All I Can Do

Album: All I Can Do (1976)
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Songfacts®:

  • That's right, Dolly's in love again - only this time she's afraid to show it in case the feeling isn't mutual. The second single from her 17th solo album, it peaked at #3 on the Country chart.
  • "I remember writing this one because I thought it was such a cute idea," Dolly recalled in her 2020 book, Songteller. "I wrote it on this funky little guitar that has all those decals on it that are so cheap looking. I remember banging on the guitar with my thumb and beating out that rhythm. I was just bopping along with 'It's all I can do, it's all I can do.' I kept on playing that little riff until my thumb got sore. But I played it through, until I got the song wrote."
  • Dolly wrote several other songs on the same guitar, which is adorned with butterfly decals, but it's officially retired. It's kept on display at the Dollywood museum.
  • The album also peaked at #3 on the Country Albums chart, giving Dolly the highest chart position of her solo career until her next album, New Harvest…New Gathering, reached #1.
  • The album earned Dolly a nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance at the 1977 Grammy Awards. She lost to Emmylou Harris for Elite Hotel.
  • Dolly co-produced All I Can Do with Porter Wagoner, her former duet partner/producer she split from in 1974 and the subject of her platonic breakup ballad "I Will Always Love You." The album marks Wagoner's final involvement in Dolly's solo career.
  • The actress Mary Kay Place covered this on her 1976 album, Tonite! At the Capri Lounge: Loretta Haggers, which featured backing vocals from Parton on a few of the tracks. Place played the wannabe country singer Loretta Haggers on the satirical soap opera Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. She also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for the album at the '77 ceremony.

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