26 February 2005

jolene : paula cole

click here to listen.
song length: 3m 40s

UPDATE (16 Feb 2009): Due to popular demand -- and since it's not commercially available anyway, so there's no loss of profit to Ms. Cole -- I'm uploading this song's MP3 for everyone to download. Credit goes to whoever recorded the performance in the first place and made it available in Napster, where I found it eons ago. Get it here.

i've posted two depressing songs in a row, i thought i'd do something different today. here's paula cole's version of jolene, a 1974 dolly parton original that was recently thrust into our collective consciousness by the white stripes' gender-bending cover. i never did like their effort, nor does the band impress me much, actually. jack white's vocals, although raw and emotional, also strike me as affected and distracting, especially in slow songs such as his take on jolene. in fact, in this song, his voice takes me back to the send me an angel days of the scorpions, a german hard-rock band i associate mostly with karaoke-singing inebriated trucker types (don't ask).

paula cole's version is more faithful to the pace of the original, and she does it so wickedly well with her piano and vocal technique. she comes thisclose to one-upping dolly parton's live version on live and well which is blissfully mind-boggling. the thing about paula is she makes it completely her own with her mad-woman voice, which becomes an instrument all its own toward the end of the song when she grunts and groans like a synthesizer gone berserk. you gotta hear it to believe it. of course, that makes her sound like she's actually going to eat that man-grabbing biatch jolene as opposed to begging her, but i'm not complaining.

what do you think?


  1. Wow, emotionally evocative, bare boned & wildly primitive!!!

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  3. I love this cover of Jolene! I would love to have it on my iPod. Would you be willing to send it to me? And have you heard about an a cappejla version she sang?

  4. Hi Carrie, E-mail me your e-mail address!

  5. Anonymous13.8.07

    Great ! I've looked all over for this! Can you send it to me also? It can't be bought anyplace I know. lykearock@hotmail.com

  6. Anonymous16.10.07

    I've looked for this recording too - don't mind purchasing if you can post info that might help me find it.

  7. Anonymous7.5.08

    i don't know if anyone still gets on here - but if anyone sees this that has the paula cole version of jolene, could you PLEASE e-mail? pinks92@charter.net

    please and thanks!!

  8. Anonymous8.7.08

    I would love to have this as an MP3 as well...if anyone can email it to chris@spitandimage.net I'd greatly appreciate it!!!

  9. Fernando23.7.08

    i had this mp3 and lost it in my old HD... so i would also love it if anyone could send it to me! please!


    somebody make us happy! haha

  10. Flatfoot,

    Can you tell me where I can get this version? I loved it in concert years ago, and I'm thrilled to be able to hear it again. Thanks for your awesome post!

  11. brian18.2.10

    Saw her perform at Joe's Pub in NYC last night. she finished her encore with Jolene. It was somewaht different than this version, and in my opinion, even MORE amazing! she brought the house down with it.

  12. I am sooooo happy that you posted this with a link to the file, you are super duper awesome, I came this version years ago but lost the cd unfortunately that I purchased from ebay that had that whole concert on it. I cried my eyes out when she sang this when I saw her in SF after me and one other person screamed it as a request for her encore song. Thank you thank you thank you....mucho xoxo Fadi sweetisthesting@gmail.com