Day 27: The Coronavirus Countdown - 100 Days of Great Music

A couple of great selections today, but we'll highlight Chuck's pick here.

He's bringing you the "Ultimate Dolly Parton" collection from 2003 today to give you a sense of just how her talent evolved through the years. Of course, the only way to give a completely definitive review of an artist with a 50-plus-year recording career like Dolly is the box set treatment. That being said, the 20 selections here do a fine job of taking you through the prime years of her career, and there's nothing here that's not definitive.

Our bonus pick today is to introduce you to another hitmaker from the Parton family. Two of Dolly's siblings - brother Randy and sister Stella - scored with Top 40 hits on Billboard's country chart. Stella even scored a Top 10 hit with "I Want To Hold You In My Dreams Tonight" in 1975. She also made appearances on television including an early episode of "The Dukes Of Hazzard" ("Deputy Dukes" in 1979). Renaissance Records' 1998 "Anthology" is a good place to start reviewing Stella's recording career, and it's your bonus pick of the day.

- Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb


Dolly Parton

Ultimate Dolly Parton (2003)

Why I Love It

The music of Dolly Parton was yet another fixture in my household when I was growing up. My parents, who rarely went to concerts, saw Dolly with Porter Wagoner in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. She is one of the first artists I can remember hearing as a kid, so it's safe to say that I have been a fan for pretty much my entire life. Although she has plenty of great albums, I wanted to include a greatest hits package to show her progression as an artist over the years. She is my all-time favorite female vocalist and a hell of a songwriter. So much talent it's hard to fathom.

Album Highlights

"Jolene," "I Will Always Love You" and "Islands in the Stream"

Kendall on Chuck's Album of the Day

Like Chuck, I grew up with Dolly Parton's music a fixture in our household, and I've remained a fan all through the years. My personal favorite is "Coat Of Many Colors," a song that explains Parton's Appalachian back story in a similar way to Loretta Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter." Parton was clearly paying attention to the small details even as a child, and this collection highlights just how well that eye for detail served her through the years as a songwriter. The fact that she was one of the great vocalists of all-time in any genre just underscores what a rare all-around talent she is in the history of country and popular music.


Nick Drake

Five Leaves Left (1969)

Why I Love It

Nick Drake's story is another tragic chapter in rock-and-roll's long history of young artists dying before their time due to substance abuse.

In Drake's case, his premature death came at the age of 26, the result of an overdose on a prescribed antidepressant. By then, Drake had released three critically-acclaimed albums that, nevertheless, only sold a few thousand combined copies in his lifetime. But they present an artist on record who was wise beyond his years as a songwriter, and who knew how to make an album in the studio. "Five Leaves Left" is his debut album, and it is a gorgeous record filled with beautiful melodies and sparse arrangements that really put Drake's talents front and center. It's an album I regularly listen to, and if you are a fan of the singer-songwriter aesthetic, you'll find Drake's first three albums worth a listen. Start here at the beginning.

Album Highlights

"Day Is Done," "The Thoughts Of Mary Jane" and "Saturday Sun"

Chuck on Kendall's Album of the Day

Wow. I knew Nick Drake's name, but I honestly hadn't sat down and listened to much of his music. Shame on me. This is a spectacular album that is among the all-time great debuts. It's a moody, soft-spoken masterpiece that I will now listen to on a regular basis. I can't wait to hear his other two records.

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