PORTER WAGONER: The Definitive Collection (2CD)

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No one, but no one, painted a picture in song of despair and desolation like the Thin Man from the West Plains, Porter Wagoner. Forget the Nudie suit and the pompadour; Waylon Jennings once said that Wagoner couldn't go pop with a mouthful of firecrackers, and these 40 songs prove it.

Sure, the hits - 27 of 'em in all and every Top Ten solo smash - are here, but what elevates this collection above a mere best-of are the tracks lifted from Wagoner's starkly compelling concept albums (complete with their amazing album art, some of which we've included here) like Confessions of a Broken Man, Soul of a Convict and Other Great Prison Songs, and The Bottom of the Bottle. Grammy-winning writer Colin Escott contributes notes to the package, which is newly remastered by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios in New York. Country music never got harder than this…this ain't cry-in-your-beer country, t's more like punch-in-the-gut poetry.

CD 1:

Howdy Neighbor, Howdy / Trademark / Company’s Comin’ / A Satisfied Mind / 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 / A Good Time Was Had by All / Midnight / 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 on the Rocks / The Life of the Party / I’ll Go Down Swinging

CD 2:

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 / The Cold Hard Facts of Life / The First Mrs. Jones / Julie / Woman Hungry / Turn the Jukebox Up Louder / Pastor’s Absent on Vacation / The Carroll County Accident / Big Wind / When You’re Hot You’re Hot / You Got-Ta Have a License / The Last One to Touch Me / The Rubber Room / What Ain’t to Be, Just Might Happen / Highway Headin’ South