Our family is on the road again. This time we’re in Branson, Missouri. I’ll be posting this week and next about all the fun things we’re doing, but today I’ll start at the beginning with Branson’s Famous Baldknobbers.
And when I say at the beginning, I mean it. The Baldknobbers have been in Branson since 1959. Although they’ve changed venues a few times over the years, their show was the first one in town, and watching it is like experiencing a little bit of history.
We were privileged to get front row seats to the performance last night and thoroughly enjoyed the show. It featured a good mix of country and western hits, gospel favorites, and folk music, with a little cornball comedy sprinkled in to keep the show true to its roots.
The show didn’t start until 8 PM, and I found myself wondering where the performers got all their energy! The vocalists belted out one song after another for two solid hours and never lagged in the least.
The band was incredibly talented as well. Some of the members switched instruments as often as the singers changed costumes (I loved all the beautiful dresses, by the way)…
… and the pianist played the most amazing arrangement of “How Great Thou Art” I’ve ever heard with such force and conviction that his hands were a blur.
The show included lots of other songs that we love, as well. I especially enjoyed “Swing Down Sweet Chariot,” “Country Roads,” “Ready for a Miracle,” “Anyway,” and “I Guess I’m Doin’ Alright.”
They also sang a lively medley of military anthems in honor of all the veterans in attendance, who made up an impressive proportion of the packed audience.
One of the perks of watching the show from the front row was the great views we had of everything on stage — we could see the singers’ eyes twinkle — but it also made us fair game for when the performers came down to the floor to interact with audience members.
Our 17-year-old Rebekah was mortified when one particularly handsome male vocalist singled her out for hugs and hand-holding during a sappy love song called “Honeybee,” but the rest of the audience (her family included) thought it was hilarious!
Although the four Mabe brothers who started the Baldknobbers Jamboree 58 years ago have long since retired, the second and third generation Mabes have continued the family tradition, making sure the show remains just as fresh and new now as it was then.
We were shocked to learn the beautiful blonde (Patty) is the matriarch of the current group. Here she is pictured with her husband “Droop” who provided great comic relief for the show:
Their son Brandon, who serves as the Baldknobbers’ general manager, obviously has music in his blood, as well. Minutes after showing us to our seats, he took the stage to perform an impassioned duet of “Long Stretch of Love” with his wife Megan, who sold us our popcorn before the show.
We had a chance to meet and snap a few photos with the performers during a 15 minute intermission. Here’s a couple of our boys with Brandon and Megan:
And here are some more of our kids with other cast members:
The show was very family friendly. In the entire two-hour performance, the only song that raised my eyebrows was “Does He Love You (Like He Loves Me).” Although it was flawlessly executed, the subject matter of this duet — while standard fare for country & western music — was a little too sad for my liking and prompted some follow-up conversations with our children afterwards.
That being said, I wouldn’t hesitate to bring the entire family back to see Branson’s Famous Baldknobbers again and am hoping to eventually make it back for one of their Christmas shows in December.
We’d highly recommend that you see the Baldknobbers next time you’re in Branson. Their individual ticket prices are very reasonable, and they offer especially good rates on family passes. 🙂
We received tickets to this show through a US Family Guide blogger promotion, but the opinions expressed in this post are entirely our own.