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Porter Wagoner: The Definitive Collection *

Track List

>Howdy Neighbor, Howdy
>Company's Comin'
>Satisfied Mind, A
>Eat, Drink and Be Merry (Tomorrow You'll Cry)
>What Would You Do (If Jesus Came to Your House)
>Uncle Pen
>Tryin' to Forget the Blues
>Good Time Was Had by All, A
>I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name
>Legend of the Big Steeple
>Your Old Love Letters
>Everything She Touches Gets the Blues
>Misery Loves Company
>Cold Dark Waters
>I've Enjoyed as Much of This as I Can Stand
>Sorrow Won the Rocks
>Life of the Party, The
>I'll Go Down Swinging
>Y'all Come
>Green, Green Grass of Home
>Skid Row Joe
>Confessions of a Broken Man
>I Just Came to Smell the Flowers
>Soul of a Convict
>Cold Hard Facts of Life, The
>First Mrs. Jones, The
>Woman Hungry
>Turn the Jukebox Up Louder
>Pastor's Absent on Vacation
>Carroll County Accident, The
>Big Wind
>When You're Hot You're Hot
>You Got-Ta Have a License
>Last One to Touch Me, The
>Rubber Room, The
>What Ain't to Be ,Just Might Happen
>Highway Headin' South

Album Notes

Audio Remasterer: Vic Anesini.

Liner Note Author: Colin Escott.

There have been plenty of Porter Wagoner compilations released over the years, but Real Gone Music's 2016 double-disc set The Definitive Collection is the only collection to dig deeply into Wagoner's solo career. Certainly there has been no shortage of Wagoner CDs -- usually budget-line quickies, plus a complete box of his work with Dolly Parton from Bear Family, a pair of a single CDs from RCA highlighted by 2002's RCA Country Legends, and a host of conceptual compilations such as The Rubber Room, issued in 2006 by Omni. Wagoner certainly had a gothic streak so melodramatic it bordered on kitsch, but the last decade of reissues from Omni and Bear Family -- who played up Wagoner's dark side through their triple-disc The Cold Hard Facts of Life -- tended to emphasize this trend over Wagoner's actual hits, which is what The Definitive Collection puts back into the equation. Over the course of 40 songs, almost all of the big hits he had between 1954's "Company's Comin'" and 1974's "Highway Headin' South" are here -- the exceptions are the duets with Norma Jean and Dolly Parton, of course -- and what's striking is how the darker moments feted retroactively are balanced by lighter, livelier moments like "Big Wind" or simple roadhouse ballads like "Turn the Jukebox Up Louder." The result is a richer portrait of Wagoner, one that shows why he was an Opry favorite: he may have indulged in heated tragedy but he was also an entertainer and these sides are showcased on this, the best compilation ever assembled on this seminal Nashville star. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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