Porter Wagoner / Porter Wagoner & the Wagonmasters

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Before going mainstream in the '60s -- thanks to a TV variety show and a fruitful association with a pre-fame Dolly Parton -- Porter Wagoner first scored on the country charts in 1954-1956 with hits like "A Satisfied Mind," "Company's Comin'," and "Eat, Drink and Be Merry." With Red Foley's sponsorship, Wagoner also made a splash on the Ozark Jubilee out of Springfield, M0, and would eventually join the Grand Ole Opry in 1957. It was at this time that Wagoner also released this debut album for RCA, which includes the hits above and several more honky tonk-heavy country cookers. Taking in blues, some doo wop piano, old-timey tales, and waltz rhythms, Wagoner ranges easily from classic weepers like "Born to Lose" to morality tales such as "Ivory Tower." And while Wagoner would later give the Nashville sound his own somewhat twisted spin and also return to his roots on many occasions, here he is heard in the first flush of his early and unadulterated country success.

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