Retro Single Review: Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, “Just Someone I Used to Know”

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August 21, 2011

1969 | Peak: #5

Originally a hit for George Jones as “A Girl I Used to Know”,  their effective cover gave Porter & Dolly their second top five hit.

The harmonies are beautiful, and the steel guitar works wonders.  You can hear Parton growing as a vocalist during the moments that Wagoner gets out of the way, and when Parton takes a back seat, it’s clear that Wagoner is in his singing prime.

The song’s become a standard, so it feels odd to nitpick over its flaws.  But I have to say that what holds this record back is the questionable horn section. Thankfully, they only disrupt the song at its opening and its closing.

Written by Jack Clement

Grade: A-

Listen: Just Someone I Used to Know

 

 

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  1. Great performance of a great song; I agree that the horns could be dispensed with.

  2. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I love this song. A great performance indeed.

  3. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar says:

    The song was a standard before Porter & Dolly recorded it. I really love the George Jones recording of it.

    There was a brief infatuation at RCA with Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass, so they were used on quite a few tracks during the late 1960s-early 1970s. I don’t think their use did much harm, and I’d rather hear the brass than the current rock-guitar laden production used today. The use of brass NEVER drowned out the vocals, whereas today’s production often forces singers to scream at the top of their lungs to be heard

  4. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I like a good brass placement, but it does sound out of place here. At any rate, they do a great version of this song and, to me, the definitive one.

  5. I’m almost ashamed to admit that Lee Ann Womack’s version of this song was the first version I ever heard. But I really like this one also, as well as the George Jones cut.

  6. MarkNo Gravatar says:

    I personally think the brass placement adds a bit of a unique and distinctive touch to the song, without really compromising the overall production. The way Dolly sings her solo line “…but I don’t tell ‘em how lost I am without you….”, her vibrato is astonishing to behold.

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