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Album Review

That Porter Wagoner released a new album during the year of his 80th birthday — some 55 years after his first recording — is an event worth celebrating in itself. That it is consistent with the best work of his career is remarkable. Wagoner has always played it straight — his brand of mainstream country-tonk never was as fashionable as his spangled stage outfits, and he never pretended to be an outlaw — and that's just what he continues to do here. Though his baritone is more weathered than during his prime, Wagoner sounds decades younger on Wagonmaster, and there remains a youthful exuberance to the music. The only obvious signs of his age surface during the spoken word sections, such as the intros to "Albert Erving," a song of abject loneliness, and "Committed to Parkview," which Johnny Cash wrote for Wagoner but never recorded himself. Like many songs in Wagoner's canon, it's eerie, creepy, and more than a little bit sad, a vivid account of life inside a Nashville asylum, listening to the "guests," one of whom "thinks he's Hank Williams." One of the highlights of Wagonmaster, the song was presented to Wagoner — himself a former "guest" at the facility, as had been Cash — by Marty Stuart, who took a no-frills, purist's approach to his production of Wagonmaster (pedal steel rules!). There are songs of hard loss ("The Late Love of Mine," "Be a Little Quieter") and hard work, songs of faith (the back-to-back "Brother Harold Dee" and "Satan's River"), and songs of good times too — all of them are classic Wagoner, one of the last of the true giants of Nashville's golden era.

Customer Reviews


There is nothing sadder than what's become of country music. It's been overtaken by posers in foolish hats singing sappy, poorly written songs about fishing, factories and tender moments with Daddy’s little boy. Add to that the legions of blonde bimbos with Barbie doll looks and American idol voices singing superficial paintin' the town anthems without a trace of grit or an ounce of country in their delivery. It's enough to make Hank Williams spin in his grave. And it's enough to make lovers of real country music never stop throwing up. I’m amazed that these charlatans, and the list is long, obvious and famous, can listen to Porter Wagoner (or George Jones or Tammy Wynette or Loretta Lynn for that matter) and not retire from recording in shame.Thank God for Rick Ruben and Jack White and now Marty Stuart. Wagonmaster is moving, stark and dangerous, just the way country music ought to be. The real stuff is suffering its last great gasp of breath. Treasure it while it's still a living art.

Incredible Flavor!

This is the first PW I have ever purchased. Many thanks to Jack White for capturing this moment, before Porter passed on. This tops his work with Loretta and leaves behind music I am sure Porter was proud of.


I get so sick of country music today, it's FAKE! Porter was country music and this album is the BEST! It's worth the money. Take a moment and listen to REAL country music...the way it's suppose to be!


Born: August 12, 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 has 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...
Full Bio