DOLLY PARTON – JUST BECAUSE I’M A WOMAN
Released May 4, 1968 – 48 years ago
Parton’s sophomore release and major label debut is generally considered one of her best early albums, showcasing her talent as both a singer and songwriter. A honky tonk album from a female perspective dealing with sexuality, illegitimate pregnancy, and even suicide, it was edgy for a country record in 1968. Catchy as hell, it stands up remarkably well decades after its release.
The Classic Pick is a weekly feature at 4pm M-F on The Home Stretch, sponsored by the Good Oak Bar and curated by Kris Kerry. Each Monday at 4pm Kris stops by KXCI’s studio to give us insight on this classic album at 91.3FM and kxci.org.
The fourth of twelve children, Dolly Rebecca Parton was born January 19, 1946 (now 70), in a very small town in eastern rural Tennessee. A born performer, she was appearing on local radio and television programs by the time she was 10 years old. In 1964, the day she graduated from high school, she moved to Nashville and soon found work as a songwriter.
Within three years, at the tender age of 21, she released her debut, Hello, I’m Dolly (1967), on a small Nashville-based label. Later that same year, she found herself a featured performer on the The Porter Wagner Show, a weekly syndicated TV show. Wagner was impressed with Parton, and with his assistance he was able to get Parton signed to his label, RCA Victor. It was this release, Just Because I’m A Woman, that really kick-started Parton’s career as a solo artist. She continued to perform and record with Wagner for years to come.
Recorded in less than two weeks in December of 1967 at RCA Studio “B” in Nashville, Just Because I’m A Woman was produced by Bob Ferguson. Ferguson, both a songwriter and producer, is generally credited with helping to establish Nashville, Tennessee, as a center of country music. As a senior producer at RCA in the 1950s and early 1960s, he helped create the “Nashville Sound.” Ferguson worked for nearly 30 years at RCA’s Studio “B,” producing hundreds of albums for Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins, Porter Wagner, Connie Smith, Charlie Pride, and Jerry Reed among others.
Unusual for the late ’60s, particularly in country music, many consider Dolly Parton an early feminist in that her lyrics articulate the realities and perspectives of women.
Over the past 40 years Parton has released over 60 albums that have sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Many of these albums peaked at number 1 on the Billboard country charts, and 25 of these were certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum, producing over 100 singles that charted on Billboard country charts.
Parton is the most honored female country performer of all time. She has won eight Grammy Awards, two Academy Award nominations, ten Country Music Association Awards, seven Academy of Country Music Awards, and three American Music Awards. She has also received 46 Grammy nominations, tying Bruce Springsteen for the most Grammy nominations ever.
In 1999, Parton was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.