Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 2/16 & 2/17

I wanted to start out this week by offering my prayers, thoughts and condolences to the family of Daryle Singletary, who passed away this past Monday morning. While never an Opry member, Daryle made numerous appearances on the Opry over the years and always stuck with the great traditional sound that he began with. And while his hit making days ended years ago, he remained a very popular concert draw and always had work out on the road in various clubs and on the fair circuit.

Daryle was born in Cairo, Georgia. At an early age he began singing gospel music with his cousins and brother. Later in high school, he took vocal classes and in 1990 he moved to Nashville to pursue his dream of singing country music. Once in Nashville, he found work singing at open-mic nights at various venues. He eventually found work as a demo singer. One of the demos that he sang was "Old Old Pair of Shoes" which Randy Travis eventually recorded. Randy recommended Daryle to his management team, who helped him sign a recording contract with Giant Records.

He recorded for Giant Records between 1995 and 1998, where he released three studio albums. During that period, he was on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with five singles in the Top 40, with "I Let Her Lie" and "Amen Kind of Love,' both reaching No. 2 and "Too Much Fun" making it up to No. 4. In 2000, he moved to Audium Entertainment, releasing two albums, before moving over to Shanachie Records. In addition, he did a duet album recently with Rhonda Vincent.

Daryle had that true country sound that they don't play on the radio anymore, but as mentioned, he had no trouble finding work out on the road where many fans were looking for the traditional sound. Daryle passed away way too soon but his legacy will carry on.

As to the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, there is one show on Friday and Saturday night. Opry members set for both nights include Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider and John Conlee. (It is nice to see Jeannie back on the schedule as she has reported that her husband Gene is doing a little better. Hopefully that improvement will continue). Joining those three on Friday night will be members Diamond Rio, Connie Smith and Bobby Osborne. Saturday night, it will be the first appearance of the year for Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, in addition to Ricky Skaggs and The Whites.

Guest artists for the weekend shows include Mark Willis, who is set for both nights. Joining Mark on Friday night will be Steven Curtis Chapman, Sarah Darling, The SteelDrivers, Jim Lauderdale and LOCASH. Saturday night's guests, in addition to Mark, will be William Michael Morgan, Shelly Fairchild and Charlie Worsham.

Friday February 16
7:00: Diamond Rio (host); Mike Snider; Steven Curtis Chapman
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Sarah Darling; The SteelDrivers
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mark Wills
8:45: John Conlee (host); Jim Lauderdale; LOCASH

Saturday February 17
7:00: John Conlee (host); William Michael Morgan; Mike Snider
7:30: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Shelly Fairchild; Charlie Worsham
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Mark Wills

The schedule has also been posted for Tuesday night:

Tuesday February 20
7:00: Terri Clark; John Conlee
7:30: Carly Pearce; Easton Corbin
8:15: Chris Janson; Kelsea Ballerini; Trace Adkins

And no, it will not be Chris Janson's Opry induction. I did a quick scan on the upcoming schedule and I still see no official date listed. I know it was mentioned that it would be later in the spring. My guess is that they are waiting for a confirmation or two from a particular Opry member who Chris would like to formally induct him. Until then, we get another "guest" appearance from Chris. And for those who wondered if this has happened in the past, where a new member is asked and they continue to make appearances prior to their formal induction, yes it has happened. Jeanne Pruett comes in mind in 1973 as she wanted Dolly Parton to induct her and it took a little time for Dolly to be at the Opry as her and Porter were touring pretty heavily at the time. And I sure there have been others, but she is the first to pop into my mind.

Now from the 3rd weekend in February 10 years ago, the weekend of February 15 & 16, 2008:

Friday February 15
8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Elizabeth Cook
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Louvin; Cherryholmes
9:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Jim Ed Brown; Josh Turner

Saturday February 16
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Rebecca Lynn Howard
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mel McDaniel; Jim Lauderdale
7:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jack Greene
8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Darryl Worley

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Rebecca Lynn Howard
10:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Mel McDaniel; Jim Lauderdale
10:30: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; Darryl Worley

From 25 years ago, Saturday February 20, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Skeeter Davis; Wilma Lee Cooper
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Roy Drusky; Charlie Walker; The 4 Guys; Charlie Louvin
7:30: Johnny Russell (host); Jeannie Seely; Darryl & Don Ellis; Garth Brooks
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Brother Oswald; Connie Smith; The Whites; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jimmy C Newman; Del Reeves; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jeanne Pruett; Garth Brooks
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jim Ed Brown
10:15: Billy Walker (host); Bill Carlisle
10:30: Del Reeves (host); Ray Pillow
10:45: The 4 Guys (host); Darryl & Don Ellis; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Louvin; Justin Tubb; Connie Smith
11:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); The Whites; Johnny Russell

For those who might not remember, Darryl & Don Ellis were from Beaver, Pennsylvania. The duo were brothers, whose real names were Darryl Ellis Gatlin and Don Ellis Gatlin. Their highest charting single, "No Sir," peaked at No. 58 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 1992. Don Ellis would later write songs on Blake Shelton's first two albums and later formed a second band called Savannah Jack. The Ellis Brothers released two albums, the last one in 1993 that did not make the country charts. In addition to the albums, the brothers released five singles, with only the first three reaching the lower end of the singles charts. By 1994, they were pretty much finished.

Looking back it was Saturday February 21, 1981 that Boxcar Willie became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Being reared on Country Music, freight trains, and hobos could have a definite effect on a young boy. And for one young Texan, those early years would someday be the kind of things that legends are made of. Born in the small town of Sterrett, Texas, Boxcar Willie could rattle off country lyrics before he could even talk in complete sentences. As a two-year-old, Boxcar would run to the door as freight trains traveled less than a stone's throw from his home. It was at this young age that Boxcar began imitating the train whistle as he heard it. He was also delighted by the performances of Jimmie Rodgers, Roy Acuff, Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb as they picked and sang on the family Victrola. His daddy, a railroad man, would fiddle for the family at day's end, passing along pure Country Music rich in Tennessee ancestry. With a railroad man as the head of the household and a trainyard for a backyard, Boxcar learned a great deal about train hobos. These men taught him a lot with their tall tales and vagabond lifestyles. They would sing, dance, repair things and even fix fancy vittles like rabbit stew.

During his early years Boxcar held many jobs from being a disc jockey to a flight engineer, while playing his music part time. In 1976, Boxcar Willie adopted the now-famous hobo attire into his act. It was at this time that Box and his wife "Miz Box" along with the encouragement of their three children, decided that he should devote all of his time to Country Music. In no time at all a love relationship developed between Box and his ever-growing audiences. Between the tattered cap, weather-worn guitar case and hand-me-down clothes, folks everywhere took a liking to Boxcar's pure country voice and pure gold heart. Not only did things take off in the United States, but his popularity spread like wildfire in England and Scotland.

It is no surprise that the awards started to mount in all three countries. Both "Boxcar Willie" and "Daddy was a Railroad Man" debuted in 1976. What were to follow were more albums: "Boxcar Willie Sings Hank Williams and Jimmy Rodgers," "Take Me Home," and the popular TV advertised "King of the Road, " in 1981 which sold over 3 million copies. Other albums soon followed. Boxcar Willie had 15 Gold albums and four Platinum albums to his credit. During 1978 he collected the International Entertainer of the Year in Great Britain. In 1978 and 1979 he received the Album of the Year in England. In 1981 Boxcar Willie was honored by the Music City News Awards as the Most Promising New Male Artist and that same year became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

In 1985, Boxcar moved to Branson, Missouri and purchased a theater on Highway 76. In addition to the Boxcar Willie Theater, he opened a museum and eventually had two motels, both bearing his name. Boxcar was one of the first big stars to open a show in Branson, paying the way for other nationally-known artists to follow. He performed at his theater, and the Opry, until he died. In 1996, Boxcar was diagnosed with leukemia and would pass away in Branson on April 12, 1999 at the age of 67.

Here is the line-up from Saturday February 21, 1981, the night Boxcar Willie became a member of the Grand Ole Opry:

1st show
6:30: Jack Greene (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45: Stonewall Jackson (host); Jim and Jesse; Connie Smith
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Billy Grammer; Tammy Wynette; Ernie Ashworth
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard; Roy Drusky; Boxcar Willie; The Crook Brothers; The Tennessee Travelers
8:00: Grandpa Jones (host); The Wilburn Brothers; Jeanne Pruett; George Jones; David Houston
8:30: Hank Snow (host); The Four Guys; Jimmy C Newman; Jan Howard; Kelly Foxton; The Fruit Jar Drinkers

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; The Four Guys; Connie Smith; Vic Willis Trio
10:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Carlisles; Stu Phillips
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Boxcar Willie
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Jean Shepard; George Jones
10:45: Roy Drusky (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; The Crook Brothers; The Tennessee Travelers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; Billy Grammer; Kelly Foxton; Kirk McGee; The Fruit Jar Drinkers
11:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jan Howard; David Houston; The Wilburn Brothers

Other Grand Ole Opry highlights from the 3rd weekend in February include Brad Paisley becoming a member of the Opry on Saturday February 17, 2001, while WSM and Opry announcer Charlie Douglas announced his final Opry show on February 18, 1995. On February 20, 1988 Roy Acuff was honored upon his 50th anniversary as a member of the Opry, and on the same night Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton reunited for the first time since 1974. Finally, it was Saturday February 22, 1969 that Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs performed on the Grand Ole Opry for the final time as a duo.

The Foggy Mountain Boys, founded by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs originally formed in 1948 when Lester and Earl left Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys. Along with Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs are considered one of the landmark acts in the history of bluegrass music. In 1955, helped along by their sponsorship by Martha White, Flatt & Scruggs became members of the Grand Ole Opry. Creative differences led to the breakup of the duo in 1969, with Scruggs favoring a more progressive sound while Flatt was a traditionalist who preferred the traditional bluegrass sound. Both remained members of the Opry, with Lester forming the Nashville Grass, while Earl formed the Earl Scruggs review which featured his sons. While Earl left the Opry several years later, Lester remained a member of the Grand Ole Opry until his death in 1979. In 1985, Flatt & Scruggs were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

From Saturday February 22, 1969, here is the running order from the final night that Flatt & Scruggs appeared on the Grand Ole Opry (note: they were scheduled for both shows but cancelled on the late show):

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Osborne Brothers: A World of Forgotten People
Jimmy Gately: Heavenly Sunshine
Lonzo & Oscar: Columbus Stockade Blues
Bill Anderson: It's My Life
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Jimmy Gately: Dirt Under Her Feet
Lonzo & Oscar: A King Size Cola & A Moon Pie
Bill Anderson: I Love You Drops

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Shady Grove
Skeeter Davis: The Closest Thing to Love
Glaser Brothers: Gentle on My Mind
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey
Cousin Jake: Almost Persuaded #44
Skeeter Davis: Am I That Easy to Forget
Crook Brothers: Cotton-Eyed Joe

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Billy Grammer: The Hour of Separation
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Del Wood: Down at Papa Joe's
Roy Acuff: Waltz of the Wind
Billy Grammer: Mabel
Smoky Mountain Boys: Lee Highway Blues

9:00: Luzianne
Ernest Tubb (host): You Don't Have to Be A Baby to Cry
George Morgan: Like A Bird
Margie Bowes: All the World is Lonely Now
Ernie Ashworth: Where Do You Go
Ernest Tubb: Saturday Satan; Sunday Saint
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
George Morgan: Wichita Lineman
Billy Parker: That's A Big World Out There

9:30: Kellogg's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
Willis Brothers: Rambling Boy
Marion Worth: A Legend in My Time
Charlie Walker: Honky-Tonk Season
Jim Ed Brown: Man & Wife Time
Willis Brothers: I'm Easy to Please
Marion Worth: You Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Jim Ed Brown: Honky-Tonk Man

10:00: Fender
Glaser Brothers (host): Please Take Me Back
Lonzo & Oscar: Out of Hand
Del Wood: Beer, Barrel Polka
Glaser Brothers: Gone on the Other Hand

10:15: Pure
Willis Brothers (host): Give Me 40 Acres
Ernie Ashworth: Oh, Lonesome Me
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Willis Brothers: I Still Do

10:30: Buckley's
Archie Campbell (host): The Cockfight
Skeeter Davis: Going Down the Road Feeling Bad
Osborne Brothers: My Favorite Memory
Archie Campbell: Look Up; Look Down that Lonesome Road

10:45: Kent
Ernest Tubb (host): Letters Have No Arms
Billy Grammer: I'm Letting You Go
Crook Brothers: Texas Quick Step
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

11:00: Coca-Cola
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Willis Brothers: Bob/Give Me 40 Acres
Margie Bowes: Understand Your Gal/Big City
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cacklin Hen
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Margie Bowes: Take Me As I Am
Sam McGee: Under the Double Eagle

11:30: Lava
George Morgan (host): Like A Bird
Jim Ed Brown: Man & Wife Time
Jim Ed Brown & George Morgan: Now is the Hour
Marion Worth: Almost Persuaded
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
George Morgan: Molly Darling
Jim Ed Brown: The Longest Beer of the Night
Marion Worth: Faded Love
Charlie Walker: Honky-Tonk Season

There you have it for this week. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and enjoys the Opry this week.


  1. I am curious, was it known beforehand that the 1969 show would be Flatt & Scruggs’ last appearance, or did they just never appear together again?

  2. Byron: Thanks for the beautiful write up on Daryle Singletary. RIP Dayle. You will be missed. Bob

  3. William Marshall Morgan's Opry performance tonight of Daryl Singletary's " I Let Her Lie " was so heartfelt it brought tears to my eyes. Darryl Worley also hit it on the head with Lefty Frizzell's " I Never Go Around Mirrors ". Real country music --- Flushing Mich, Dashmann

  4. whoops, that was Mark Wills on Frizzell's "Mirrors" tonight !

  5. As for the Flatt and Scruggs final appearance, it was reported beforehand in Country Song Roundup Magazine in Ray Pillow's column that the break up was coming. They also recorded a final album together called "Final Fling," which I have in my collection. I am guessing they knew that it was their last Opry appearance together. Interestingly enough, they also appeared together on Jan. 20, 1969 on a float in President Nixon's inauguration parade. Their TV show became the Lester Flatt show and Lester had a contest to name his band which became the Nashville Grass.

    1. Thanks so much for the reply, you told me a lot I didn’t know. I had never heard about them participating in the inauguration parade. That shows how popular they were just prior to them going their separate ways. I have the Flatt & Scruggs TV shows the CMHOF put out on DVD a few years ago but didn’t realize Lester Flatt continued the TV show after the split. Do you happen to know what year the TV show ended?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I don't know when the show ended. I saw Lester Flatt in concert in Raleigh, NC in 1973 and Marty Stuart had joined his band by that time. I think the show had ended by then.

  6. Just a quick note about Bill Anderson on the road this weekend. I usually report on the shows but I don't want to be redundant.

    Bill and the Po Folks were in Effingham, IL Friday night and played to a crowd of just under on thousand in a house that seats 1500. The band was the same as last August when they played just up the road about 40 minutes at Windsor and included James Freeze, Ziggy Johnson, Cotton Payne and Kenzie Wetz. Sorry Nat, still no steel player!

    They played for about and hour and thirty five minutes doing 18 songs. An oddity was the way they did City Lights. Kenzie and Ziggy instrumentally did what amounted to one verse ant then Bill only sang the first verse and the chorus. A little different too, was Bill pinning down what he said may be is two favorite songs he had written, one new and one old. He said it was still like choosing your favorite child but if he really had to pick these were probably it: A Lot Of Things Different, and Mama Sang A Song.

    And as usual, after the show Bill and the band met and signed autographs for over an hour for approximately 350 of those in attendance.

    One of the items we had with us generated a lot of discussion with Bill explaining it to us and the band. It was the picture sleeve 45 to the very first made for TV movie "Stranger On The Run" a western starring Henry Fonda, Ann Baxter and Dan Duryea. Bill sang the title song and his picture was below the actors on the cover of the 45. Seemed to bring back a lot of memories for Bill and the rest of us learned a lot. Makes for a special few moments when you can generate that kind of conversation and memories.

    They were off to Wabash Indiana near Ft Wayne for Saturday night, about a five hour drive.

    They will be back in Indiana later this year. They play Scottsburg about an hour south of Indy on September 21 and Shipshewanna near South Bend on October 11 and 12.

    It is amazing to me that six of his performances were those long recitations or story songs like Old Army Hat and he never misses a word. The guy running the theater said "Ya, and he isn't using a prompter". Shocking!

    As I always say, get out and see Bill, he is sill putting on a great show if you enjoy his kind of Country.

    Knightsville, IN

  7. Thanks for the great report on Bill's performance.
    I guess Bill has given up on paying a steel guitar player!
    I got a good dose of steel guitar on the Country Music Cruise, so I'm good! :)
    Carco Clave played in Chuck Mead's band, and he was phenomenal.

  8. Nat,

    Did you happen to hear Leona Williams on the Midnite Jamboree last night? Eddie Lang who played with Bill for a while was working the show and did a real nice job.

    I'm sure Bill could find a lead guitar too but it has to be tough now that Lester is ill and can't travel. Ziggy does a good job with the keyboard but it just isn't the same with Po Folks without a real banjo or Golden Guitar with out the real thing.

    But, if that is what it take to keep Bill touring, I guess I can overlook it.


  9. Thanks Jim for the update. Based on how many dates Bill plays in Indiana, it looks like he has found a second home up there. Not too bad of a crowd for a legend and it sounds like it was another fine show. I will be seeing Bill on Saturday night as he is scheduled to appear on the Opry and I am going to be heading down to Nashville for the weekend.

  10. And we tend to forget that Bill is 80 and still going strong. A tribute to clean living and whispering a lot!

  11. A couple more notes on Bill. That made for TV movie 45 sleeve has the following in the upper left corner: Word Premier,October 31, 1967 "Tuesday Night at the Movies" on the NBC Television Network.

    The other thing goes back to the Opry a week ago. Guitarist Jimmy Lance was visiting Bill at the Opry. He is the last of the original Po Boys band and Bill had not seen him in many years. He went to work for Eddy Arnold for many years after leaving Bill. James Freeze said that was the first time he had met him. James is very interested in Bill Anderson and Po Boys history.

    Have a safe and fun trip Byron.

    Knigthsville, IN

  12. which acts do you guys see being inducted into the Hall of Fame in the next ten years (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, and 2027)?