Sunday, August 12, 2012

Remembering Porter Wagoner

Today we honor Porter Wagoner, who was born 85 years ago today, August 12, 1927. Many people consider Porter one of the greatest Grand Ole Opry members of all time, certainly in the top 10. He cared about the Opry and after Roy Acuff passed away, Porter became the face of the Opry. It was a role that he was made for. He appeared on almost every Opry show and was at Opryland just about everday. He was eager to meet his fans and I believe he really enjoyed "Porter Wagoner."

Porter joined the Grand Ole Opry on February 23, 1957. He would remain an Opry member until he passed away on October 28, 2007, shortly after celebrating 50 years as an Opry member. During his career, Porter had over 80 singles on the country charts. Besides great success as a singles artist, he had hits with duet partners Norma Jean and Dolly Parton. For over 20 years he hosted a highly successful syndicated television show, where he first introduced Dolly Parton. Besides Norma Jean and Dolly, other artists who were part of Porter's show at one time were Jeannie Seely, Linda Carol Moore and Colene Walters. Members of his band included Mel Tillis and Buck Trent. In the final year of his life, Marty Stuart produced a new Porter Wagoner album and Porter was back performing before large crowds until his health began to fail.

Porter's life was not without issues. He had a very public feud with Dolly Parton, which was later resolved, and he brought James Brown to the Opry. He also battled executives in the country music industry and many feel it was because of this that he had to wait so long for induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, which he achieved in 2002.

I had the opportunity to meet Porter several times during his life and each time he was a gentleman. He was friendly and enjoyed talking to the fans. I can remember the time that I introduced him to my then 14 year old daughter, and how nice he was to her. She still remembers it almost 20 years later.

I do not have the Opry line-up from the night that Porter joined the Opry. The earliest Opry line-up that I have that features Porter Wagoner is from Saturday April 6, 1957, several months after he became a member. In honor of Porter Wagoner's 85th birthday, I share this line-up.

7:30: Nabisco
Roy Acuff (host): It's Hard To Love
Justin Tubb: Pepper Hot Baby
Oswald: Southern Moon
Roy Acuff: How Beautiful Heaven Must Be
Howdy Forrester: Forked Deer

7:45: American Ace
Old Hickory Singers: Theme
Faron Young (host): I'm Gonna Live Some Before I Die
Maybelle Carter: I Never Love But One
Benny Martin: Story Of My Life
Faron Young: Schrine Of St. Cecelia
Fiddle Tune: Bill Cheatham

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Shuck A Little Corn
George Jones: Don't Stop The Music
June Carter & Smokey: Comedy
Flatt & Scruggs: Is There Room For Me
Jean Shepard: I'd Rather Die Young
Carlisles: Rough Stuff
Possum Hunters: Fire In The Mountain
Flatt & Scruggs: Down The Road

8:30: Prince Albert
Marty Robbins (host): Singing The Blues
Ray Price: Crazy Arms
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Ray Price: I've Got A New Heartache
Fiddle Tune: Sally Goodin
Marty Robbins: Knee Deep In The Blues
Chet Atkins: Back Home In Indiana
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Ray Price: Crazy Arms
Marty Robbins: Singing The Blues
Hal Cook: Presentation
Ray Price: Crazy Arms
Marty Robbins: Singing The Blues
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Old Hickory Singers: Theme
Ernest Tubb (host): TBA
Johnny & Jack: Oh Baby Mine
Stringbean: Herro Mr. Banjo
Wilburn Brothers: I'm Setting You Free
Kitty Wells: Searching
Ernest Tubb: Don't Forbid Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatam
Johnny & Jack: I Want To Be Loved
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Wilburn Brothers: Go Away With Me
Ernest Tubb: Daisy May

9:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Calypso Sweetheart
Louvin Brothers: Don't Laugh
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Sunny Side Of The Mountain
Chet Atkins: Limehouse House
Wilma Lee & Stoney: (?)
T. Texas Tyler: Deck Of Cards
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January
Louvin Brothers: New Partner Waltz
Hank Snow: Put Me In My Trumble Bed

10:00: Wall-Rite
Roy Acuff (host): I Love Mountain Music
George Jones: Uh Uh No
Maybelle Carter: Gold Watch and Chain
Roy Acuff: I Saw The Light
Fiddle Tune: Money Musk

10:15: Delited
Carlisles (Theme)
Ray Price (host): Wasted Words
Jean Shepard: If You Can Walk Away
Carlisles: Lil Liza Jane
Ray Price: You Done Me
Fiddle Tune: Grey Eagle

10:30: Hester Battery
Marty Robbins (host): I Can't Quit
Flatt & Scruggs: What's Good For You Should Be Alright For Me
Justin Tubb: I'm A Big Boy Now
Marty Robbins: Same Two Lips
Fiddle Tune: Old Joe Clark

10:45: De Con
Faron Young (host): Sweet Dreams
Wilma Lee & Stoney: Loving You
Crook Brothers: Tennessee Wagoner
Faron Young: Until I Met You
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

11:00: Coca-Cola
Old Hickory Singers: Theme
Ernest Tubb (host): Will You Be Satisfied That Way
Johnny & Jack: A Pleasure Is Not A Habit In Mexico
Wilburn Brothers: Go Away With Me
June Carter & Smokey: Comedy
Ernest Tubb: God's Eyes
Kitty Wells: A Change Of Heart
Stonewall Jackson: Stop You Naggin Hoss
String Bean: Pretty Little Pink
Gully Jumper: New Five Cents
Johnny & Jack: All The Time
Ernest Tubb: Kansas City Kitty

11:30: Jamison Mattress
Old Hickory Singers (Theme)
Hank Snow (host): Calypos Min From Juares
Louvin Brothers: You're Running Wild
T. Texas Tyler: Remember Me
Hank Snow: Rumba Boogie

11:45: Sustaining
Fiddle Tune: Back Up And Push
Hawkshaw Hawkins: If It Ain't On The Menu
Sam and Kirk: The Wagon Is New
Benny Martin: (?)


  1. What a lineup! And what a great reminder--Porter truly was irreplaceable.

    Ray Price, Jean Shepard, Stonewall Jackson, and alleged member George Jones are the only ones still alive from that lineup, I believe. Earl White may have been in a band at the time, and he's still around, of course.

  2. Yes Michael I saw ole George in the lineup too !

  3. Don Warden, who would have been playing steel guitar with Porter Wagoner at this time, is also still living.

  4. Also, Curly Seckler, who was with Flatt and Scruggs in 1957, is still living.

  5. and of course Carolee Cooper. Sorry for the multiple posts, but I keep thinking of these one at a time lol. I thought since Earl White had been mentioned, the other living sidemen deserved their due.

  6. Robert, I should have thought of them, including Carollee. I wonder who else might still be around. For example, Bobby Wright might have been working with his parents in some capacity at that time, too.

  7. Yeah I'm sure there are others if we really thought about it, but it does sort of startle you that you can count everybody on your fingers still living from a show 55 years ago --- not just the headliners still living, but EVERYBODY still living...