Featured here are two versions of songwriter Freddie Hart's ultra-depressing Skid Row Joe. The late great Porter Wagoner recorded the original version in November 1965, using his trademark tear-jerking mournful recitation style. Amazingly, this tune about a tormented alcoholic whose life has become one defined by misery, depression and woe reached #3 on the Billboard country charts.
Most Skid Row Joe aficionados, however, are probably unaware of the song's cross-cultural appeal, demonstrated when a little-remembered Tex-Mex singer named Joe Bravo recorded a Spanish language version of the song for San Antonio's El Zarape record label. The song served as the centerpiece of his SKIDROW JOE LP. I must admit that I'm extremely fond of the way the Joe Bravo version was produced; the only English words we hear are the opening and closing choral group voices solemnly singing out the song's title.
Both Porter Wagoner and Joe Bravo happily embraced their inner derelicts for promotional photography purposes. For the sake of easing the "compare and contrast" studies that are sure to be undertaken by scholars of the future, I've created a collage of photos of both singers in their respective wino gear.