Retro Single Reviews: Dolly Parton, 1975-1976

Today is Dolly Parton’s 67th birthday.  What better time to revisit and relaunch our ongoing feature that reviews every single that she’s released in her illustrious career?

This post will look at her four singles from late 1975 through the end of 1976.  Three were solo efforts, while the fourth was her final release of the decade that was a collaboration with Porter Wagoner.

Dolly Parton The Seeker and We Used To

“We Used To”
1975
Peak: #9

Written by Dolly Parton

It was clear by this point that Parton had designs on the pop market, but she hadn’t yet found the right way to make her style work in that format. So we get overlong pop ballads like this, which ramble on forever because Parton’s restraining her vocal trademarks that would make the record too identifiably country.

Grade: B-

Dolly Parton Hey Lucky Lady

“Hey, Lucky Lady”
1976
Peak: #19

Written by Dolly Parton

Then again, even when she was being proudly country at this period, the material still wasn’t always up to snuff. It’s a shame that “Shattered Image” wasn’t sent to radio as the lead single from All I Can Do instead of of this endlessly repetitive ditty. This probably held the record for the most times a title was repeated in one song until Little Texas released “My Love” two decades later.

Grade: C

Dolly Parton Porter Wagoner Essential

“Is Forever Longer than Always” (with Porter Wagoner)
1976
Peak: #8

Written by Frank Dycus and Porter Wagoner

There is something poetic about this being their final duet together, aside from some unreleased tracks that would surface in 1980 after a prolonged legal battle.  They went out on a high note, perhaps because of the palpable sadness that permeates the proceedings.

Grade: B+

Dolly Parton All I Can Do

“All I Can Do”
1976
Peak: #3

Written by Dolly Parton

Another ditty, which is surprising given the heaviness of the

album as a whole.   It has a nice groove, but the lyrics are so forgettable that it’s little more than a footnote, residing in the brief valley between her country glory days and her pop superstardom.

Grade: B-

Next: 1977-1978

Previous:   Say Forever You’ll Be Mine (with Porter Wagoner)

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5 Comments

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5 Responses to Retro Single Reviews: Dolly Parton, 1975-1976

  1. I have a huge soft spot for “All I Can Do.” But I do agree that “Shattered Image” really should have been released as a single. It’s one of Dolly’s best compositions, and one that deserved a lot more exposure. Also agree on “Is Forever Longer Than Always” – beautiful song!

    It’s so nice to see some new Retro Single Reviews. I admit I’ve kind of fallen off the retro review bandwagon myself, but I’ll try to get some new ones up soon.

  2. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar

    I liked the Porter & Dolly duet, but the other three singles left me cold – I suppose it was inevitable that Dolly would make a pop turn but she certainly could have done a better job of choosing material, particularly material that fit her distinctive voice better.

    While Dolly never had one of the better voices (even among her contemporaries, there were seven or eight better voices – Norma Jean , Connie Smith , Bonnie Guitar, Loretta Lynn to name just a few) but her voice was so distinctive that you immediately knew it was Dolly singing

  3. Tom PNo Gravatar

    I disagree that Dolly is not one of the better voices. It really comes down to personal preference. I like Connie, but have always thought her voice was a bit overrated. Just having a power voice does not equal great, but again its all about what moves you when you listen. That being said, I have wondered for years why the two singles from All I can Do were not “Shattered Image” and “Falling Out of Love With Me”. Two of the best songs ever written in my opinion. Maybe one day some newer artist will discover these and other great songs from this very overlooked album.

  4. SheldonNo Gravatar

    Love Dolly, but was never thrilled with Hey, Lucky Lady or All I can Do. I agree with the above comment made by Tom that F|alling Out Of Love With Me should have been a single. Not sure if you know this, Tom, but the group Pinmonkey did record “Falling” with Dolly on harmony quite a few years back… and it is excellent – give it a listen if you haven’t already.

  5. Tom PNo Gravatar

    Sheldon, I have heard that version and you are correct. It is excellent. I just can’t understand why this song has not actually been a hit. It’s probably in my top 5 songs that Dolly has written but never released as a single. Pinmonkey’s version is actully better than the original. Both great though.