The Fairest of Them All (album)

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The Fairest of Them All
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 2, 1970
RecordedSeptember 10, 1968–October 31, 1969
StudioRCA Studio B (Nashville)
LabelRCA Victor
ProducerBob Ferguson
Dolly Parton chronology
My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy
The Fairest of Them All
Porter Wayne and Dolly Rebecca
Singles from The Fairest of Them All
  1. "Daddy Come and Get Me"
    Released: December 15, 1969

The Fairest of Them All is the fifth solo studio album by American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton. It was released on February 2, 1970, by RCA Victor.[1]

The album was reissued on CD in 2010 with Parton's 1972 album, My Favorite Songwriter, Porter Wagoner.[2] It was released as a digital download on January 11, 2011.[3]


Included is "Down from Dover", a song about the misfortune of a pregnant unwed girl, who waits in vain for the baby's father while being shunned by her parents. The song was controversial for the times and Parton has stated in recent interviews that mentor (and uncredited producer) Porter Wagoner told her that she'd never get played on the radio with story songs like that. The song remains a fan favorite and was re-recorded by Parton her 2001 album Little Sparrow with an additional verse that was cut from the original.

Two other story songs, "Robert" and "Daddy Come and Get Me", are distinctive for their themes. The former tells the story of a boy infatuated with a girl, not knowing that they are brother and sister. The story is a true story based on Parton's life, her father had at least one child with another woman. The latter is a haunting tale, co-written with Dorothy Jo Hope, Parton's aunt, about a woman begging her father to release her from the mental institution that her cheating husband placed her in.

In a CMT interview with Patty Loveless, Parton joked that it was about the funniest album cover she had ever made, with the largest collar she could find. She said she was trying to look like a fairy tale character. The cover photo was by Bill Goodman, a photographer for the Nashville Banner.

The liner notes for the album are written by Parton’s longtime assistant, friend and confidante, Judy Ogle.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[4]

Billboard's review of the album in the February 14, 1970 issue said, "A very strong album in more ways than one. "Daddy Come and Get Me" is in the traditional jilted love vein, then "Down from Dover" follows. The "Dover" tune is very beautiful and well produced, but the theme is perhaps a little too strong for airplay, even in this day of enlightenment. "Just the Way I Am" is beautiful and not so strong. Dolly Parton is sensational, as usual."[5]

Cashbox published a review in the issue dated February 7, 1970, which said, "Many of Dolly Parton’s male fans will agree that she is "The Fairest of Them All", and all her fans will agree that vocally, she's one of country music's brightest young stars. Teeing off this set with her current single, Dolly goes on to sing a host of strong tunes, most of which are her own compositions. Should be a nice chart spot on tap for this package. Watch it closely for action."[6]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album peaked at No. 13 on the US Billboard Hot Country LP's chart.

The album's only single, "Daddy Come and Get Me", was released in December 1969[7][8] and peaked at No. 40 on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and No. 31 in Canada on the RPM Country Singles chart.


Recording sessions for the album began on September 4, 1969, at RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee. Two additional sessions followed on October 30 and 31. "I'm Doing This for Your Sake" was recorded during the September 10, 1968 session for 1969's In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad). "Mammie" and "But You Loved Me Then" were recorded during sessions for 1969's My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy, on May 13 and 21, 1969, respectively.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."Daddy Come and Get Me"
October 31, 19693:01
2."Chas"PartonOctober 30, 19692:24
3."When Possession Gets Too Strong"
  • Parton
  • Louis Owens
October 31, 19692:04
4."Before You Make Up Your Mind"Bill OwensOctober 31, 19692:10
5."I'm Doing This for Your Sake"PartonSeptember 10, 19682:11
6."But You Loved Me Then"PartonMay 21, 19691:52
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."Just the Way I Am"PartonOctober 31, 19692:28
2."More Than Their Share"PartonOctober 31, 19692:20
3."Mammie"PartonMay 13, 19693:11
4."Down from Dover"PartonSeptember 4, 19693:46
5."Robert"PartonSeptember 4, 19692:39


Adapted from the album liner notes and RCA recording session records.[1]

  • Joseph Babcock – background vocals
  • Jerry Carrigan – drums
  • Dolores Edgin – background vocals
  • Bob Ferguson – producer
  • Bill Goodman – cover photo
  • Lloyd Green – steel
  • Milton Henderson – recording technician
  • Junior Huskey – bass
  • Mack Magaha – fiddle
  • George McCormick – rhythm guitar
  • Wayne Moss – guitar
  • Judy H. Ogle – liner notes
  • Al Pachucki – recording engineer
  • June Page – background vocals
  • Dolly Parton – lead vocals
  • Hargus Robbins – piano
  • Roy Shockley – recording technician
  • Jerry Stembridge – guitar
  • Buck Trent – electric banjo



Chart (1970) Peak
US Hot Country LP's (Billboard)[9] 13


Title Year Peak position


"Daddy Come and Get Me" 1970 40 31

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Title Label Ref.
Various February 2, 1970 LP The Fairest of Them All RCA Victor [1]
United States August 17, 2010 CD The Fairest of Them All / My Favorite Songwriter, Porter Wagoner Omni [2]
Various January 11, 2011 Digital download The Fairest of Them All [3]


  1. ^ a b c "Dolly Parton - The Fairest Of Them All". Discogs. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Dolly Parton - The Fairest Of Them All/My Favorite Songwriter, Porter Wagoner". Discogs. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b "The Fairest Of Them All by Dolly Parton on Amazon Music -". Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  4. ^ The Fairest of Them All at AllMusic
  5. ^ "Billboard - February 14, 1970" (PDF). American Radio History. Billboard. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Cashbox - February 7, 1970" (PDF). American Radio History. Cashbox. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Billboard - December 20, 1969" (PDF). American Radio History. Billboard. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Dolly Parton - Daddy Come And Get Me". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Dolly Parton Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Dolly Parton Chart History - Hot Country Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  11. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Results: RPM Weekly". Retrieved 20 April 2019.