Friday Five: Kitty Wells Duets

Juli Thanki | August 30th, 2013

Every day is Kitty Wells Day at Engine 145 HQ, but we’re celebrating extra because today would have her 94th birthday. A few years ago, we made a list of her top five answer songs–she had an answer for everything–but for today’s Friday Five, we picked out a few of our favorite duets Wells sung on over the course of her career. What are yours?

Bonus Track: “How Far is Heaven” (with Carol Sue Wright)

Wells recorded this song in 1950, then released a new version in ’56 with her daughter playing the role of a young girl mourning the loss of her father. Not sad enough yet? Here’s Kitty, Johnnie, and Jack performing “The Death of Little Kathy Fiscus.”

 

5. “My World’s Losing You” (with Roy Drusky)

There’s no anger when Kitty and Roy sing “You were too afraid to love me like I wanted you to do,” just resigned sadness–and few singers do resigned sadness better than Kitty. (Don’t like this song? Here are some more Drusky and Wells recordings.)

 

4. “Goodbye, Mr. Brown” (with Roy Acuff)

Two old lovers meet again–only this time, they’re married to other people, so their romantic history must be forgotten “like ships that pass at night.” Sounds like they’re sailing on the Titanic.

 

3. “One By One” (with Red Foley)

This song, about a couple whose marriage dissolved a vow at a time, topped the charts in 1954.

 

2. “We’ll Stick Together” (with Johnnie Wright)

They sure did. Wells and Wright were married in 1937 and stayed that way until he died in September of 2011.

 

1. “Oh, So Many Years” (with Webb Pierce)

Wells recorded a handful of songs with Pierce–all of them quite good, which is unsurprising–but this sweetly sad one is my favorite by a long shot.

  1. Rick
    August 30, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Great selections Juli! “One By One” is the only song listed here I have on a CD but all of them were very enjoyable.

    I just love the rawness of Kitty Wells’ vocal style. It is the antitheses of the fembot pop-croonings of Carrie Underwood which I absolutely cannot stand! Kitty will always remain the first and foremost “Queen of Country Music” and her level of emotional authenticity cannot even be approached by today’s performers.

    PS – I hope this topic opens the door for a lot more Friday Five’s focused on the duets recorded by a target artist,and especially if they are from the 1950’s or 1960’s.

  2. Ben Foster
    August 30, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    “One by One” is my favorite. Love me some Kitty.

    Like Rick, I’m a huge fan of the “rawness” in Wells’ voice. It has a certain simple, unpolished quality, and it seems to exude such a natural sincerity.

    And yes, I would love to see a few more duet-themed Friday Fives as well.

  3. Paul W Dennis
    August 31, 2013 at 12:27 am

    “One By One” is my favorite of her duets, but “As Long As I Live”, also with Red Foley would be my #2

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