|Just Between the Two of Us|
|Studio album by|
|Producer||Ken Nelson, Fuzzy Owen|
|Merle Haggard chronology|
|Singles from Just Between the Two of Us|
At the time of Haggard's first top-ten hit "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers" in 1965, Owens was actually the better known performer, a fixture on the Bakersfield club scene who had recorded and appeared on television. Bonnie, who had been married to Buck Owens, won the new Academy of Country Music's first ever award for Female Vocalist after her 1965 debut album, Don't Take Advantage of Me, hit the top five on the country albums chart. As Haggard recalls in the American Masters episode dedicated to him, Owens set her career aside to help make his name: "She had records in the charts and she was directly responsible for telling people, you know, 'You need to book this guy in Bakersfield because he's gonna be a star.' And they liked her so much that they tried me."
Haggard and Owens, who would eventually marry, scored a minor hit with the duet "Just Between the Two of Us" in 1965 on Tally Records. As part of the deal that got Haggard signed to Capitol, producer Ken Nelson obtained the rights to Haggard's Tally sides, including the duets with Owens, and in 1966 Just Between the Two of Us was released. The LP was a forerunner of the male-female country duet golden age that would emerge in the years ahead, featuring teams like Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, and George Jones and Tammy Wynette. However, there were no more hit singles, and although Owens recorded six solo albums on Capitol between 1965 and 1970, she became mainly known for her background harmonies on Haggard hits like "Sing Me Back Home" and "Branded Man".
Just Between the Two of Us hit number 4 on the country albums chart. In a retrospective review by Mark Deming for AllMusic, Deming wrote that the album is for "Haggard completists" and notes, "while Bonnie Owens was a good honky tonk singer, she was hardly a great one like Haggard, who seems to be holding himself back a bit musically as he defers to his spouse."
|Billboard Country LPs||4|