Good Ol' Timers and Nashville Newcomers Mix It Up—with Smiles—on Country Music's Biggest Night

updated 10/22/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/22/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Some were country when country wasn't cool, and some weren't even born then. But when they all came together for the 24th annual Country Music Association Awards in Nashville last week, everyone seemed to fit right in.

George Jones crooned with Randy Travis. Barbara Mandrell planted a pucker on Roy Rogers. And Hall of Fame inductee Tennessee Ernie Ford, 71, tipped his weathered hat to newcomer Clint Black, this year's Best Male Vocalist. As for guitarist Richard Young of the rowdy, rockish Kentucky Headhunters (winners of Best Album and Best Vocal Group awards), he simply thanked the crowd for 'letting us be a part of your town." ' After the show the crowd headed for the lavish CMA party and the buffets of record company bashes scattered around Nashville. "We've got so much to celebrate, we'd still do it even if I didn't bring home an award." said Black, toasting his good year by flying his entire family up from Houston. But Vince Gill, this year's Best Single winner, for "When I Call Your Name," was glad for his reason to be there. "Now I'm starting to have some fun," said Gill, long relegated to low-profile success.

For Randy Travis, however, who seems to be suffering a variety of the dreaded Susan Lucci syndrome, there was less to celebrate. Having again failed to cop the Entertainer of the Year award, to even winner George Strait's surprise, Travis could only look to next fall. But in a town where the once tempestuously married George Jones and Tammy Wynette can trade verses without throwing punches, hey, it could happen.

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