83968 Is My Dad

Porter Wagoner was a country music singer known for a string of country hits that he had in the ‘60s, his perennial appearances at the Grand Ole Opry wearing his trademark rhinestone suits, and for launching the career of Dolly Parton who he was close with.  He told jokes onstage, sported a blonde pompadour, and in the wake of Roy Acuff’s death in November 1992, he became the unofficial spokesman for the Grand Ole Opry.  His country records included, 2 No. 1 Hits with ‘A Satisfied Mind’ and ‘Misery Loves Company’, 24 Top 10 Hits and 71 Songs that made the charts.  In 1960, Wagoner was given a syndicated television show that featured celebrities such as Tex Ritter and Cowboy Copas, plus newcomers such as Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.  The program ran an impressive two decades, ending in 1981.  Wagoner was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002, and he died from lung cancer in Nashville on October 28, 2007 at the age of 80.  Parton wrote ‘I Will Always Love You’ as a sort of farewell song for him.

‘Let Me In’ was written by Gene Crysler whose real name is James Eugene Fitzwater Jr. Gene Crysler wrote over 100 songs including ‘Daddy And The Wine’ which Wagoner also recorded, ‘Dont Make Me Go To School’ which was performed by Tammy Wynette, ‘I Didn’t Jump The Fence’ performed by Cal Smith, ‘If I Ever Need A Lady I’ll Call You’ performed by Claude Gray, ‘Woman Hungry’ performed by Norma Jean and ‘You Can Check On Me’ performed by Stonewall Jackson. Porter Wagoner and the Wagonmasters recorded ‘Let Me In’ on his LP Soul Of A Convict (And Other Great Prison Songs), which was released in February 1967.  The ‘Green, Green Grass of Home’ was the big hit from this album.  The Grateful Dead played ‘Let Me In’ a few times and it is sung by Bob Weir.

A little boy knocked at the warden’s door of Sing Sing then in tears
Said sir I understand that 83968 lives here
Well that’s my daddy sir and I just got to be near him
If you can’t let him out you just got to let me in
Let me in let me in 83968’s my dad
I watched them bury my mama and now he’s all the world I have
I can break your little rocks put a hammer in my hand
I just gotta be near daddy Mister warden let me in
Well I’ve checked through California Alcatraz out on the Rock
From Folsom onto Leavenworth and no one had my pop
Then I found the old news clipping in my mama’s souvenirs
And here I am at Sing Sing 83968 lives here
Let me in let me in…

Written for Song Lyric Sunday prompt is Dad/Father/Barbecue.

19 thoughts on “83968 Is My Dad

    1. Yes that is a good Porter Wagoner song and the truth is never revealed by the son who found the wedding ring hidden away in a matchbox in the wreckage because he disposed of it to protect his father’s reputation.

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  1. Great song! Porter Wagoner plays my kind of country.

    Incidentally, Porter gave Dolly Parton her start, and they were very close (she wrote the song “I Will Always Love You” for him when she left his show), but they were never married. She met her husband Carl (who keeps his distance from the spotlight; I’ve never seen the man) at the Wishy-Washy Launderette which was probably somewhere in Tennessee.

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    1. John you are right and thanks for correcting my mistake, which just shows that you can’t believe everything that you read on the internet. Wagoner was married twice, to Velma Johnson for less than a year in 1943, and then to Ruth Olive Williams from 1946 to 1986. I will fix my mistake.


      1. It is funny, I was watching a concert production on PBS of Les Mis the other night and there is the constant reference to Jean Valljean’s prison number 24601. So your post title intrigued me.

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  2. This one goes over the top with excruciating pain. Too many little kids growing up without a dad because their government has them locked up. Not saying breaking the law shouldn’t have consequences, but a large % of people locked up could serve sentences that don’t involve incarceration. The children are always the ones who suffer 😦

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