Velma: Tomorrow Is Just Another Day
Gully Jumpers: New Five Cents
George Morgan: Ages and Ages Ago
Hal Smith: Mountain Rag

Ernest Tubb (host): I'll Get Along Somehow
Butter Ball: Where The Old Red River Flows
Drake Brothers: Columbus Stockade
Ernest Tubb: There Is No Room In MY Heart For The Blues

Jimmy Dickens (host): I'm Fading Fast With The Time
Lonzo & Oscar: Boll Weevil
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin
Jimmy Dickens: Pennies For Papa
Zeb Turner: Get and Get

Wally Fowler (host): Lead Me To The Rock
Robert Lunn: Snake Bite Blues
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Lonesome Road Blues
Wally Fowler: You Must Come In At The Door
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fishers Hornpipe

Note: The spellings are as they were listed in the program and yes, there were no sponsors listed for any of the segments after 11:00.

I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 5/13 & 5/14

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend. Both nights have pretty nice line-ups with some interesting names scheduled. As far as Opry members this weekend, both nights will feature Riders In The Sky, Mike Snider, John Conlee and Jeannie Seely. They will be joined by Connie Smith and Jesse McReynolds on Friday night, while Bobby Osborne, Bill Anderson and Steve Wariner are set for Saturday. In fact, Bill and Steve will anchor the final segment. 

As far as guest artists this weekend, the Friday Night Opry has some really good artists listed. First, Jamey Johnson is scheduled to close out the show. Jamey has made several Opry appearances over the past six months and personally, I would like it if Jamey ever became an Opry member. He is well respected and liked and he is an outstanding country singer. Charlie Nagatani is also scheduled. Charlie has been around for a long time and is celebrating his 80th birthday this year. He has made appearances on the Opry since 1985 and although he lives in Japan, he continues to make regular trips to Nashville and the Opry. Also scheduled for Friday night is the O'Connor Family Band featuring Mark O'Connor. Mark is one of the great fiddlers in the business and for years he kind of moved away from country and bluegrass music. He has resurfaced recently with an Opry appearance and it is nice to see him back. Also scheduled is Craig Campbell, Mo Pitney and Gary Mule Deer, who you can count on for some comedy relief. 

While not as strong of a group as is being featured on Friday night, Saturday's guests include Chris Lane, Holly Williams, Tristan McIntosh and Sierra Hull. Tristan was featured on season 15 of American Idol and is from Nashville. She is just 16 and will be making her 2nd Opry appearance. Her first one was a walk-on with Darius Rucker, so this will be her first solo shot. For Holly Williams, this continues a string of recent Opry appearances and it is nice to see Sierra Hull back on the Opry. 

Friday May 13
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Craig Campbell; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Mo Pitney
8:15: John Conlee (host); Gary Mule Deer; O'Connor Family Band featuring Mark O'Connor
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Charlie Nagatani; Jamey Johnson

Saturday May 14
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Chris Lane; Holly Williams
7:30: John Conlee (host); Mike Snider; Tristan McIntosh
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Sierra Hull; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Steve Wariner

That comes out to 12 acts on the Friday Night Opry, of whom 6 are Opry members, and 11 acts on Saturday night, with 7 of those Opry members. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of May 13 & 14, 2011:

Friday May 13
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; The Derailers
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Old Crow Medicine Show
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Troy Olsen; Dailey & Vincent

Saturday May 14
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); The Whites; The Bowling Family
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Joey+Rory; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); The Charlie Daniels Band

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of May 12 & 13, 2006:

Friday May 12
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Jim Ed Brown; Mark Wills
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Pinmonkey
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Jean Shepard; Ricky Skaggs
9:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jack Greene; John Conlee; Rhonda Vincent

Saturday May 13
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Keni Thomas
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Pinmonkey
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; Jim Ed Brown; The Wreckers
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Jean Shepard; Buddy Jewell; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Eddy Raven; Ricky Skaggs

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Keni Thomas
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Eddy Raven; Pinmonkey
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; The Wreckers; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; Ricky Skaggs
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Charlie Louvin; Billy Walker; Buddy Jewell

Finally, from fifteen years ago, the weekend of May 11 & 12, 2001. The first show on Saturday night featured a very rare Opry performance by former Opry member Don Williams.

Friday May 11
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; Bill Carlisle; Trick Pony
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jeanne Pruett; Osborne Brothers; Jim Ed Brown; The Clark Family Experience
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Del Reeves; George Hamilton IV; Rhonda Vincent
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Walker; T Bubba Bechtol; Sherrie Austin
9:30: Marty Stuart (host); Elizabeth Cook; Mike Snider; Gene Watson

Saturday May 12
1st show
6:30: Riders In The Sky (host); The Whites; Bill Carlisle; Mandy Barnett; The Clark Family Experience
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Ed Brown; George Hamilton IV; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Rhonda Vincent; Billy Walker; Don Williams
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Louvin; Jimmy C Newman; Mike Snider; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); T Bubba Bechtol; Chad Brock; Hal Bynum

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Riders In The Sky; The Whites; Mandy Barnett
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeanne Pruett; Billy Walker; Rhonda Vincent
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Stonewall Jackson; Del Reeves; Chad Brock
11:30: Mike Snider (host); Ray Pillow; T Bubba Bechtol; The Clark Family Experience; Hal Bynum

There are a couple of line-ups that I wanted to highlight this weekend. It was 49 years ago this weekend, May 13, 1967 that Merle Haggard made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Merle would appear a few times over the years, making his final Opry appearance in October 2015, just six months prior to his recent passing. Here is the Opry running order from the night of Merle Haggard's Opry debut: 

7:30: Cordite
Billy Walker (host): Oh, Lonesome Me
Bill Carlisle: Rusty Old Halo
Bob Luman: You Can Take the Boy From the Country
Margie Bowes: Making Believe
Billy Walker: Anything Your Heart Desires
Ernie Ashworth: At Ease, Heart
Bill Carlisle: What Kind of Deal is This
Margie Bowes: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Billy Walker: Del Rio

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Nine Pound Hammer
Charlie Louvin: Here Comes Someone's Heartache
George Hamilton IV: Urge for Going
Crook Brothers: Arkansas Traveler
Flatt & Scruggs: Nashville Cats
Ray Pillow: Six Days on the Road
Merle Haggard: The Bottle Let Me Down
Charlie Louvin: On the Other Hand

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host): Please Come Back, Little Pal
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: You're Never Very Far From My Mind
Wilburn Brothers: Hurt Her Once for Me
Loretta Lynn: You Ain't Woman Enough
Roy Acuff: Waltz of the Wind
Tommy Hunter: Fill Up My Cup of Disgrace
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: It Started Again
Wilburn Brothers: Roarin' Again
Howdy Forrester: Instrumental 
Roy Acuff: Cabin In Gloryland

9:00: Luzianne
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Bobby Lord: Look What You're Doing To You
The Browns: I'd Just Be Fool Enough
Minnie Pearl: You Are My Sunshine
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life
Norma Jean: Conscience, Keep An Eye On Me Tonight
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Devil's Dream

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): Rumba Boogie
Jimmy C Newman: Louisiana Saturday Night
Marion Worth: Walk Thru This World
George Morgan: I Couldn't See
Hank Snow: (?)
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey
Jimmy C Newman: Cry, Cry Darling
Hank Snow: Down at the Pawn Shop

10:00: Schick
Flatt & Scruggs (host): It Was Only the Wind
Charlie Louvin: God Bless Her, Cause She's My Mother
Margie Bowes: Enough To Make A Woman Lose Her Mind
George Morgan IV: Early Morning Rain

10:15: Pure
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Bill Carlisle, Jr: Just to Satisfy You
Ray Pillow: Tow Minus One Leaves Blue
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Howdy Forrester: Instrumental

10:30: Buckley's
Wilburn Brothers (host): The Shoe Goes on the Other Foot Tonight
Loretta Lynn: If You're Not Gone Too Long
Loretta Lynn & Teddy Wilburn: Sweet Thang
Ernie Ashworth: Sad Face

10:45: Kent
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): The Birds Are Back to Sing
Bob Luman: Let's Think About Living
Crook Brothers: Lafayette
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Each Season Changes You

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Conscience, I'm Guilty
Bobby Lord: Life Can Have Meaning
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Lost Indian
Hank Snow: The Runt
Sam McGee: Nine Pound Hammer
Tommy Hunter: In A Way
Jim Ed Brown: You Can Have Her
Hank Snow:(?)

11:30: Lava
Jimmy C Newman (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
Marion Worth: Apartment #9
Merle Haggard: Days of Wine & Roses; Swinging Doors
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Marion Ward: Loose Talk
Cousin Jody: Wabash Cannonball
Jimmy C Newman: Dropping Out of Sight

Many Opry fans wonder why Gene Watson has never become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. I can't answer that question but what I can tell you is that it was 44 years ago this weekend, Saturday May 13, 1972, that Gene Watson made his Opry debut. 

Gene Watson is one of the great voices in country music and he has had an outstanding career. Born October 11, 1943, he has had 6 #1 records, 23 Top 10 hits and over 75 singles that have hit the charts. His most famous songs include "Love in the Hot Afternoon," "Paper Rosie," Fourteen Carat Mind," and what is probably his signature song, "Farewell Party," which is also the name of his backup band. In 2002 Gene became a member of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame." He is still very active in both touring and recording and if you get the chance to see him live, do so. He is outstanding. 

Here is the Grand Ole Opry running order from May 13, 1972, the night Gene Watson first appeared on the Opry stage. 

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Billy Walker (host): Things
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Billy Walker: Gone Our Endless Love/Charlie's Shoes

6:45: Rudy's
Ray Pillow (host): Cinderella
Ernie Ashworth: Wanted Man
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Ray Pillow: She's Doing it to Be Again

7:00: Luzianne
Bill Monroe (host): It's Mighty Dark for Me to Travel
Wilma Lee Cooper: I Don't Care if Tomorrow Never Comes
Louie Roberts: Old Time Religion
Bill Monroe: Kentucky Mandolin
Wilma Lee Cooper: Precious Memories
Louie Roberts: Release Me
Bill Monroe: John Henry

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Drusky (host): Long, Long Texas Road
Willis Brothers: Cool Water
Stringbean: Ruby
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Roy Drusky: I Love the Way That You've Been Loving Me
Willis Brothers: Bob
Stringbean: Battle of New Orleans
Jerry Whitehurst: Java
Roy Drusky: Red, Red Wine

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Virginia
Onie Wheeler: Mother Prays Loud in Her Sleep
Howdy Forrester: Instrumental
Jean Shepard: Happy Tracks
Roy Acuff: Carry Me Back to the Mountains/Cabin in Gloryland

8:30: Stephens
Wilburn Brothers (host): Roll, Muddy River
Barbara Mandrell: Show Me
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Walking in My Sleep 
Wilburn Brothers: Metals for Mothers
Barbara Mandrell: I Know My Lord Will Lead Me Home
4 Guys: Let There Be Peace

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Billy Walker (host): Cross the Brazos at Waco
Willis Brothers: Ghost Riders in the Sky
Del Wood: Gloryland March
Billy Walker: Gone Our Endless Love
Skeeter Willis: Maiden's Prayer
Del Wood: Standing Room Only
Billy Walker: Charlie's Shoes/Heartaches by the Number

10:00: Fender
Ray Pillow (host): Heart Over Mind
Wilma Lee Cooper: Leroy the Cripple Boy
Ray Pillow: She's Doing It to Me Again
Wilma Lee Cooper: The Birds Are Back

10:15: Union 76
Bill Monroe (host): Little Joe
Louie Roberts: Old Time Religion
Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Drusky (host): Alone With You
Stringbean: Roll on Buddy
Harold Weakley: Where No One Stands Alone
Roy Drusky: Don't It Make You Want to Go Home/Strangers

10:45: Beech-Nut
Roy Acuff (host): Ball Knob, Arkansas
Jean Shepard: Virginia
Crook Brothers: Soldier's Joy
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

11:00: Coca-Cola
Stu Phillips (host): Help Me Make It Through the Night
4 Guys: Cottonfields/Maria
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Sam McGee: John Henry
Stu Phillips: Me & Bobby McGee

11:30: Elm Hill
Wilburn Brothers (host): It Looks Like the Sun's Gonna Shine
Bill Carlisle: Same Old Tale That the Crow Told Me
Barbara Mandrell: Tonight My Baby's Coming Home
Gene Watson: Danny Boy/I Can't Help It
Wilburn Brothers: Arkansas
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Barbara Mandrell: Show Me
Wilburn Brothers: All We Have For You Mom

I assume there is a Midnight Jamboree this weekend, but in checking the website this morning, there is still no host listed or any show information. Finally, next weekend will be a big one at the Opry with two shows on both Friday and Saturday night, featuring Opry member Carrie Underwood. Also set to appear is Dallas Wayne, of XM/Sirius radio fame, who is not a bad country singer himself. 

Until then, enjoy the Opry this weekend!!