Tag Archives: Little Texas

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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“Say What?” Classic – Harlan Howard

why-not-meHarlan Howard is one of the most distinguished songwriters in country music history. When interviewed about his #1 hit for the Judds (“Why Not Me”), he made an interesting statement about the need for repeating certain titles throughout a song:

“Why Not Me” wasn’t a great title. To get a really good record, you’ve gotta write a hell of a song when you’re dealing with a title that average. The only thing I know to do with songs like “Why Not Me” and “Busted” – which I never thought was a good title – is to put the title in there often so that people remember it. The weaker the title, the more you gotta hear it.”

“Why Not Me” earned the Judds the Country Duo/Group Grammy and the CMA award for Single of the Year. “Busted” was hit for both Johnny Cash with the Carter Family in the sixties and John Conlee in the eighties. Both songs feature the titles repeated endlessly.

I think this quote is fascinating because it provides a window into how two songs from different eras were crafted by the same writer. I never noticed the similarities before reading the quote.

I’d also add that the Little Texas hit “My Love” and the Brooks & Dunn hit “That’s What It’s All About” show how the rule can be taken too far, in my opinion, and turn into just an annoying song.

What do you think?

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