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WAGONER, Porter The Thin Man From The West Plains 4-CD & 36-B

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Ol' Porter may be a joke in some people's eyes, but he was very much for real here. These are... more

WAGONER, Porter: The Thin Man From The West Plains 4-CD & 36-B

Ol' Porter may be a joke in some people's eyes, but he was very much for real here. These are his early recordings when he was the last great voice of the hillbilly era. This is raw, uncomprising country music from one of the masters. All of Porter's previously unavailable hits like wie 'Satisfied Mind', 'Bad News Travels Fast', 'Eat Drink And Be Merry', 'I Thought I Heard You Call My Name', 'Your Old Love Letters', 'Misery Loves Company' and 'Company's Coming' are here in their original versions, as well as 20 unissued sides, and the complete contents of rare original LPs like 'A Slice Of Life' and 'A Satisfied Mind.' This makes the case for Porter Wagoner as one of the great country voices - and one of the great country songwriters too.

Article properties: WAGONER, Porter: The Thin Man From The West Plains 4-CD & 36-B

Wagoner, Porter - The Thin Man From The West Plains 4-CD & 36-B Box set 1
01 Headin' For A Weddin'
02 Lovin' Letters
03 I Can't Live With You (I Can't Live ...)
04 Bringing Home The Bacon
05 An Angel Made Of Ice
06 Takin' Chances
07 All Roads Lead To Love
08 That's It
09 A Beggar For Your Love
10 Trademark
11 Don't Play That Song
12 The Flame Of Love
13 Dig That Crazy Moon
14 Trinidad
15 Bad News Travel Fast
16 Get Out Of Here
17 My Bonfire
18 Town Crier
19 Love At First Sight
20 Be Glad You Ain't Me
21 Our Shivaree
22 Company's Comin'
23 Tricks Of The Trade
24 A Satisfied Mind
25 A Good Time Was Had By All
Wagoner, Porter - The Thin Man From The West Plains 4-CD & 36-B Box set 2
01 How Quick
02 I Like Girls
03 Itchin' For My Baby
04 Eat, Drink And Be Merry
05 I'm Steppin' Out Tonight
06 Let's Squiggle
07 Living In The Past
08 What Would You Do (If Jesus Came To Your...)
09 How Can You Refuse Him Now
10 Tryin' To Forget The Blues
11 Uncle Pen
12 How I've Tried
13 I Like Girls
14 Trying To Forget The Blues
15 I've Known You From Somewhere
16 Seeing Her Only Reminded Me Of You
17 Midnight
18 I Guess I'm Crazy
19 Born To Lose
20 Ivory Tower
21 I Should Be With You
22 Would You Be Satisfied
23 I'm Day Dreamin' Tonight
24 I'll Pretend
25 Who Will He Be
26 Good Mornin', Neighbor
27 My Brand Of Blues
28 Thinking Of You
Wagoner, Porter - The Thin Man From The West Plains 4-CD & 36-B Box set 3
01 Turn It Over On Your Mind
02 Pay Day
03 Big Wheels
04 A Wound Time Can't Erase
05 As Long As I'm Dreaming
06 Your Love
07 Doll Face
08 I Don't Want This Memory
09 Burning Bridges
10 Five O'Clock In The Morning
11 Heaven's Just A Prayer Away
12 Tomorrow We'll Retire
13 Just Before Dawn
14 Dear Lonesome
15 Tell Her Lies And Feed Her Candy
16 Haven't You Heard
17 Don't Ever Leave Me
18 Who'll Buy The Wine
19 Me And Fred And Joe And Bill
20 Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
21 I Thought Of God
22 I'm Gonna Sing
23 Our Song Of Love
24 The Battle Of Little Big Horn
25 Luannie Brown
26 Your Kind Of People
27 The Girl Who Didn't Need Love
Wagoner, Porter - The Thin Man From The West Plains 4-CD & 36-B Box set 4
01 Wakin' Up The Crowd
02 An Old Log Cabin For Sale
03 Falling Again
04 Old Jess
05 Your Old Love Letters
06 Heartbreak Affair
07 Everything She Touches Gets The Blues
08 I Cried Again
09 Tricks Of The Trade
10 My Name Is Mud
11 Uncle Pen
12 Misery Loves Company
13 Cryin' Loud
14 I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
15 Frosty The Snowman
16 Cold Dark Waters
17 Ain't It Awful
18 Wasted Years
19 Private Little World
20 I've Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand
21 Blue House Painted White
Porter Wagoner Fifty years ago this year, Porter Wagoner left Springfield, Missouri bound... more
"WAGONER, Porter"

Porter Wagoner

Fifty years ago this year, Porter Wagoner left Springfield, Missouri bound for Nashville. He'd been offered membership of the Grand Ole Opry, although the offer had come at a troubled moment in the show's long history. The twin threats of rock 'n' roll and television had left the Opry House half-empty some nights. Many of Porter's contemporaries were flirting with rockabilly, trying somehow to stay afloat. The Opry had to decide if it would go pop or stand firm with the music that had made the show and country music almost synonymous. The Opry decided to leave rock 'n' roll to others, and hired several new singers who would reinforce its tradition-based roster. That's why Porter Wagoner was heading for Nashville. He was… and would always be… country to the core.

Porter Wagoner died just four months after his fiftieth anniversary on the Opry. He was admitted to hospital suffering from lung cancer on October 15, 2007 and died on October 28. During the last year of his life, he had seen more success than he'd seen in many years. A new album produced by Marty Stuart for a punk/new wave label, Anti, led to career retrospectives in the 'New York Times,' 'No Depression,'and other magazines, and he opened for the Whites at Madison Square Garden. It was a good last hurrah for one of country music's elder statesmen.

Sixty-five years earlier, in 1942, Porter Wagoner had been in the audience when Grand Ole Opry star Roy Acuff came to West Plains, Missouri. Later that day, Porter found Acuff in a diner, and told him that he too wanted to be a country star. Acuff heard this several times a day, and was unfailingly supportive, but probably didn't think for one moment that he would ever share a stage with this shy, lanky kid. Wagoner was born in West Plains on August 12, 1927. His career began in the Ozarks, and he moved quickly to the region's powerhouse station, KWTO. In 1953, KWTO's management started the Ozark Jubilee, even hiring the Opry's former star host, Red Foley. Then, in 1955, the Jubilee became the first country music show on network television, so Porter faced a tough decision when the Opry called.

Shortly before the Ozark Jubilee reached network television, Porter Wagoner became an RCA recording artist. The label dropped him, but then did a quick about-face when he showed up with Satisfied Mind. The song became a #1 country hit in 1955, but Porter faced an uphill battle getting his music on the radio during the rock 'n' roll era. Things began to turn around for him when 'The Porter Wagoner Show'made its television debut on September 14, 1961. After several years of near-obscurity, he was back atop the charts. Initially, his show only went to eighteen cities, but it eventually became the second longest-running TV show in country music history (second to 'Hee-Haw').

Country music caught up with Porter Wagoner again, and he minted a string of hits in the 1960s, including the original version of Green, Green Grass Of Home. In 1967, he brought Dolly Parton onto his show, and helped launch her career. He began recording 'concept' albums, like 'Confessions Of A Broken Man' 'Cold Hard Facts Of Life, ' and 'The Carroll County Accident' that have become cult favorites in recent years, and he was primarily responsible for bringing soul music star James Brown to the Opry. There was more controversy when he and Dolly split rancorously. Dolly said that their partnership ended because of "creative differences….I was creative, Porter was different."

In the end, Porter Wagoner could reflect with pride that he hadn't sold out. He was proudly and unapologetically country from first to last. He went in and out of fashion, but came to epitomise the music he loved.

In 1993, Bear Family issued its first Porter Wagoner box, 'The Thin Man From West Plains,' covering his RCA recordings from 1952-1962. 

 

Porter Wagoner
The Cold Hard Facts Of Life

When he died on October 28, 2007, Porter Wagoner was still savoring his career resurgence. Once derided as a relic of 'Old Nashville,' the singer unexpectedly discovered an appreciative new audience weaned on his bizarre, slice-of-life concept albums recorded forty years earlier. Critics were hailing his most recent album, as edgy 'alt-country' acts invited him to open their shows at major urban venues.

This acclaim was a long time coming. For decades, Wagoner had been an indelible icon of Nashville kitsch, a pompadoured, rhinestone-suited hero among the aging, uncritical motor coach set that made pilgrimages to Opryland, USA and 'The Grand Ole Opry.' Many still associated him with Dolly Parton, who rose to stardom under his tutelage.

Respected by his peers and always gracious among his fans, Wagoner generally took a high road, both personally and professionally. He seldom drank and usually avoided bookings in places where alcohol was served. He never staked any claims to songs written by others, an unsavory but common industry practice. Instead of paying his sidemen a union minimum per show, he gave them a share of an evening's proceeds.

Professionally, Wagoner was the standard bearer for traditional country music at a time when rock 'n' roll and the Nashville Sound kicked pure honky tonk into the dustbin of history. His television show reached an audience far beyond the American South and Midwest. Musicians as diverse as Marty Stuart and Jerry Garcia cut their country music teeth watching Wagoner's weekly program.

The singer's personal life was hardly exemplary. His romantic entanglement with Norma Jean fueled gossip mills. Besides effectively ending his marriage, it ultimately led to Norma Jean's departure from Wagoner's syndicated television show. Seven years later Parton's decision to leave Wagoner to explore broader, more lucrative opportunities led to acrimony and litigation. Like many other entertainers, Wagoner fell prey to amphetamines, although he never plunged to the depths of his more notorious contemporaries.

Artistically, no one ranked the singer's unadorned baritone delivery alongside such celebrated postwar country stylists as Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Johnny Horton and George Jones. But appreciation for Wagoner's sincere, straightforward approach has grown steadily in recent years. Marty Stuart, who produced Wagoner's 2007 valedictory album 'Wagonmaster,'hailed him as an "American master and a cornerstone of our music."

 

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Tracklist
Wagoner, Porter - The Thin Man From The West Plains 4-CD & 36-B Box set 1
01 Headin' For A Weddin'
02 Lovin' Letters
03 I Can't Live With You (I Can't Live ...)
04 Bringing Home The Bacon
05 An Angel Made Of Ice
06 Takin' Chances
07 All Roads Lead To Love
08 That's It
09 A Beggar For Your Love
10 Trademark
11 Don't Play That Song
12 The Flame Of Love
13 Dig That Crazy Moon
14 Trinidad
15 Bad News Travel Fast
16 Get Out Of Here
17 My Bonfire
18 Town Crier
19 Love At First Sight
20 Be Glad You Ain't Me
21 Our Shivaree
22 Company's Comin'
23 Tricks Of The Trade
24 A Satisfied Mind
25 A Good Time Was Had By All
Wagoner, Porter - The Thin Man From The West Plains 4-CD & 36-B Box set 2
01 How Quick
02 I Like Girls
03 Itchin' For My Baby
04 Eat, Drink And Be Merry
05 I'm Steppin' Out Tonight
06 Let's Squiggle
07 Living In The Past
08 What Would You Do (If Jesus Came To Your...)
09 How Can You Refuse Him Now
10 Tryin' To Forget The Blues
11 Uncle Pen
12 How I've Tried
13 I Like Girls
14 Trying To Forget The Blues
15 I've Known You From Somewhere
16 Seeing Her Only Reminded Me Of You
17 Midnight
18 I Guess I'm Crazy
19 Born To Lose
20 Ivory Tower
21 I Should Be With You
22 Would You Be Satisfied
23 I'm Day Dreamin' Tonight
24 I'll Pretend
25 Who Will He Be
26 Good Mornin', Neighbor
27 My Brand Of Blues
28 Thinking Of You
Wagoner, Porter - The Thin Man From The West Plains 4-CD & 36-B Box set 3
01 Turn It Over On Your Mind
02 Pay Day
03 Big Wheels
04 A Wound Time Can't Erase
05 As Long As I'm Dreaming
06 Your Love
07 Doll Face
08 I Don't Want This Memory
09 Burning Bridges
10 Five O'Clock In The Morning
11 Heaven's Just A Prayer Away
12 Tomorrow We'll Retire
13 Just Before Dawn
14 Dear Lonesome
15 Tell Her Lies And Feed Her Candy
16 Haven't You Heard
17 Don't Ever Leave Me
18 Who'll Buy The Wine
19 Me And Fred And Joe And Bill
20 Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
21 I Thought Of God
22 I'm Gonna Sing
23 Our Song Of Love
24 The Battle Of Little Big Horn
25 Luannie Brown
26 Your Kind Of People
27 The Girl Who Didn't Need Love
Wagoner, Porter - The Thin Man From The West Plains 4-CD & 36-B Box set 4
01 Wakin' Up The Crowd
02 An Old Log Cabin For Sale
03 Falling Again
04 Old Jess
05 Your Old Love Letters
06 Heartbreak Affair
07 Everything She Touches Gets The Blues
08 I Cried Again
09 Tricks Of The Trade
10 My Name Is Mud
11 Uncle Pen
12 Misery Loves Company
13 Cryin' Loud
14 I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
15 Frosty The Snowman
16 Cold Dark Waters
17 Ain't It Awful
18 Wasted Years
19 Private Little World
20 I've Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand
21 Blue House Painted White