Monday, July 30, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 7/31 & Wednesday Night Opry 8/1

Here are the posted line-ups for the mid-week shows this week:

Tuesday July 31
7:00: Bill Anderson; Elizabeth Cook
7:30: Connie Smith; Dailey & Vincent
8:15: The Swon Brothers; Rory Feek
8:45: Carly Pearce; Tracy Lawrence

Wednesday August 1
7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers; LEVON
7:30: Brooke Eden; Ray Stevens
8:15: Del McCoury Band; Bobby Bones
8:45: Charlie Worsham; Restless Heart

Two pretty nice shows this week and can you believe it is August already? Where did the summer go?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 7/27 & 7/28

Before getting to the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this weekend, there are a couple of items to pass along.

 First, Grand Ole Opry members Ricky Skaggs and Tom T. Hall have been elected to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. The announcement was made in Nashville on Wednesday. Tom T. was elected along with his late wife Dixie, both of whom were very involved in bluegrass music. Its been a big year for both Ricky and Tom T. As earlier this year, Ricky was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, while Tom T. was elected to the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Hall of Fame at Bean Blossom. Ricky, who is scheduled for the Friday Night Opry this week, and Tom T., who is now retired, join a very small group that have been elected to both the Country and Bluegrass halls. Congratulations to both.

Secondly, last week Jeanne Pruett celebrated her 45th year as member of the Grand Ole Opry, joining the cast on July 21, 1973. This Saturday, Jeanne, who is now retired, will be at the Grand Ole Opry House signing copies of her new book "Satin Sheets: I Remember" following the show. It will be interesting to see if her friend, Opry member Jeannie Seely, will introduce her on the Opry stage. If you remember, when Jeanne celebrated her 40th anniversary as an Opry member, Jeannie was able to get her to sing a chorus of Satin Sheets. Let's see what happens this week.

As to the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, as mentioned, Ricky Skaggs is set for the Friday Night Opry, to be joined by Opry members The Whites, Dailey & Vincent, and one of the newest members Chris Young. In fact, Chris gets the entire last segment to himself. Jeannie Seely, as mentioned, is scheduled for Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, joined by Opry members Connie Smith, Bobby Osborne, and making it a two show weekend, The Whites. That makes four Opry members each night.

Two guest artists, Mark Wills and Jeanne Robertson, are scheduled for both nights this weekend. joined on Friday by William Michael Morgan, T Graham Brown, Rhett Walker Band and RaeLynn. Saturday night, Mark and Jeanne will be joined by Waylon Payne, Ashley Campbell, Mandy Barnett and Charlie McCoy. 10 acts for each show in total and no Mike Snider for the 2nd week in a row.

Friday July 27
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); William Michael Morgan; T Graham Brown
7:30: The Whites (host); Mark Wills; Rhett Walker Band
8:15: Dailey & Vincent (host); Jeanne Robertson; RaeLynn
8:45: Chris Young

Saturday July 28
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Waylon Payne; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: The Whites (host); Ashley Campbell; Mark Wills
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Jeanne Robertson; Opry Square Dancers; Mandy Barnett; Charlie McCoy

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry from 10 years ago, the 4th weekend in July 2008:

Friday July 25
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
8:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jean Shepard; The Time Jumpers
9:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Rebecca Lynn Howard
9:30: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Gene Watson

Saturday July 26
1st show
7:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith; Jennifer Hanson
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Suzy Bogguss
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); Jan Howard; The Isaacs; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; The Time Jumpers

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith; Jennifer Hanson
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Suzy Bogguss
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; The Isaacs; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; The Time Jumpers

Now from 50 years ago, Saturday July 27, 1968:

1st show
6:30: Willis Brothers (host); Ernie Ashworth; Norma Jean
6:45: Jack Greene (host); The Four Guys
7:00: Hank Locklin (host); Tex Ritter; Del Wood; Cousin Jody; Hugh X. Lewis; Martha Carson
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Stringbean; Johnny & Jonie Mosby; David Rogers; Crook Brothers
8:00: Flatt and Scruggs (host); Bob Luman; Dottie West; Bill Carlisle
8:30: Ernest Tubb (host); Charlie Louvin; Leroy Van Dyke; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Billy Parker

2nd show
9:30: Bill Anderson (host); Willis Brothers; Ernie Ashworth; Norma Jean;
10:00: Jack Greene (host); Stringbean; Johnny & Jonie Mosby
10:15: Charlie Louvin (host); The Four Guys; Dottie West
10:30: Bob Luman (host); Del Wood
10:45: Ernest Tubb (host); Leroy Van Dyke; Crook Brothers
11:00: Hank Locklin (host); Tex Ritter; Martha Carson; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam McGee
11:30: Marty Robbins (host); Bill Carlisle; Lorene Mann; Cousin Jody; Don Winters

There were a couple of names from that night that many have not heard in a while, two of which were Johnny and Jonie Mosby.

Johnny Mosby was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1933, while Janice Irene Shields was born in Van Nuys, California. The couple met in California when she auditioned for a spot in Johnny's orchestra, and they were married in 1958.

They first recorded for Columbia Records, with their first single "Don't Call Me from a Honky Tonk" released in 1963. The single went to No. 13 on the country charts, and that was followed by "Trouble in My Arms" which reached No. 12. In 1965, the couple released "Mr. and Mrs. Country Music," also on Columbia, followed by "The New Sweethearts of Country," which was on the Starday Record label.

From 1967 to 1972 they recorded for Capital Records. Their next Top 20 singles were "Just Hold My Hand" and "I'm Leavin' It Up to You." In 1971, Jonie released a solo single "I've Been There," however it reached only the bottom half of the country charts. That same year, the couple separated and the duo ended.

Another artist, who appeared on the first show that night was David Rogers. Between 1968 and 1984, he had 37 singles on the Billboard Charts, with two of those, "Need You" and "Loving You Has Changed My Life," reaching the Top 10. He recorded on the Columbia, Atlantic, United Artists and Republic labels. David, who was born in 1936, passed away in 1993.

Several weeks ago, I highlighted the career of the Glaser Brothers. As mentioned, after their breakup in the 1970s, the brothers reunited and had a brief resurrection of their careers. In 1981, now under the name Tompall & The Glaser Brothers, they enjoyed chart success with "Lovin' Her Was Easier," written by Hall of Fame member Kris Kristofferson.

On Saturday July 30, 1983, the brothers guested on the Grand Ole Opry, appearing on Hank Snow's segment during the 1st show and George Hamilton IV's on the 2nd show. Here is the line-up from that night:

1st show
6:30: Ray Pillow (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45: Billy Walker (host); Skeeter Davis
7:00: Jack Greene (host); Jeanne Pruett; Billy Grammer; Teddy Wilburn
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Justin Tubb; Charlie Louvin; Stonewall Jackson; Crook Brothers; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Vic Willis Trio; Bill Carlisle; George Hamilton IV: Connie Smith
8:30: Hank Snow (host); The Four Guys; David Houston; Tompall & The Glaser Brothers; Fruit Jar Drinkers

2nd show
9:30: Bill Anderson (host); The Four Guys; Skeeter Davis; Ray Pillow; Wilma Lee Cooper
10:00: Billy Walker (host); Jeanne Pruett
10:15: Jack Greene (host); Billy Walker
10:30: Roy Acuff (host); Charlie Louvin; Teddy Wilburn
10:45: Stonewall Jackson (host); Connie Smith; Crook Brothers; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); David Houston; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Justin Tubb; Kirk McGee
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Vic Willis Trio; Bill Carlisle; Tompall & The Glaser Brothers

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

Monday, July 23, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 7/24 & Wednesday Night Opry 7/25

The Tuesday Night Opry offers a perfect contrast between someone who takes their Opry membership seriously and someone who it seems, does not.

Martina McBride is scheduled for both shows (yes, there are two shows) on Tuesday Night. Martina has been an Opry member since 1995 and is one of those members who is good for making one or two appearances on the Opry each year, of which the Opry usually will put out the red carpet. Since joining the Opry, Martina has averaged 4 appearances per year. Over the last 5 years, it has been an average of 2.

On the other hand, you have Chris Janson, one of the Opry's newest members, also scheduled for both shows on Tuesday night. For Chris, these will be appearances number 16 and 17 this year.

You tell me. Which one of these artists takes their Opry membership more seriously? And before anyone says anything, both artists are out on the road touring, and I do like Martina. She has had a marvelous career. However, when it comes to the Opry, the numbers tell the story.

Tuesday Night Opry July 24:
1st show
7:00: Steve Wariner; Brothers Osborne; Tyler Farr
8:00: Henry Cho; Chris Janson; Martina McBride

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely; Steve Wariner; Tyler Farr
10:30: Henry Cho; Chris Janson; Martina McBride

Wednesday July 25:
7:00: Bill Anderson; Steve Moakler
7:30: Linda Davis; Delta Rae
8:15: Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers; Maggie Rose
8:45: Aaron Lewis; Point Of Grace

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 7/20 & 7/21

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend and two items stand out. First, no Mike Snider this weekend. I only say that because, if my thought process is right, he has only missed one weekend so far this year. The second item is Charles Esten closing the Friday Night Opry, and the only guest for that segment. It is his 100th Opry appearance, so there is probably something special planned for him that evening.

Other than that, two pretty nice shows this weekend. Grand Ole Opry members Jeannie Seely and Dailey & Vincent are scheduled for both nights. Joining those two on Friday night will be members Bobby Osborne, Diamond Rio and Bill Anderson, while on Saturday night we see that Connie Smith, The Whites and the Oak Ridge Boys on listed.

Guesting on Friday night, in addition to Charles Esten, will be Charlie Worsham, The Isaacs, Mason Ramsey and Hunter Hayes. Saturday night Amber Digby, Jim Lauderdale, Pure Prairie League, Tegan Marie and Jason Crabb are on the schedule.

Friday July 20
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Charlie Worsham; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Diamond Rio (host); Hunter Hayes
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Mason Ramsey; The Isaacs
8:45: Dailey & Vincent (host); Charles Esten

Saturday July 21
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Amber Digby; The Whites
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Jim Lauderdale; Pure Prairie League
8:15: Dailey & Vincent (host); Tegan Marie; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Oak Ridge Boys (host); Jason Crabb

As mentioned, two very nice shows this weekend!!

I wanted to mention one more item in regards to Charles Esten. I know many consider him an actor playing the role of a country music singer. He is certainly not the first, nor will he be the last. However, as someone who has seen him numerous times on the Opry, the guy does a very nice job and the audience loves him. I know it is hard to separate "Deacon" from Charles. But, he does a nice job with his guitar work and he knows how to play it up to the audience. And most of all, he looks like he is having fun. I credit him with continuing to be on the Opry even though "Nashville" has been cancelled, which is more than I can say for a few of the other stars from the show, and he has appeared on the Opry more times than the majority of Opry members. Just on that fact alone, he has my appreciation and thanks.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from ten years ago, the 3rd weekend in July 2008:

Friday July 18
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Doug Stone
8:30: Ray Pillow (host); Connie Smith; Randy Kohrs
9:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jan Howard; The Vanderbilt Kennedy Music Camp Performers; Ashley Monroe
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Billy Dean; Gene Watson

Saturday July 19
1st show
7:00: Josh Turner; Steve Wariner; Tift Merritt; Mel Tillis
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Stonewall Jackson; Doug Stone; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Randy Kohrs; Connie Smith

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Doug Stone
10:00: Steve Wariner (host); Charlie Louvin; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Tift Merritt
10:30: Mel Tillis (host); Kenyon Lockry; Josh Turner; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Randy Kohrs; Connie Smith

Now from 50 years ago, Saturday July 20, 1968:

1st show
6:30: Billy Walker (host); Charlie Louvin; Lonzo and Oscar
6:45: The Four Guys (host); Stringbean
7:00: Jim & Jesse (host); Jeannie Seely; Charlie Walker; Ernie Ashworth; Roy Drusky
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Bill Monroe; Tex Ritter; Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Crook Brothers
8:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Bob Luman; Ray Pillow; Del Wood; Lefty Frizzell; Cousin Jody
8:30: Hank Locklin (host); Del Reeves; Marion Worth; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Bill Carlisle

2nd show
9:30: Billy Walker (host); Charlie Louvin; Lonzo and Oscar; Del Wood; The Four Guys
10:00: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host); Stringbean; Lefty Frizzell
10:15: Bill Monroe (host); Ernie Ashworth
10:30: Hank Locklin (host); George Hamilton IV; Del Reeves
10:45: Roy Acuff (host); Charlie Walker; Crook Brothers
11:00: Tex Ritter (host); Jim & Jesse; Jeannie Seely; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam McGee
11:30: Marty Robbins (host); Bob Luman; Marion Worth; Bill Carlisle; Cousin Jody
Finally, it was 45 years ago, Saturday July 21, 1973 that Jeanne Pruett became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Norma Jean Bowman was born in Pell City, Alabama. She grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry and by the time she entered high school, she was singing. In 1956, after her marriage to Jack Pruett, she moved to Nashville. Jack Pruett played guitar, eventually  becoming a guitarist for Marty Robbins. Over time, Marty hired Jeanne as a secretary at his publishing company, while writing songs on the side.

She first started recording for RCA Records in 1963, releasing several singles, none of which reached the country charts. In 1969, Jeanne signed with Decca Records and had her first chart single with "Hold on to My Unchanging Love" in 1971. While only reaching No. 66 on the Billboard charts, it encouraged Jeanne to continue and her next single, "Love Me" made it up to No. 34. In May 1973, she struck it big with her career record "Satin Sheets." The song reached No. 1 on the charts, spending three weeks in that spot. Thanks to the song, Jeanne was nominated for several CMA Awards, and was offered membership into the Grand Ole Opry.

While "Satin Sheets" was her only No. 1 hit, she did have several other Top 10 singles including "I'm Your Woman," "Back to Back," "Temporarily Yours," and "It's Too Late," released in 1980 and was her final Top 10 single. She last charted in 1987 with "Rented Room."

As her chart success faded, Jeanne continued recording and releasing new albums. She also hosted a cooking show on TNN, wrote a series of cookbooks and operated a restaurant "Feedin' Friends" at Opryland, where she would be on many days talking to her fans and signing cookbooks. (and yes, I still have my signed copies).

In 2006, Jeanne announced that she was retiring from performing and has led a quite life on her farm outside of Nashville with her second husband Eddy Fulton. Occasionally she can still be spotted backstage at the Opry. Jeanne has recently written her autobiography, Miss Satin Sheets, I Remember. It is an excellent book, and as you would expect, very truthful and opinionated. I highly recommend that you get a copy.

Now, here is the running order from July 21, 1973, the night Jeanne Pruett became an Opry member:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Tex Ritter (host): Boll Weevil
The Four Guys: Turn Around, Look at Me
Tex Ritter: Fall Away

6:45: Rudy's
Tex Ritter (host): There's A New Moon Over My Shoulders
Ernie Ashworth: My Love for You
Tex Ritter: High Noon

7:00: Rudy's
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Hank Williams, Jr: Hank/Your Cheatin' Heart
Sandi Burnette: Stand By Your Man
Hank Williams, Jr: Cajun Baby
Sandi Burnette: Delta Dawn

7:30: Standard Candy
Osborne Brothers (host): Rocky Top
Jean Shepard: Virginia
Stringbean: Mountain Dew
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January
Osborne Brothers: You Win Again/Today I Started Loving You Again
Jean Shepard: Slipping Away
Stringbean: Battle of New Orleans
Osborne Brothers: Ruby

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): Wake Up Jacob
Dolly Parton: Traveling Man
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: If Teardrops Were Pennies
Porter Wagoner: Katy Did
Jeanne Pruett: Love Me
Dolly Parton: Joshua

8:30: Stephens
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Arlene Harden: Special Day
Jerry Clower: Comedy
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Sally Goodin
Billy Grammer, Jr: Orange Blossom Special
Arlene Harden: Walk With Me Jimmy
Billy Grammer: Peace in the Valley

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Tex Ritter (host): Wayward Wind
Bob Luman: When You Say Love
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Sandi Burnette: Stand By Your Man
Bob Luman: Honky-Tonk Man
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven

10:00: Fender
Osborne Brothers (host): Midnight Flyer
Jean Shepard: Slipping Away
Osborne Brothers: Nine Pound Hammer

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Stringbean: Hillbilly Fever
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:30: Trailblazer
Porter Wagoner (host): Wake Up Jacob
Dolly Parton: Traveling Man
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: If Teardrops Were Pennies/Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man

10:45: Beech-Nut
Billy Grammer (host): Detroit City
Jerry Clower: Comedy
Crook Brothers: Ida Red
Billy Grammer, Jr: Orange Blossom Special

11:00: Coca Cola
The Four Guys (host): Cottonfields/Maria
Arlene Harden: Special Day
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
The Four Guys: Hello Walls/Big Bad John/Wings of a Dove
Arlene Harden: Will You Walk with Me Jimmy
Sam McGee: When the Wagon was New
The Four Guys: Turn Your Radio On

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): Singing the Blues
Louie Roberts: How Great Thou Art/Just A Little Lovin/Anytime/Bouquet of Roses/Cattle Call
Don Winters: Jambalaya
Marty Robbins: I Walk Alone/They'll Never Take Her Love from Me/Big Boss Man/Love Me/Don't Worry/I'll Step Aside/Letters Have No Arms/Long Gone Lonesome Blues

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

Monday, July 16, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 7/17 & Wednesday Night Opry 7/18

The line-ups have been posted for the upcoming mid-week shows. It is nice to see the Opry's newest member Bobby Bare scheduled for both shows this week. And the countdown continues for Charles Esten. Tuesday night will be his 99th Opry appearance, with his 100th scheduled for Friday July 20.

Tuesday July 17
7:00: Bill Anderson; Jimmie Allen
7:30: Smithfield; The Isaacs
8:15: Bobby Bare; LOCASH
8:45: Charles Esten; Ricky Skaggs

Wednesday July 18
7:00: Connie Smith; Kalie Shorr
7:30: Striking Matches; Jackie Lee
8:15: Bobby Bare; Home Free; Dustin Lynch

The Bellamy brothers were originally on the schedule for Wednesday night but have cancelled.

For those looking ahead to the Grand Ole Opry's 93rd birthday weekend, Bobby Bare has been put on the schedule for Saturday night. A nice start.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 7/13 & 7/14

Looking at the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this weekend, it is once again the core group of Opry veterans and legends that make up the bulk of Opry members scheduled this weekend.

Mike Snider, Connie Smith and The Whites are scheduled, and hosting, both nights, with Bobby Osborne scheduled on Friday and Jeannie Seely on Saturday. Now, it is nice to see two more Opry members scheduled on Friday night, the Oak Ridge Boys and Crystal Gayle. Both of these Opry members have done a good job upholding their appearances on the show, and in fact, the Oaks are listed on the upcoming schedule for a number of shows. It all adds up to 6 Opry members on Friday night and 4 on Saturday. And for those who might have forgotten, there are currently 65 Opry members.

There is a nice list of guest artists this weekend. Steven Curtis Chapman is scheduled for both nights. Joining Steven on Friday will be Mo Pitney, Shenandoah and Cassadee Pope. Saturday night, in addition to Steven, will have Keith Anderson, Carolina Story, The Wild Feathers (yes, that is correct), and Dom Flemons, who is excellent. Joining that group will be bluegrass legend Larry Sparks and someone who I have always thought would have made a great Opry member, Kathy Mattea.

Friday July 13
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Mo Pitney; Shenandoah
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Steven Curtis Chapman
8:15: The Whites (host); Cassadee Pope
8:45: Oak Ridge Boys (host); Crystal Gayle

Saturday July 14
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Keith Anderson; Carolina Story
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Larry Sparks; The Wild Feathers
8:15: The Whites (host); Steven Curtis Chapman; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Dom Flemons; Kathy Mattea

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from ten years ago, the 2nd weekend in July, 2008:

Friday July 11
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman
8:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Bobby Osborne &  The Rocky Top X-Press; Jamie O'Neal
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Aaron Tippin
9:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Jean Shepard; Lonestar

Saturday July 12
1st show
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Heidi Newfield; Phil Stacey; Radney Foster
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); Jypsi; Jimmy C Newman; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Fisher Stevenson; Jack Greene

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Heidi Newfield
10:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Phil Stacey; Radney Foster
10:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Jean Shepard; Jypsi; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Fisher Stevenson; Jack Greene

The previous week was when the Opry switched to a 7:00 start for the first show on Saturday. This particular Saturday was the first of the 7:00 starts in which the first hour was televised. I always thought that was a horrible decision as the first hour long segment felt disjointed from the rest of the Opry. Later in the year, the Opry made the switch and when televised, it would be the last hour of the first show, beginning at 8:00.

Looking back, it was on Saturday July 14, 1973 that Grand Ole Opry members Tompall & The Glaser Brothers made their final appearance as members of the Grand Ole Opry.

The Glaser Brothers, Chuck, Jim, and Tompall, were born in Spalding, Nebraska. The brothers began singing at county fairs and in contests around the area when they were in their preteens. In 1957, the brothers got their big break when they appeared on the Arthur Godfrey's Talent Show and attracted the attention of several well-known country music stars, including Marty Robbins. Marty quickly signed them as backup singers on his albums and as solo artists on his record label. The brother's first single, "Five Penny Nickel" was released in 1958 on Robbin's Records.

Between 1960 and 1975, the trio recorded ten studio albums and charted nine singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts. In the 1960s, the brothers became members of the Grand Ole Opry. The group was one of the most rewarded groups in country music in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They went on to be known worldwide and were awarded Billboards International Group of the Year several times. The group took a hiatus from 1973 to 1978, during which time each brother pursued individual interests. They reunited in 1979 and released several singles and two albums including "Loving Her Was Easier" which went to No. 2 on the Billboard charts.

The brothers changed Nashville's country music machine in several ways. In 1962, the Glaser Brothers started a publishing company, and began to sign songwriters that the larger companies ignored. One of those songwriters was John Hartford, who wrote "Gentle on My Mind." In 1970, the brothers opened their own studio at 916 19th Ave. South in Nashville. Named Glaser Sound, it was often referred to as Hillbilly Central because it was a haven for artists who wanted to have more artistic control over their own music and careers. The studio included a publishing company, production company, talent agency, and design services for album covers. In that venue, creative experimentation thrived as new opportunities for songwriters and artists became commonplace. The studio was also at the center of the Outlaw movement that dominated country music in the 1970s.

Sadly, differences between the brothers resulted in the publishing company being sold in 1975. The same day of the sale, Chuck suffered a stroke. Following his recovery, he began to explore other lucrative business ventures including producing a syndicated television show and a children's album. Tompall and Jim continued their musical careers, achieving success as solo artists.

While the 1973 show was the final one for the Glaser Brothers as Opry members, they did reunite several times, returning to the Opry stage in 1983 and in 1990.

It was the January 1990, at the personal invitation of Grand Ole Opry member Hank Snow, that the  brothers reunited for one final show at the Opry. It was their last show together and they went out in style with a performance for the ages. The final show can be seen on YouTube and if you haven't watched it, I highly recommend it. It shows why the Glaser Brothers were one of the best harmony groups in the history of country music.

Tompall passed away in August 2013 at the age of 79. Chuck has retired from the music business, while Jim remains semi-active.

Here is the running order from 35 years ago, Saturday July 14, 1973, the night of the final appearance of the Glaser Brothers as members of the Grand Ole Opry:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Charlie Walker (host): Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Bill Carlisle: Little Liza Jane
Charlie Walker: Soft Lips & Hard Liquor
Joe Edwards: Old Joe Clark

6:45: Rudy's
Justin Tubb (host): Lodi
Del Wood: Standing Room Only
Judy Bryte: Wabash Cannonball
Justin Tubb: Texas Dance Hall Girl

7:00: Rudy's
George Jones (host): White Lightening
Tammy Wynette: Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad
The Four Guys: Cottonfields/Maria
Harold Morrison: Dueling Banjos
Patsy Sledd: Nothing Can Stop My Loving You
George Jones: A Picture of Me Without You
Tammy Wynette: Stand By Your Man
The Four Guys: Sing Me Back Home/I'll Fly Away/Jambalaya/She'll be Coming Round the Mountain/You Are My Sunshine/Shutters & Boards
George Jones & Tammy Wynette: We Go Together

7:30: Standard Candy
Tex Ritter (host): Fall Away
Stringbean: Cripple Creek
Willis Brothers: Cimmarron
Crook Brothers: Liberty
Tex Ritter: Green Grow the Lilacs
Stringbean: The Battle of New Orleans
Willis Brothers: I Still Do
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Charlie Louvin: Funny Man
Jimmy C Newman: Back Pocket Money
Penny DeHaven: This Time
Lester Flatt: The Girl I Love Don't Pay Me No Mind
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: Did You Ever
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy, Liggy Lo
Marty Stuart: Roanoke

8:30: Stephens
Bill Anderson (host): Don't She Look Good
Mary Lou Turner: I Am Woman
Johnny Carver: Tie A Yellow Ribbon
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Bill Anderson: The Corner of My Life
Mary Lou Turner: Take Me Home Country Roads
Johnny Carver: You Really Haven't Changed
Bill Anderson: All the Lonely Women in the World

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Tex Ritter (host): Boll Weevil
Willis Brothers: There Goes the Farm
Charlie Walker: The Lord Knows I'm Drinking
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Tex Ritter: The Streets of Larado
Judy Bryte: The Wreck of the Old 97
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Tex Ritter: High Noon

10:00: Fender
Charlie Louvin (host): Will You Visit Me on Sundays
Bill Carlisle: Have a Drink on Me/Rusty Old Halo
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: American Trilogy

10:15: Union 76
George Jones (host): She Thinks I Still Care
Tammy Wynette: Kids Say the Darndest Things
Harold Morrison: Dueling Banjos
Pasty Sledd: Pass Me By
George Jones/Tammy Wynette/Harold Morrison/Patsy Sledd: Let's All Go Down to the River

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host): Country Boy
Stringbean: Pretty Polly
Del Wood: Gloryland March
Lester Flatt & Marty Stuart: The Bluebirds Singing for Me

10:45: Beech-Nut
Bill Anderson (host): If You Can Live With It
Mary Lou Turner: The Shelter of My Eyes
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Bill Anderson: The Corner of My Life

11:00: Coca-Cola
Jimmy C Newman (host): Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues
The Four Guys: Hello Walls/Big Bad John/Wings of A Dove
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Take Me Back to Tulsa
Jimmy C Newman: The Kind of Love I Can't Forget
The Four Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Sam McGee: Farewell Blues/Alabama Jubilee/Just Because
Jimmy C Newman: Jole Blon

11:30: Elm Hill
Glaser Brothers (host): Release Me/Then I Turned and Walked Away Slowly/Many Tears Ago/You Win Again/Bouquet of Roses/There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Johnny Carver: Tie a Yellow Ribbon
Penny DeHaven: Down in the Boondocks
Glaser Brothers: Rings
Johnny Carver: You Really Haven't Changed
Penny DeHaven: The Love of Your Life
Glaser Brothers: Faded Love/Rose of Old Pawnee/Just A Girl I Used to Know/I'll Hold You In My Heart/More & More

Safe to say that the Glaser Brothers went out in style!!

Finally, let's go way back to the golden days of the Grand Ole Opry, 62 years to be exact to Saturday July 14, 1956. (I am sure there are a few who remember those days).

7:30: Federal Fertilizer Co.
Roy Acuff (host): Coming From the Ball
Brother Oswald: John Hardy
Kitty Wells: Searching
Jug Band: Thirty Days
Howdy Forrester: Money Music

7:45: American Ace
Roy Acuff (host): John Henry
Johnny and Jack: I Want to be Loved
Marty Robbins: I'll Go On Alone
Roy Acuff: Lights in the Valley
Jimmy Riddle: Hot Canary

8:00: Martha White
Flatt and Scruggs: Theme
Ray Price (host): You Done Me Wrong
Flatt and Scruggs: Randy Lynn Rag
Possum Hunters: Black Berry Blossom
Carter Sisters: Sweet Talking Man
Ray Price: Crazy Arms
Odie and Jody: Blue Swede Shoes
George Morgan: Take A Look at Yourself
Flatt and Scruggs: Give Mother My Crown
Ray Price: Run Boy
Fiddle Tune: Fire in the Mountain

8:30: Prince Albert
Faron Young (host): Sweet Dreams
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Davis Sisters: Lonely and Blue
Fiddle Tune: Sally Goodin
Faron Young: Where Could I Go But to the Lord
Del Wood: Crazy
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Davis Sisters: Lying Brown Eyes
Chet Atkins: Avalon
Faron Young: Until I Met You
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Jordanaires: Theme
Marty Robbins (host): Long Tall Sally
Red Sovine: Hold Everything
Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky
Stringbean: That's What I Like About the South
Marty Robbins: You Only Want Me When
Goldie Hill: Sample My Kissin'
Cowboy Copas: Any Old Time
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbin Ridge
Jordanaires: Shaking Bridges
Marty Robbins: That's Alright
Fiddle Tune: Leather Britches

9:30: Stephens
Carl Smith (host): Don't Tease Me
Louvin Brothers: Hoping That You're Hoping
Lonzo and Oscar: Charming Betsy
Anita Carter: A Tear Fell
Carl Smith: Doorstep to Heaven
Lew Childre: Hang out the Front Door Key
Justin Tubb: You Nearly Lose Your Mind
Crook Brothers: Mississippi Sawyer
Louvin Brothers: That's All He's Asking of Me
Carl Smith: Go Boy Go

10:00: Wall-Rite
George Morgan (host): Send for My Baby
Cowboy Copas: Don't Shake Hands with the Devil
Jimmy and Johnny: Till the End of the Worlds Roll On
George Morgan: Ever So Often
Fiddle Tune: Grey Eagle

10:15: Delited
Roy Acuff (host): New River Train
Kitty Wells: I'd Rather Stay Home
Johnny and Jack: Baby It's in the Making
Roy Acuff: This World is not My Home
Howdy Forrester: Indian Creek

10:30: Hester Battery
Marty Robbins (host): Respectfully Mrs. Brooks
Goldie Hill: I'm Beginning to Feel Mistreated
Stringbean: Hillbilly Fever
Marty Robbins: You Don't Owe Me a Thing
Fiddle Tune: Ragtime Annie

10:45: D-Con
Ray Price (host): Run Boy
Bill Monroe: On and On
Crook Brothers: Pretty Little Polly
Ray Price: I Loved You So Much I Let You Go
Fiddle Tune: Katy Hill

11:00: Coca Cola
Jordanaires: Theme
Carl Smith (host): If You Do Dear
Red Sovine: Best Years of My Life
Gully Jumpers: Ida Red
Lonzo and Oscar: Who Put the Fish in the Washer
Carl Smith: I've Changed
Sam and Kirk McGee: House of David Blues
Maybelle Carter: Wild Wood Flower
Jordanaires: The Lord's A Busy Man
Red Sovine: Missing You
Carl Smith: Doggone It Baby I'm In Love

11:30: Jamison
Jordanaires: Theme
Faron Young (host): I've Got Five Dollars
Louvin Brothers: I Don't Believe You've Me My Baby
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fruit Jar Breakdown
Lew Childre: Alabama Jubilee
Faron Young: You're Still Mine
Odie and Jody: Don't Make Love in a Buggy
Justin Tubb: Lucky, Lucky Someone Else
Louvin Brothers: Where Will You Build
Faron Young: Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young
Fiddle Tune: Sleepy Lou

Very, very nice Opry show from that era. Makes you wish those days were still here.

As always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 7/10 & Wednesday Night Opry 7/11

Here are the line-ups for the mid-week Opry shows:

Tuesday July 10
7:00: John Conlee; Lucas Hoge
7:30: Holly Williams; Jason Crabb
8:15: Crystal Gayle; Henry Cho
8:45: Home Free; Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers

Wednesday July 11
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Joe Diffie
7:30: Charles Esten; Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers
8:15: Craig Morgan; Carly Pearce; Chris Janson

For Chris Janson, this will be his 15th Opry appearance this year. For those who were wondering, it would appear that Chris is taking his Opry membership seriously.

Now that we are at the mid-point of the year, I thought I would share a couple of numbers regarding the Opry's members:

Mike Snider is the clubhouse leader with 53 appearances. Jeannie Seely follows with 50, then you have Riders In The Sky at 39, The Whites 38, Bill Anderson 32, Ricky Skaggs 30 and Connie Smith 28. It would definitely appear that the core group of veterans continues to carry the heavy load.

Among the newest Opry members, in addition to the previously mentioned Chris Janson, Dailey & Vincent are at 14 appearances, Crystal Gayle 7 and Chris Young 3. Bobby Bare, who joined a few months back, has already made several appearances since his membership was restored.

Many have noticed the increased appearances by Ricky Skaggs. Others who have appeared more often in 2018 include Terry Clark (12), Craig Morgan (10), Trace Adkins (9), Lorrie Morgan (8) and Charley Pride (6). With her recent move to Florida, it will be interesting to see if Lorrie continues her Opry appearances.

On the flip side, the Opry appearances by Vince Gill have really declined. He is at 4 for the year and with his heavy touring schedule with The Eagles and his own solo career, it would appear that this will be a down year for Vince.

Now for the list of "active" Opry members who have made no appearances so far this year:

Clint Black
Roy Clark
Emmylou Harris
Alan Jackson
Hal Ketchum
Little Big Town
Martina McBride
Reba McEntire
Brad Paisley
Dolly Parton
Travis Tritt
Keith Urban
Trisha Yearwood

I will note that Martina has an appearance scheduled later in July. While Garth has not made it to the Opry stage to sing, he seems to have assumed the role of inducting new Opry members as he handled the Chris Janson and Bobby Bare inductions this year. (and I will note that Roy Clark and Hal Ketchum have been doing very limited touring, but they have always been good for a couple of Opry appearances each year). For the rest, there is still half the year to go.

Some have asked about Ray Pillow. He has not appeared on the Opry in 2018 and I have not heard anything regarding Ray. I know he had a special relationship with Pete Fisher and perhaps when Pete left, Ray thought it was a good time to step back. But nothing official.

Just some interesting numbers to share.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 7/6 & 7/7

Coming out of the July 4th holiday, the Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend. The line-ups overall look pretty good, although there are few Opry members scheduled, with just three on Friday and five on Saturday.

Mike Snider, Bill Anderson and John Conlee are the only Opry members scheduled for Friday night. Those three are also scheduled for Saturday night, and will be joined by Ricky Skaggs and Bobby Osborne.

Looking at the guest list for this weekend, I see that Keb' Mo' is scheduled for another Opry appearance on Friday night. While not someone I would call country, he did a very nice job when I saw him at the birthday show several years ago and he received a very nice reception from the Opry audience. Also scheduled on Friday is Country Music Hall of Fame member Jimmy Fortune, Darin & Brook Aldridge, bluegrass group The Grascals, Charlie Worsham, Zach Williams, and two acts who will also be on the Saturday show, Exile and Gary Mule Deer.

In addition to those two, Saturday will also see Levi Hummon, William Michael Morgan, and two of the very talented young ladies in country music, Sarah Darling and Maggie Rose.

Friday July 6
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy Fortune; Darin & Brooke Aldridge
7:30: John Conlee (host); Charlie Worsham; Exile
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Grascals; Zach Williams, Gary Mule Deer; Keb' Mo'

Saturday July 7
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Sarah Darling; Levi Hummon
7:30: John Conlee (host); Maggie Rose; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Gary Mule Deer; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); William Michael Morgan; Exile

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the first weekend in July 2008:

Friday July 4
8:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; David Ball
8:30: Jean Shepard (host); Max Q; The Steeldrivers
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; The Wrights
9:30: George Hamilton IV (host); The Whites; Mandy Barnett

Saturday July 5
1st show
7:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Elizabeth Cook
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); The Whites; Doyle Dykes
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mandy Barnett; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Jamey Johnson

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jamey Johnson
10:00: George Hamilton IV (host); The Whites; Mandy Barnett
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jan Howard; Elizabeth Cook; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Doyle Dykes
There are two special dates in the history of the Grand Ole Opry that I wanted to look back at. The first is Saturday July 6, 2002 which is the night that Melvin Sloan made his final appearance square dancing at the Opry.

Melvin Sloan was born in a two-room log house in Cedars of Lebanon State Park on March 27, 1940. He is the youngest of five children who survived childhood. The family lived in the state park most of his boyhood. At 13, Melvin became ill and the doctor put him to bed for weeks. It was then that brother Ralph, 15 years Melvin's senior, have him a life-changing gift. "Ralph brought me this guitar he had brought back from Germany after the war, and he told me to learn to play it," recalled Melvin. He obeyed, and a year later at Lebanon High his agriculture teacher Buck Evins encouraged Melvin and some of his friends to form a band.

After the agricultural band came to a halt, Melvin and fellow band member Charles Johnson kept playing. They hired Doug Buhler as a drummer and performed country and rock 'n roll music across middle Tennessee. In addition to the band, Melvin and his mother teamed up to sing gospel music across the county and later Melvin teamed with Kenneth Whited, his sister Katherine Comer and Billy Ford to sing with their gospel quartet, the Kingdom Heirs.

Two decades earlier brother Ralph had taken a different musical path. In his early teens, Ralph took up admission from those attending the Saturday night square dances at Cedars of Lebanon State Park. Soon he was playing rhythm guitar in the band and then he began calling the square dances. By the late 1940s, Ralph had put together a square dance group to perform at fairs and contests. At one of those events, Ralph became acquainted with John McDonald, the WSM Radio Farm Director, who hosted "Noontime Neighbor," an agricultural program. Thanks to McDonald, Ralph and his group were invited to be on the Grand Ole Opry, as one of the square dance groups was leaving and there was an opening. "They asked Ralph to come and fill in. When he first started they had two square dance teams, one group did the early show and the other group did the late show," explained Melvin. On July 5, 1952, Ralph Sloan and his Tennessee Travelers became members of the Grand Ole Opry, a membership that would last until Ralph was felled by cancer 28 years later.

"Ralph's last performance was a taping for the Hee Haw TV show. He got up from the hospital and went and performed with the team and did an excellent job. A dew days after that the cancer eat into his back and he collapsed and was not able to stand," said Melvin. "But he did get to see his final act on Hee Haw."

Ralph died on March 12, 1980, and Melvin, who had never square danced professionally, made his Opry debut just over a week later. "When he died, I called Hal Durham, manager of the Opry, and talked to him and told him I would lead the group now and that we would continue to dance if that was OK."

Melvin described the transition as difficult. " I only had days to learn. I had the rhythm. Learning the patterns was the thing. Each pattern had a name to it such as 'Bridle Old John,' 'Ocean Wave,' or 'Lady Round the Lady.' We could practice backstage, and we'd walk through things, and they'd help me," Melvin said of the other performers in the eight-person dance group. Melvin, who referred to his style as "dancing from the heart," said it was actually Appalachian-style square dancing. "That means each dancer does the footwork he wants to as long as he is in rhythm. There are eight people out there and each one of them does different steps, but they all do the same square dance pattern to end the dance. Each couple would go to the front of the stage and dance their own little routine and bow and leave the stage."

At the time, the Stoney Mountain Cloggers, danced every other weekend with the Melvin Sloan dancers on the Opry. After 1990, when Ben Smathers, the leader of the Stoney Mountain Cloggers passed away, the group stopped performing and the Melvin Sloan Dancers began performing every Saturday night. While many Opry starts made Melvin feel right at home, he mentioned Roy Acuff as being special to him.

After 50 years of Ralph and Melvin dancing on the Opry, in 2002 Melvin decided to retire. "I was 62 years old. My back was in terrible shape, and I had a knee about worn out. We'd been there 50 years with my time and Ralph's time. It was time to slow down with all that I had going." At that point, the Opry took over management of the group and named them the Opry Square Dancers. Eddie Oliver was the mainstay of the new group, having joined the Tennessee Travelers in 1966 at the age of 13.

Since retiring from the Opry, Melvin has remained active with music and promoting shows. He also has done work with the Shriners. Summing up his 70-plus years of making music, Melvin said, "There's been a lot of great memories and enjoyment. We met some of the finest people and made life-long friends. The main thing we think about is our home and family, the dancers and musicians, and all the people of Wilson County that has been so good to us. It has been an adventure."

Now here is the running order from 16 years ago, Saturday July 6, 2002, the final night that the Melvin Sloan Dancers were listed on the Opry program:

1st show
6:30: Tennessee Pride
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Mel McDaniel: Louisiana Saturday Night/Stand Up
Two Tons of Steel: Ain't Gonna Live That Way More/When I'm With You
Jimmy Dickens: I'd Rather Sleep in Peace

7:00: Opry
Jeannie Seely (host): Roarin' & Runnin'
Elizabeth Cook: Young Love
Jimmy C Newman: Allons 'A Lafayette
Riders In The Sky: Cool Water
Jeannie Seely: Together Again

7:30: Standard Candy
Mike Snider (host): Instrumental
Billy Walker: A Fool Such as I
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Joe Nichols: The Impossible/Footlights
Mike Snider: Fire on the Mountain

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): Wake Up, Jacob
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Pinmonkey: Jar of Clay/Barbed Wire & Roses
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Porter Wagoner: Misery Loves Company

8:30: Physicians Mutual
Bill Anderson (host): Po' Folks
Jack Greene: Highway to the Sky/Statue of A Fool
Steve Wariner: The Weekend/Holes in the Floor of Heaven
Bill Anderson: Golden Guitar

2nd show
Jimmy Dickens (host): Out Behind the Barn
Mel McDaniel: Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On
Jim & Jesse: Stony Mountain, West Virginia
Pinmonkey: Barbed Wire & Roses/I Wanna Fly
Jimmy Dickens: We Could

10:00: Lincoln Mercury/Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Jeannie Seely: Too Far Gone
Joe Nichols: The Impossible/Footlights
Porter Wagoner: I've Enjoyed As Much of This As I Can Stand

10:30: Honest Abe/Joggin' In A Jug
Jean Shepard (host): Love's Gonna Live Here
Charlie Louvin: Mama's Rocking Chair
Elizabeth Cook: Young Love/If I Could, Then I Would
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Black Mountain Rag
Jean Shepard: Amazing Grace

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Billy Walker: You Gave Me a Mountain
Riders In The Sky: Give Me A Pinto Pal
Steve Wariner: The Weekend/Crazy Arms
Bill Anderson: This is a Love Song

11:30: Bristol Sessions
Mike Snider (host): Daley's Reel/Forked Deer
Two Tons of Steel: One Horse Town/Two Tons of Steel
Jack Greene: Try a Little Kindness/Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
Mike Snider: If My Nose Was Running Money/Fire on the Mountain

The second date is Saturday July 6, 1985 which was the night that Johnny Russell became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

From time to time, a song gives country music's core audience a picture of itself that is attractive or amusing enough to become a kind of anthem. Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee" is perhaps the best known, but the singer and songwriter Johnny Russell will be remembered by enthusiasts for his affectionate cultural cameo "Rednecks, White Socks And Blue Ribbon Beer".

Born in Roundaway, Mississippi, Johnny spent his teenage years in Fresno, California. Inspired by country stars of the 1940s and 50s, such as Lefty Frizzell and Ernest Tubb, he began entering talent contests, performing in clubs and writing songs. "In A Mansion Stands My Love," which he wrote and recorded at the age of 18, earned him a long-running income as the flipside of Jim Reeves's 1960 multi-million seller, "He'll Have To Go."

Excited by his brush with success, Johnny moved to Nashville, but made little headway and was soon back in California, where Buck Owens had a No. 1 hit with "Act Naturally" in 1963. The Beatles' recording followed a couple of years later and in 1989, the song was revived when Buck and Ringo Starr recorded it as a duet.

Over the next few years, Johnny worked in California and Nashville, writing songs for the Wilburn Brothers' publishing company, Sure-Fire. In 1971, Chet Atkins, who had produced the Reeves recording of "In A Mansion Stands My Love," signed Johnny to an RCA contract. Apart from "Rednecks," a hit in 1073, and a similar southern study, "Catfish John," he never sold a great many records, but critics approved of his albums, Catfish John/Chained and Mr. And Mrs. Untrue. He continued to write songs for other artists, among them "Let's Fall To Pieces Together," a chart topper for George Strait in 1984, and "Making Plans," originally recorded as a duet by Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, and later chosen by Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt for their album, Trio.  He also placed songs with Loretta Lynn, Gene Watson, Dottie West and Vince Gill.

Though he enjoyed writing and plugging songs, it annoyed him that his skill prevented him from performing as much as he would have liked. He worked in Las Vegas and on television variety shows, and had a few character parts in TV dramas, but finally found his niche when he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1985. "Probably my greatest satisfaction," he said, "is to see my audiences give off a good belly laugh." He also appeared on the country music and comedy TV series Hee Haw.

From my own personal experience, Johnny Russell was one of the good guys in Nashville and at the Opry. I still remember the day my daughter an I were in Opryland, sitting at a picnic table having lunch. Johnny came over, asked if he could sit with us, and proceeded to want to talk about my daughter and what she was up to, rather than himself. It also shows something about how others felt when in March 2001, dozens of Johnny's friends and colleagues gathered for a benefit concert to help pay his medical expenses, with Johnny's friend Garth Brooks leading the way, In fact, whenever Garth appeared on the Opry, he asked to be placed on the segment hosted by Johnny, as Johnny introduced Garth on his first night at the Opry, and also did Garth's Opry induction.

John Bright Russell was born on January 23, 1940. He passed away on July 3, 2001 from complications of diabetes. He had been in declining health for a while.

Here is the running order from 33 years ago, Saturday July 6, 1985, the night Johnny Russell joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
The Four Guys (host): Cottonfields/Mariah
Jean Shepard: The Wonders You Perform
The Four Guys: How Married Are You, Mary Ann

6:45: Rudy's
Jack Greene (host): Looking Back is Easier
Brother Oswald: Mountain Dew
Jack Greene: The Great Speckled Bird

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): 'Ol Slewfoot
Johnny Russell: Red Necks, White Socks, & Blue Ribbon Beer/Baptism of Jesse Taylor/Act Naturally
Dottie West: Country Sunshine/American Trilogy
Porter Wagoner: I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name

7:30: Standard Candy
George Hamilton IV (host): Break My Mind
Ray Pillow: Dim Lights; Thick Smoke
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Gray Eagle
Connie Smith: Louisiana Man/A Far Cry from You
George Hamilton IV: (?)

8:00: Martha White
Ricky Skaggs (host): Highway 40 Blues
Jan Howard: Lord, I Hope this Day is Good
Charlie Louvin: He Can Be Found
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away Too Long
Ricky Skaggs: I've Got a New Heartache/Honey Open That Door/Hallelujah, I'm Ready

8:30: Music Valley
Hank Snow (host): Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Jeannie Seely: Once You're Gone
Billy Grammer: Birth of the Blues/Drifting Back to Dreamland
Hank Snow: Among My Souveniers

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
The Four Guys: Operator, Information; Give Me Jesus on the Line
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Dottie West: We Know Better Now/Rocky Top
Porter Wagoner: Everything I've Always Wanted

10:00: Little Debbie
Ray Pillow (host): You're A Memory That I'd Like to Make Again
Jean Shepard: Then He Touched Me
Ray Pillow: Please Don't Leave Me Anymore

10:15: Sunbeam
Ricky Skaggs (host): Country Boy
Connie Smith: A Far Cry from You
Ricky Skaggs: Something in My Heart

10:30: Martha White
Billy Walker (host): Ashes of Love
Justin Tubb: The Wino's Prayer
Billy Walker: He Sang the Songs About El Paso/Charlie's Shoes

10:45: Beech-Nut
Roy Drusky (host): Mississippi
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Sally Goodin
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away from Coming Home
Brother Oswald: Columbus Stockade Blues
Billy Grammer: When It's Darkness on the Delta/Homestead on the Farm
Hank Snow: Old Shep

11:30: Quincey's
Jack Greene (host): The Devil's Den
Charlie Louvin: Today All Over Again
Jan Howard: Slow Burning Memory
Johnny Russell: Kawliga/No One Will Ever Know

Before going, there is news regarding June Stearns, who many of you will remember. Last night came word that she has been hospitalized with leukemia and is soon to be operated on for a blood clot. Many of you will remember her from the Louisiana Hayride and as part of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys. She joined Roy's group in 1960 and left in 1965, after being seriously injured in a car accident, one that sidelined Roy for several months. She then charted several singles, the last of which was in 1970. She still resides in the Nashville area.

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

Monday, July 2, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 7/3 & Wednesday Night Opry 7/4

While we all try to get over this past Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, the mid-week shows this week look pretty good. Solid line-ups on both nights.

Tuesday July 3
7:00: John Conlee; Chuck Wicks
7:30: Kelleigh Bannen; Ray Stevens
8:15: Connie Smith; Jonathan Jackson
8:45: Del McCoury Band; Michael Ray

Del and the boys will be signing copies of his new album in the Opry Shop, while Ray Stevens will be making up for a show he missed a few weeks back due to illness.

Wednesday July 4
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Joshua Hedley
7:30: Jimmy Wayne; Flatt Lonesome
8:15: Riders In The Sky; Wade Hayes
8:45: Don Schlitz; Mandy Barnett

After only a single Opry member on the last couple of Wednesday night shows, it is nice to see that we made it up to two for this week. For those who have not heard Joshua Hedley before, he is excellent and seems like the real deal.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

July Opry Highlights

Welcome to July and the heart of summer. 4th of July, picnics and family vacations are all on the menu, with some of those vacations taking place in Nashville and at the Grand Ole Opry. Here are the historical and interesting notes regarding the Grand Ole Opry, or with Opry members, that have taken place during the month of July:

July 15, 1913: Lloyd Estel was born in Adams County, Ohio. Better known as Cowboy Copas, he joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1946. He would remain an Opry member until his death in 1963.

July 27, 1925: Former Grand Ole Opry member Annie Lou Dill was born, Along with her husband Danny, they were known as "The Sweethearts of Country Music." Annie Lou and Danny were members of the Opry from the late 1940s through the mid 1950s. They remained a popular duo into the 1960s. However Annie Lou and Danny divorced, at which point the act became history. Annie passed away in January 1982.

July 24, 1926: The Crook Brothers, led by Herman Crook, made their first appearance on the WSM Barn Dance. Considered one of the Opry's original members, the Crook Brothers would remain a part of the Opry until the death of Herman in July 1988. That adds up to 62 years at the Opry, usually accompanying the square dancers.

July 7, 1927: The late Charlie Louvin was born in Section, Alabama. Charles Loudermilk was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for over 50 years. Along with his brother Ira, Charlie was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. Charlie passed away on January 26, 2011.

July 9, 1929: Grand Ole Opry member Jesse McReynolds was born in Coeburn, Virginia. One of the true legends in bluegrass music, Jim and Jesse joined the Opry in 1964. Following the death of Jim McReynolds on December 31, 2002, Jesse has continued on at the Opry and at the age of 89 sounds as good as ever.

July 7, 1930: Doyle Wilburn was born in Hardy, Arkansas. Along with his brother Teddy, the Wilburn Brothers were long time members of the Opry.

July 14, 1932: The great Del Reeves was born in Sparta, North Carolina. Del joined the Grand Ole Opry in October 1966 and was an Opry member until his death in 2007. Del had one of the great personalities in country music and did a variety of impressions, including those of Roy Acuff, Johnny Cash and Hank Snow.

July 4, 1934: Over 8,000 people showed up for an all-day Opry sponsored show in West Tennessee. The show featured Opry stars Uncle Dave Macon, Fiddlin' Arthur Smith, the Gully Jumpers and the Crook Brothers. As a result of the success of this show, Opry founder George D. Hay started the Artists Service Bureau, which would become the official booking agency for Opry members. In the future, this organization would cause some issues at the Opry, and eventually would lead to several Opry members, including Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright, leaving the Opry.

July 4, 1937: Ray Pillow was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. Ray came to the Opry in 1966 and has been a member of the Opry since. Ray is considered one of the real nice guys in country music.

July 19, 1937: The late George Hamilton IV was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. George was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 54 years before passing away in September 2014.

July 11, 1939: The Grand Ole Opry moved to the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville. They would stay at the War Memorial for just a few years as the type of crowd that came to Opry shows was not the ones that the operators of the building wanted to see. The Opry moved to War Memorial from the Dixie Tabernacle, which held more people but was in deplorable condition. Because of the lower capacity, which was listed as 2,200, the Opry decided to charge an admission fee of 25 cents, which did not stop the crowds from coming to the show. War Memorial Auditorium still stands in Nashville and is used. In 2010, when the Grand Ole Opry House was flooded, several Opry shows were relocated there.

July 6, 1940: Jeannie Seely, known as "Miss Country Soul" was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania. In September, Jeannie will celebrate 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. as she joined the cast in September 1967.

July 15, 1944: Country Music Hall of Fame member Rod Brasfield became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Rod was hired to replace comedian Whitey Ford, the Duke of Paducah, on the Prince Albert portion of the show, which was broadcast on the NBC radio network. Rod was hired after Whitey got into a contract dispute with R.J. Reynolds and their advertising agency, which sponsored the segment. Rod was very successful, often teaming with fellow comedian Minnie Pearl. Rod was not only a great comedian, but was also an excellent actor. He was featured in the movie, "A Face In the Crowd" which starred Andy Griffith. Rod remained a member of the Opry until passing away in September 1958.

July 24, 1948: Roy Acuff announced that he was running for Governor of Tennessee. He decided to run after the current Governor made some poor comments regarding country music. As a Republican in Tennessee in 1948, Roy really didn't stand much of a chance, and he lost the election by a wide margin. It was said that his campaign rallies drew large crowds that enjoyed the music and special guests, but would leave once the political speeches started.

July 21, 1951: Left Frizzell made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Lefty would later become an Opry member, but he was gone pretty quickly. Lefty would later say that it just didn't work out and that the Opry wasn't the dream that he thought it would be.

July 5, 1952: Ralph Sloan and The Tennessee Travelers became members of the Grand Ole Opry. The group was formed in 1949 and they were originally called the Cedar Hill Square Dancers. Ralph passed away in 1980 after which his brother Melvin Sloan took over the group, changing the name to the Melvin Sloan Dancers. Melvin has since retired himself and the group is now simply called the Opry Square Dancers.

July 9, 1952: Grand Ole Opry members Carl Smith and June Carter were married. The marriage only lasted a few years as Carl expected June to give up her career to become a full time wife and mother. While the marriage was short, it did produce a daughter, Rebecca Carlene Smith, better known as Carlene Carter. After the marriage ended, June would go on to remarry two more times, with her final marriage being to Johnny Cash, while Carl would have a very successful marriage with Goldie Hill, who did retire from performing after being married to Carl.

July 18, 1954: Grand Ole Opry member Ricky Skaggs was born in Cordell, Kentucky. Ricky joined the Opry cast in May 1982.

July 2, 1955: According to various reports, Patsy Cline made her first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. She would later become an Opry member.

July 7, 1956: Johnny Cash made his first guest appearance on the Opry.

July 28, 1956: Just three weeks after making his Grand Ole Opry debut, Johnny Cash became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Johnny would remain an Opry member until 1958, when he left Nashville and moved to California. Even though he gave it up, Johnny was always welcomed as a guest artist whenever he was in Nashville, and he would especially appear if June Carter was around. It was during one such performance in 1965, while under the influence of drugs, that Johnny kicked out the Opry stage lights and was told not to come back. He stayed away for a few years, but by the late 1960s, he was back. Toward the end of his life, Roy Acuff reportedly asked Johnny to once again become an Opry member, but Johnny declined.

July 24, 1957: Grand Ole Opry member Pam Tillis was born in Plant City, Florida.

July 12, 1961: Bill Anderson became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 57th year as an Opry member. Bill made his first Opry appearance in 1958 and would guest several times before being asked by Opry manager Ott Devine to become a member. Now approaching the age of 80, Bill still appears regularly on the Opry and always receives a great response from the audience.

July 18, 1964: Connie Smith made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Connie joined the cast the following year and this will be her 53rd year as an Opry member. And she sounds as good as ever. 

July 31, 1964: Jim Reeves, along with Dean Manual, died in a plane crash just outside of Nashville. Jim was just 39. While he was not an Opry member at the time of his death, giving it up a few years earlier, Jim was very successful while an Opry member. However, as the focus of his career changed, he felt that the Opry was no longer for him.

July 10, 1965: Roy Acuff was seriously injured in a car accident near Sparta, Tennessee. Roy suffered two pelvic fractures, a broken collarbone and several broken ribs. Also injured in the crash were Shot Jackson and June Stearns. Roy would be out of action for about a month, returning to the Opry in August.

July 26, 1966: Opry member Martina McBride was born in Sharon, Kansas.

July 1, 1967: Dave Hooten replaced Johnny "Lonzo" Sullivan as part of Lonzo and Oscar. Johnny had recently passed away and it was agreed before his death that Roland "Oscar" Sullivan would continue with the act.

July 24, 1971: Country and Western music legend Patsy Montana made her first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

July 8, 1972: Barbara Mandrell became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. While some accounts, including the Grand Ole Opry, list her induction date as July 29, this was actually the night that Barbara was announced as a member. Celebrating her 46th year as an Opry member, Barbara is now retired from performing. When she made the decision to retire, he asked Opry management if she would remain a member of the Opry, of which they agreed. Without knowing it at the time, Barbara started a trend where retired members would retain their Opry membership, reversing a policy where members had to give up their Opry membership if they were no longer active. 

July 14, 1973: Tompall, Chuck, and Jim, the Glaser Brothers, made their final appearance as members of the Grand Ole Opry. The brothers, who often had creative differences, decided to go their separate ways, They would reunite several years later, but then broke up for good. But, at the personal invitation of  Hank Snow, the brothers appeared on the Opry one final time, in January 1990 at a show honoring Hank for 40 years of Opry membership. The brothers were awesome that night and you can see the video of the performance on YouTube. That night was the final night that they would appear together.

July 21, 1973: Just over a year after Barbara Mandrell joined the Opry cast, Jeanne Pruett became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Like Barbara, Jeanne is now retired. This will be her 45th year as an Opry member. Jeanne was the last singing member of the cast to join the show before it left the Ryman Auditorium (of course, Jerry Clower joined after Jeanne but he was known as a comedian). On the night of her induction, Dolly Parton handled the honors.

July 7, 1975: Grand Ole Opry member George Morgan passed away in a Nashville hospital after suffering a heart attack. He was just 51. George joined the Opry in 1948 as the replacement for Eddy Arnold. He left the Opry in 1956 to star on a television show, but returned in 1959. George's daughter Lorrie followed in his footsteps as an Opry member.

July 24, 1976: Bobby Lord made his final appearance as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Bobby came to the Opry in 1960 from the Ozark Jubilee. After leaving the Opry, Bobby went into semi-retirement, living in Florida and working in real estate. He later hosted a sportsman show on TNN. Although he gave up his Opry membership, Bobby would continue to make occasional Opry appearances when he was up in the Nashville area.

July 4, 1980: Future Diamond Rio member Dana Williams made his first Opry appearance as a bass player for Jimmy C Newman.

July 5, 1980: John Conlee made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry.

July 2, 1982: Former Grand Ole Opry member DeFord Bailey died in Nashville at the age of 82. DeFord was one of the first members of the WSM Barn Dance, but was fired in 1941 by Opry founder George D. Hay. Various reasons were given for the firing, but it would appear that race was the major reason. For years he refused invitations to return to the Opry, however in February 1974 he returned for the annual reunion show. He was well received and would make a few more reunion shows before passing away. DeFord is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

July 1, 1983: Gaylord Broadcasting Company purchased the Grand Ole Opry, WSM radio and the entire Opryland complex from American General Corporation. Even though it was called Gaylord Broadcasting, it was actually Edward Gaylord and his wife Thelma who were the actual owners. At the time, Gaylord owned "Hee Haw" and other major media outlets. The price was rumored to have been between $250 and $350 million. The Opry was for sale at the time because of the purchase of National Life and Accident Company and the new owners, American General, had no interest in owning the Opry or Opryland. It was Roy Acuff who convinced Edward Gaylord that the Opryland properties were perfect for him to buy and add to his company. Over time, Gaylord Broadcasting would become Gaylord Entertainment and is now known as Ryman Hospitalities.

July 6, 1985: Johnny Russell became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Johnny would remain a very popular and loyal member of the Opry until passing away on July 3, 2001 after a period of declining health. One of the most talented performers in country music, Johnny was a singer, songwriter and comedian. After joining the Opry, Johnny would normally appear on the 11:30 segment, telling funny stories and singing serious songs. I was privileged one day to have met Johnny at Opryland and to spend a little bit of time with him.

July 3, 1993: Alison Krauss became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 25th year as an Opry member. At the time she joined, she was the Opry's youngest member. Alison has won more Grammy Awards then any other female country music, or bluegrass singer.

July 10, 1999: June Carter Cash made a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, in what would be her final appearance on the Opry stage. June was an Opry member in the 1950s and was known for singing with her family and for her comic skills. 

July 6, 2002: Melvin Sloan, leader of the Melvin Sloan Dancers, retired. Melvin began dancing on the Opry following the death of his brother Ralph Sloan in 1980. After Melvin's retirement, the Opry took over management of the square dancers and they are now called the Opry Square Dancers. 

July 5, 2008: Ending a long standing tradition, the start time of Saturday's early Grand Ole Opry show was changed from 6:30 to 7:00, resulting in a two hour show. This followed the change of the late Saturday show being cut to two hours the previous January. There was no reason given for the change, and no, there was no price reduction on account of the shorter show.

July 15, 2008: Future Grand Ole Opry member Darius Rucker made his first guest appearance on the Opry, singing "Don't Think I Don't Think About It."

July 8, 2011: Jimmy Dickens made a surprise appearance on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry to ask the Oak Ridge Boys if they would like to become the Opry's newest members. Of course, the Oak Ridge Boys said yes, and later this year they will celebrate their 6th year as Opry members.

July 16, 2011: Grand Ole Opry member Bill Anderson is honored upon his 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Alison Krauss joined the celebration that evening. 

July 3, 2013: Alison Krauss celebrated 20 years of Opry membership. As part of the show that night, she does a duet with Jamey Johnson on "Make the World Go Away." 

July 1, 2017: Montgomery Gentry performs "Where I Come From" on the Grand Ole Opry. It would be the final Opry appearance for Troy Gentry, who would pass away in September as the result of a helicopter crash.