Friday, September 14, 2007

The Trip - Branson

We drove through the Ozarks in Arkansas today, and it was beautiful. Unfortunately, the roads we were on had very tiny shoulders and no turnouts, so it was hard to get any photos. Oklahoma was the same way. I didn't get any pictures of Oklahoma at all.

In Arkansas, I found a few spots where there was gravel beside the paved shoulder, so I pulled over to let the faster cars get around me. While we were stopped, I snapped a few pictures. These were taken at two different places.

We got to Branson mid-afternoon.

I had never heard of the place until about six or seven years ago, when all of sudden it seemed as though hordes of people were going to this mystery town in the middle of the country. And for what? Who knew? They never said. Just, "We're going to Branson this summer." As though that explained everything.

When the DBA at work said that his wife was making him go, I asked what was there. He said there was a lot of music. Mostly Country. Then maybe last year I read a story about Andy Williams opening a place there, after a friend of his kept pushing him to come to Branson and he did and fell in love with it.

So for the Missouri part of our trip, I decided we should come and see why everybody who's anybody goes to Branson. When we got settled at our campsite, we unhooked the car to go into town.

The couple at the RV Park in Arkansas, who warned us about the poison ivy, had recommended a couple shows in Branson. And we asked again at the RV Park office here in Branson. The lady said the Elvis show is really good and the Red Skelton show wasn't worth it. She and her husband both (separately) told us to get our tickets at the shop at the other end of town where they advertise in neon pink lettering that they have 2-for-1 tickets, "No Bull."

We went to the No Bull shop and asked about the Elvis show, but he doesn't perform on Friday nights. Andy Williams was performing, but he had Charo in his show, and my mom and I refused to see her. Even Scooter had growled when he saw her picture when we were coming into town.

The lady at the shop mentioned a few shows that were good, and we picked Clay Cooper's show, even though neither of us had heard of him. That's Clay in the back center, pointing with his finger. The dancer in the orange shirt, front right, looked a lot like one of the guys at my last job, and it was strange watching him, because he never danced or sang Country music when I worked with him.

We enjoyed the show and were glad we picked that one. It was a variety show, with singing and dancing and comedy (clean and funny at the same time) and lasso twirling and Cooper's adorable four-year-old son, Colton. At one point the show turned to gospel music, with the piano player (I didn't catch his name) singing "I Bowed On My Knees." His voice had the timbre of Kenny Rodgers without the graveliness, and he sang it pure and heart-stopping.

This isn't a full review, and I've left out a lot, like the percussion duet that goes from comedy PVC pipe and flip-flops to hammer dulcimers stirringly played. Clay Cooper connects with his audience, chatting with the front couple of rows in a pre-show conversation and keeping them involved throughout the show. If you only have time to take in one show, I heartily recommend this one. Especially at the 2-for-1 price.


All_I_Can_Stands said...

I only know Branson from all the Timeshare calls I received offering free 5day 4night trips. The first call I got, I told her I never heard of Branson and she seemed shocked, shocked.

What! Charo is still alive? Must be pushing 70 by now and I haven't heard of her in 30 years.

SkyePuppy said...


I think Charo must have had some plastic surgery, because she looks the same as she did 30 years ago. I couldn't stand her then, so I'm not about to pay money to see her now. I wouldn't have minded seeing Andy Williams, though, if Charo hadn't been with him.

Still, I think I'd recommend Branson, especially if you like Country music (or enjoy it as a change of pace). Somebody who goes there often told me that 99% of the shows--even the comedy ones--are clean, family fare. God and Country (America) are out in the open, not swept under the rug in the corner and covered by a chair the way most of the entertainment industry does. I think that's why people go there, because it's a place that doesn't ridicule or offend their values.