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Coat of Many Colors is the eighth solo studio album by American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton. It was released on October 4, 1971, by RCA Victor.[1] The album was nominated for Album of the Year at the 1972 CMA Awards. It also appeared on Time Magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Albums of All Time and at No. 301 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Parton has cited the title track on numerous occasions as her personal favorite of all the songs she has written.

Coat of Many Colors
CoatofManyColors.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 4, 1971
RecordedOctober 30, 1969–April 16, 1971
StudioRCA Studio B {Nashville)
GenreCountry
Length27:26
LabelRCA Victor
ProducerBob Ferguson
Dolly Parton chronology
The Best of Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton
(1971)
Coat of Many Colors
(1971)
The Right Combination • Burning the Midnight Oil
(1972)
Singles from Coat of Many Colors
  1. "My Blue Tears"
    Released: June 21, 1971
  2. "Coat of Many Colors"
    Released: October 4, 1971

The album was reissued on cassette in Canada in 1985.[2] It was reissued on CD for the first time in 1999.[3] It was reissued on CD in Europe in 2001 with 1971's Joshua.[4] The album was reissued on CD again in 2007 featuring four previously unreleased tracks.[5] In 2010, Sony Music reissued the 2007 CD in a triple-feature set with 1973's My Tennessee Mountain Home and 1974's Jolene.[6]

Contents

ContentEdit

 
The "Coat of Many Colors" on display at the Chasing Rainbows museum at Dollywood.

The album's title track, "Coat of Many Colors", tells of how Parton's mother stitched together a coat for her daughter out of rags given to the family. As she sewed, she told her child the biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. The excited child, "with patches on my britches and holes in both my shoes," rushed to school, "just to find the others laughing and making fun of me" for wearing a coat made of rags. "Traveling Man" involves an unusual love triangle between a traveling salesman, a woman, and her mother. The album was written entirely by Parton except for three tracks written by Porter Wagoner.

Over the years, Parton would re-record a number of songs from the album. "Traveling Man" was re-recorded in 1973 for Parton's Bubbling Over album. "My Blue Tears" was re-recorded in 1978 with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt for an ill-fated Trio album project. The recording would eventually surface on Ronstadt's 1982 album Get Closer. Parton also cut the song for a third time, including it on her 2001 album, Little Sparrow. Parton re-recorded "Early Morning Breeze" for 1974's Jolene and again for inclusion as a bonus track on the Walmart edition of her 2014 album, Blue Smoke. The bonus track "My Heart Started Breaking" was later re-recorded and included on Parton's 1975 album, Dolly. Parton re-recorded "Here I Am" as a duet with Sia for the 2018 soundtrack album, Dumplin'.

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [7]
Christgau's Record GuideA–[8]
Music Box     [9]
Pitchfork Media(7.0/10)[10]
Stylus Magazine(A-)[11]
Uncut     [12]

The review published in the October 16, 1971 issue of Billboard said, "The top stylist's new single, the touching ballad "Coat of Many Colors", kicks off what should prove to be her biggest selling album to date. Most of the material is her own, with a few strong numbers penned by Porter Wagoner. The recent hit single, "My Blue Tears", is spotlighted along with other standouts such as "She Never Met a Man" and "The Way I See You"."[13]

Cashbox published a review in the October 9, 1971 issue, which said, "It's hard to believe it's possible, but Dolly's releases still get better and better each time you listen and each time a new one hits the market. This one's another bulleye–with her new single as the title track and her previous hit "My Blue Tears" for drawing power, an extraordinary self-penned tune (even for Dolly) in "She Never Met a Man (She Didn't Like)" for programming appeal and a trio of Porter Wagoner tunes to put the icing on the country cake. Bound for top chart honors."[14]

Robert Christgau's review in his 1981 book, Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies, said, "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."[8]

In 2007, John Metzger, reviewing for The Music Box, said that the album "firmly remains the artistic pinnacle of her career" because it is "brave, bold, and emotionally pure."[9]

Writing for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave the album five stars and said that the album "announced Parton as a major talent in her own right, not merely a duet partner."[7]

Commercial performanceEdit

The album peaked at No. 7 on the US Billboard Hot Country LP's chart.

The album's first single, "My Blue Tears", was released in June 1971[15][16] and peaked at No. 17 on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and No. 4 in Canada on the RPM Country Singles chart. The second single, "Coat of Many Colors", was released in October 1971[17][18] and peaked at No. 4 on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and No. 15 in Canada on the RPM Country Singles chart. It peaked at No. 60 in Australia.

AccoladesEdit

The album was nominated for Album of the Year at the 1972 Country Music Association Awards.[19]

In 2006, the album appeared on Time Magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Albums of All Time. In May 2012, the album was ranked No. 301 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[20] In 2017, National Public Radio ranked the album No. 11 on their list of the 150 greatest albums made by women.[21]

RecordingEdit

Recording sessions for the album took place at RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 16 and 27, 1971. Three tracks on the album were recording during sessions for previous albums. "She Never Met a Man (She Didn't Like)" and "A Better Place to Live" were recorded during the October 30, 1969 session for 1970's The Fairest of Them All and "Early Morning Breeze" was recorded during the January 26, 1971 session for 1971's Joshua.

Track listingEdit

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."Coat of Many Colors"Dolly PartonApril 27, 19713:05
2."Traveling Man"PartonApril 16, 19712:40
3."My Blue Tears"PartonApril 16, 19712:16
4."If I Lose My Mind"Porter WagonerApril 27, 19712:29
5."The Mystery of the Mystery"WagonerApril 27, 19712:28
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."She Never Met a Man (She Didn't Like)"PartonOctober 30, 19692:41
2."Early Morning Breeze"PartonJanuary 26, 19712:54
3."The Way I See You"WagonerApril 27, 19712:46
4."Here I Am"PartonApril 27, 19713:19
5."A Better Place to Live"PartonOctober 30, 19692:39

PersonnelEdit

Adapted from the album liner notes and RCA recording session records.[1]

  • David Briggs – piano
  • Jerry Carrigan – drums
  • Pete Drake – steel
  • Bobby Dyson – bass
  • Bob Ferguson – producer
  • Johnny Gimble – fiddle
  • Dave Kirby – guitar
  • Les Leverett – photograph of cover painting
  • Mack Magaha – fiddle
  • George McCormick – guitar
  • The Nashville Edition – background vocals
  • Al Pachucki – recording engineer
  • Dolly Parton – lead vocals, liner notes
  • Hargus Robbins – piano
  • Billy Sanford – guitar
  • Roy Shockley – recording technician
  • Jerry Shook – guitar
  • Buddy Spicher – fiddle
  • Buck Trent – electric banjo

ChartsEdit

Album

Chart (1971) Peak
position
US Hot Country LP's (Billboard)[22] 7

Singles

Title Year Peak position
US
Country

[23]
CAN
Country

[24]
AUS
"My Blue Tears" 1971 17 4
"Coat of Many Colors" 4 15 60

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Title Label Ref.
Various October 4, 1971 Coat of Many Colors RCA Victor [1]
Canada 1985 Cassette Coat of Many Colors RCA [2]
Various August 24, 1999 CD Coat of Many Colors [3]
Europe July 28, 2001 CD Joshua / Coat of Many Colors Camden Deluxe [4]
Various September 21, 2010 3xCD Coat of Many Colors / My Tennessee Mountain Home / Jolene Sony [6]
Various Unknown Digital download Coat of Many Colors Buddha [25]


ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Dolly Parton - Coat Of Many Colors". Discogs. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Dolly Parton - Coat Of Many Colors (Cassette)". Discogs. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Dolly Parton - Coat Of Many Colors (1999 CD)". Discogs. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Joshua & Coat of Many Colors: Amazon.co.uk". www.amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Coat of Many Colors (2007 CD UK)". www.amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Dolly Parton - Coat of Many Colors / My Tennessee Mountain Home / Jolene - Amazon.com Music". www.amazon.com. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  7. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Coat of Many Colors at AllMusic
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: P". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 10, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  9. ^ a b Metzger, John (April 2007). "Dolly Parton - Coat of Many Colors (Album Review)". musicbox-online.com. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  10. ^ Wolk, Douglas (April 13, 2007). "Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Dolly Parton: Coat of Many Colors / My Tennessee Mountain Home / Jolene". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  11. ^ Voegtlin, Stewart (25 May 2007). "Dolly Parton - Coat of Many Colors - Review - Stylus Magazine". stylusmagazine.com. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  12. ^ Alastair McKay Uncut, May 2007, Issue 120
  13. ^ "Billboard - October 16, 1971" (PDF). American Radio History. Billboard. p. 39. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Cashbox - October 9, 1971" (PDF). American Radio History. Cashbox. p. 31. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Billboard - June 26, 1971" (PDF). American Radio History. Billboard. p. 58. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  16. ^ "Dolly Parton - My Blue Tears". Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  17. ^ "Billboard - October 9, 1971" (PDF). American Radio History. Billboard. p. 56. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Dolly Parton - Coat Of Many Colors". Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  19. ^ "Past Winners And Nominees". CMA Awards. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  20. ^ "500 Greatest Albums: Coat of Many Colors - Dolly Parton | Rolling Stone Music | Lists". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  21. ^ "The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women". npr.com. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  22. ^ "Dolly Parton Chart History - Top Country Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  23. ^ "Dolly Parton Chart History - Hot Country Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  24. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Results: RPM Weekly". www.bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  25. ^ "Coat Of Many Colors (Digital download)". Buddha. 24 August 1999. Retrieved 27 May 2019.