Thursday, November 2, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 11/3 & 11/4

This weekend starts the winter run for the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium, which the show will call home for the next three months, through January. Through November, there will be 2 shows each Friday and Saturday night, along with a Tuesday matinee the last week of the month.

As far as this weekend, there are a few Grand Ole Opry members who will be appearing on all 4 shows: Connie Smith, Mike Snider, Ricky Skaggs and The Whites. They will be joined on Friday night by Bobby Osborne, while on Saturday Bill Anderson and Riders In The Sky will join the group. That comes out to just 5 Opry members for both shows on Friday night and 6 for the two shows on Saturday evening.

The group of guest artists on Friday night include Chuck Wicks, William Michael Morgan, LOCASH, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and Bradley Walker. For Saturday night, "Nashville" star Charles Esten is again scheduled, along with Shelly Fairchild, comedian Henry Cho, and a name that some might have not heard for a few years, Jo-El Sonier.

Jo-El Sonier, who is probably best known for his hit "Tear-Stained Letter" back in 1988, has had quite a career. While that song, which reached No. 9 on the country charts, and "No More One More Time," which reached No. 7 that same year are his only Top 10 singles, he has recorded more than 30 albums in a career that began in the late 1960s and is still going on today.

He was born in Rayne, Louisiana in 1946 and began to play the accordion at the age of three. By age six, he had performed on radio and by age eleven had made his first recordings. By the 1970s he was signed to Mercury Nashville Records, but had limited success on the country charts. He then briefly left country music in order to record Cajun music for Rounder Records. While his Cajun album had limited success, it led to a Grammy nomination. After being signed as Merle Haggard's opening act, he returned to country music, signing with RCA Records in the 1980s, where he had his two biggest hits. In the 1990's Jo-El moved to Capital Records, but his solo career faltered soon afterwards. By the late 1990s he had returned to Rounder Records and was once more recording Cajun music. In 2009, he was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

Since the death of Jimmy C Newman, Cajun music seems to have become a lost art at the Grand Ole Opry and it is nice to see Jo-El booked for the show and I am very certain that we will once again hear the sound of the accordion on the Ryman stage on Saturday night.

Friday November 3
1st show
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Chuck Wicks; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host); William Michael Morgan; LOCASH
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver; Bradley Walker

2nd show
9:30: Connie Smith (host); Chuck Wicks; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
10:00: Mike Snider (host); William Michael Morgan; LOCASH
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver; Bradley Walker

Saturday November 4
1st show
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Shelly Fairchild; Mike Snider
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jo-EL Sonier; Henry Cho
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Charles Esten

2nd show
9:30: Connie Smith (host); Shelly Fairchild; Mike Snider
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jo-EL Sonier; Henry Cho
10:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Charles Esten

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of November 2 & 3, 2007:

Friday November 2
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mel McDaniel; Rhonda Vincent
8:30: The Whites (host); Ray Pillow; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Lady Antebellum
9:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Ralph Stanley; Danielle Peck
9:30: Vince Gill (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jack Greene; Del McCoury Band

Saturday November 3
1st show
6:30:  Mike Snider (host); Mel McDaniel; Sunny Sweeney
7:00: The Whites (host); Jack Greene; Jason Crabb
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Ralph Stanley; Sawyer Brown
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; Andy Griggs; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Vince Gill (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Patty Loveless

2nd show
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Mel McDaniel; The Whites; Sunny Sweeney
10:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Ralph Stanley; Sawyer Brown
10:30: Vince Gill (host); Jason Crabb; Patty Loveless; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Andy Griggs

Now from 25 years ago, Saturday November 7, 1992:

1st show
6:30: Bill Monroe (host); Riders In The Sky
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jeanne Pruett; Ray Pillow
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Del Reeves; Jean Shepard; The 4 Guys; Charlie Walker
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; The Whites; Eddy Raven
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jim & Jesse; Brother Oswald; Skeeter Davis; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jeannie Seely; Roy Drusky; Mike Snider; Teddy Wilburn

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; The Whites; Del Reeves; Jean Shepard; Stonewall Jackson
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Eddy Raven
10:15: Bill Monroe (host); Mike Snider
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); The 4 Guys; Bill Carlisle
10:45: Riders In The Sky (host); David Houston; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jim & Jesse; Roy Drusky; Skeeter Davis; Justin Tubb
11:30: Charlie Walker (host); Jeannie Seely; Teddy Wilburn; Johnny Russell

Finally, from 50 years ago, Saturday November 4, 1967:

7:30: Bill Monroe (host); Willis Brothers; Harold Weakley; Cousin Jody; Rita Faye
8:00: Osborne Brothers (host); Kenny Roberts; Crook Brothers; June Stearns; Fred Carter
8:30: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host); The 4 Guys; Del Wood; Jerry Green; Godsden Brothers
9:00: Bobby Lord (host); Johnny Tillotson; Merle Travis; Fruit Jar Drinkers
9:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Willis Brothers; Pete Sayers; Lorene Mann; Carl Belew
10:00: Osborne Brothers (host): Harold Weakley
10:15: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host); Del Wood
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Cousin Jody; Fred Carter
10:45: Bobby Lord (host); Johnny Tillotson; Crook Brothers
11:00: George Hamilton IV (host); The 4 Guys; Merle Travis; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam McGee
11:30: Bill Monroe (host); Kenny Roberts; Godsden Brothers; Jerry Green; Pete Sayers

Considering it was 1967, it was a pretty skinny line-up of Opry members that night.

Going back a few more years, it was on Saturday November 4, 1961 that the Grand Ole Opry celebrated its 36th anniversary. As mentioned a few times, not all of the Opry's birthday celebrations took place in the month of October, as was the case this particular year. Here is the running order from the Opry that night:

7:30: Pet Milk
Faron Young (host): Back Track
Porter Wagoner: Your Old Love Letters
Roy Drusky: I Went Out of My Way
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink on Me
Jimmy Newman: Alligator Man
Skeeter Davis: Optimistic
Glaser Brothers: Let Me Down Easy
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away
Faron Young: I Haven't Got the Time

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): My Long Journey Home
Billy Grammer: Save Our Tears
Patsy Cline: I Fall to Pieces
Grandpa Jones: (?)
Cowboy Copas: Alabam'
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Bill Anderson: Po' Folks
Crook Brothers: Liberty
Flatt & Scruggs: Where Will I Shelter My Sheep
Earl Scruggs: Earl's Breakdown

8:30: Faultless Starch
Jim Reeves (host): How Can I Write on Paper, What I Feel in My Heart
Hawkshaw Hawkins: I Wake Up With A Big Old Heartache
Willis Brothers: Everlovin' Dixie Land
Hank Locklin: This Song is Just For You
Jean Shepard: I've Got to Talk to Mary
Stringbean: 20 Cent Cotton & 90 Cent Meat
Carl Butler: Honky Tonkitis
Jordanaires: Satisfied
Jim Reeves: Melody

9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Ernest Tubb (host): Girl From Abilene
Wilburn Brothers: The Legend of the Big River Train
Ray Price: (?)
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Margie Bowes: Lonely Pillow
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Ernest Tubb: Thru That Door

9:30: Stephens
Marty Robbins (host): Don't Worry
Johnny & Jack: Let My Heart be Broken
Ferlin Husky: The Waltz You Saved for Me
George Morgan: Everyday of My Life
Kitty Wells: Our Mansion is A Prison Now
George Hamilton IV: (?)
Marty Robbins: El Paso

10:00: Standard Oil/Sustaining
Porter Wagoner (host): Sugarfoot Rag
Roy Drusky: Anymore
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Carl Butler: For the First Time
Skeeter Davis: I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know
Grandpa Jones: (?)
Del Wood: Creole Fan Dango
Billy Walker: Faded Lights & Lonesome People
Porter Wagoner: Everything She Touches Gets the Blues

10:30: Jasper Engine & Transmission
Ernest Tubb (host): Don't Just Stand There
Jimmy Newman: Alligator Man
Stringbean: Herding Cattle
Patsy Cline: Crazy
Ernest Tubb: Thoughts of A Fool

10:45: De Con
Faron Young (host): Hello Walls
Jan Howard: (?)
Cowboy Copas: Signed, Sealed & Delivered
Crook Brothers: Lost Indian
Faron Young: Going Steady

11:00: Coca-Cola
Ray Price (host): (?)
Willis Brothers: Pretty Diamonds
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Lonzo & Oscar: I Can't Pitch Woo in An Igloo
Billy Grammer: Save Your Tears
Jordanaires: House of Gold
Sam & Kirk McGee: Lonely River
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Walking in My Sleep
Ray Price: (?)

11:30: Black Draught
Ferlin Husky (host): Wings of A Dove
Bill Monroe: On & On
George Morgan: You're the Only Good Thing
Wilburn Brothers: No Legal Right
Cousin Jody: Comedy
Loretta Lynn: I Walked Away from the Wreck
Glaser Brothers: Tired of Crying Over You
George Hamilton IV: (?)
Simon Crum: (?)

I would say that was a pretty solid line-up for that show. If my notes are right, the only non-Opry member on the show that night was Jan Howard, who a decade later would become a member.

To conclude this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history, it was Saturday November 3, 1990 that Minnie Pearl was honored upon her 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Minnie Pearl was the undisputed queen of country comedy, known for her hopelessly styleless knee-length country dresses, her straw hat decorated with colorful plastic flowers and $1.98 price tag, and her cheerful shout of "Howdy! I'm just so proud to be here!" For fifty years she performed as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

She was born Sarah Ophelia Colley on October 25, 1912, the youngest of five daughters. Aspiring to become an actress, she settled for a job as an itinerant community theater director for the Wayne P. Sewell Producing Company, traveling to rural southern cities and stages plays owned by the firm. While on the road in North Alabama she met an elderly woman whose amusing country talk and mannerisms inspired Ophelia Colley to create a comic character that eventually became known a Minnie Pearl.

In April 1939, she made her first professional appearance as the Minnie Pearl character at a women's club function in Aiken, South Carolina. In the fall of 1940 a chance opportunity to perform at a banker's convention in Centerville brought her to the attention of executives at WSM in Nashville. On November 30, 1940, she made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Less than a week later, more than 300 cards, telegrams, and letters addressed to Minnie Pearl flooded the offices of WSM. On December 7, 1940, the name Minnie Pearl appeared among the Opry cast listing for the first time in the weekly radio guide of the Nashville Tennessean, slotted in the 8:45 p.m. segment.

With the help of her sister Virginia and coaching from George D. Hay, Ophelia Colley gradually developed a fully-fledged comedic character and jokes to go with it. Minnie Pearl became the quintessential small-town spinster, preoccupied with chasing men and gossiping about her family and neighbors in the mythical town of Grinder's Switch. In the spring of 1942 she graduated into the elite cast of the Opry when she joined the Prince Albert Show, the half hour of the Opry broadcast over the NBC radio network.

On February 23, 1947, she married Henry Cannon, a charter airline pilot. He would set up his own charter service specializing in the country music business, flying a host of stars including Eddy Arnold, Tom Parker, Hank Williams, Carl Smith, Webb Pierce and others to their show dates.

From 1948 to 1958 Minnie worked at the Grand Ole Opry with veteran comedian Rod Brasfield. They did what was called double comedy, meaning that neither one always played the straight man. Their partnership ended with Rod's death in 1958. In addition to the Opry, Minnie would appear on numerous network television shows, and in 1969 she joined the cast of Hee Haw. All the while, she continued to perform on the Opry, frequently teaming with her friend and fellow Opry member Roy Acuff.

Minnie performed her final show in Joliet, Illinois on June 15, 1991, Two days later she suffered a serious stroke that left her virtually bedridden in a Nashville nursing home for close to five years. She passed away on March 4, 1996 following a final series of strokes.

Here is the running order from 27 years ago, Saturday November 3, 1990, the night of Minnie Pearl's 50th anniversary as an Opry member:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Del Reeves (host): Bells of Southern Bell
Jeannie Seely: Go Down Swinging
Del Reeves: The Kind of Love I Can't Forget

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Bill Anderson (host): Don't She Look Good
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Bill Anderson: A World of Make Believe

7:00: Shoney's
(A Tribute to Minnie Pearl, featuring Minnie Pearl)
Gary Morris: The Love She Found In Me
Jimmy Dickens: Family Reunion
Connie Smith: One A Day
Hank Snow: Forever & 1; Forever & 2
Grandpa Jones: Nashville on My Mind

7:30: Standard Candy
(Tribute to Minnie Pearl continuing)
Roy Acuff: Wabash Cannonball
Chet Atkins: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/Birth of the Blues/Freight Train/Yakety Axe/Wildwood Flower
Roy Acuff & Minnie Pearl: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Jack Greene (host): Oh, Lonesome Me
The 4 Guys: Swing Down Chariot
Skeeter Davis: T Ain't Nice
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Snow Flake Reel
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

8:30: Pops Rite
Jim Ed Brown (host): Lyin' In Love With You
Charlie Louvin: Thank God for My Christian Home
Jan Howard: Take Me As I Am or Let Me Go
The Whites: Keep on the Sunny Side
Mike Snider: Satellite TV Dish
Jim Ed Brown: I Heard the Bluebird Sing

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jimmy Dickens (host): Me & My Big Loud Mouth
Wilma Lee Cooper: A Hero's Death
Roy Drusky: Take Good Care of Her
Gary Morris: Working Man Blues/100% Chance of Rain
Jimmy Dickens: When Your House is Not a Home

10:00: Little Debbie
Jack Greene (host): My Cherokee Rose
Del Reeves: Be Glad
Jack Greene: Statue of A Fool

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Jeanne Pruett: I Oughta Feel Guilty
Bill Carlisle: Same Ol' Take that the Crow Told Me

10:30: Pet Milk
Grandpa Jones (host): Piney Jane
Jean Shepard: Half a Mind
Ray Pillow: Too Many Memories
George McCormick: Wait A Little Longer, Please Jesus

10:45: B. C. Powder
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Charlie Walker: A Way to Free Myself
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Chatham
Bill Anderson: 8 X 10

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such as I
Jimmy C Newman: (?)
Justin Tubb: Take A Letter Miss Gray
The Whites: Blue Letters
Mike Snider: Lonesome Road Bluees
Hank Snow: The 3rd Man

11:30: Creamette
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
The 4 Guys: Tennessee
Charlie Louvin: My Baby's Gone
Johnny Russell: You Just Better Not Do That
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top

There you have it for this week. As always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!


  1. I agree that the 1961 show was pretty solid even with big ones missing, Roy Acuff and Hank Snow. Wells, Price, Reeves, Young, Hawkins, Copas, Cline, Tubb, Robbins and on and on. And the Wilburns performed one of my favorite pieces written by Johnny Mullens, The Leged Of The Big River Train!

    I hear folks talk about the hard times in Country Music after Elvis hit but I still think some of the best music and acts came along and were in their prime from 55' to 65' right in the middle of the Rock craze.

    Thanks for posting that show Byron.

    Knightsville, IN