Wynonna and Naomi Judd, the successful mother-daughter singing duo, released their debut EP in 1984. It peaked at number eight on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. In October of that year, their debut studio album, "Why Not Me," was released. It peaked at number one on the country albums chart. Three months later they walked out onto the stage at the Clinton County high school gymnasium. It would be a night we would not forget. The date was January 18, 1985. Lisa Beaty of the Clinton County News wrote in a follow up article that it was "girls' night out" that night in Albany.
Without a doubt, the Judds were country music's hottest act when they came to town that night. The price of admission was $9 for reserved (floor) seating. General admission tickets were $8 in advance and $10 at the door.
Naomi did most of the talking for the duo that night. "As if we haven’t bragged about it enough, we’re from Ashland, Kentucky, and let me tell you, it’s great to be home, she said.” Most people around here first new about Naomi and Wynonna Judd by seeing on Ralph Emery’s morning show in early 1980, where the host named them the “Soap Sisters” because Naomi said she used to make her own soap. The duo signed a recording contract with RCA Nashville in 1983. Later that year, their debut single was released called "Had a Dream (For the Heart)." Their next release, "Mama He's Crazy", became their first number one hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
Over the course of seven years, the Judds collected fourteen #1 singles. Between their concert in Albany and today, they amassed six studio albums, three live albums, 18 compilation albums, five video albums, two extended plays, one box set, five music videos, 28 singles and one album appearance. They won nine Country Music Association Awards and seven from the Academy of Country Music, and together earned five Grammy Awards. After they won the Horizon Award at the 1984 CMA Awards on the success of their early single “Mama He’s Crazy,” Naomi started her speech by saying “Slap the dog and spit in the fire!”
In 1990, Naomi announced her retirement after being diagnosed with Hepatitis C. The group disbanded in 1991. In 2016, she opened up about mental illness during an appearance on "Good Morning America," saying she had been diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. In announcing her mother's death yesterday, just nine days after the Judds had performed at the CMA Awards, daughter Ashley, the actress, said, “We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness.” The Judds had earlier announced a return to performing, their first tour in over a decade. "The Final Tour," as it was being billed, was to be a 10-date arena tour beginning this September 30th in Grand Rapids, Michigan and ending at Bridgestone Arena on October 28th.
That night in Albany, reporter Lisa Beaty wrote down The Judds' set list. They opened with “Girls’ Night Out,” from the "Why Not Me" album, and followed it with “Had a Dream About You Baby," one of their first hits. The other songs in the set list were“Mr. Pain”,“ Drops of Water,” “My Baby's gone," "Bye Bye Baby Blues," “Love Is Alive” and “John Deere Tractor.” They also sang the Elvis Presley hit, “Rip It Up,” and Ricky Skaggs' song, "One-Way Rider.” Near the end of the show, as the band began playing the intro to “ Mama He’s Crazy,” Wynonna smiled and said, “Love you all for this one.” They closed with “Why Not Me."
Snow was in the forecast for our area that night and it dampened attendance figures just a bit. Concert promoter David "Red Mule" Piercey estimated around 2,000 people attended the show. While it didn't snow that evening, seven inches was recorded here a week later. Red Mule told Beaty in a follow-up interview that the Judds were real easy to work with. “We took them down and fed them beans and taters at a local restaurant, he said."
January 18, 1985 was definitely a night to remember. As you know, Wynonna went on to have a successful solo career. This evening (Sunday, May 1, 2022), she and her mother are being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, along with Ray Charles.
Diana Ellen Judd was born in Ashland on January 11, 1946 to gas station owner Charles Glen Judd and his wife, Pauline. Her first child, Christina Ciminella (Wynonna), was born when Naomi was 18. Daughter Ashley was born three years later, in 1968.
"Had a dream about you baby
Had a dream about me and you
Had a dream and woke up crying
Well, I can roll but I just can't rock
And the time's goin' by, tick-tock
For the heart, I just can't love no one but you"
We all loved you, Naomi Judd!