Who was/is Porter Wagoner ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

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."

 

More information about Porter Wagoner on Wikipedia.org

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The Definitive Collection (2-CD) Porter Wagoner: The Definitive Collection (2-CD) Art-Nr.: CDRGM0497

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(2016/Real Gone) 40 tracks (RCA) - 20 page booklet with rare photos and liner notes by Colin Escott!
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The Silent Kind (CD) Porter Wagoner: The Silent Kind (CD) Art-Nr.: CDCAD2588

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​(1996/RCA Special Music) 9 tracks
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Vol.23, Porter Wagoner Show Porter Wagoner: Vol.23, Porter Wagoner Show Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW023

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(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, Color, 128 Mins. More great country music featuring Porter Wagoner, the Wagonmasters, Specks Rhodes and special guests. These programs were recorded in various locations inside Opryland Park. Here is a...
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Vol.24, Porter Wagoner Show Porter Wagoner: Vol.24, Porter Wagoner Show Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW024

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(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, Color, 128 Mins. This DVD features Six Porter Wagoner shows recorded at various locations in the old Opryland Theme Park. Special guests include Wendy Holcombe, Tommy Cash, Don King along with Porter, the...
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Vol.21, Porter Wagoner Show Porter Wagoner: Vol.21, Porter Wagoner Show Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW021

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(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, Color, ca.130 Mins. The latest release from ClassicCountry DVD. Here is a list of the programs and the preformances: The Porter Wagoner Show, Volume 21 Chapter 1 - Guest – Bill Phillips Porter Wagoner –...
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Vol.22, Porter Wagoner Show Porter Wagoner: Vol.22, Porter Wagoner Show Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW022

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(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, Color, 134 Mins. Pop Goes the Country – Volume 22 This volume features programs from 1977 and 1978. Volume 22 features Jerry Reed, Johnny Rodriguez, Bill Anderson, Charlie Rich, The Oak Ridge Boys and...
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Gospel Duets Porter Wagoner & Friends: Gospel Duets Art-Nr.: CDGT2220

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Vol.17, Porter Wagoner Show - Billy Joe Spears a.o. Porter Wagoner: Vol.17, Porter Wagoner Show - Billy Joe Spears... Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW017

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​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, Color, ca.130 Mins. The Porter Wagoner Show Volume 17 features six programs recorded in 1979 at various locations in Opryland Park. The guest stars appearing on these programs include Mickey Gilley,...
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Vol.18, Porter Wagoner Show - Jim Ed Brown a.o Porter Wagoner: Vol.18, Porter Wagoner Show - Jim Ed Brown a.o Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW018

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​ ​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, Color, ca.130 Mins. The Porter Wagoner Show Volume 18 features programs recorded in the summer of 1979 at Opryland Park. The featured artists include Ronnie McDowell, Jim Ed Brown and Helen...
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Vol.19, Porter Wagoner Show - Jeannie C.Riley a.o. Porter Wagoner: Vol.19, Porter Wagoner Show - Jeannie C.Riley... Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW019

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​​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, Color, ca.130 Mins. The Porter Wagoner Show Volume 19 features programs recorded in the summer of 1979 and 1980 at Opryland Theme Park. There was a number of locations used around the park for the...
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Vol.20, Porter Wagoner Show - Kendalls a.o. Porter Wagoner: Vol.20, Porter Wagoner Show - Kendalls a.o. Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW020

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​​​​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, Color, ca.130 Mins. The Porter Wagoner Show Volume 20 features programs recorded in the summer of 1980 at Opryland Theme Park. There was a number of locations used around the park for the taping of...
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Vol.10, Porter Wagoner Show - George Jones a.o Porter Wagoner: Vol.10, Porter Wagoner Show - George Jones a.o Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW010

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​​​​​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, color, ca.130 Mins. This volume features many great classic country artists including Red Sovine, Jimmy C. Newman, George Jones, Oak Ridge Boys, Wayne Kemp and Lonesome Rhodes. Speck Rhode, Dolly...
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Vol.11, Porter Wagoner Show - Faron Young a.o. Porter Wagoner: Vol.11, Porter Wagoner Show - Faron Young a.o. Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW011

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​​​​​​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, color, ca.130 Mins. Classic country music is exactly what you will find in this volume. Great artists such as Red Sovine, Faron Young, Willis Brothers, Jim and Jesse, Archie Campbell, Bill...
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Vol.12, Porter Wagoner Show - Dolly Parton a.o Porter Wagoner: Vol.12, Porter Wagoner Show - Dolly Parton a.o Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW012

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​​​​​​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, color, ca.130 Mins. Volume 12 features a yound Marty Stuart when he was a member of Lester Flatt's band. Other artists included in this volume are Nat Stuckey, Sonny Throckmorton, Chet Atkins,...
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Vol.13, Porter Wagoner Show - Don Williams a.o Porter Wagoner: Vol.13, Porter Wagoner Show - Don Williams a.o Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW013

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(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, Color, ca.130 Mins. ​This volume features six great names in country music. Dave Dudley, Cal Smith, Mac Wiseman, Don Williams, Ronnie Milsap and Nat Stuckey. You will want to watch this one over and over....
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Vol.14, Porter Wagoner Show Porter Wagoner: Vol.14, Porter Wagoner Show Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW014

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​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, Color, ca.130 Mins. Volume 14 features a variety of great country artists. Jim and Jesse get things started. Bashful Brother Oswald is the next featured artist followed by Don Gibson, Johnny Carver,...
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Vol.15, Porter Wagoner Show (Bob Luman a.o.) Porter Wagoner: Vol.15, Porter Wagoner Show (Bob Luman a.o.) Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW015

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​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, Color, ca.130 Mins. The Porter Wagoner Show Volume 15 takes the program from the studio out into the Opryland Theme Park including the Showboat, the Roy Acuff Theatre, the television studio in the Opry...
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Vol.16, Porter Wagoner Show - Connie Smith a.o Porter Wagoner: Vol.16, Porter Wagoner Show - Connie Smith a.o Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW016

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​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, Color, ca.130 Mins. The Porter Wagoner Show Volume 16 features programs recorded at Opryland Park in 1977 and 1978. The shows were tapes at various locations in the park and feature great...
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Vol.08, Porter Wagoner Show Lefty - Hank Snow a.o. Porter Wagoner: Vol.08, Porter Wagoner Show Lefty - Hank Snow a.o. Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW008

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​​​​​​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, b/w, ca.130 Mins. The Porter Wagoner Show Volume 8 continues with the fascinating shows from the early sixties. The features artists include Hank Snow, Stonewall Jackson, The Anita Kerr Singers,...
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Vol.09, Porter Wagoner Show - Carl Butler a.o. Porter Wagoner: Vol.09, Porter Wagoner Show - Carl Butler a.o. Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW009

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​​​​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, b/w, ca.130 Mins. ​Volume 9 features black and white programs from the 60's. The featured stars performing are Lonzo and Oscar, Stringbean, Carl Butler, Johnny Bond, Slim and Dusty Rhodes, The...
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Porter Wagoner Show Vol.1 (1964-66) Porter Wagoner: Porter Wagoner Show Vol.1 (1964-66) Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW001

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(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, +/- 120 Mins., color/b&w, good picture and sound quality! - 20 Volumes available -(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, +/- 120 Mins., color/b&w, good picture and sound quality! Porter Wagoner got it all...
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Vol.02, Porter Wagoner Show (1967-71) Porter Wagoner: Vol.02, Porter Wagoner Show (1967-71) Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW002

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​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, b/w, ca.130 Mins. ​Porter Wagoners’ broad smile, flashy costume and memorable songs are the very image of a country music star. The Porter Wagoner Show remained on the air for an amazing 21 years...
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Vol.03, Porter Wagoner Show (1961-67) Porter Wagoner: Vol.03, Porter Wagoner Show (1961-67) Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW003

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​​​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, b/w, ca.130 Mins. ClassicCountryDVD is proud to present this very special volume of The Porter Wagoner Show. Volume 3 starts out at the very beginning of the show and takes us to the wonderful...
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Vol.04, Porter Wagoner Show (1961-62) Porter Wagoner: Vol.04, Porter Wagoner Show (1961-62) Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW004

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​​​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, b/w, ca.130 Mins. These six episodes of the porter Wagoner were just restored and converted to digital video. Filmed in 1961 and 1962, this rare footage features stars from the Grand Ole Opry....
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Vol.05, Porter Wagoner Show (Guest Stars) Porter Wagoner: Vol.05, Porter Wagoner Show (Guest Stars) Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW005

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Vol.06, Porter Wagoner Show (1962 - 63) Porter Wagoner: Vol.06, Porter Wagoner Show (1962 - 63) Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW006

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​​​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, b/w, ca.130 Mins. The Porter Wagoner Show, Volume 6 is the next volume of programs from the early 60’s. These six episodes were just restored and converted to digital video. Filmed in 1961 and 1962,...
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Vol.07, Porter Wagoner Show - June Carter a.o. Porter Wagoner: Vol.07, Porter Wagoner Show - June Carter a.o. Art-Nr.: DVDCCPW007

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​​​​​​​​(CLASSIC COUNTRY) NTSC, Code 0, b/w, ca.130 Mins. This volume of the Porter Wagoner Show features many entertainers that made country music famous. The guest artist include Rex Allen, Minnie Pearl, Stringbean, Lonzo and Oscar,...
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What Ain't To Be, Just Might Happen...plus Porter Wagoner: What Ain't To Be, Just Might Happen...plus Art-Nr.: CDOMNI137

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(2010/OMNI) 30 tracks 1970-79 with 20 page booklet. Two original albums from the King of 'Psychotric Country' plus bonus tracks.
$20.16
Super Hits Porter Wagoner: Super Hits Art-Nr.: CDGT2110

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(2009/GUSTO) 14 tracks
$8.87
Super Hits - Gospel Porter Wagoner: Super Hits - Gospel Art-Nr.: CDGT2111

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(2009/GUSTO) 18 tracks
$8.93 $16.79
The Versatile Porter Wagoner: The Versatile Art-Nr.: CDGT7709

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(2006/GUSTO) 14 tracks
$11.12
Big Rock Candy Mountain - Favorites Porter Wagoner: Big Rock Candy Mountain - Favorites Art-Nr.: CDGT0860

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(2008/GUSTO) 20 tracks
$14.49
The Cold Hard Facts Of Life (3-CD) Porter Wagoner: The Cold Hard Facts Of Life (3-CD) Art-Nr.: BCD16537

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3-CD Digipac with 60-page booklet, 70 tracks, playing time 177 minutes. First CD release of six best-selling concept albums that gave the late country music superstar Porter Wagoner a cult following (please see German review for album...
$50.49 $56.11
Gospel 2007 Porter Wagoner: Gospel 2007 Art-Nr.: CDGT0621

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(2006/GUSTO) 12 tracks
$11.18 $14.55
22 Grand Old Gospel 2004 Porter Wagoner: 22 Grand Old Gospel 2004 Art-Nr.: CDTVC0719

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CD on TEEVEE RECORDS by Porter Wagoner - 22 Grand Old Gospel 2004
$11.18 $16.74
18 Grand Old Gospel 2005 Porter Wagoner: 18 Grand Old Gospel 2005 Art-Nr.: CDTVC0730

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CD on TEEVEE RECORDS by Porter Wagoner - 18 Grand Old Gospel 2005
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Gospel 2006 Porter Wagoner: Gospel 2006 Art-Nr.: CDTVC0749

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CD on TEEVEE RECORDS by Porter Wagoner - Gospel 2006
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20 All Time Greatest Hits Porter Wagoner: 20 All Time Greatest Hits Art-Nr.: CDTVC0729

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CD on TEEVEE RECORDS by Porter Wagoner - 20 All Time Greatest Hits
$16.74
The Rubber Room - Haunting Poetic Songs Porter Wagoner: The Rubber Room - Haunting Poetic Songs Art-Nr.: CDOMNI103

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(2006/OMNI) 29 tracks RCA Stereo/Mono 1966-77 with 16 page booklet
$20.16
A Rare Slice Of Country Porter Wagoner: A Rare Slice Of Country Art-Nr.: CDJAS3507

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CD on JASMINE RECORDS by Porter Wagoner - A Rare Slice Of Country
$16.79
Vol.2, & Blackwood Bros Quartett - Gospel Porter Wagoner: Vol.2, & Blackwood Bros Quartett - Gospel Art-Nr.: CDKING5113

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(1999/BMG/KING) 12 tracks
$10.00
& Blackwood Bros Quartett - Grand Ole Gospel Porter Wagoner: & Blackwood Bros Quartett - Grand Ole Gospel Art-Nr.: CDKING5108

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CD on GUSTO RECORDS by - & Blackwood Bros Quartett - Grand Ole Gospel
$16.79
The Thin Man From The West Plains 4-CD & 36-B WAGONER, Porter: The Thin Man From The West Plains 4-CD & 36-B Art-Nr.: BCD15499

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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 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....
$81.95 $89.81