Song of the Week: “Rocky Top” by Porter Wagoner

Song of the Week: “Rocky Top” by Porter Wagoner
The Carroll County Accident

The Carroll County Accident

When we were in Eugene, OR for a day off, I biked into town and sat at a great coffee shop (might have been called Vera’s) that occupies an old Victorian house.  I sat on a small sofa, sipping a soy latte and reading “War & Peace” for a good couple of hours.  When I had had my fill and ventured out for further exploration I found another shop-in-a-house, this time a vintage shop.  They had tons of odd little items, most notably a room full of animal-themed shelves featuring, for example owl-printed drinking glasses, an owl-shaped napkin holder, owly salt & pepper shakers… you get the idea.

But, me being me, I was looking for the vinyl.  They had a modest two racks of LPs but there was some great stuff in there. I found a mint promo copy of Tom Waits’ Blue Valentine for Matt and grabbed this classic Porter Wagoner LP for myself.  I was familiar with Porter from his work with Dolly Parton, his TV show, and his completely wacky songs, like “Rubber Room” and “George Leroy Chickashea.”  So, I had to have this record, with its wonderfully classic cover. Is he sweating or crying?

Finally listened through last night and despite the appealing weirdness of the title track, the song that I wanted to play over and over again was the classic tune “Rocky Top.” I hadn’t been aware that this version, being the one with which I was familiar, was done by Porter.  Such a great, triumphant lament, if that’s possible. And the banjo playing is the SHIT! This live version is very similar to the original. Check it out: