During the 1970s, country music programs became a staple of syndicated television, and "Pop! Goes the Country" was among them. Taped in Nashville, this 30-minute series featured performances by all the popular country artists of the day from the legends and established stars to up-and-coming acts. Several artists were showcased per episode. During the 1982-1983 season (its final season), the show was taped from Opryland's Gaslight Theatre. Written by
Here is a great show that features not only music but interviews with the artists appearing on thew show from week to week, talking about their new projects, things they have been involved in, and what is coming up for them int he near future.
Of course, the star of this program was always Ralph Emery. He was famous from being a radio personality at WSM AM 650 in Nashville where he excelled at this very kind of programming during the late night hours (on Opry Star Spotlight during the late sixties into the seventies), and this television program was almost like an extension of his earlier duties there. The difference? You could see him and the artist he was talking to and also the reactions of newer artists that came on his show.
The basic premise of this show was to reflect what was already happening to country music by this time - the infiltration of pop music
although you could see some pretty great country performers here as
well. The performers included Billy Crash Craddock, Mel Tillis, Janie Fricke, a young Crystal Gale, Sue Thompson, Del Reeves, Bob Luman, Jerry Reed and his daughter Sadina, and many, many other country music artists.
The band was top notch and included the direction of pianist Jerry Whitehurst and guitarist Leon Rhodes (both from the Opry Staff Band), as well as other great musicians of the time that were in and out throughout the production of this show.
The show was originally filmed in the studio in the Grand Ole Opry House until 1980, when it was moved out into the Opryland USA theme park and hosted by Tom T. Hall. It was filmed in the Gaslight Studio there, and I had the pleasure of being in the audience for one of these tapings when I was 15 years old. The set in the Gaslight Studio was of a night club.
I never did see the Jim Varney hosted programs, so I cannot comment on them, but these were all very great shows and I recommend them highly. I give this show five stars.
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