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RCA Country Legends: Porter Wagoner

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Album Review

The RCA Country Legends series — previously on the reactivated Buddha label, but as of 2002, showing up on BMG Heritage, since Buddha no longer exists — stands out because the compilers don't open up Joel Whitburn's Billboard chart books and copy down the 16 biggest songs. Instead, they alter their choices slightly, skewing it to a particular sound or style, usually telling a better story about the actual sound and intent of the artist than if they were just concerned with hits. That's even true with Porter Wagoner's volume of RCA Country Legends — it may be missing a number of big hits (how could it not be; he was one of the biggest stars of his era, continually hitting the charts for year upon year), but it has the biggest hits, surrounded by selections that give a good idea of who Wagoner was as an artist and entertainer. No, not every big song is here, but no other CD-era compilation gives a better idea of what Porter Wagoner was all about than RCA Country Legends, which is why it's an essential addition to any comprehensive country library.


Born: 12 August 1927 in West Plains, MO

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Porter Wagoner, the Thin Man from the West Plains, is a case of an artist often ahead of his time who always appeared hopelessly behind the times. He's among the most immediately recognizable figures in country music, largely due to his exploitation of TV -- and flashy costumes -- a good 20 years before the video boom. And while he's forever perceived as the man who tried to hold Dolly Parton back from pop success, he was also responsible, in many ways, for putting her in a career position where...
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RCA Country Legends: Porter Wagoner, Porter Wagoner
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