Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Garth Brooks, “Two of a Kind, Workin’ On a Full House”

“Two of a Kind, Workin’ On a Full House”

Garth Brooks

Written by Bobby Boyd, Warren Dale Haynes, and Dennis Robbins

Billboard

#1 (1 week)

April 6, 1991

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

March 15 – March 22, 1991

Garth Brooks earns his fifth No. 1 hit of the nineties with a Dennis Robbins cover.

The Road to No. 1

After releasing three career records in a row – “The Dance,” “Friends in Low Places,” and “Unanswered Prayers” – Garth Brooks releases a fun romp that had originally been recorded and released by its co-writer.

The No. 1

It’s easy to take a single like this for granted, especially one slotted between the classics mentioned above and its follow-up, “The Thunder Rolls.”

But while this might fall short of the ridiculous standard set by Garth Brooks singles in the early nineties, it’s still a gem.  Brooks mimics the signature phrasing that always made Robbins records so charming, while still bringing enough of his own style to the table to make his cover unique and distinctive from the original recording.

Once again, Brooks recording this before he was the biggest country star around keeps him from going overboard with the arrangement and his performance.  This helps to preserve the down home charm of the lyric.

It’s the weakest single from No Fences, for sure.  But that’s hardly a scarlet letter, giving how uniformly excellent all of the singles are.

The Road From No. 1

Brooks will continue his chart-topping run for the forseeable future, and with his next release, he’ll take a page from the Madonna playbook with a controversial music video.

“Two of a Kind, Workin’ On a Full House” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Clint Black, “Loving Blind” | Next: Randy Travis, “Heroes and Friends”

5 Comments

  1. That picture of Garth at the very top.. holy smokes.. didn’t realize he had That going for him .. if u know what I mean lol.

  2. This is actually one of my favorite singles from Garth’s early career. I even remember enjoying it on my cassette copy of No Fences before hearing it on the radio. It’s such a fun record all around, and I love Garth’s playful performance on it in which he lets all the twang hang out. And like so many of these early 90’s singles, once again there is some excellent fiddle and steel playing. For me, this is a perfect example on how traditional leaning country can also be so much fun.

    When it was released as a single, it was one of the songs I remember hearing a lot during my tape recording days in early 1991. For me, it’s amazing to look back on some of my tapes I recorded this song on and hear what else was getting airplay around it on one of our stations. While Garth was entering superstardom and on his way to becoming the biggest artist of the decade, you were also just as likely to hear the latest hits from veterans artists like Don Williams, Conway Twitty, Glen Campbell, etc., as well as a wide variety of 70’s and 80’s recurrents from the likes of Earl Thomas Conley, Lacy J. Dalton, Gary Morris, The Girls Next Door, Desert Rose Band, Ricky Skaggs, Roy Orbison, Vern Gosdin, Ronnie Milsap, Eddie Rabbitt, The Bellamy Brothers, Tanya Tucker, Reba, Michael Martin Murphey, Johnny Duncan, Anne Murray, Exile, Emmylou Harris, etc. Heck, even minor hits from Matraca Berg and Shelby Lynne from around this time were still getting some serious recurrent action. Mix that with all the hits from then newer artists like Garth, Alan, Clint, Travis Tritt, Lorrie Morgan, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Doug Stone, Shenandoah, Mike Reid, Paul Overstreet, Carlene Carter, etc., and it was quite the interesting variety that was going on at the time. It’s amazing how so much of that would change in just a year or two later.

    Anyway, back to this song, it’s also one of his singles that I never got tired of hearing as a recurrent, unlike “Friends In Low Places” or “The Thunder Rolls.” Btw, I also enjoy Dennis Robbins’ music (I have his 1992 Man With a Plan album), and I never knew this was a cover of one of his songs until more recently.

  3. This song is perhaps the best example of Brooks being fun and silly without the posturing and vocal ticks that would come later with his superstardom. He just let loose with this recording and wasn’t over thinking things yet. I think this song has aged as well as anything Brooks ever recorded. Essential Garth Brooks in my books!

    Interestingly, my colleague and I heard this song on satellite radio a day before this post. My colleague didn’t “beleive” Brooks. In their opinion, he failed the sincerity contract with the listener, on this and other songs he has recorded.

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