My Kind of Country

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

Classic Rewind: Holly Dunn – ‘That’s What Your Love Does To Me/Traveler’s Prayer’

13 responses to “Classic Rewind: Holly Dunn – ‘That’s What Your Love Does To Me/Traveler’s Prayer’

  1. luckyoldsun October 8, 2015 at 12:16 am

    Super clip!
    You can figure that anything that starts out with Johnny and June and Roy Clark is going to be good.
    I don’t think I appreciated Holly Dunn nearly enough when she was making this music.
    Helluva bluegrass song by Billy Joel, by the way. (lol)

  2. Paul W Dennis October 10, 2015 at 8:11 am

    I really liked Holly Dunn thought she had big star potential. That unfortunately never happened

  3. luckyoldsun October 10, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Holly Dunn was a fairly consistent top-10 artist in the late ’80s–1990. But she had a bizarre, unfortunate incident with a song called “Maybe I Mean Yes.” It was a rather innocent song about feminine coyness–but literal-minded self-appointed “critics” decided that the lyrics were an endorsement of date-rape. If I recall correctly, her record label was pressured into pulling the single while it was still climbing the chart.
    It completely derailed her. I don’t think she ever had a hit after that.

    • Paul W Dennis October 11, 2015 at 6:53 am

      It did derail her career and I think a lot of people lost respect for her in caving in and allowing her label to withdraw the song.

      The “political correctness thought police” need to be fought at every turn or what you wind up with is blatant censorship

      • ken October 11, 2015 at 9:59 am

        I respectfully disagree regarding “Maybe I Mean Yes.” There is a HUGE difference between political correctness and a failure to understand the implication of perpetuating a harmful myth. When girls say “no” they do not mean “yes.” NEVER. To assume otherwise or to encourage others to believe otherwise is not just wrong but harmful. I’m sure that any woman who has been a victim of date rape did not mean “yes.” I doubt that any man with a daughter would embrace that concept either. Perhaps because Holly Dunn is gay she did not connect the dots. Unfortunately neither did her two male co-writers Tom Shapiro and Holly’s brother Chris Waters. It make you wonder what were they thinking when they wrote it. Same question for those at Warner Brothers that endorsed the single release.

        As I recall nobody lost respect for her when promotional efforts for the song were abandoned. First of all she had no voice in what Warner Brothers could or could not do. As a lower-tier artist she did not have the clout at her label to the extent that an artist of Garth Brooks’s stature could. However many of the decision makers in radio thought the single was ill-chosen to begin with. Several women that I talked with about the song at that time liked the catchy melody but disliked the lyrics and could not understand why a woman would sing them! As a programmer it made no sense to me to alienate at least 50 percent of my audience with a song that insulted them. Radio largely withdrew support for the song and Warner Brothers realized they would be beating a dead horse to attempt to continue.

        “Maybe I Mean Yes” followed Holly’s previous unsuccessful single “Heart Full Of Love.” Two songs earlier her single “My Anniversary For Being A Fool” stalled outside of the top 40 so her career had already slowed. Perhaps a better chosen single may have extended her hit making years slightly but she was already losing career momentum by 1990. She was a talented singer/songwriter but never broke through into the upper tier of country stars. Not to mention the competition from brand new acts for airplay during the “hot country” era of the early 90’s was fierce.

        • luckyoldsun October 11, 2015 at 11:27 am

          This is the first I’ve heard that Holly Dunn is gay.
          Clearly “Maybe I Mean Yes” does not work in the current climate.
          But I think the female character in the song is simply saying to her pursuer “Just because I’m saying ‘No’ now, doesn’t mean I can’t change my mind or I don’t want you to keep trying.” She’s not endorsing physical assault.
          Gosh, song lyrics have pretty much “endorsed” out-and-out murder of betrayers going back to before Jimmie Rodgers. I wonder how Tom Jones (“Delilah”), Johnny Cash–and Harry Belafonte, Bobby Bare, Waylon Jennings–(“Delia’s Gone”) etc. would fare under the “take lyrics literally” standard.
          Or what would happen if a pop group tried to put out a song with the lyrics “I’d rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man…..Run for your life if you can little girl….catch you with another man….you’ll be dead.” OK, come to think of it, it’s amazing that that lyric was OK.

        • Paul W Dennis October 11, 2015 at 10:10 pm

          Ken- we will have to disagree on “Maybe I mean Yes”

          It was a good song that several stations down here had labelled as their “Pick Hit” and was receiving very heavy airplay down here. The song no more perpetuated a myth than any other song, unless one chooses to read far too much into the lyrics

          Several songs in past were similarly excoriated, including Napoleon XIV’s “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha Ha” and Leroy Van Dyke’s “If A Woman Answers”.

          A more recent example was Doug Supernaw’s “What’ll You Do About Me” which had been recorded by McGuffey Lane, The Forester Sisters, Steve Earle and Randy Travis previously, but when sung by Supernaw was attached by feminists as being a song about stalking.

          What happened to Ms. Dunn was blatant censorship. The market should have determined the song’s fate, not the feigned sensitivities of any special interest group. The song was killed from above and locally programmers here were disgusted by WB’s actions (and by Holly’s wimpy refusal to fight for her song), and refused to play any of her subsequent material. One local DJ of my acquaintance advised that the station ordered that the song not be played even when requested and it was in the station’s top ten most-requested songs at the time.

          I wasn’t actually aware Dunn was gay, although I suspected as much (not that I really cared). I think I have all of her albums (except her gospel CD) and they are filled with a lot of great songs. No she wasn’t a top tier artist, but she deserved a better fate.

          Fortunately, she had other artistic skills that enabled her to forge another career
          .

        • ken October 12, 2015 at 9:29 pm

          Actually the song was not killed from above but because of it’s content. Enough stations obviously had negative feedback – most likely from their female listeners – that the song lost momentum. When a song hits the wall the record label moves on to the next project. That’s how the record business is done in the free market. Not every song released becomes a hit. And in this case the market DID determine the songs fate. Stations can choose to program or not program any song that they wish. Labels cannot make any station stop playing a song any more than they can make them play a song to begin with. Individual stations make that decision.

          There was no special interest group or censorship involved here unless you consider women to be a special interest group. The fact that your DJ friend couldn’t play the record when requested was due to his own radio station’s policy not the work of some extremist entity. It was another example of the free market at work because that station set it’s own rules regarding airplay and they chose to not play it. It does seem odd to me that if a song was one of that stations top ten requested songs that they would drop it from their playlist. But they had the free market right to their decision.

          The words “when I say no maybe I mean yes” are abundantly clear and don’t require you to read much into them. Ask ten women at random what it means and you may be surprised.

        • luckyoldsun October 13, 2015 at 1:22 am

          At the risk of beating a dead horse, I’ll still argue that the meaning of the words “when I say no maybe I mean yes” is hardly “abundantly” clear. I don’t believe that the lyric countenances rape. The woman is simply saying that she enjoys being pursued and may yet change her mind–and is encouraging the guy not to give up. To prior generations, this would have been a totally innocuous song about the “games people play.”
          Obviously, in the political climate of the 1990s–and which persists to this day–many listeners project a sinister meaning onto the song and it becomes unacceptable. But that “literal” interpretation is hardly the only interpretation–or the natural one.

      • ken October 13, 2015 at 10:14 am

        “I’ll still argue that the meaning of the words “when I say no maybe I mean yes” is hardly “abundantly” clear.”

        Perhaps if you were a woman you wouldn’t be so sure of that. The song says what it says and that meaning can indeed be taken both ways. The problem is that one of those ways is not acceptable to reasonable people.

        • Leeann Ward October 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm

          I can’t speak for all women and I can’t speak for the time of the controversy, but as a woman, I have to back Ken up here.

        • luckyoldsun October 13, 2015 at 7:47 pm

          Here’s the actual lyric–Everyone can make their own judgment.

          When you asked me out and I turned you down,
          Never thought that’d stop you from askin’ now.
          Why’d you go and give up so easily?
          I thought you’d see …

          CHORUS: When I say no I mean maybe.
          Baby don’t you know me yet?
          Nothin’s worth havin’ if it ain’t a little hard to get.
          So let me clarify so you won’t have to try to guess.
          When I say no I mean maybe, or maybe I mean yes.

          Ever since woman has talked to man, Every man’s been tryin’
          to understand. What’s the harm in a little mystery?
          That’s how it should be.

          It seems like a crazy way to be,
          But it makes perfect sense to me.

  4. luckyoldsun October 12, 2015 at 11:36 am

    PD–
    I thought Doug Supernaw was really good, but just about every one of his singles managed to draw complaints for trampling on someone’s sensitivities. I recall reading that “I Don’t Call Him Daddy” drew complaints from some organization of step-parents/families; the song “Reno”–with the lyric “You know the Lady’s a lot like Reno, She ain’t got a heart, And she don’t care when your down” offended some people from……..well, Reno; and “State Fair” did not pass muster with MADD or SADD or some other anti-drunk driving groups. Those songs at least did become hits for him, but I think “What’ll You Do About Me” was too explicitly threatening and it’s not surprising that it proved to be a no-go.
    I hope Supernaw has gotten help and pulled himself together because the last thing I read about him, several years ago, indicated that he’d had a very serious mental breakdown and had run-ins with the law.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: