Dolly’s Discography – In The Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)

When Dolly joined Porter’s popular television show there was an inevitable backlash from the audience, who were used to hearing their favourite Norma Jean and stubbornly resistant to change. In order to increase her public popularity Porter masterminded a campaign to flood the market with as much music by Dolly Parton as possible. He would make her a star, come what may.

In the years 1968 and 1969 Dolly released three solo albums and featured on three duet albums with Porter. Even for someone of Dolly’s prodigious songwriting talent that’s spreading yourself extremely thin. On these six albums there are 22 original songs written by Dolly, not counting her multiple co-writes, which suggests there’s at least one classic album lost among all the filler.

In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad) was the first of two solo albums released in 1969, reaching number 15 on the country charts. Since their duet albums were regularly hitting the top ten at this point, Dolly’s solo work appears to be struggling somewhat in comparison. While production is again credited to Bob Ferguson, Porter himself was in charge of the sound, much to the eventual frustration of Dolly herself. This album features a few gems but it is padded out by recordings of popular country hits, which makes it by far her weakest early collection. Continue reading “Dolly’s Discography – In The Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)”

How To End the Ticket Resale Madness For Good

The problems with ticket touts/scalpers have been well documented – fans are getting ripped off and shady people are profiting big time. The government may be ‘investigating’ these companies and some acts may look like they’re trying to fight back but in reality things are getting worse, not better. The ‘Sold Out’ sign by a tour date is now utterly meaningless and everyone knows it.

What frustrates me most is that there is already a proven way to stop ticket touts/scalpers but NO ONE is willing to use it because the current system is the easiest and most profitable for both the ticket companies and the artist. As long as the tickets sell the artist benefits, sure there might be some empty seats but the money generated is the same. And now that companies like Ticketmaster own secondary sites they can almost instantly sell the same product back to the consumer at a higher price and get away with it.

The solution to this madness is staring us in the face and has been for over ten years. Glastonbury festival have eliminated ticket touts and secondary reselling, by overhauling their selling system to ensure that fans do not get ripped off. Emily Eavis herself has called for others to follow their lead. In my opinion this system should be adopted by all major artists and festivals to ensure fair and safe ticket buying for the consumer.

Here are the basics of Glastonbury’s system, with some thoughts on how it could work for other events. Continue reading “How To End the Ticket Resale Madness For Good”

Album Review: Ruby Boots – Don’t Talk About It

Back home in her native Australia Ruby Boots, real name Bex Chilcott, found few opportunities for the blend of classic rock and Americana she was playing so she decided to up-sticks and move to Nashville. Since then she’s been frustrated by the assumption that because she lives in Music City she must be a country singer. Signing with Bloodshot Records based out of Chicago has given her freedom to push her music beyond such genre limitations and Don’t Talk About It is a confident collection of killer tunes. Continue reading “Album Review: Ruby Boots – Don’t Talk About It”

Album Review: Bette Smith – Jetlagger

Despite being born and bred in Brooklyn it took a trip down to the dirty south for Bette Smith to find her sound – working with producer Jimbo Mathus and a live band, together they captured the exuberant energy of her vocal performances and recorded straight to tape. At first glance the cover suggests this may be simple retro soul in the vein of much missed Sharon Jones, but Jetlagger also blends rock and roll, blues, psychedelia, gospel and funk into its thrilling mix. Continue reading “Album Review: Bette Smith – Jetlagger”

Laura Benitez and the Heartache – With All Its Thorns

It’s my opinion that the current attempt in the blogosphere to ‘save’ country music is misguided and ultimately irrelevant. Genre boundaries are useful for the marketing people but artists should be free to go in any direction they wish – look at how the most popular Americana artists of the last few years are heavily indebted to indie and rock, as much as mainstream country is chained to pop and RnB. Blurring the lines of genre doesn’t cause any harm if the music is good, especially when there are still some artists out there who are concerned with keeping the traditional sounds authentic and alive. With All Its Thorns by Laura Benitez and the Heartache would have sounded like ‘classic’ country music twenty years ago but that feeling of nostalgia is exactly why this album is so appealing. Continue reading “Laura Benitez and the Heartache – With All Its Thorns”

Dolly’s Discography – Just Because I’m A Woman

Dolly’s career changed in 1967 when she got a phone call from Porter Wagoner. At first she thought he wanted to record one of her songs with his onscreen partner, Norma Jean, but little did Dolly know that she was actually being interviewed as a potential replacement for her. Soon Dolly was hired and began appearing on television performing to audiences of millions every week.

Starting on the show meant that Dolly left Monument Records and signed with Wagoner’s label RCA. Porter was central to Dolly’s move, as she explained:

“He made RCA a guarantee to get them to sign me. Porter told them he would pay them every cent they ever lost on me out of his own pocket. He never had to pay a dime.”

Porter’s belief in Dolly’s talent helped her career to flourish, although you could argue she was well on her way to success without him. Just Because I’m a Woman was released on May 4th 1968 and Bob Ferguson, RCA’s in-house man, is given the production credit, even though it was Porter himself who was in charge of the sound. The album contains songs which are populated by wronged women and suffering souls, yet somehow Dolly finds strength and even comedy in these dark moments. Continue reading “Dolly’s Discography – Just Because I’m A Woman”

Album Review: H.C. McEntire – Lionheart

Despite being raised on the sound of country music and hymns H.C. McEntire’s musical career actually began with her playing in punk bands, before eventually forming her alt-country group Mount Moriah. This debut solo album comes after McEntire spent time recently touring as part of Angel Olsen’s band. Lionheart is a quiet roar of a record, nine songs of experience which embrace a rich Americana sound. Continue reading “Album Review: H.C. McEntire – Lionheart”

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