The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Porter Wagoner Dead at 80


All of North America awakens this morning to very sad news of the passing of Porter Wagoner, who succumbed to lung cancer last evening at the age of 80. Variously known to multitudes as leader of the Wagonmasters; the duet partner of Norma Jean, then Dolly Parton; as The Thin Man from West Plains, Missouri, and someone who could wear a spangled, rhinestone-studded Nudie jacket like no man alive, he should perhaps best be remembered as author and singer of some of the finest (and some of the most gloriously deranged) Country music ever committed to record.

For what it's worth, I always preferred his recording of "Settin' the Woods On Fire" to Hank Williams' original.

That's my heresy for today; all in his honor.

More about his life and work can be found in the following Obits:

CMT.com

The People's Daily (China)

The Washington Post

2 comments :

swac said...

Wow...I grew up watching Porter and Dolly in syndication and being incredibly creeped out by songs like The Cold Hard Facts of Life and The Rubber Room. (There's a great compilation out of Australia called The Rubber Room, BTW, that focuses on his more outre tracks.)

Nobody could touch Porter for weirdness, that's for sure.

Bummed I never got the chance to see him ... I imagine his recent gig with the White Stripes at Madison Square Gardens would have been one of his last. What a way to bow out though.

I'll be cranking his version of The Green Green Grass of Home when I get home.

Sam said...

I just got in from class when I got the word. I was never a huge fan of country music, but his was the first that I heard as a child from his weekly TV show. Country music has lost a legend and I send my condolences to all his fans.