Saturday, February 25, 2006

Happenstance

It's been a while since I've blogged and I really have no good reason for not having blogged. I've been at the computer and have had ample time to blog, but I guess I just haven't had much to say these days. I'm getting ready for a stint of overnights at work which always messes with my internal clock more than I care to think about, but it'll be fine.

The other day, I pulled the 1987 Dolly Parton CD Rainbow off the shelf and imported it into iTunes. This CD has the distinction of being the most expensive single CD I've ever purchased. This all-pop album, which bombed bigger than life for Dolly nearly 20 years ago (egads! where has the time gone?) and has been out of print for just about as long. And since 1987 was toward the beginning of the CD age, the CD version is especially difficult to come by. The Iowa City Public Library had a copy of it that I checked out numerous times while I lived in Iowa City. Just as music was starting to make the jump from CDs to mp3s and other digital files, I decided that I wanted to get a copy of this CD, so I went to eBay to see what I could find. I found a few copies there, so I went ahead and bid on one, only to lose it in the last minute of the auction (imagine that--like that ever happens on eBay!)

My next auction I was a little more fortunate, except for the fact that I got in a bidding war with someone toward the end of the auction. I think I ended up spending somewhere between 50 and 60 dollars for the CD -- insane, I know! -- but I'd procured a copy of the CD. If I had only waited 6 more months, by then I was fully into Napster and the mp3 revolution, and all I would have had to do was check out the CD from the Iowa City Public Library and voila -- I'd have a copy. Still, I don't have all that many regrets about spending the money. Even though I buy a majority of my music through iTunes these days, there's still something about having the CD to hold in your hand along with all the accompanying artwork that goes along with it (and believe me, the artwork in this one is cheesy with a capital C.)

Rainbow is Dolly at her cheesiest. I almost wrote that it was the nadir of her career, but I don't think that's entirely true either. The trouble with the CD is that it has a very "phoned-in" feel to it -- almost as if Dolly laid down the vocals and the instrumentation was completely changed from what it originally was. Almost every song has this "lost in a wind tunnel" quality to it, with Dolly's vocals relegated to the background and crappy 80s synths layered to hell over the top of it. It contains her single most embarrassing song "Dump The Dude" in which Dolly opines "Girl, I know you think this is none of my business/But the fact that we're friends makes it my business/I care about you, and I ain't preachin'/But I think you shoud dump the dude." At least she didn't write it.

I talk rather harshly about a CD that I coughed up 60 bucks for, but I love the cheesiness of it. I love the cheesball song "Savin' It For You" which she sang on her TV show from right around the same time. But perhaps what I love most about it is it reminds me of my first semester at Iowa -- just like Madonna's Erotica CD does -- and the memories that it evokes more than make up for the bad songwriting and dated production. And the funny thing is, that when the album was released in 1987, I could have easily bought it then. I mean, I liked Dolly even back then, but for reasons I don't know, I never purchased it. And think if I'd bought it back then, I'd have a whole different set of memories associated with it. It was just happenstance that I didn't discover it until I was 20 rather than when I was 15.

Anyway, enough of my mindless babbling about Dolly. Here, enjoy this video from You Tube, which prompted me to import the Rainbow CD to iTunes in the first place. "Savin' It For You" performed live on the Dolly show in 1987. (As is standard operating procedure for most You Tube videos, this can be a bit slow to load, so be patient.)

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