Porter Wagoner, the Thin Man from the West Plains, is a case of an artist often ahead of his time who has always appeared hopelessly behind the times. Hes among the most immediately recognizable figures in country music, largely due to his exploitation of TV — and flashy costumes — a good 20 years before the video boom. And while hes forever perceived as the man who tried to hold Dolly Parton back from pop success, he was also responsible, in many ways, for putting her in a career position where the issue could even arise. As for his music, since signing with RCA in 1952 he has produced a wealth of superb hard country, and just as much of the most wretchedly oversentimentalized tripe youll ever want to hear. The latter, of course, is half the reason hes loved.