Oak Ridge Boys sing to full house in Jefferson casino

The Oak Ridge Boys played to a full house in Jefferson.

Believe it or not, I am here with another story about yet another concert that I saw at the Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson. This time I went to see the Oak Ridge Boys Nov. 7 at the bargain price of $32.50. I first saw a poster advertising them when I attended the Kenny Rogers performance Aug. 7.

I told some other people who had missed the Kenny Rogers performances about the upcoming Oak Ridge Boys show. Two of these people wanted to go see the Oak Ridge Boys. One was Dan Haymond, who tagged along with me to the Charlie Daniels Band, and the other was Linda Mozena, whom I work with. At the time they both were very excited to go, and the show sold out very fast. I was glad I had purchased the tickets early.

The Oak Ridge Boys are a group that many people get mixed up with the Statler Brothers. Even Jim Caufield, publisher of ThePerryNews.com, got them mixed up one time when I was visiting with him.

The Statler Brothers
The Statler Brothers

In some ways these two groups are similar but if you listen to each, you find some differences in style. The Statler Brothers are a little more old fashioned in style and not as loud and forceful as the Oak Ridge Boys. On occasion, though, several of the songs are similar in style and sound.

The Oak Ridge Boys originally started out in the 1940s as the Oak Ridge Quartet. They changed their name to the Oak Ridge Boys in the 1960s. They sang southern Gospel until the mid-1970s, when they started to focus on country music.

The Oak Ridge Boys
The Oak Ridge Boys

Even though I had planned to go to this performance many months before, I still was left with anxiety about missing a school event. The anxiety did not last for as long a time as the football anxiety mentioned in the Charlie Daniels article, but I was still guilt ridden nonetheless.

I have not missed a Perry High School play for nearly 15 years. I had seen every one, either the Friday or Saturday performance. If my memory serves me correctly, it seems the high school plays were always held on the Fridays and Saturdays in the week in which Veterans Day fell in, and the plays always started at 7:30 p.m. Some time ago they changed to 7 p.m., and this year someone pushed the play date up a week.

Celebrating the end of a successful two-day run was the cast of "Get Smart," from left, Sarah Sweet, Gilberto Garcia, Karley Whelchel, Cinthia Naranjo, Breanna Dittert, Rebecca Dobson, AnaRosa Funez, Andy Chic, Margaret Lamphier-Meier, Halmar Arteaga, Dax Kresse, Katarina Leesley, Zachary Mills, John Borjas, Amani Al-Rashid, Alicia Calderon, Heaven Vandorn, Allie Hopkins, Trinity Summerson and Madison Mason.
The PHS Drama Department staged “Get Smart” Nov. 6-7.

In past years there had been advertising and a story the week before in the local media about the upcoming play. I did not see or hear any announcements about the play this year. I had planned to call the school Friday, Nov. 6 to see when the play was, but I got distracted at work until late and did not get it done.

I got back to Pegasus around 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6 after attending a dinner out of town and purchasing gas at Peters, Perry’s only locally owned gas station. While at Pegasus, I looked at one of the local publications and saw a story about the high school play. I thought it was the usual preview, discussing the play that was to be held the following week.

My stomach sank when I read that the performances were set for Nov. 6 and Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. I had missed it!

v-s high
Vinton-Shellsburg High School

Attending the high school plays twice each year is one of the things that I love most in life. This play was “Get Smart,” which I would have loved even more. I could have made the Nov. 6 performance if I had known the date beforehand.

There was no way that I could attend the Saturday performance because of the Oak Ridge Boys. I was hoping the school would add a Sunday afternoon performance, as the Vinton High School has.

No luck. I was stuck.

Drama-despair meds

So with a sad heart I made plans to attend the Oak Ridge Boys concert on Nov. 7, missing the play. By the way, does anyone have a video of this play that I could watch? It might alleviate some of the sadness of missing this performance and allow me to cut back on my medications.

Saturday, Nov. 7 was a busy day. I had to go in to work. Later I recorded the Tuba Day performance and the playing of two songs at William Bell’s grave at Violet Hill Cemetery. Walter Sieck rode out to the cemetery with me, and I took him home. I then needed to load the shows to play on Pegasus for Sunday.

William Bell, left, and George Black dressed the part to play in a rodeo band in the old Madison Square Garden in New York City in the 1940s. Photo courtesy of Abe Torchinsky
Tubists William Bell, left, and George Black.

Dan came in to Pegasus to ride along with me, and we headed out about 6 p.m. As previously mentioned, Linda Mozena was supposed to go, too. She had told me that she might not be able to go and then later that maybe she was going to go to the show. She paid me for the ticket and was supposed to call me Saturday afternoon.

She never did call me, and I tried to call her in the afternoon. I did not hear from her by the time we left. I found out later that she had a better option than the Oak Ridge Boys.

Mid-century console stereo
Mid-century console stereo

Back during the good old days in the 1980s, the Oak Ridge Boys were big stars. The first song I remember from them is “Elvira.” Back at home in Vinton, my Mom and Dad still have the 45 RPM record of this song stored in their old console stereo, which plays 78s, 45s, 33s, and 16 RPM records.

I think that my Dad bought the console stereo used for about $15 in the 1980s. It still works.

The Bangles
The Bangles

I have never seen a 16 RPM record. My Dad probably bought the “Elvira” record. Some of the other records that he bought were “Shut Up Your Face” by Joe Dolce, “Somebody’s Knocking” by Terri Gibbs, “Bobbie Sue” by the Oak Ridge Boys, and he had my sister get for him one year at Christmas a cassette with “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles.

My friend Jim Van Dorn, a musician, Perry alum and recent volunteer for the Perry High School Marching Band drum line, claims that “Elvira” is not music. He detests this so-called song. I have always liked it. I also heard a version of this song recorded in 1966 by Dallas Frazier, which is not as good as the 1981 Oak Ridge Boys version.

"Elvira" by Dallas Frazier
“Elvira” by Dallas Frazier

In 1979 Jim Doyne started a Saturday Night rock and roll oldies show on WMT radio out of Cedar Rapids that played songs from 1949-1969. The 1966 version would show up on this program routinely after the Oak Ridge Boys’ hit.

Speaking of songs that are not music, there is one type of recording which I do not consider as music. Dan Haymond shared with ThePerryNews.com Sports Editor Jeff Webster and me something called “Basketball Jones featuring Tyrone Shoelaces.” This was put out by Cheech and Chong in 1973 and reached number 15 on the Hot 100. It is a parody of the December 1972 hit song “Love Jones” by Brighter Side of Darkness which made it to number 16 on the Hot 100.

"Love Jones" by Brighter Side of Darkness
“Love Jones” by Brighter Side of Darkness

This recording is not music and is the worst thing I have ever heard. Dan and Jeff seem infatuated with it.

The second song I remember from the Oak Ridge Boys is “Bobbie Sue,” put out in 1982. We also have a 45 RPM record of this song stored in the console with the “Elvira” single. Jim Van Dorn does not like this song either. I always did like it.

The only other Oak Ridge Boys song I could remember was “American Made,” which was released in 1983. Otherwise, I did not remember any other Oak Ridge Boy songs.

Deer cross roads dangerously.

Dan and I headed out to Jefferson at around 6 p.m. I do not like driving to Jefferson at this time a year. There are always so many deer on the roads no matter which way you take.

Because of the tight schedule, I never did get a chance to eat. When we got to Jefferson, Dan wanted to know whether I was going to stop to eat. I said I hoped the Dairy Queen would be open after the concert. I looked at the time and decided that we could eat if we hurried.

At Dairy Queen we ate.

We pulled in to the Dairy Queen at around 6:40 p.m. We placed our orders and got them pretty fast. For some reason, Dan is now ordering salads with meat and does not eat a lot of bread. At Burger King he gets a salad and then puts a hamburger patty on it. I call it a Burger Salad.

Van Harden
Van Harden

I do not know if he is following the same diet as WHO radio’s Van Harden or some diet approved by radio financier/getting-your-life-in-order expert David Ramsey. I had a burger value meal. We finished eating around 7 p.m. and headed for the concert, which was to start at 7:30 p.m.

As previously stated, this concert was sold out and had been for quite some time. The crowd was a mix of ages. People from their seventies down to their thirties were in attendance. There were a lot of couples.

I ran across my mailman’s brother, the mailman whose wife was ill and could not make it to the concert that evening. I also saw the clergy member I mentioned in a previous article with his wife. There were many people I knew in attendance.

There was a large line when we arrived. I had to pick up our tickets at the counter. We then headed into the arena. We found the row that we were supposed to sit in. The man on the end did not want to get up and told us it would be easier to go through the other end. We were seated in the middle. This side was not any easier, and I think the man on the end did not want to be bothered with getting up.

Greene County Courthouse
Greene County Courthouse

I did not have to worry about Linda not using her ticket because some woman in her 20s was sitting in Linda’s place and did so for about half of the show. I sat next to a very nice lady who works at the Greene County Courthouse. I meet the nicest people at these events, not including the man on the end. Dan got the last seat.

The crowd was mostly married couples. We were packed in and knew that there was no getting up after this. They did not serve beer in the performing area, such as was done with the Charlie Daniels concert. Alcohol was available, but this crowd did not drink nearly as much as the Charlie Daniels crowd.

Beer was drunk.
Beer was drunk.

By the last few songs at the end of the concert, there was a couple in their 60s behind us with either a grown son and daughter or one grown child with spouse. They had too much to drink and started getting obnoxious by the end of the night. Apparently, if you drink too much, you think that you are a great humorist. Thankfully, this did not last too long.

About three minutes before the show, Dan’s luck went bad again. A tall woman with a wide hairdo sat in front of him, blocking his view. There was no moving over at this concert. He had to lean to the right for most of the concert.

R. Crumb, “The Book of Genesis”

I guess it was a residue of God’s wrath on Dan for not recording the Carroll football game for me. I had another 5’2” lady sit in front of me.

Last Friday Dan and I went to see the movie “Peanuts,” and a tall couple sat in front of him just before the movie started. Hopefully, this curse will be off Dan soon. Please say a prayer for him.

The introductions started at around 7:30 p.m. The Oak Ridge Boys’ spokesman talked about merchandise that we could buy after the show. The Wild Rose Casino man talked about events they were having, including a chance to win a trip for two to whatever bowl game that the Iowa Hawkeyes end up in. Then the Oak Ridge Boys came on stage and sang. They also advertised their upcoming Christmas show in Des Moines at Hoyt Sherman Place on Sunday, Nov. 29.

They said they had just performed at the Wild Rose Resort in Clinton the night before and were headed to the Branson Theatre for a performance on Nov. 10.

The Oak Ridge Boys consist of Duane Allen, who is the lead, Joe Bonsoll, who is the tenor, William Lee Golden, who is the baritone, and Richard Sterban, who is the bass. These four vary in age from 67 to 76. They all started singing with the group in the 1960s and 1970s.

delong1-smWilliam Lee Golden did not sing with the group for a time. As a kid, I did not care for William Lee Golden. I never cared for his boots, which looked to me like they were designed for women, or his long hair and beard. My Dad used to say (and still does), “He wouldn’t have long hair and a long beard like that if he had to get out and work for a living.”

I could not see the feet of the performers, so I do not know what type of footwear he wore during this performance.

William Lee Golden wore dark glass during the entire show. Richard Sterban wore them for about half the show. I could not blame them. Part of the show consisted of bright lights flashing all during the concert.

Rayban_Jackie_Ohh2At some other shows, we were told not to use flash photography. There was no such posting at this show because it would not have made any difference with all of the flashing lights on the stage.

I wish that I had worn sunglasses at some points during the show.

Richard Sterban
Richard Sterban

I thought the bass, Richard Sterban, did not look well. I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime a press release comes out about his health. He sang just fine. He never talked to the crowd during the concert.

The back-up band consisted of six people: a steel guitar player who also played the fiddle and guitar, two guitar players, a drummer, bass player and keyboardist. They were very good.

I tried to write down all of the songs they performed. They sang 23 songs and never took a break. I zoned out totally on songs 5 and 12 and did not get notes on them. The other songs I did get notes on. Many of the songs I recognized. About half of the songs I did not recognize and cannot even find them in the Oak Ridge Boys singles listing on Wikipedia. I did not recognize 11 of the songs.

"Thank God for Kids"
“Thank God for Kids”

The songs I recognized were “American Made,” “One in a Million,” “Crying Again,” “I’ll be True to You,” “Beyond All these Years,” “White Christmas,” “I Love to Tell the Story,” “Have a Little Talk with Jesus,” “Thank God for Kids,” “Mamma’s Table,” “Elvira” and “Bobbie Sue.”

For the last two songs, which were “Elvira” and “Bobbie Sue,” they had the audience stand and sing along. Then the show was over at 9:03 p.m. Many of these songs brought back a lot of memories.

We waited for the crowd to go out, and then we headed for the free beverages. It was surprising to me that a majority of the crowd who attended the concert did not stop in the casino. Last time, when I saw Charlie Daniels on a Friday night, the casino had a lot of older women in it.

Free soft drink
Free soft drink

After this concert, there were a lot of younger couples in the casino, many of them playing at the Blackjack tables. I had a free Pepsi, and Dan drank some other type of soft drink. We watched the people and then headed back to Perry.

As usual with coming back from Jefferson, a small deer ran in front of me. Luckily, no other deer were around.

All in all, the Oak Ridge Boys concert was very good. It brought back a lot of memories from the times when the songs were first released. After the concert, I talked about it with some younger people at work. They had never heard of the Oak Ridge Boys. This makes me feel old and obsolete.

The Oak Ridge Boys are legends who are getting up there in years. They packed in the crowd in Jefferson. A few years ago, they played at a free show at the Iowa State Fair. Dan said he attended this show with his family but had to leave early, before “Elvira” was sung, because one of the family members wanted to beat the crowd.

The Oak Ridge Boys have their own theater in Branson, Mo., and have a full schedule, traveling all over the country and, I am sure, Canada.

oak ridge christmasIf you want to see the Oak Ridge Boys, they are coming to Des Moines on Sunday, Nov. 29 at Hoyt Sherman Place for a Christmas show. They are performing at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

At the Jefferson show, they said Des Moines will be the only time they will be doing two shows in one day. They said they hope they can make it through the second show. They must believe they will have a large attendance.

The Blenders

Tickets start at $73 each. I think that I will skip this show.

I would also like to see Trans Siberian Orchestra, the Blenders and Mannheim Steamroller, who are coming to this area. The only problem is that it would break me financially to do this.

I am sure that there will be other performers coming to Jefferson or the surrounding area that I will report on. Look for future stories in The Perry News.com.


  1. As always Mr. Wood’s reporting is highly informative and most entertaining. I hope the Boys sang “Dream On,” which features the bass singer. I’m glad Mr. Webster is not the sole remaining fan of the artist Tyrone Shoelaces and Dr. Caufield’s confusing the Oaks with the Statler Brothers is no different than his thinking Johnny Paycheck changed his name to Johnny Cash due to banking and liquidity issues.


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