Wagoner Than You Are, Dude...
Porter Wagoner “The Rubber Room”
Porter Wagoner “George Leroy Chickishea”
Porter Wagoner “The First Mrs. Jones”
Porter Wagoner “Wino”
By Mark Cappelletty, POP ZEUS! contributaire
Porter Wagoner is pushing 80 and the old cuss still has it in him. He has a new record out, The Wagonmaster, and a new comp of his “gravest hits” (to paraphrase The Cramps), The Rubber Room. On this record, Porter — best known for his old-timey TV show and his collaborations with then-girlfriend Dolly Parton — doesn’t mess around with songs about horses or getting together with his sweetie. Instead, he sings about getting a one-way ticket to the asylum, about racial intolerance (with one mean character who’s “part white, part black, part red”), and about, well, killing the missus-- and warning the next one to mind her ways if she doesn’t want to end up next to her as well. It’s all pretty dang grim, but there’s always crazy sonic shit in ole Porter’s songs to make you wonder if he’s serious or just screwing with you— just listen to the reverb in “The Rubber Room.” Or the Indian hi-yi-yi-ing in “George Leroy Chickishea.” Or the weird footsteps in the jaw-dropping jazzy story about a “man known only as a Wino.” You’d think a guy wearing those wild Nudie suits (those rhinestone covered outfits favored by country singers and Elvis Presley, named after tailor Nudie Cohn; thankfully not a synonym for Porter in the raw) would be crooning something a little more upbeat. But not Porter Wagoner. This is the kind of country music that would cause Toby Keith to crap his pants.