Tag Archives: Porter Wagoner

Retro Single Review: George Strait, “The Chair”

1985 | Peak: #1

Want to separate the real deals from the posers?

Ask them to sing “The Chair.” There isn’t a hat act out there who could measure up to Strait’s delivery of this song.

It may not have the emotional heft of  George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today” or Porter Wagoner’s “Green, Green Grass of Home,”  but Strait’s delivery shares an important commonality with those classics. The song remains fresh and interesting even after you know the twist at the end.

That’s the hallmark of a great storyteller.

Written by Hank Cochran and Dean Dillon

Grade: A

Next: You’re Something Special to Me

Previous: The Fireman

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Nh-NsqBsGE

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Retro Single Review: Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, “Burning the Midnight Oil”

1972 | Peak: #11

A good old-fashioned cheating song, from the days when songs such as this were very much in fashion.

It’s not as interesting or deeply layered as Barbara Mandrell’s “The Midnight Oil”, released the following year.   But it’s a more believable pairing than most of the duets they sent to radio in this time period.

Written by Porter Wagoner

Grade: B

Listen

Next: Touch Your Woman

Previous: Coat of Many Colors

 

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Retro Single Review: Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, “The Right Combination”

1971 | Peak: #14

The song itself is fairly generic, typical of the Wagoner/Parton love songs that never sound quite as believable as their other songs.

But this one works better because Parton is fully flowering as a vocalist.  Her vocal trills sound so heartfelt that they add that dose of genuine passion that earlier duets were lacking.

Written by Porter Wagoner

Grade: B+

Next: My Blue Tears

Previous: Comin’ For to Carry Me Home

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQlt5q0lqR0

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Retro Single Review: Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, “Better Move It On Home”

1971 | Peak: #7

A few too many elements in the mix here.

The arrangement is like “Joshua” with a horn section.  It overwhelms the humorous dialogue.

It doesn’t help that they don’t sound like they’re in on the joke.  They go for deadpan but fall short, and end up sounding a bit too serious in the end.

Written by Ray Griff

Grade: C

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgCa79RaO_c

 

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Retro Single Review: Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, “Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man”

1970 | Peak: #40

It’s a shame that radio didn’t embrace this one.

Parton’s sympathetic lyrical portrait of a southern preacher deftly weaves classic gospel songs into its lyrics.   There was an old-timey quality to her duets with Wagoner anyway, so the subject matter lends itself quite well to the old-fashioned production.

By now, we’re at the point where Parton’s gift as a writer has transcended any form of normalcy.

Written by Dolly Parton

Grade: B+

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDgispWqGSA

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Retro Single Review: Dolly Parton, “Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel No. 8)”

1970 | Peak: #3

This yodel-laden cover of an early country music standard gave Parton her highest charting single to date, with or without Porter.

She sings the fire out of it, and it’s easy to imagine it standing out sharply from everything else on the radio in 1970.

But as the new single included on a compilation of her best singles and album tracks to date, it sounds trite.  That’s the inevitable result of writing “My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy”, “Just Because I’m a Woman”, and “Down From Dover.”

Written by Jimmie Rodgers and George Vaughn

Grade: B

httpv://youtu.be/-oco3cZ8IYM

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Retro Single Review: Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, “Tomorrow is Forever”

1970 | Peak: #9

Another one of their matronly love songs.

“Tomorrow is Forever” has a few glorious moments in the chorus, where the melody swills like the best early Tammy Wynette records, but the rest of the record goes on forever.

Written by Dolly Parton

Grade: C

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB1rqlqCPX8

 

 

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Retro Single Review: Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, “Just Someone I Used to Know”

1969 | Peak: #5

Originally a hit for George Jones as “A Girl I Used to Know”,  their effective cover gave Porter & Dolly their second top five hit.

The harmonies are beautiful, and the steel guitar works wonders.  You can hear Parton growing as a vocalist during the moments that Wagoner gets out of the way, and when Parton takes a back seat, it’s clear that Wagoner is in his singing prime.

The song’s become a standard, so it feels odd to nitpick over its flaws.  But I have to say that what holds this record back is the questionable horn section. Thankfully, they only disrupt the song at its opening and its closing.

Written by Jack Clement

Grade: A-

Listen: Just Someone I Used to Know

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esEu6zfcdlc

 

 

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Retro Single Review: Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, “Always, Always”

1969 | Peak: #11

Far too polite and matronly to make for an interesting country record.

“Always, Always” plays more like an Episcopalian church hymn, with two singers pledging their love so antiseptically that they might as well be promising to pick up milk and eggs on the way home from work.

Written by Joyce McCord

Grade: C-

Listen: Always, Always

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUJ_2jlnvPQ

 

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Retro Single Review: Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, “Yours Love”

1969 | Peak: #9

Perhaps the least satisfying Wagoner & Parton singles are the ones that fall in the “let’s pledge our true love” category.

This shouldn’t be a surprise.  Stop and think about the very best solo songs by Parton and by Wagoner.  How many of them are sweet love songs?

Nah, we’d all rather hear them hurtin’, bickerin’, losin’, and leavin’.   Or even better, spinning a good third person yarn about characters even more outsized in personality than these two singers.

So this isn’t a bad song, but it simply doesn’t play to their strengths.

Written by Harlan Howard

Grade: B-

Listen: Yours Love

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLLR1e4xIAw

 

 

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