October 2: Dolly Parton released Coat of Many Colors in 1971

Coat of Many Colors_Dolly Parton

A new acquaintance in the night
You mean no more to her than all the others she’s held tight
But I know she’s convinced you it was love at first sight
But she’s never met a man she didn’t like


Coat of Many Colors is the eighth solo studio album by Dolly Parton, released in 1971 by RCA Records. The title song, which Parton has described as her favourite of all the songs she’s ever written, deals with the poverty of her childhood. It reached #4 on the U.S. country singles charts.

Dolly Parton – Coat of Many Colors (acoustic):

Over the years, Parton would re-record a number of the songs from the album. She redid “Traveling Man” (not to be confused with the Ricky Nelson song of the same name), a song that involved an unusual love triangle between a travelling salesman, a woman, and her mother, for inclusion on her 1973 album Bubbling Over. She would also re-record her composition “My Blue Tears”, an “old-timey” folk-influenced song, with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt in the mid-1970s, for an ill-fated Trio album project. (The recording would eventually surface on Ronstadt’s 1982 album Get Closer). Parton cut the song for a third time in 2001, including it on her Little Sparrow album. “Early Morning Breeze” later appeared on her 1974 Jolene album.

Dolly Parton – Travelin’ Man:

Beginning with two absolutely classic songs, one about a mother’s love and the next about a mother’s sexuality, and including country music’s answers to “Triad” (“If I Lose My Mind”) and “The Celebration of the Lizard” (“The Mystery of the Mystery”), side one is genius of a purity you never encounter in rock anymore. Overdisc is mere talent, except “She Never Met a Man (She Didn’t Like),” which is more. A-
– Robert Christgau

“A Better Place to Live” was a song very much of its time, dealing with living in a utopian, peaceful world where people love one another, and was very much in the same vein as Jackie DeShannon’s recent hit “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” (which Parton herself would later cover in 1993).

Dolly Parton – A Better Place To Live:

In 2003, the album was ranked number 299 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.  It later made Time Magazine’s 100 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2006.

“…it’s a remarkably consistent album, in terms of songwriting and performances, but also remarkably diverse, revealing that Dolly can handle ballads, country-rockers, tearjerkers, and country-pop with equal aplomb. And while it is very short, clocking in at under a half-hour, there isn’t a wasted moment on the album. It’s a lean, trim album that impresses …”
Thomas Erlewine (allmusic)

Parton wrote 7 of the ten songs on the original album, she is a tremendous singer and songwriter. This is a true country classic!

Dolly Parton – Coat of Many Colors (album) on Spotify:

– Hallgeir

Sources: Wikipedia, Allmusic, Pitchfork

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