Evening Shade

Album: My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy (1969)
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  • In this track from her fourth solo album, Dolly Parton imagines herself as a troubled child living at a juvenile corrections facility called Evening Shade, where cruel Mrs. Bailey reigns with an iron fist. When a little girl is nearly whipped to death for peeing her bed, the kids hatch a deadly revenge scheme. "We all kind of get together and rebel against the whole system. We burn the whole place down: 'Evening Shade was burning, just like the Hell it was,'" Dolly explained in her 2020 book, Songteller. "Now I'm not advocating violence of any kind. It's just a song. And I can get away with that in a song."
  • Evening Shade is also the name of a town in Arkansas, which was the setting for a '90s sitcom of the same name.
  • In order to connect with the stories she tells, Dolly often sings from the perspective of the characters in her songs; she's been a child, a prostitute ("My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy"), a gold digger ("I'll Oil Wells Love You"), a drifter ("Gypsy, Joe And Me"), and an alcoholic ("Wino"), among other roles. She explained in Songteller: "One of the reasons I love being a songwriter is because I become all of these characters I write about. It satisfies my restless soul and keeps me out of trouble. Because I can just be whatever I want to be."
  • Bob Ferguson produced all of Dolly's RCA albums until the mid-'70s, including her duet albums with Porter Wagoner (who was also an uncredited producer on the albums, including her solo output). Also a songwriter, Ferguson penned the country classics "The Carroll County Accident" and "Wings Of A Dove."


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