The Llano Country Opry will stage two shows on Saturday, May 15, at the Lantex Theater in downtown Llano. The matinee show begins at 2:30 p.m. and the evening performance will start at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15.00 each and tickets are on sale at the Llano Chamber of Commerce, Llano National Bank, Livley Computers in Kingsland and KNEL Radio in Brady. Tickets can be charged by calling (325) 247-5354.
Little Jimmy Dickens began his musical career in the late 1930s, performing on a local radio station while attending West Virginia University. He soon quit school to pursue a full-time music career, and traveled the country performing on various local radio stations under the name "Jimmy the Kid."
In 1948, Dickens was heard performing on a radio station in Saginaw, Michigan, by Roy Acuff who introduced him to Art Satherly with Columbia Records and officials from the Grand Ole Opry. Dickens signed with Columbia in September and joined the Opry in August. Around this time he began using the nickname, Little Jimmy Dickens, inspired by his short stature.
Dickens recorded many novelty songs for Columbia, including "Country Boy," "A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed" and "I’m Little But I’m Loud." His song "Take an Old Cold Tater (And Wait)" inspired Hank Williams to nickname him "Tater". Later, telling Jimmy he needed a hit, Williams wrote "Hey Good Lookin’ specifically for Dickens in only 20 minutes while on a Grand Ole Opry tour bus. A week later Williams cut the song himself, jokingly telling him, "That song’s too good for you!"
In 1962 Dickens released "The Violet and the Rose," his first top ten single in 12 years. During 1964 he became the first country artist to circle the globe while on tour, and also made numerous TV appearances including The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson. In 1965 he released his biggest hit "May The Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose" reaching number one on the country chart and number fifteen on the pop chart.
In the late 1960s he left Columbia for Decca Records before moving again to United Artists in 1971. That same year he married his wife, Mona, and in 1975 he returned to the Grand Ole Opry. In 1983 Dickens was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
He joined the In The Heat of The Night" television cast for the CD "Christmas Time’s A Comin’" by performing "Christmas Time’s A Comin’" with the cast on the CD released on Sonlite and MGM/UA for one of the most popular Christmas releases of 1991 and 1992 with Southern retailers.
Recently, Dickens has made appearances in a number of music videos by fellow country musician and West Virginia native Brad Paisley. He has also been featured on several of Paisley’s albums in bonus comedy tracks along with other Opry mainstays such as George Jones and Bill Anderson. They are collectively referred to as the Kung-Pao Buckaroos.
With the passing of Hank Locklin in March 2009, Dickens is now the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 89.
Darrell McCall and Johnny Paycheck moved to Nashville in 1958 and formed the "Young Brothers." McCall began to work as a harmony singer with such artists as George Jones, Faron Young, Freddie Hart, Carl Smith and Ray Price. He joined Price as a member of his Cherokee Cowboys and later joined the bands of both Faron Young and Hank Williams Jr.
McCall got his first hit with the song "A Stranger Was Here" and followed it with appearances in the movies "Nashville Rebel" "Road To Nashville" and "What Am I Bid?" in 1965 and 1966. In 1968, McCall signed with Wayside Records and recorded his debut album "Meet Darrell McCall."
In 1972, he penned the number one hit "Eleven Roses" for Hank Williams Jr. The seventies brought several top hits for McCall including "There’s Still A Lot of Love In San Antone" "Pins and Needles (In My Heart)" "Down The Road To Daddy’s Dreams" "Dreams of A Dreamer" and "It’s The Water."
McCall and Willie Nelson recorded the Top 40 single "Lily Dale." It was the very first duet recording for Nelson and resulted in a very successful album by the same title.
McCall still performs all over the Country with his wife Mona and makes frequent appearances on the world famous Grand Ole Opry. They most recently moved back to Texas and are now residents of the small community of Fredonia.
McCall signed with Heart of Texas Records and his first project was released in 2004. "Old Memories and Wine" was produced by Justin Trevino and features both old standards and new songs. Mona McCall also contributes two songs to the project. Darrell’s son Cody is a featured harmony singer on the album and his daughter Guyanne wrote the title track on the album.
Heart of Texas Records released "The Essential Darrell McCall" in 2007 featuring some of his most requested songs including "Helpless" "Down The Road Of Daddy’s Dreams" and "It’s The Water." In 2008, Heart of Texas Records released the landmark album "Lily Dale" which features Willie Nelson on two compositions along with several of McCall’s dance hall favorites.
McCall’s new studio album "Keeping With Tradition" was released in October. The project was followed by a trio album featuring Tony Booth and Curtis Potter titled "The Survivors."
"We are so pleased the Jimmy Dickens chose to return to Llano," Opry MC Tracy Pitcox said. "He works very few dates beyond his beloved Grand Ole Opry. This is truly a rare pleasure to have Little Jimmy Dickens return to Texas."
Other entertainers on the show will include Kimberly Murray, Troy Shepard, Ben Watson, Bode Barker, Shane Lively, Bucille Snotgrass, Charley Walton, Sammy Geistweidt and Don Ricketson.
For more information, log on to www.heartoftexascountry.com.