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Bear Family Making Plans for Box Set of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton Recordings

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Porter Dolly boxJohnny and June. George and Tammy. Porter and Dolly. The world of country music had some of its greatest successes in pairs – duets whose songs projected all the joy and pain of love and loss, just like any good country song should. Whether the joy or pain was real or simply projected very well is another matter, as anyone who’s seen Walk the Line can attest.

In the case of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, their relationship was never romantic and often turbulent, but it did yield one of the most bountiful dual discographies in the genre. This year, Bear Family Records will celebrate that union with Just Between You and Me: The Complete Recordings 1967-1976, a six-disc box set featuring every one of Porter and Dolly’s recordings for the RCA Victor label.

In 1967, Porter Wagoner was left with the unenviable task of replacing singer Norma Jean Beasler, an RCA Victor artist and co-star of his long-running syndicated television show since its inception in 1960. Audiences were quick to judge the blonde, buxom Parton, who’d been previously signed to Monument Records as a bubblegum pop artist despite a desire to pursue her country roots. But Parton’s intoxicating, vibrato-laden voice and natural on-stage chemistry with Wagoner made her a natural starlet, both as part of Wagoner’s line-up and on her own. By the early 1970s, she was a bona-fide country legend, with singles like “Just Because I’m a Woman,” “Mule Skinner Blues,” “Coat of Many Colors” and the incomparable “Jolene.”

Porter and Dolly would record a dozen records for RCA in a decade, often featuring songs they wrote themselves. They logged 20 singles on Billboard‘s Country Top 40, including “The Last Thing on My Mind,” “Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man,” “Just Someone I Used to Know,” “If Teardrops Were Pennies” and the chart-topping “Please Don’t Stop Loving Me.” But the duo did not always get along offstage. Dolly told The Los Angeles Times in 2008, “He was in charge, and it was his show, but he was also very strong willed. That’s why we fought like crazy, because I wouldn’t put up with a bunch of stuff. Out of respect for him, I knew he was the boss, and I would go along to where I felt this was reasonable for me. But once it passed points where it was like, your way or my way, to prove to you that I can do it, then I would just pitch a damn fit. I wouldn’t care if it killed me.”

Ultimately, Dolly parted ways with Porter by 1976, although her respect for him as a partner as well as one who gave her a chance to break through in the country world led to the writing of one of Parton’s greatest compositions: “I Will Always Love You.” And the duo would patch up their personal and professional differences in later years: a 1980 album, Porter & Dolly, was comprised of outtakes from the pair’s partnership including the No. 2 smash “Making Plans.” And Dolly was there to induct Porter into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002, and joined his family to say goodbye when he passed away in 2007.

Just Between You and Me features every track from the duo’s 13 albums, several compilation-only tracks, a few rarities – namely a 45 RPM single recorded in honor of The American Freedom Train that ran for the country’s bicentennial and live cuts from 1970’s A Real Live Dolly – and 13 unreleased tracks, including alternate takes. Alanna Nash, author of 1978’s Dolly: The Biography, pens the set’s liner notes.

The box is available May 5. Order it here and hit the jump for a complete track list! (Thanks to super reader Richard Eric for the tip!)

Just Between You and Me: The Complete Recordings 1967-1976 (Bear Family BCD-16889 (DE), 2014)

Disc 1

  1. Just Between You and Me
  2. Before I Met You
  3. Two Sides to Every Story
  4. Mommie, Ain’t That Daddy
  5. Four O Thirty Three
  6. Love is Worth Living
  7. The Last Thing on My Mind
  8. Sorrow’s Tearing Down the House (That Happiness Once Built)
  9. Home is Where the Hurt Is
  10. This Time Has Gotta Be Our Last Time
  11. Put It Off Until Tomorrow
  12. Because One of Us Was Wrong
  13. Slip Away Today
  14. Holding On to Nothin’
  15. Just the Two of Us
  16. Closer by the Hour
  17. Afraid to Love Again
  18. I Washed My Face in the Morning Dew
  19. Jeannie’s Afraid of the Dark
  20. The Party
  21. I Can
  22. We’ll Get Ahead Someday
  23. The Dark End of the Street
  24. Somewhere Between
  25. Making Plans
  26. Malena
  27. Good As Gold *
  28. One by One *
  29. Good As Gold
  30. Yours Love

Disc 2

  1. Just Someone I Used to Know
  2. No Reason to Hurry Home
  3. Milwaukee, Here I Come
  4. The House Where Love Lives
  5. Why Don’t You Haul Off and Love Me
  6. Mendy Never Sleeps
  7. I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby
  8. Anything’s Better Than Nothing
  9. Always, Always
  10. My Hands Are Tied
  11. There Never Was a Time
  12. Forty Miles from Poplar Bluff
  13. Each Season Changes You
  14. Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man *
  15. Tangled Vines
  16. We Can’t Let This Happen to Us
  17. Tomorrow is Forever
  18. Silver Sandals
  19. No Love Left
  20. I’m Wasting Your Time and You’re Wasting Mine
  21. Run That by Me One More Time
  22. It Might As Well Be Me
  23. I Know You’re Married But I Love You Still
  24. Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man
  25. Fight and Scratch
  26. A Good Understanding

Disc 3

  1. Once More
  2. Ragged Angel
  3. Before Our Weakness Gets Too Strong
  4. Let’s Live for Tonight
  5. One Day At a Time
  6. Thoughtfulness
  7. There’ll Be Love
  8. Daddy Did His Best
  9. Possum Holler
  10. The Fighting Kind
  11. All I Need is You
  12. Curse of the Wild Weed Flower
  13. Today, Tomorrow and Forever
  14. The Flame
  15. Her and the Car and the Mobile Home
  16. Is It Real
  17. Two of a Kind
  18. The Pain of Loving You
  19. Better Move It On Home
  20. The Right Combination
  21. Burning the Midnight Oil
  22. Love’s All Over
  23. Take Away
  24. You and Me, Her and Him
  25. How Close They Must Be
  26. On and On
  27. More Than Words Can Tell
  28. In Each Love Some Pain Must Fall

Disc 4

  1. Anyplace You Want to Go
  2. Somewhere Along the Way
  3. The Fog Has Lifted
  4. Looking Down
  5. If You Go, I’ll Follow You
  6. Waldo the Weirdo *
  7. I’ve Been This Way Too Long
  8. Lost Forever in Your Kiss
  9. Sounds of Nature
  10. Through Thick and Thin
  11. We Found It
  12. Poor Folks Town
  13. Together You and I
  14. Christina
  15. Together Always
  16. Ten-Four, Over and Out
  17. There’s Singing on the Mountain
  18. Say Forever You’ll Be Mine
  19. That’s When Love Will Mean the Most
  20. Love Have Mercy on Us
  21. Sweet Rachel Ann
  22. Satan’s River
  23. I Am Always Waiting
  24. I’ve Been Married (Just As Long As You Have)
  25. Little David’s Harp
  26. Between Us
  27. Love City
  28. In the Presence of You

Disc 5

  1. How Can I (Help You Forgive Me)
  2. Come to Me
  3. Laugh the Years Away
  4. There’ll Always Be Music *
  5. I Have No Right to Care
  6. Come to Me *
  7. Beneath the Sweet Magnolia Tree
  8. Love is Out Tonight
  9. If Teardrops Were Pennies
  10. You
  11. There’ll Always Be Music
  12. I Get Lonesome by Myself
  13. Sounds of Night
  14. Wasting Love
  15. All Aboard America
  16. Here Comes the Freedom Train
  17. Too Far Gone
  18. Again
  19. Something to Reach For
  20. The Fire That Keeps You Warm
  21. Without You
  22. Sixteen Years
  23. Carolina Moonshine *
  24. If You Say I Can
  25. The Power of Love
  26. The Beginning
  27. Please Don’t Stop Loving Me

Disc 6

  1. Life Rides the Train
  2. Two
  3. Hide Me Away
  4. We’d Have to Be Crazy
  5. Love to See Us Through
  6. If You Were Mine
  7. Our Love
  8. Is Forever Longer Than Always
  9. I Learned It Well *
  10. Touching Memories
  11. In the Morning *
  12. About Susanne, About Your Man *
  13. A Fool Like Me *
  14. Someone Just Like You
  15. Golden Streets of Glory *
  16. Twin Mounds of Clay *
  17. Presentation by Don Howser (live)
  18. Run That by Me One More Time (live)
  19. Jeannie’s Afraid of the Dark (live)
  20. Tomorrow is Forever (live)
  21. Two Sides to Every Story (live)

Disc 1, Tracks 1-12 released as Just Between You and Me (RCA Victor LSP-3926, 1968)
Disc 1, Tracks 13-24 released as Just the Two of Us (RCA Victor LSP-4039, 1968)
Disc 1, Track 25; Disc 3, Track 8; Disc 4, Tracks 5, 17 and 25; Disc 5, Tracks 7 and 24 and Disc 6, Tracks 3, 10  and 14 from Porter & Dolly (RCA Victor AHL1-3700, 1980)
Disc 1, Tracks 26 and 29-30 and Disc 2, Tracks 2-5 and 7-11 released as Always, Always (RCA Victor LSP-4186, 1969)
Disc 2, Tracks 1, 6, 12-13 and 16-22 from Porter Wayne and Dolly Rebecca (RCA Victor LSP-4305, 1970)
Disc 2, Track 15 from Playlist: The Very Best of Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton (RCA/Legacy 88765 42972-2, 2012)
Disc 2, Tracks 23-26 and Disc 3, Tracks 1-6 from Once More (RCA Victor LSP-4388, 1970)
Disc 3, Tracks 7, 9-14 and 16-18 from Two of a Kind (RCA Victor LSP-4490, 1971)
Disc 3, Tracks 15, 20-21 and 26-28 and Disc 4, Tracks 2-3, 7 and 10 from The Right Combination/Burning the Midnight Oil (RCA Victor LSP-4628, 1972)
Disc 3, Track 19 from The Best of Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton (RCA Victor LSP-4556, 1971)
Disc 3, Tracks 22-24 and Disc 4, Tracks 1, 4, 8, 12 and 14-16 from Together Always (RCA Victor LSP-4761, 1972)
Disc 3, Tracks 25 and Disc 4, Tracks 11, 19-24 and 26-27 from We Found It (RCA Victor LSP-4841, 1973)
Disc 4, Tracks 9 and 13; Disc 5, Tracks 17, 20-22, 25 and 27 and Disc 6, Tracks 2 and 4 from Porter ‘N’ Dolly (RCA Victor APL1-0646, 1974)
Disc 4, Track 18; Disc 5, Tracks 1, 5, 18-19 and 26 and Disc 6, Tracks 1 and 5-7 from Say Forever You’ll Be Mine (RCA Victor APL1-1116, 1975)
Disc 4, Track 28 and Disc 5, Tracks 2-3 and 8-14 from Love and Music (RCA Victor APL1-0248, 1973)
Disc 5, Tracks 15-16 from Freedom Train single 5767, 1973
Disc 6, Track 8 from The Essential Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton (RCA 07863 66858-2, 1996)
Disc 6, Tracks 17-21 from A Real Live Dolly (RCA Victor LSP-4387, 1970)

Written by Mike Duquette

February 17, 2014 at 14:03

5 Responses

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  1. The set also includes the (for Bear Family) usual LP-sized hardcover book with lots of fabulous pictures of Dolly and Porter, reproductions of album sleeves (incl. the rare “Together Always” promo cover) and a detailed chronology of the recording sessions.


    February 18, 2014 at 03:55

  2. Bear Family is definitely the premier reissue company in the world. Their boxsets are incredible, especially for the unbelievable books. which sometimes run to 300 large format pages. Even the single and double CDs have amazing books, sometimes as much as 100 pages (and still very easy to read!)

    Thank you for highlighting this set. I hope you do more features on Bear Family products. You should even revisit some of their earlier boxsets, as so few people know about them.


    February 18, 2014 at 07:49

  3. I absolutely do not hesitate in calling Bear Family the number one reissue label in the world. Their boxes are stunning works of art. Like many others, I grouse about the premium prices their products command, but it’s easy to see, unlike with some other companies, where all that money goes.

    I just bit the bullet and picked up the entire ’70s Sweet Soul Music series. T’wasn’t cheap, but one listen to the 1970 installment, and I was hooked.

    Bear Family, IMO, is the gold standard by which all other reissue labels should be judged. I wish I could afford ALL their stuff; I’d buy it in a heartbeat. 🙂

    Chief Brody

    February 18, 2014 at 10:27

    • Keep your eye out for the occasional Bear Family sale at . Sometimes those Sweet Soul series were going for $10.


      February 19, 2014 at 07:55

  4. I cannot WAIT for this one!!!

    Robert Lett

    February 18, 2014 at 14:00

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