The Llano Country Opry’s 15th Anniversary Show will be held on Saturday, April 12. Moe Bandy and the Americana Band with special guest Pretty Miss Norma Jean will headline two performances-an afternoon matinee at 2:30 PM and an evening show at 7:30 PM. Admission is $15.00 and tickets are on sale at the Llano National Bank, Llano and Kingsland Chamber of Commerce, Lively Computers, KNEL Radio or by calling (325) 247-5354.
Moe Bandy was born in Meridian, MS, the birthplace of Jimmie Rodgers. In fact, Bandy’s grandfather worked with Rodgers on the railroad, so it’s no surprise that the singer first fell in love with country music through the Jimmie Rodgers records that were around his house, as well as the Hank Williams albums. Bandy’s family moved to San Antonio, TX, when he was six.
During high school, he was a rodeo rider, but his career came to a halt once he suffered too many injuries.
In 1972, Bandy met record producer Ray Baker on a hunting trip and convinced him to listen to some demo tapes he had made. Provided that Moe could pay for the recording sessions, Baker agreed to produce the singer. Excited by his new prospect, Bandy pawned his furniture and financed a session. Once they were released, the records went nowhere. The following year, the singer took out a loan to pay for another recording date. “I Just Started Hatin’ Cheatin’ Songs Today” was the result of this session, and Baker released the single on Footprint Records, manufacturing only 500 copies.
Bandy followed “I Just Started Hatin’ Cheatin’ Songs Today” with several singles on GRC, including the Top Ten hits “It Was So Easy to Find an Unhappy Woman” (1974) and “Bandy the Rodeo Clown” (1975), which was written by Lefty Frizzell and Whitey Shafer. Bandy signed with Columbia Records in 1975, keeping Baker as a producer. “Hank Williams You Changed My Life,” his first single for the label, was an instant number three hit, leading to his Most Promising Male Vocalist award from the Academy of Country Music. Bandy’s string of hit singles in 1976 -- including “Here I Am Drunk Again” and “She Took More Than Her Share” -- confirmed that he was one of the most popular singers of the latter half of the decade. The following two years were equally successful for the singer, as he had hits with “I’m Sorry for You My Friend,” “Cowboys Aren’t Supposed to Cry,” “She Just Loved the Cheatin’ Out of Me,” “That’s What Makes the Jukebox Play,” and “Two Lonely People.”
In 1979, he teamed up with Janie Fricke for “It’s a Cheatin’ Situation.” The song became a number three hit and won the Song of the Year award from the ACM. Bandy had another successful duet that year with Joe Stampley. The pair released “Just Good Ol’ Boys”, which became one of the most popular albums of the year, spawning the number one title track and the Top Ten “Holding the Bag.” Like his pairing with Fricke, the duet with Stampley was an award-winning combination, as the duo won the Country Music Association’s Duet of the Year and the ACM’s Duo of the Year awards in 1980. Bandy also had a pair of major solo hits with the number one “I Cheated Me Right Out of Her” and the Top Ten “Barstool Mountain.”
Bandy continued to have Top Ten hits, including “Till I’m Too Old to Die Young” (1987) and “Americana” (1988), which became presidential candidate George Bush’s campaign theme song; Bandy played Bush’s Presidential Inauguration, as well as playing the White House twice in 1989.
In 1960, Norma Jean moved to Nashville and joined the Porter Wagoner television show. The exposure that she received on television across the country and through personal appearances with Wagoner allowed her career to soar. She signed with RCA Records in 1963 and joined Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry the same year.
Wagoner would bring Norma one of her biggest hits in 1963 with “Let’s Go All The Way,” a song about setting a wedding date. She followed that with twenty seven albums for RCA including hit singles like “”I Wouldn’t Buy A Used Car From Him” “Go Cat Go” “Don’t Let The Doorknob Hit You” “I Cried All The Way To The Bank” “I’m A Walking Advertisement For The Blues” and her highest charting song “A Game Of Triangles” with Bobby Bare and Liz Anderson in 1966.
Norma left the Porter Wagoner show in 1967, returning to her native Oklahoma. Wagoner replaced Norma with a relatively unknown singer named Dolly Parton. Norma remained on RCA records for several more years, but relinquished her membership in the Grand Ole Opry and going into semi-retirement.
In 1984, Norma returned to Nashville to do a guest spot on Nashville Now with Ralph Emery and Wagoner. She decided to begin touring in a limited basis and released a couple of self produced albums. Norma moved to Branson and joined the cast of “Grand Ladies” show.
Norma performed on the Grand Ladies Show with a rotating cast of celebrated ladies in Country Music including Wanda Jackson, Mary Lou Turner, Ava Barbor, Jody Miller and Jean Shepard. She most recently moved to Brady.
Other entertainers on the show will include Jade Jack, Justin Trevino, Charlie Walton, Bode Barker, Sammy Geistweidt, Shane Lively and Bucille Snotgrass.