Dolly Parton’s Discography: Dolly, Dolly, Dolly (1980)

And so we’ve reached the eighties – the decade most traditional music fans like myself dread. During the seventies Dolly moved progressively towards pop and finished that decade by recording the most mainstream music of her career. At the beginning of 1980 Dolly Parton was 34 years old and still committed to becoming a worldwide superstar. Her decision to release another pop album dismayed the critics and many of her country music fans alike. And with good reason – Dolly, Dolly, Dolly doesn’t hold up that well to retrospective scrutiny, even if looking at the bigger picture we can conclude that Dolly’s plan for success worked. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography: Dolly, Dolly, Dolly (1980)”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – Great Balls of Fire (1979)

Released in 1979 Great Balls of Fire is right in the middle of Dolly’s mainstream pop phase. She aims for the charts but ironically it is one of the few albums from this era without any real classic career-defining songs. It’s a continuation of her previous run of big budget albums but with ever diminishing returns you feel she’s stretching this seventies pop style to its limits. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Great Balls of Fire (1979)”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – Heartbreaker (1978)

After the platinum crossover smash success of ‘Here You Come Again’, Dolly decided to stick closely to that pop formula for her follow up album ‘Heartbreaker’, released July 1978. She was now being managed by Sandy Gallin, introduced to her by Mac Davis, and he again teamed her up with pop producers Charles Koppleman and Gary Klein. Dolly also received a production credit, showing how she was taking back control of her own career in the wake of her split with Porter. Another fact worth noting is that 1978 was the first year since 1967 where Dolly only released one album. The insane songwriting productivity and release schedule of the Porter Wagoner years was well and truly over. In the end Dolly didn’t need more than one album since Heartbreaker dominated the country charts, staying at number one for nine consecutive weeks. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Heartbreaker (1978)”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – Here You Come Again (1977)

In the middle of the eternal debate about what defines the country music genre it’s interesting to consider some of these late seventies Dolly Parton albums. She aimed for the pop market but hoped to keep her country fanbase happy too. By 1977 Dolly was on her twentieth solo album in ten years. She’d written every style of country song you could think of. Pop music was limitless in a way that country music could never be – sonically and commercially. Dolly wanted the same success as Elvis or Elton John – not just an occasional cross over from the country charts. Jolene proved she could take country with her over to the mainstream and on Here You Come Again she again attempted to find a place in both worlds. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Here You Come Again (1977)”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – ‘New Harvest…First Gathering’ Review

The title and the relaxed styling of Dolly’s hair and clothes on the cover of this album tells us immediately that something is different. Dolly may have written her goodbye song in 1974 but it wasn’t until this 1977 album New Harvest…First Gathering that she was finally free from Porter Wagoner’s involvement in her music and career. She produced the album herself and embraced the opportunity to push herself in a brand new musical direction. This album then also became her escape from the confines of country music itself. Dolly’s ambitions were to find a way into the mainstream, into the movies, into the ears of all music listeners. There was simply no way Porter, or country music itself, could contain her. And hey, when a horse wants to run there ain’t no point in closing the gates. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – ‘New Harvest…First Gathering’ Review”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – All I Can Do

The late seventies was a transition time in Dolly Parton’s career. She had distanced herself from Porter Wagoner and this 1976 album ‘All I Can Do’ is the last album he was involved in, co-producing with Dolly. Following quickly on from the disappointing ‘Dolly’ album, All I Can Do is both a return to the classic country which made her name and a subtle continuation of her evolution towards the mainstream. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – All I Can Do”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – Dolly: The Seeker – We Used To

Dolly’s second solo release of 1975 was an album made up entirely of self-penned love songs. Porter Wagoner had long been working as an uncredited producer on Dolly’s solo albums but this was the first one which boldly declared itself ‘produced and arranged by Porter Wagoner’. The album was given the original title of simply ‘Dolly’ but it has since become more commonly known with the added subtitle of ‘The Seeker – We Used To’, to differentiate it from other self-titled collections of hits. The subtitle refers to the two singles from the album, the most successful of which was The Seeker, which charted at number two and ended her run of four consecutive number one singles. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Dolly: The Seeker – We Used To”

Album Review: Dolly Parton – Dumplin’ (Original Soundtrack)

The new Netflix movie ‘Dumplin’ begins with the heroine Willowdean Dickson in her car, singing along to Dolly Parton’s debut single ‘Dumb Blonde’, a song about subverting the expectations of those who judge you unfairly on appearances. The film, based on Julie Murphy’s wonderful novel, concerns a plus size teen who decides to enter a beauty contest as a protest and finds out she really is pageant material after all. Continue reading “Album Review: Dolly Parton – Dumplin’ (Original Soundtrack)”

Dolly Parton’s Discography: ‘The Bargain Store’ – Album Review

In 1975 Dolly Parton found herself at the high point of her country music career, being in the middle of a run of four number one singles and finally winning the CMA for Female Artist of the Year. Her first album of that year was the controversial classic ‘The Bargain Store’, one of the strongest collections of songs Dolly was to release in this impressively productive period. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography: ‘The Bargain Store’ – Album Review”

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