Grand Ole Opry Song

29 Mar

Most people probably know that Nashville is known as “Music City”, and those same people probably know that it is called that because of the country music industry. Nashville actually has been a hotbed of several musical genres. At one time, there was a strong R&B scene, and Jimi Hendrix honed his craft in the clubs on Jefferson Street. Bob Dylan spent a great deal of time in the city, and Elvis Presley recorded here all the time. Heck, the Black Keys and Jack White currently call Nashville home.

Despite a diverse history, country music was and continues to be the dominating form, and, these days, it is dominated by performers like Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown. I can’t name them all because I don’t really like what they do. Today’s country seems like a Frankenstein’s monster to me. Take a little bit of country. Take a little bit of rock. Throw in a few more things. Once, you are finished a monstrosity has been created. Personally, I blame Garth Brooks.

Nashville didn’t become “Music City” because of today’s stars. It became “Music City” in the early part of the 20th Century because of a radio show, the Grand Ole Opry. It could be heard every Saturday night on WSM, a powerful AM station that took its signal throughout the United States. In the days before nationwide concert tours, artists could get their music to the masses over the radio. Since the performers gathered in Nashville to perform on the Opry, it made sense for record companies to set up studios nearby. As years passed, Nashville became the destination for those who wanted to get in the country music business.

Sometimes, I think that story gets lost in the glitz and glamor of the modern country music industry. In the old days, country artists didn’t have laser shows at their concerts. They definitely didn’t run around the stage and shake their asses. They stood behind the microphone and sang about heartbreak and trains.

Jimmy Martin was one of the old-time singers.

Jimmy Martin

Jimmy Martin

Known as the “King of Bluegrass”, he performed on the Opry many times. Unfortunately, he faced the demons of alcohol abuse, and uncertainty kept him from becoming a full member of the Opry. Despite that, he recorded “Grand Ole Opry Song“, an ode to the show and the people who made it special. I thought it would be interesting to use that song to introduce (or remind) the blogosphere to some of the people who turned Nashville into “Music City”.

Come and listen to my story if you will I’m gonna tell

About a gang of fellers from down at Nashville

First I’ll start with old Red Foley doin’ the ‘Chattanooga Shoe’

Red Foley

Red Foley

We can’t forget Hank Williams with them good old ‘Lovesick Blues’

Hank WIlliams

Hank Williams

It’s time for Roy Acuff to go to Memphis on his train

Roy Acuff

Roy Acuff

With Minnie Pearl and Rod Brasfield and Lazy Jim Day

Minnie Pearl

Minnie Pearl

Rod Brasfield

Rod Brasfield

Jim Day

Jim Day

Turn on all your radios I know that you will wait

Hear Little Jimmy Dickens sing ‘Take an Old Cold Tater and Wait’

Little Jimmy Dickens

Little Jimmy Dickens

There’ll be guitars and fiddles, Earl Scruggs and his banjo too

Earl Scruggs

Earl Scruggs

Bill Monroe singing out them ole ‘Kentucky Blues’

Bill Monroe

Bill Monroe

Ernest Tubb’s number, ‘Two Wrongs Won’t Make a Right’

Ernest Tubb

Ernest Tubb

At the Grand Ole Opry every Saturday night

There  was Uncle Dave Macon his gold tooth and plug hat

Uncle Dave Macon

Uncle Dave Macon

Cowboy Copas singing ‘Tragic Romance’

Cowboy Copas

Cowboy Copas

Signed sealed and delivered with Sam and Kirk McGee

Sam and Kirk McGee

Sam and Kirk McGee

And the master of ceremony was Mr. George D Hay

George D. Hay

George D. Hay

There was Lonzo and Oscar a-poppin’ bubble gum

Lonzo and Oscar

Lonzo and Oscar

George Morgan singin’ ‘Candy Kisses’ yum, yum

George Morgan

George Morgan

‘Got a Hole in My Bucket’ ‘Bringin’ in that Georgia Mail’

We’ll sing ‘The Sunny Side of the Mountain’

And dance to the ‘Chicken Reel’

You can talk about your singers in all kinds of way

But none could sing the old songs like Bradley Kincaid

Bradley Kincaid

Bradley Kincaid

With his old hound dog ‘Guitar’ and the famous ‘Blue Tail Fly’

Stringbean with Hank Snow and old fiddlin’ Chubby Wise

Stringbean

Stringbean

Hank Snow

Hank Snow

Chubby Wise

Chubby Wise

Now, that’s country.

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10 Responses to “Grand Ole Opry Song”

  1. DyingNote March 30, 2013 at 09:37 #

    If all artists were stuck in the past, music wouldn’t evolve – it would stagnate and die. Is all of what’s new good? No, but it’s not all bad either. Call it another name. Heck, why do we need to put these things in boxes and then decide, this is crap because this ain’t r&b or rock ‘n roll or whatever.

    I’m not much into country, but I do like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Dwight Yoakam and even The Kentucky Headhunters (now that last one was not ‘pure’ country, was it?)

    • Rick March 30, 2013 at 14:08 #

      In class, we discussed the book that was read and the test that was taken. During the discussion, I admitted that I can be an old fogey when it comes to music. I like my generation’s the best. Being someone when an old soul, I like stuff before that, too. I know that I’m not fair to many of today’s artists, but I just can’t wrap my ears around some of it.

  2. Mancakes April 1, 2013 at 23:30 #

    Love this post…these old timers remind me so much of my grandpa when I was growing up, he always had old country on the radio. Thanks for the reminder and the smile!

    • Rick April 2, 2013 at 01:11 #

      You are very welcome. I hate to think that these people, and others like them, are slowly being forgotten. Listeners may not remember them, but I hope the stars of today recognize the path that these people created for them. My grandfather listened to the Grand Ole Opry all of the time, so I know what you mean about memories. Thanks for your comment.

  3. ranwel02 April 2, 2013 at 03:41 #

    Yeah I know what you mean…I first listened to the “grand Old Opry” on a tube radio and about 8 or 10 batteries hooked together in sequence. (that was in Louisiana) I remember the songs of Jimmy Davis..(supper time) my favorite! Check out my new blog: http://www.adsensibleseniors.webpress.com and I’ll see you on the radio!

    • Rick April 2, 2013 at 04:18 #

      That’s an interesting way to listen to the radio. It must have been interesting listening to a show coming from several states away. Being from Louisiana, did you ever listen to the Louisiana Hayride? I will definitely check out your blog. Thanks for commenting.

  4. satanicpanic April 2, 2013 at 14:47 #

    I love old country, mostly because it’s the people’s music- stuff that for the most part anyone can pick up and play. There was a lot of overlap back then between blues, folk and early rock and roll as well. Really interesting time.

    • Rick April 2, 2013 at 17:02 #

      I think it was a great time for all music. Innovation was everywhere and in every genre. It was a time when someone could walk in from the street and have a chance to make it big. Thank you for commenting.

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