Mary Kay Place

The Ahern Sessions: 1976-1977

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The Ahern Sessions: 1976-1977 Review

by Al Campbell

Mary Kay Place made her mark in the '70s as Loretta Haggers on two of the most wonderfully bizarre television shows of all time: Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Fernwood Tonight. Alongside her career as an actress and producer, Place was also a full-time country singer and musician. She even released two albums, Tonite! At the Capri Lounge, Loretta Haggers in 1976 and Aimin' to Please in 1977. You might, understandably, tend to dismiss these albums as nothing more than Place cashing in on the popularity of her Loretta Haggers character. But thanks to Raven Records, the opportunity to revisit this material without the hoopla surrounding the TV shows shines a light on some extremely catchy and clever tunes, including "Streets of This Town (Ode to Fernwood)," "Vitamin L," and Shel Silverstein's "Paintin' Her Fingernails." Producer Brian Ahern employed an amazing bevy of country vocalists to assist Place, including Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Anne Murray, alongside such top-caliber musicians as Rodney Crowell, James Burton, Albert Lee, Byron Berline, and Leon Russell. This reissue is geared toward collectors, but casual listeners will enjoy it as well, especially the Top Ten country hits "Baby Boy" and "Something to Brag About, " a duet with Willie Nelson.

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