Now this is interesting. In a recent DM post, our Martin Schneider, wanting to give credit where credit is due, wrote “Attention ‘Slow Ass Jolene’ Dolly Parton uploader: Plunderphonics did that same thing 25 years ago!” His intentions were noble, but apparently Dolly’s pitch was first fucked with 32 years ago. Plunderphonics—that would be composer John Oswald—made his first “slo ass Jolene” way back in 1981. What’s even better?
It’s a dual-speed Dolly duet!
Here’s the description from the newly minted Plunderphonics YouTube channel:
As Dolly says in the intro, “well, I’m just the fellow that’ll talk to you.”
This is the 2-speed version of “Jolene” that John Oswald first played on the radio show Sounds Wrong which was broadcast in Vancouver in 1981 as a summer fill-in for the excellent HP Dinner Hour. The same piece also ended up on “Mystery Tape k7.”
An essay by Oswald entitled “Revolutions and Mister Dolly Parton— a vortex of androgyny” appeared in the 2nd issue of the (also) excellent British music magazine Collusion in 1982, in which he writes:
“[S]everal people have told me that they play copies Dolly Parton’s single ‘Jolene’ at 331∕3 rpm at which speed she becomes a slightly slurring but beautiful tenor. The effect is a vortex of androgyny when one flips from one turntable speed to the other with each verse: the accelerations follow the swoops of the solo violin and Dolly proceeds to sing himself into a ménage a trois.”
The source for Oswald’s decidedly polyamorous take on “Jolene” was apparently this clip from a 1973 episode of The Porter Wagoner Show and now thanks to the wonder of Final Cut Pro, I suppose, they’ve been able to sync the video and audio together again.
Thank you, R.Brain!