Home Today's Reason to Drink August 12: Porter Wagoner’s Birthday

August 12: Porter Wagoner’s Birthday

It’s Porter Wagoner’s birthday. Born in 1927 in West Plains, Missouri,  Porter was a country-western crooner who swept up and down the charts during his long career, finally landing in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002.  He’s probably known best for singing “The Green Green Grass of Home” and discovering and mentoring Dolly Parton, who would write “I Will Always Love You” about Porter after their career paths split. To me, however, Porter will always be the Poet Laureate of Winos. This man put together the largest collection of tearjerkers about tragic souses, alley drunks, skid-row scalawags and doomed boozers in the history of country music, or any other kind of music. Not just dripping but drenched with over-sentimentality and pathos, and quite often gleefully lurching across that wide, blurred line into bathos. One of his songs salutes a wife for putting the torch to the only bar in town, for Bacchus’ sake. It’s the playlist of the Anti-Saloon League Choir. You must go to Youtube and listen to his 1968 LP “The Bottom of the Bottle.” It’s good stuff. And here’s the rub: off-stage, Porter was a big drinker. He was just one of those guys, and we all know at least one, who doesn’t handle hangovers with the requisite amount of grace. The type who gets all doom and gloomy, forgetting that Happy Hour is only about six hours away.


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