On This Day: Dolly Parton Releases 18th Album ‘New Harvest…First Gathering’ in 1977

by Madison Miller

By 1977, Dolly Parton had already released the 18th solo album of her career. She fittingly released the album, which featured many love-devoted songs, on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

Dolly Parton ‘New Harvest…First Gathering’

The album was called “New Harvest…First Gathering.” It is a landmark album in Parton’s career because it is actually the first album that she got to produce herself. It is also the first album that she specifically geared toward a more pop-centered audience.

In a radio interview from 1977 called “A Personal Dialogue with Dolly Parton,” the interviewer, Mike Harrison, talks to Parton about why this album means so much to her.

In great deal it’s because this is truly a work of Dolly Parton. She said that it’s the first time she feels like she’s had total freedom of expression in her music. This includes production as well as songwriting.

Parton explained that many of the songs on the album were actually written years ago and are all-time favorites. Some songs on the album include “Holdin’ On to You,” “How Does it Feel,” “Higher and Higher,” and “Where Beauty Lives in Memory.”

Parton explained to Harrison that “You Are” is special because it’s a “very positive” love song. She said it was written about someone she loves very dearly. The song “Higher and Higher” is even one of her favorite songs as well.

Borrowed, But Brand New

The album is full of Dolly Parton originals, however, she also borrowed some classic tunes from other artists. The song “My Girl” (which she performs the gender-neutral version as “My Love”) is a song by The Temptations. “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher” is a Jackie Wilson song.

Lastly, “Applejack” is a song that Parton enlists a group of country legends to help her sing background vocals. The artists included are Roy Acuff, Kitty Wells, Johnny Wright, Chef Atkins, and Minnie Pearl.

While some of her music is “borrowed,” Parton explained that using other people’s songs, lyrics, or melodies and making them your own is a true sign of artistry. It means you have a distinct and noticeable style of your own.

“If you can take someone else’s song and do it your own way then they did that’s really beautiful that’s unusual,” Parton said. She said it’s a “treat” to use other people’s content for this reason.

As one of Dolly Parton’s favorites, fans liked it as well. It peaked at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country LPs chart and No. 71 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. She was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal for the song “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.”

Besides basking in Parton’s self-driven, independent, and fierce 1977 love album, her music in general is the perfect treat for a 2021 Valentine’s Day. She also has a new perfume called Scent From Above if you need a last minute gift for a Dolly Parton lover.