I saw Coble talking about this on Facebook, so I listened to it and it is surprisingly fantastic–Dolly’s version of “Jolene” slowed down from 45 rpm to 33 1/3. The Butcher and I were listening to it and wondering when someone is going to steal the background and stick it on something else, because it’s got such a lovely groove.
But I tell you, the slow version accentuates something in Parton’s technique that has always viscerally bothered me. Not like bothered me in a I hate it way, but bothered me in a it troubles me. You can really hear how she sometimes mangles her “s”s. And the way she mangles them is the way someone whose mouth hurts mangles them. It’s not a speech quirk. It’s the sound of injury. And it might not be in her case, but that’s what it sounds like and it bugs me.
It took me a long time to realize that I was hearing that though. But it’s one of the things that made “Jolene” such a tough song for me. In my version, the singer has recently had the shit beat out of her by her man. I thought that was in the song, but it’s not in the lyrics. I’d just heard that noise and stuck it in there.
Anyway, I don’t really have a point, just that.