A Wonderful Week full of Nostalgic Shows

Trip Start Jan 01, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Missouri
Sunday, September 23, 2007

  We ended up not having to move, as the power was repaired at this campground, so we decided to stay.  We've been to a show every day, and I must say it's been a great week.
   Let's see - Tuesday night was the Sons of the Pioneers, ending the show, of course, with our theme song: "Happy Trails to You".
   Wednesday night we saw the Oak Ridge Boys.  One of the things we're having to do some adjusting to is audiences (and stages!) full of people who make us look young!  Seems that the average age of concert audiences is ~70+, and the white hair and white beard on stage is certainly a shocker!  The Oak Ridge Boys sang all their biggest hits, and a few new numbers, too - good show - voices and harmony not quite as tight as they used to be, but generally quite entertaining.
   Thursday, we went to a 10 a.m. show - The Red Skelton Tribute Show...Tom Mullica, who grew up idolizing Red, and who came to know Red (and whose performance was complimented and appreciated by Red), literally transformed into Red Skelton/Freddy the Freeloader/Clem Kadiddlehopper/Gertrude & Heathcliff,/The Mean Widdle Kid/George Applebee...in front of our eyes!  This is a wonderful show, leaving the entire audience with a feeling that they'd just spent a couple of hours with one of America's funniest, most talented performers.  A couple of interesting things we learned:  When he was 20 years old, Johnny Carson was a joke writer for Red Skelton!  and, Red Skelton's TV Show ran from 1951 to 1971 - much longer than either of us had remembered!  He wrapped up the show with Red Skelton's presentation of The Pledge of Allegiance - if you haven't heard this, please go to this link to check it out - it's VERY well done.
     On Friday night, we "strolled" down Memory Lane at Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater, where we saw the Original Stars of American Bandstand:  Fabian, Bobby Vee, The Chiffons, Brian Hyland, and Chris Montez (La Bamba) - these performers were the original voices of 21 top ten hits and over 50 top 40 hits including: "Take Good Care of My Baby," "The Night Has a 1000 Eyes," "Rubber Ball," "One Fine Day," "He's So Fine," "Like a Tiger," "Turn Me Loose," "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini," "Gypsy Woman," "Sealed With a Kiss," "Earth Angel," "Let's Dance," "The More I See You," and "LaBamba".  The fact that we've all gotten older was apparent in their voices in some cases, but neither their age nor the audience's kept it from being a rocking good time!   Bobby Vee's sons were the drummer and bass player - and they were fabulous!  
   On Saturday Morning, the show for which we got the cheapest tickets  (2 for $28), turned out to be the best one of the week!  James Garret, who sang with the Kendalls (Heaven's Just a Sin Away), and who was good friend of John Denver's, doesn't try to imitate John Denver, just to remain true to his music.  He also has a wonderful voice, just not as velvet as John's, and plays a great guitar.  On his John Denver Tribute album, it's simply him and his guitar in the studio, but the folks he had backing him up today (and a couple of guests that appeared from other shows) were all wonderful in their own rights.  Among those backing him up:  Randy Rudd is one of the Sons of the Pioneers - has a range that would blow you away - sang falsetto on "Heaven's Just a Sin Away", and then went immediately to the bass part of the same song - great sense of humor, obviously having fun on the stage, and sang wonderful harmony with Garret.   Another Randy, Plummer, Click here: Randy Plummer  played bass, and did a couple of gospel solo numbers, one of which he wrote.  Guess he's up for a couple of Gospel Music Awards. if you check out his link, there's a link to the the CD "Big Hearted Trucker" that has a couple of his original songs on it - "Angel Wings" is the one he sang today.  Rick Quincey played dulcimer (he makes them!), mandolin, steel guitar, banjo, and spoons (he also makes those - and I bought a set!), and he also sang wonderful harmony.  Invited vocalists (also from other local shows), were Lori Locke, a simply beautiful gal with a gorgeous smile and the voice of an angel, in a wheel chair (nothing was said about the reason, but I looked online to discover she was paralyzed from the chest down in a car accident in 2004) - she sang Carol King's "You've got a Friend" and a Crystal Gale song, and one other - guess she's in the "Baldknobbers" stage show, which is one of the longest-running shows from the beginning of Branson.  And, CJ Newsom, sang "Three Wooden Crosses" and "Jolene" - guess most of what she does is gospel - a deep, throaty voice.  This was a bunch of very talented and fun people on stage - clearly musicians who enjoy performing and sharing their talents with the audience.  This was probably the only show we'd ever go back to see again (although we probably won't ever go back to Branson, its just too much of a tourist-trap atmosphere, and much too crowded for the few roads that go through town.)
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