Thursday, May 5, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 5/6 & 5/7

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend and the most interesting name listed is Shenandoah, who are scheduled for both nights. This award winning group had a nice run of hits in the 1980s and 1990s, which included the #1 hits "The Church on Cumberland Road," "Sunday in the South," "Two Dozen Roses," "Next to You, Next to Me," and "If Bubba Can Dance." All of these songs are easily recognized by every country music fan. For Shenandoah, this will be their first Grand Ole Opry appearance in 25 years, and included in the line-up this weekend is Marty Raybon, who has rejoined the group. 

Scheduled for Saturday, and making their Grand Ole Opry debut is Smithfield. Trey Smith and Jennifer Fiedler are the members of Smithfield and they are appearing in support of their debut EP "Good Ol Days." Besides Shenandoah, they will be joined by Logan Brill, Darryl Worley, Dailey & Vincent, Lauren Alaina, and making another Opry appearance, Marty Brown. Friday's guest, in addition to Shenandoah, include Craig Wayne Boyd, Amanda Shires, Aaron Tippin, Striking Matches and Flatt Lonesome. 

As far as Opry members this weekend, John Conlee, Mike Snider and Connie Smith are scheduled for both nights, and are hosting segments each night. 50 year Opry members Ray Pillow and Bobby Osborne will be joining them on Friday night, while Riders In The Sky and Jesse McReynolds are set for Saturday night. 

Friday May 6
7:00: John Conlee (host); Craig Wayne Boyd
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Amanda Shires; Aaron Tippin
8:15: Ray Pillow (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Striking Matches
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Shenandoah; Flatt Lonesome

Saturday May 7
7:00: John Conlee (host); Logan Brill; Darryl Worley
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Marty Brown; Shenandoah
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Smithfield; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Dailey & Vincent; Lauren Alaina

That comes out to 11 acts of Friday night, with one more to be added and 12 acts on Saturday. As far as Opry members, 5 each night. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago this weekend, May 6 & 7, 2011:

Friday May 6
7:00: John Conlee (host); The Whites; John Anderson
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Neal McCoy
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Del McCoury Band
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); George Hamilton IV; Lee Brice

Saturday May 7
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Holly Williams
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Stu Phillips; LoCash Cowboys; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Aaron Tippin

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of May 5 & 6, 2006:

Friday May 5
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; T. Graham Brown
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Hot Apple Pie
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy C Newman; Rhonda Vincent
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jim Ed Brown; Marty Stuart

Saturday May 6
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Connie Smith; Julie Roberts
7:00: Trace Adkins (host); Joe Nichols; Jake Owen; Oak Ridge Boys
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Jean Shepard; Daniel O'Donnell; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Vince Gill

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Julie Roberts
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Walker; Connie Smith; Trace Adkins
10:30: Vince Gill (host); Jean Shepard; Daniel O'Donnell; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jake Owen; Oak Ridge Boys
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Walker; Joe Nichols

Finally, from fifteen years ago, the weekend of May 4 & 5, 2001:

Friday May 4
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Bill Carlisle; Mandy Barnett
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim & Jesse; Del Reeves; Mark Wills
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Stu Phillips; Charlie Walker; Mike Snider
9:00: Jean Shepard (host); Nashville Bluegrass Band; Jack Greene
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Ray Pillow; Johnny Hiland; T.G. Sheppard

Saturday May 5
1st show
6:30: Jean Shepard (host); Billy Walker; Bill Carlisle; The Whites
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Blake Shelton
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Tracy Byrd; Steve Wariner
8:00: John Conlee (host); Nashville Bluegrass Band; Del Reeves; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); George Hamilton IV; The Kingsmen Quartet

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Tracy Byrd
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Steve Wariner
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Walker; John Conlee; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider; Stonewall Jackson; Blake Shelton
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Ray Pillow; Nashville Bluegrass Band; The Kingsmen Quartet

For this week's look back at past Grand Ole Opry line-ups, I am going to post the line-up from Saturday May 6, 1972. On this particular night, former Grand Ole Opry members Carl and Pearl Butler made a guest appearance. 

Though Carl and Pearl Butler made their reputations during the heyday of the smooth Nashville sound, their music was anything bu smooth. Clad in flashy Western outfits, they sang hard-edged traditional music with decidedly unpolished harmonies. 

Carl Roberts Butler began singing as a boy, and after working on radio in Knoxville and Raleigh, North Carolina, went on to Nashville in 1948. He recorded for Capital Records, where he had little success but wrote two country favorites: "Crying My Heart Out Over You" (a hit for both Flatt and Scruggs and Ricky Skaggs), and "If Teardrops Were Pennies: (a hit for Carl Smith). He signed with Columbia and had his first solo hit, "Honky-Tonkitis," in 1961. His wife Pearl sang harmony with him on the ballad, "Don't Let Me Cross Over." Its success, remaining Number One eleven weeks on the Billboard charts in 1962, made it clear they'd found a niche as a duo. That same year they joined the Opry and had other hits for Columbia, the biggest being "Too Late to Try Again" and "I'm Hanging Up the Phone" (1964). They continued recording for Columbia through the late 60's, appearing in the B-movie, "Second Fiddle to a Steel Guitar." They recorded for Chart Records, for their own Pedaca label and for CMH. Butler did some performing after Pearl's death in 1988, but basically retired from the business, his own death coming in 1992. 

Carl and Pearl Butler were also instrumental in Dolly Parton's career. As she explained, "Carl and Pearl Butler, who used to perform on the Opry. They were friends of mine and we had worked on the same show in east Tennessee, the 'Cas Walker Show. So they brought me down to Nashville. They had been working real hard at pushing me along. Along with my uncle Bill Owens, who had an old car with a caved-in side, we'd keep coming back and forth to Nashville, trying to get something going. He believed I was going to be a star, and I was fool enough to believe him." Thanks to the efforts of Carl and Pearl, and a push from Jimmy C Newman, who gave up his spot one Friday night, Dolly would eventually make her Opry debut. And she never forgot her friends Carl and Pearl, and later in their lives, she provided a helping hand to them. 

Here is the line-up from 46 years ago, Saturday May 6, 1972, one of Carl and Pearl Butler's final guest appearances on the Opry. 

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Willis Brothers (host): Detour
Peggy Little: My God is Real
Skeeter Willis: Faded Love

6:45: Rudy's
Justin Tubb (host): Looking Back to See
Carl & Pearl Butler: Temptation Keeps Twisting Her Arms
Murry Kellum: Joy to the World
Justin Tubb: Big Fool of the Year

7:00: Luzianne
Stu Phillips (host): That's A Chance I'll Have to Take
Jeanne Pruett: Love Me
Urel Albert: C & W meets R & B
Stu Phillips: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/You Win Again/Release Me
Country Johnny Mathis: Smile, God Loves You
Jeanne Pruett: Hold To My Unchanging Love
Urel Albert: Wreck on the Highway/I'm Moving On/Wayward Wind/Eight More Miles to Louisville
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy C Newman (host): Jambalaya
Earl Scruggs Revue: Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Bob Luman: When You Say Love
Crook Brothers: Instrumental
Jimmy C Newman: Cry, Cry Darling
Earl Scruggs Revue: Lonesome & A Long Way From Home
Bob Luman: It Takes You
Jimmy C Newman: Boo Dan/Alligator Man

8:00: Martha White
Bobby Lord (host): Hawkeye
Skeeter Davis: Sad Situation
Duke of Paducah: The Best Things In Life Are Free
Bobby Lord: Fall Away
Skeeter Davis: Take Me Home Country Roads
Bobby Lord: Y'All Come

8:30: Stephens
4 Guys (host): Cottonfields/Mariah
Ernie Ashworth: I'm Walking the Dog
Johnny Carver: I Start Thinking About You
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
4 Guys: Let There Be Peace
Ernie Ashworth: Wanted Man
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Willis Brothers (host): Give Me 40 Acres
Peggy Little: My God Is Real
Carl & Pearl Butler: Sundown In Nashville
Murry Kellum: Leon, Take it Away
Willis Brothers: Tumbling Tumbleweeds
Peggy Little: Little Golden Band
Carl & Pearl Butler: Don't Let Me Cross Over

10:00: Fender
Jimmy C Newman (host): Diggy Liggy Lo
Earl Scruggs Revue: Nashville Skyline Rag
Urel Albert: C & W Meets R & B
Jimmy C Newman: Louisiana Dirty Rice

10:15: Union 76
Justin Tubb (host): Lodi
Jeanne Pruett: Love Me
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday

10:30: Trailblazer
Stu Phillips (host): Me & Bobby McGee
Country Johnny Mathis: Smile, God Loves You
Stu Phillips: For the Good Times

10:45: Beech-Nut
Bob Luman (host): When You Say Love
Crook Brothers: Ida Red
Bob Luman: Honky Tonk Man/It Takes You

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bobby Lord (host): Wake Me Up Early In The Morning
Skeeter Davis: Rocky Top
Duke of Paducah: The Best Things in Life Are Free
Fruit Jar Drinkers: (?)
Bobby Lord: Just A Closer Walk With Thee
Skeeter Davis: Sad Situation
Sam McGee: Farewell Blues/Alabama Jubilee/Just Because
Bobby Lord: Live Your Life Out Loud

11:30: Elm Hill
4 Guys (host): Cottonfields/Mariah
Johnny Carver: Your Lily White Hands
4 Guys: Shenandoah
Johnny Carver: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart
Opry Staff Band: Buckaroo
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On

Wow, for that era, that was a pretty thin line-up at the Opry with most of the Opry's heavy hitters gone. When you add it all up, just 10 Opry members on the first show and 9 on the second, not including Sam McGee, the Crook Brothers and the Fruit Jar Drinkers. While Carl & Pearl Butler and the Duke of Paducah were on that night, both had given up their Opry membership by that point. 

There are a couple of interesting names appearing that night that some might night recognize, those being Murry Kellum, Urel Albert and yes, there was someone called the Country Johnny Mathis. 

Murry Kellum was was a singer, songwriter and guitarist from Jackson, Mississippi. He was born in 1942 and passed away on September 30, 1990, at the age of 47, dying in a plane crash in Gallatin, Tennessee. His first big hit was in 1963 with "Long Tall Texan." In 1970, he wrote and recorded "The Ballad of Archie Who" which was based on Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning. Murry co-wrote "If Your Gonna Play in Texas, (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band," that became a #1 hit for Alabama. He was also involved with cars and with drag racing. At the time of his death, he was considered a well loved country music singer. 

Urel Albert was born in 1928 and came out of Missouri. It is written that he was one of the original members of Porter Wagoner's group. After going to Nashville, he had his first solo success in 1968 with a song he wrote, "Saturday Night in Nashville." He was well known for his imitations of country music stars and on the Opry this particular night, he imitated Roy Acuff, Hank Snow, Tex Ritter and Grandpa Jones during his performance on the first show. Although he continued to perform and travel around the country, he really had no further success in the music business, eventually retiring. In 1989 he was inducted into the Missouri Country Music Hall of Fame. Urel passed away in 1992. 

As far as the Country Johnny Mathis, he was a singer and songwriter who had a 60-plus year career in country music and wrote over 400 songs. His first success came in 1949 when he signed with the StarTalent Label, and he would later record for Chess, Columbia and Mercury. In 1953 as part of the duo Jimmy and Johnny, he had a Top 10 hit with "If You Don't Somebody Else Will." His top solo record was "Please Talk to My Heart" which went to #15 on the charts. From 1951 to 1960 he was part of the Louisiana Hayride. Born in 1930 he passed away in 2011. And for those who ask, yes, Johnny Mathis was his real name. 

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!


  1. The best description I ever heard of Carl Butler was that he sang with all the subtlety of a "bawling coke furnace". Most entertainers from that era learned early on to lean back and let it fly and the Butlers were two of the best at it. I always appreciated the fact that when they took the stage they LOOKED like stars. I got to meet them at one of the "Old Timer's" nights back in the 80's. Lovely, nice people and their signatures are among those treasures in the Opry picture book that I keep locked up in an undisclosed location. They were so helpful in advancing the careers of so many people and it's a shame they never got the wide recognition that they truly deserve. Most people don't remember what major figures the were in Nashville during the 60s. Thankfully, there are so many YouTube videos available that we can enjoy now.

  2. I'll add that "Sundown in Nashville" is probably one of my favorite songs of all time.

  3. Fred, Bismarck:

    Yes, and the Butlers still "had it" when they made the last Butler recordings in my collection, for CMH, in the (I think) early '80s. Carl brings all of that "blast furnace" intensity to one of my favorites, "Mrs. Right's Divorcing Mr. Wrong." He pronounces "Mrs." the good old (east Tennessee?) way, with three (count 'em) syllables.

  4. Fred, Bismarck:

    Mistake above on "Mrs." -- it's pronounced 'Miss'-ris.' (Only two syllables -- I counted wrong.)

  5. I remember someone saying that Carl Butler reminded them of Roy Acuff--he rared back and let 'er rip. When I'm doing my imitation of Mr. Acuff--and while I'm not as good as Del Reeves was, I tell you, I'm pretty good--I tell my wife I'll protect her from "the full Acuff." I'd say the same about Carl Butler.

    Fred, that brings to mind Larry Gatlin's line that George Jones was the only man in the world who could turn Thursday into an eight-syllable word.

  6. Fred, Bismarck:

    I'd like to see and hear that imitation, Michael.

    Del was built rather like Roy; and I swear, when he went into his impersonation, he even LOOKED like the real thing. I was lucky enough to catch that once -- but only once -- on the TNN Opry.

    That's the time I realized Del was one of those complete showmen whose flavor is only incompletely captured by a walk-on, walk-off format, usually doing the same old songs. I'll bet his road show was something else.

    Speaking of complete showmen, since I seem to be gabby this morning:

    Anyone who likes what they see of the little-remembered Lew Childre on those old Gannoway Opry shows now has recourse to a new release on the British BACM label, consisting mainly of material he recorded for Starday in the late '50s or early '60s. It's a home run, with backing by label mates Oswald, Cowboy Copas and Junior Huskey.

    1. Fred, among the more embarrassing but treasured moments of my life are when my family and I met my mother's all-time favorite, Jimmy C. Newman ... and she insisted that I do my impressions of Mr. Acuff and Mr. Snow. And I was 25 at the time!

      I never got to see a Del Reeves road show, but you can find bits of his syndicated show on You Tube. I remember the story of when he ran a little long and Pete Fisher was mad at him and Del said something like, that's entertainment.

  7. Do you remember Roy Acuff speaking of Carl's passing on the Opry then singing "My Tears Don't Show" which Carl wrote and Roy recorded in 1947 I believe. As I recall, Roy was a little emotional when he told the Opry audience at a time when I imagine Roy was feeling he didn't have long either!

    Knightsville, IN

  8. First, T. Graham Brown has been added to the empty spot on the Friday Night Opry.

    Secondly, I really enjoy the comments regarding Carl and Pearl Butler. Carl was really an underrated honky-tonk singer who could really belt it out. And yes, the Butler's helped out a lot of singers when they first came to Nashville. And Dolly was one of them and she helped out Carl and Pearl at the end of their lives allowing them to keep their home in Franklin.

  9. Fred, Bismarck:

    I'd forgotten (or never realized) Country Johnny Mathis had written "If You Don't, Somebody Else Will." That song was revived by the Osborne Brothers in the late 1950s -- I've still got it as one of those old yellow MGM 45s -- and, heavy on the percussion, was one of the first indications of fearless approach Sonny & Bobby would take to "bluegrass" music.

    If memory serves, Justin Tubb also had a cover out on that one.

  10. I was at another concert last night so I was unable to catch the Opry "live" on WSM. I listened to the replay on Sirius and I forgot how bad that they edit and cut the show. I do remember back when Jimmy Dickens was still alive and hosting where Sirius would cut out several of his jokes, but after listening last night, it seems to have gotten worse. I know they avoid any mention of the sponsors, going to great lengths to cut out any time an announcer or segment hosts says their name, but I do think they are going overboard. Limited artist introductions, cut endings of segments, cut songs by artists (Connie Smith, I assumed did a closing number last night but it was not on Sirius). I know we should appreciate at least hearing some of the Opry, but it could be better editing.

    That is my rant for the day.

  11. Over the past few months some great clips from some of the PBS Opry broadcasts have been showing up online. Mike Armistead has posted an hour and 15 minute cut from one of those shows (1981 or 82 as far as I can tell). It's the 11-12 portion and features Hank Snow, Billy Walker, Jerry Clower, The Fruit Jar Drinkers, The Tennessee Travelers, David Houston, Kirk McGee, Marty Robbins, Jeanne Pruett, Charlie Louvin and Stu Phillips. Roy Acuff joins Marty to sing "The Great Speckled Bird" and Tony Lyons introduces the artists on the 11:30 show. Marty sings for 30 minutes before the broadcast ends. A great time capsule of that time in Opry history.

    1. Thanks so much for passing this along, Barry. This is the Opry I grew up with and loved; hardly recognizable today.

      Don't know if he's on this blog or not, but many thanks to Mike Armistead for making these jewels available to us. Please share whatever else from the Opry you may have.

    2. I'd like to thank Barry for telling us, and Mike Armistead for posting it, for making me laugh and smile and cry.

  12. Mike Armistead is member of The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band and is a very popular musician in the Nashville area. He has appeared on the Opry numerous times.

  13. Mike Armistead has a facebook page also. Bob Bien