Picasso’s ‘Blue’ period was characterised by dark and somber paintings, expressing the emotional turmoil of the traumas of his youth. For a woman known to bring sunshine and rainbows it’s perhaps a surprise to find an album in Dolly Parton’s career which creates a similar morose tone, lyrically if not musically. There were no hits generated from My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy and the music confronts topics that she would shy away from as her career progressed: death, suicide, prostitution, pain, failure, anger, regret and suffering. Continue reading “Dolly’s Discography – My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy”
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)”
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”
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”
Acclaimed singer songwriter Laura Veirs is a longtime fan of the music of Elizabeth Cotten, the folk musician known as ‘Libba’, who is the subject of her beautiful picture book published by Chronicle Books. Cotten’s story is astonishing – a self taught guitarist who was only discovered in later life due to an unexpectedly wonderful twist of fate. Continue reading “On ‘Libba’ & How Folk Musician Elizabeth Cotten Inspired Laura Veirs”
One of my 2018 blog resolutions was to review an artist’s entire discography, inspired by the incredible blog The Diana Ross Project. I contemplated a few possible artists but in the end the chosen one could only be Dolly Parton. These posts will consist of track by track reviews of the solo albums in order of release.
In February 1967 Dolly Parton announced herself to the world with her debut album Hello, I’m Dolly. She was only 21 but had been singing since she was a child and trying to make a name for herself after moving to Nashville when she graduated high school. Initially her record label Monument hoped she could be a pop singer but her early singles failed to chart. She was paid $50 a week to write for the label and when songs she penned with her uncle Bill Owens became hits for other artists, Dolly was finally given a chance to record a country album. And boy, did she grab the opportunity with both hands, and she’s never let go since. Dolly wrote or co-wrote ten of the twelve songs, covering themes of sexism, adultery and heartbreak. This album generated her first hits and eventually brought her to the attention of Porter Wagoner. Continue reading “Dolly’s Discography: Hello, I’m Dolly”
At this moment it’s hard to believe that 2018 could be as good a year for music as 2017, such was the breadth and depth of brilliant albums released by female artists. Still this time last year I hadn’t even heard of many of the acts who ended up on my favourite albums list so I’m hoping for more hidden gems to surprise me over the next few months. Read on to find out who you might be listening to this year. Continue reading “Most Anticipated Music of 2018”
I loved reading the old Woody Guthrie and Johnny Cash new year resolutions that have been making the rounds on Twitter so much that I have decided to write a few of my own. I would definitely steal most of Woody’s including ‘read lots of good books’, ‘love everybody’ and ‘dream good’ but this post will focus on my personal blogging resolutions for 2018. Continue reading “2018 Blog Resolutions”
The ubiquitous end of year album lists might seem arbitrary but they are an important way for people to find new music and I believe they have a significant impact on an artist’s overall career. So this year I decided to do a very unscientific analysis of various polls to see how well female voices were represented overall. Continue reading “What the ‘Album of the Year’ Polls Tell Us About Female Representation in Music”