Known affectionately as the Thin Man from the West Plains, Porter Wagoner was a steadfast champion for the traditions of country music, even as he used forward-looking methods of delivering it to the masses.
Where to start? How do you begin a review of a song as seemingly universal as this one is? I could go on about what a massive success this song was in all the different versions that were recorded. But for now, I’ll just talk about what a fine record this 1974 original is on its own merits.
Nashville, Vol. 1: Tear the Woodpile Down
The casual listener may remember Marty Stuart for the string of country radio hits he enjoyed in the late eighties and early nineties. However, Stuart’s legacy was cemented by groundbreaking projects released after his commercial heyday had drawn to a close, particularly 1999’s landmark The Pilgrim as well as 2010’s career-best effort Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions. Through such critically lauded work Stuart has built up a reputation as an elder statesman of country music, acting to preserve country music’s heritage and traditions, while simultaneously working to move the genre forward.
It’s another Porter and Dolly love song, and such do tend to be less memorable then their heartbreak songs and bickering-couple songs. The chorus of “Together Always” is rather blank lyrically, but it’s lifted to a higher level by Parton’s spirited performance. The lilting melody and light piano-driven arrangement lend a subtly infectious, joyful sound to the record.