Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Jolene On Me: Dolly Parton 75

We return for the Tuesday news. and that can mean just one woman and one milestone day.

Today we celebrate a universally beloved figure that's been a revered recording artist for almost 60 years.

She would tell you that from the time she could form words, she could rhyme them.

A functioning songwriter since childhood, by the time she was a young teen she was bringing down the house on the road with her uncle, playing all around Tennessee.

Eventually she began recording and came to the attention of a Country icon 20 years her senior, who put her on his nationally syndicated TV show.

When I was a kid, we would watch The Porter Wagoner Show on Saturday mornings, back to back with Hee-Haw and then of course Soul Train.

So if anyone wonders how my blog can be Country on Tuesday and Free Jazz on Thursday, followed with some Spoken Word jams on Friday, you've obviously never watched Hee-Haw and Soul Train one after the other at age 8.

Eventually she became the star and main focus of his program, so she decided to leave Porter Wagoner and blast out on her own, leaving him with merely one of the all-time standard tunes of our lifetimes in the process.

That song was a huge, solo career launching hit, but that was nothing in comparison with a dozen years hence, when Whitney Houston recorded it for a film and it became one of the most recognizable songs ever written.

As the 1970s went on, she had more crossover hits, culminating in 1980 with one of the greatest and most anthemic movie tunes ever penned -- the legend has it she refused to star in the film unless she was allowed to write the theme song -- and yet more industry-exploding smashes in the 1980s.

Possibly the singlemost successful woman ever in the music business, she is adored all the world over and might be the one most recognizable person on Earth.

I bet when she broke out her idea for a theme park based upon her life and music in the Great Smoky Mountains, the honchos just laughed in her face.

Decades later, Dollywood is a multi-zillion dollar tourist destination. I don't think the honchos were laughing long.

Is there a more universally loved person in music? Has there been one in our lifetimes more qualified for that title than Dolly Parton?

Let's travel back in time to the Spring of 1977 and a famous club in downtown NYC, where Dolly -- in front of half the celebrities in New York by the third night of the engagement -- was loosed upon a wider world, and took the first steps to becoming the boundary-obliterating global icon she is now.

Dolly Parton
The Bottom Line
New York City, New York USA

01 (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher
02 All I Can Do
03 Jolene
04 There's No Place Like Home
05 My Tennessee Mountain Home
06 Do I Ever Cross Your Mind
07 Coat of Many Colors
08 Applejack
09 Light of a Clear Blue Morning
10 I Will Always Love You
11 Getting In My Way
12 Me and Little Andy
13 How Does It Feel
14 Holdin' On to You
15 The Seeker
16 You Are
17 I Wish You Sweet Love
18 Love Is Like a Butterfly

Total time: 56:01

Dolly Parton - vocals, guitar, banjo & dulcimer
Randy Parton - bass & vocals
Richard Dennison - vocals
Debbie Jo - vocals
Rod Smart - harmonica, vocals & percussion
band: "Gypsy Fever" (rest of personnel unidentified)

sourced from the 2020 bootleg CD "Live At the Bottom Line" on the Cult Legends label
likely sourced from a master cassette of a soundboard source, and likely recorded for broadcast
microgaps between all tracks removed, track markers optimized, and tape damage in Track 15 somewhat smoothed by EN, January 2021

But wait! That's not all, because in 1970 Dolly released her first live record called A Real Live Dolly. That one's only ever been reissued as a pre-order bonus in a box set in 2009... never has it seen proper digital era light. But I'd never put it right here for you, that would be unacceptable.

I shall return in a few with more goo for you, but you better raise a glass of Tennessee whiskey to the Queen, born this day in 1946 and still going like a person 1/4 her years! What a way to make a living!--J.

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