My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review – Dolly Parton – ‘Here You Come Again’

By the time Here You Come Again was released October 29, 1977, Dolly Parton had angered her core fan base by embracing the slickly produced sound she played around with on New Harvest…First Gathering. It also proved a viable career move, as the album became her first to go platinum for sales of 1,000,000 copies. But quantity doesn’t always match quality – the majority of fans regard Here You Come Again as a dud.  Of course, Parton isn’t the first, and certainly not the last, country singer to embrace a more “produced” sound. But for all the talk of Parton going pop, “Here You Come Again” proved her automatic add status at country radio – the title track spent five weeks at #1 on the singles chart and the album spent 35 weeks in the top ten and nine of those at number one on the album chart.

The title cut, one of her only big hits she didn’t have a hand in writing, would go on to win Parton the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1978. But it was the crossover appeal of the music that got most upset – the title track would go on to peak at #3 on the pop singles chart.  Following the massive success of “Here You Come Again,” on the pop chart, Parton’s label decided to sell her again to the mainstream audience by re-recording “Two Doors Down,” the album’s second and final single, with a looser arrangement. This new arrangement would replace the original on all subsequent pressings of the album.

The idea was to release “Two Doors Down” to the pop market, and ship “It’s All Wrong But It’s Alright” to country radio. The plan backfired, as “Two Doors Down” only peaked in the top 20 on the pop chart yet topped the country charts. “It’s All Wrong,” never received any pop airplay at all, but was another country #1.

Looking beyond the singles, Here You Come Again is largely forgotten today. If I’d heard “Me and Little Andy” out of context, I’d have a difficult time believing it was Parton. The childish vocal retains none of the charm and innocence she brought to classics like “Coat of Many Colors” or “Jolene.” One the other hand, “The Cowgirl and The Dandy,” preserves more of Parton’s country roots, but would’ve worked a lot more had it been blanked in an acoustic arrangement. The background singers only serve as a distraction from the sentiment of the song. “Lovin’ You” has a bouncy feel to it but you forget it as soon as it ends. “God’s Coloring Book,” a song about taking a walk and noticing all the colors around you, employs a been-there-done-that theme and comes up short in effecting a display of spirituality.

Her cover of Kenny Rogers’ “Sweet Music Man,” which he took to #9 that year, is very good although I’ll always prefer Reba McEntire’s Alison Krauss-produced version from 2002. McEntire had the right arrangement to bring that song to life. But my favorite, and a bright spot among the non-singles is “As Soon As I Touch Him.” It’s the rare exception of a pop power ballad that actually works. It may be a far cry from her country roots, but if she had to go pop, this is how it should’ve been done.

In the end, it’s easy to see why Here You Come Again ranks low in Parton’s discography. The slicker sound casts Parton in a new and unflattering light. The title track will always be a classic, but that remains a shining moment in a ten-song collection marred by poor production choices that fails to fulfill the promise Parton set with her earlier, and much better, solo work.

Grade: C+

Here You Come Again is currently out of print, but can be easily found used on Amazon.com

15 responses to “Album Review – Dolly Parton – ‘Here You Come Again’

  1. Razor X July 18, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I think this album is actually one of her better crossover efforts. I like it better than New Harvest … First Gathering or the next few albums that followed it.

  2. J.R. Journey July 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I liked all 3 singles from this – the title track is one of my favorite Parton songs – plus “The Cowgirl and the Dandy”, “Baby Come Out Tonight” and even her take on “Sweet Music Man”. I actively dislike “Me and Little Andy” (as most do I guess) but I agree with Rob this is one of her better crossover efforts. I actually prefer Dolly, Dolly, Dolly to this one, but the production issues that plague the former aren’t a big deal here. The material is simply stronger on Dolly, Dolly, Dolly IMO.

  3. Razor X July 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    With respect to the re-recording of “Two Doors Down”, that was done because Dolly wasn’t happy with the way the original version turned out, so she re-recorded it and included the new version on subsequent pressings of the album. The original version can be heard on the Australian compilation The Legendary Dolly Parton.

  4. Paul W Dennis July 18, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    This was one of the few albums I’ve ever purchased that I subsequently jetisoned. The title song was (just barely) passable and the rest of the album was second-rate pop music. While I heard a lot of Dolly’s music in the ensuing years (a lot of my friends remained Dolly fans and bought her albums so I heard them all) , it wasn’t until 1991’s EAGLE WHEN SHE FLIES that I would purchase another Dolly album of new material. In 1994 I bought HEARTSONGS and since then I’ve picked up several of her albums, particularly the more acoustic sets.

    This album was no better than a D+ . The songs she murdered on DOLLY DOLLY DOLLY were better songs than these but by then I’d lost interest in her music. It would be along time before I would return to
    the fold, not that I have to the extent of before 1977

  5. Nicolas July 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I hate Me and Little Andy

  6. Michael A. July 20, 2011 at 12:48 am

    I’m curious to hear her take on “Sweet Music Man”. It’s not available digitally (on iTunes) and used copies of the original album on CD are pricey on Amazon. Anyone know if it’s on any (more reasonably priced) compilations?

  7. Joey November 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    While not one of her stronger albums, I do find some gems in it, although her original recording of “God’s Coloring Book,” unreleased until 2009’s 4-CD box set from RCA, is far superior. A story she told Larry King about “Me And Little Andy” sums up my feelings – “A fan came up to me about that song and said ‘Didja have to kill the damn dog too?'”

    Her pop-crossover years didn’t provide as many strong full-length albums as her earlier years and the years from White Limozeen and beyond, but there are still some great gems to be found on those long-forgotten albums. “Do You Think That Time Stands Still” from the Great Balls Of Fire album is one of my favorites to this day.

  8. Michael July 29, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Couldn’t agree less. Your review is from a marketing angle. F all that. I dare you to listen again and not get hooked. Since when is good production, slick, listen to every over produced U2 album.

    Further, listen to the intro on Here You Come Again. That piano sound is one of a kind by the producer putting masking tape on the keys. And a side note, a real unknown kid named David Foster was playing the piano. The producer recognized his talent giving him an early gig.

    Two Doors Down Dolly came up with and it was innovative. It was a little big country a little but Rick N Roll.

    Let’s not forget Mr. Country himself Willie Nelson. The guy drives a Rolls Royce, wears a gold Rolex and during that time had a house in Beverly Hills. Guess he wasn’t country either.

    Your review is surface mumbo jumbo. You really don’t know the history of this great song.

  9. Michael July 29, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Here You Come Again arguabley was the beginning of country becoming mainstream. It was a smash for a reason. Killer song. She sang great. Arrangement was knockout and I disagree. Production on that song is perfect. It’s why Streisand then called the producer to do her next album. Subsequently he did three consecutive albums with Ms. Streisand. The only producer to do more than one. Barbra is a perfectionist. He passed her test three albums over four years. And before Here You Come Again he produced Glen Campbell’s Southern Nights. Allen Toussant has said many times it was the best recording of that song he’d ever heard. Pop? Yes. And it made Allen a fortune and was Glen’s last time on the pop charts.

    Please do your homework before reviewing or giving opinions. I’m all cool with an opinion. But not coming off like a journalist because you don’t know enough. Going ahead, give Here you Come Agsin another listen. Blast it. If that’s not a smash I don’t know what is. McCartney was asked wjatva good song? He answered one that people buy a lot of. Here You Come Again is now used on X Factor, American Idol etc.

    • Occasional Hope July 30, 2017 at 5:26 am

      Actually, Jonathan called the song a classic, and a “shining moment” on the album. It was most of the rest of it he didn’t like.

    • Paul W Dennis July 30, 2017 at 9:08 am

      If sales is the criterion for a great song then “Achy Breaky Heart” , “Sugar, Sugar” and “Honey” must be immortal classics”

      Streisand is a classic vocalist and perhaps a perfectionist, but according to many sources she can be very difficult to work with, and like Dolly, has produced many inferior albums of unworthy material

      Also, please do your homework before commenting. “Southern Nights was Glen Campbell’s last #1 but not his last record to chart. He continued to chart on the pop, adult contemporary and country charts for a number of years thereafter

  10. Michael November 30, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Paul – I stand corrected. Southern Nights was Campbell’s last #1 charted single on the pop charts. My apology on that point. However, on the point that “Here You Come Again” is forgotten? It wouldn’t have been used on the X Factor or Idol nor mentioned by Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson as a song that inspired them to become singers themselves. I agree. A lot is forgotten in what is left of the music business today. Most artists are forgotten before we get a chance to remember them at this point. I agree that Southern Nights the album could have been stronger. However, Sunflower is solid. And again, “Here You Come Again” is such a classic that that one song alone is worth the price of the album. And there are some of the great future music stars like David Foster playing on that album. Therefore, for someone who wants to learn something about music it is an interesting album to read the credits as you listen along.

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