I've been reading the news coverage this week on CMT, (thanks again, Chet Flippo) and surprisingly, on Entertainment Weekly.com.
I didn't know if I had anything to say, and if I did, what would it be?
But, since I've saddled myself with the mantle of acknowledging and celebrating the country music of my generation, I thought it was only fitting that I say something, but only if it was something personal.
So, I'll start here:
Carroll County Accident, 1969 (?)
Porter was almost too "country" for my tastes back then. But my friend, Alice, introduced me to some of these "too country" songs, and I gained an appreciation for them, based upon her recommendations.
I remember listening to that song in Alice's living room, played on her parents' hi-fi stereo. But what I remember most is that we wrote a parody of that song. It was pretty much ripe for parody. I won't quote any of the lyrics that we wrote, because they're really not politically correct, but it was fun, and it's a memory that still resides with me, mostly because Alice and I came up with the words together. Funny how I still remember that, after all this time.
I had no frame of reference for Porter Wagoner up until that time, but I started watching his syndicated show, and I appreciated it for what it was. The Wagonmasters included a doofus comedian by the name of Speck Rhodes, whose act was a bit too corn-pone for my tastes. Porter also had an electric banjo picker by the name of Buck Trent, who ended every song by going up on the last chord. "da-DOWWW". That's how all Porter's songs ended.
I was vaguely aware that Porter had done a song called, "A Satisfied Mind", but it wasn't until Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives re-recorded the song that I really learned to appreciate it.
I have to say, though, that what really brought Porter into my consciousness was his pairing with Dolly Parton.
I believe the first duet I heard by Porter & Dolly was, "The Last Thing On My Mind", a song written by Tom Paxton.
I was drawn to the song when I heard it on the radio, because it was so well done. Porter's harmonies complimented Dolly's vocals so perfectly. This was obviously a natural partnership.
My favorite song that Porter & Dolly recorded is, "Just Someone I Used To Know".
I think that Dolly brought out the playfulness in Porter. Check out this youtube video:
Porter had a lot of success. But his greatest success was hiring Dolly to be his girl singer. A great partnership, to be sure.
Porter was looking for a replacement for Norma Jean, who left to get married, or for some other reason, if you read some interviews with Porter.....
But anyway, here's to you, Porter. I hope you left this old world with a satisfied mind: