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Essential Porter Wagoner
Porter Wagoner
Essential Porter Wagoner
Genres: Country, Pop
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #1

Few remember that Porter Wagoner was actually signed and then dropped by RCA before he ever scored a single country hit. It took two independently financed and produced cuts to turn the tides: "Company's Comin'" broke the ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Porter Wagoner
Title: Essential Porter Wagoner
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Original Release Date: 4/29/1997
Release Date: 4/29/1997
Genres: Country, Pop
Styles: Classic Country, Singer-Songwriters
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 078636693422, 078636693446

Few remember that Porter Wagoner was actually signed and then dropped by RCA before he ever scored a single country hit. It took two independently financed and produced cuts to turn the tides: "Company's Comin'" broke the top 10 and convinced RCA execs to re-sign him. Once they did, they released the classic moral tale "A Satisfied Mind," which would sit atop the charts for a month in 1955. The two gems that kicked off his career also kick off this fine 20-song collection, which ranges up through Wagoner's 1976 duet with Merle Haggard. Wagoner offers brilliant hardcore barroom honky-tonk such as "Misery Loves Company" (written by Jerry Reed), "Sorrow on the Rocks," and "I'll Go Down Swinging" (written by Bill Anderson), but shows himself capable of sentimental balladry and saga songs as well. Even without the classic Dolly Parton duets--found instead on its own collection--Wagoner proves there's strong substance behind the Opry fame and the Nudie suit. --Marc Greilsamer

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CD Reviews

Wagoner At Classic 60s Country Best On Long-Missing CD
Anthony G Pizza | FL | 03/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Those who love and have grown with country music will see this 20-song "Essential Porter Wagoner" as the "real" country music lost when today's stars (Garth, Faith, Shania) lost their country souls with their last names. Those disliking country will find all they hate reinforced: whimpering fiddles and weepy steel guitars, cooing background singers over a slick-haired rhinestone cowboy baritone, singing and reciting about drinking, cheating, and murder (all with a pun in the title). The 1970s "outlaw country" movement was one response to the music heard here.But country fans then and now can learn and enjoy much from this exceptional, long-overdue CD reissue. Wagoner was arguably the 1960s' biggest country star, hosting a weekly syndicated TV show, nurturing Dolly Parton as a songwriter and live performer, and becoming one of the host pillars of the Grand Old Opry. It stemmed not only from understanding his audience (even in 1955, only rural folk who rarely saw visitors could react as Porter did on "Company's Comin'") but from the great songs a hit performer could command (three by Wagoner's "Opry Backstage" co-host Bill Anderson, himself a star of the era) and from disarmingly conversational vocals. Wagoner's subtle singing fit the Bible Belt messages of "Satisfied Mind" and "What Would You Do (If Jesus Came To Your House)." But they also reinforced the sorrow in the barroom ballads "I've Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand," "Sorrow On The Rocks," and "I'll Go Down Swinging." (all produced in Chet Atkins' "Nashville Sound" style). They also belied the chilling last verses of "Carroll County Accident," "Green, Green Grass of Home," and Anderson's infamous "Cold, Hard Facts Of Life." Here's hoping some of the new interest in country veterans (most recently George Jones' and Loretta Lynn's critically acclaimed LPs, Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash's Grammy wins) leads to re-evaluation of this underrated genre giant. While this set could have used more photographs and session notes (little mention is made of Wagoner's great band the Wagonmasters, featuring virtuoso banjo man Buck Trent), this set lives up to its "essential" title as a long-missing piece in any country collection."
The man who took Dolly Parton from obscurity to stardom
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 12/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Porter was a successful country singer of the fifties and sixties but unlike (say) Jim Reeves or Don Gibson, he made no attempt to soften his music in any way to please pop audiences. He had American number one country hits with A satisfied mind (1955) and Misery loves company (1962) and had many other country top ten hits, among them being Carroll county accident (a number two hit in 1969) and Green green grass of home, which provided Porter with a top five country hit in 1965. This song became famous in 1967 when Tom Jones covered it and had an international pop hit with it, going all the way to number one in the UK.Despite Porter's success with his own recordings and as an American TV host, he will be best remembered as the man who gave Dolly Parton her big break. Dolly was struggling for recognition when Porter selected her as a replacement for Norma Jean on his TV series and persuaded RCA to sign her up, backing his judgement by agreeing to stand any losses. He further backed his judgement by recording a lot of duet albums with Dolly and by covering many of her songs on his solo albums. Those duets are not featured on this collection but can be found on a separate collection in this series, The essential Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, which I've already reviewed. His uncompromising attitude to country music probably contributed to the break-up of his singing and recording partnership with Dolly seven years after it began. By that time, Dolly was the star and Porter was known mainly as her duet partner. To this day, most people first come across Porter's name via Dolly's music. While all of Dolly's fans (including me) are grateful to Porter for his part in Dolly's career, his music stands on its own merit.This is an outstanding collection of Porter's own recordings, reminding us just what real country music was like in the fifties and sixties. On this occasion, the title Essential is appropriate. There are other songs I'd like to see made available on CD but this set contains everything you need of his solo music."
Jess | Coal Country, PA | 09/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Porter Wagoner can be described with simply one word: "Class". And we certainly lack class in country music today. Forget the sequin covered suits, and listen to the honest to goodness "country" coming out in Porter's voice. I doubt anyone will ever fill Porter's niche (maybe Alan Jackson?), but this album will show you just how much he has contributed to Country Music.....and this doesn't include his great duets with Dolly. This is one album you do not want to pass up; it is extremely well recorded and mixed, and the sound is incredibly crisp. A+"