Porter Wagoner

In Person – 1998 (Koch)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

CDs by Porter Wagoner

This is not a presentation of Porter Wagoner in concert, but of his show. We get not only Porter himself, for the most part covering a selection of his hits to that point (1964) - "Howdy Neighbor Howdy," "Misery Loves Company," "A Satisfied Mind" and "Eat, Drink and Be Merry" in medley - but also a generous serving of the other elements of the stage show.

Wagoner's original duet partner, Norma Jean (introduced with Wagoner's familiar "pretty Miss Norma Jean") offers up several tunes-highlighted by the rousing attempt at self-empowerment "Talk Back Trembling Lips"- and duets with Wagoner on "I Didn't Mean It." (Since these are the only Norma Jean tracks currently on CD, that alone makes the disc worth owning). There's also two cornpone comedy routines from Speck Rhodes (with Porter helping out as the straight man) and a couple of instrumental turns by the Wagonmasters ("Sally Goodin'" and "John Henry").

This isn't the best place to start if you're looking for the seminal album by Wagoner the recording artist. However, it does capture Wagoner the entertainer, something that was of equal if not more importance to the success of his career.