Saturday, November 19, 2016

Day is Done: HOLLY DUNN and "WHY, WYOMING"

I caught up with Holly Dunn when she joined Warner Bros. and became a country-crossover star. Like Juice Newton or Pam Tillis, she had a most definite country vibe and was favored more on the C&W charts, but she could rock when she wanted, and pop a tune, too. While I'm not a snob about a Patsy Cline or Tammy Wynette, I do tend to listen much more to the ladies who go easy on the squeamy violins. Holly was certainly one of those in the late 80's.  

Her 1989 debut for Warners' Nashville was the tasty "Blue Rose of Texas," which yielded her first #1 hit, "Are You Ever Gonna Love Me." Another hit from that album was "There Goes My Heart Again." She had another #1 on her second Warners album, "Heart Full of Love" in 1990. The stupidly titled "Getting It Dunn" was her third and last major label release. 

Holly Suzette Dunn (August 22, 1957-November 14, 2016) first came to prominence in 1986 with the Top Ten "Daddy's Hands," for the MTM label. Her second album, "Cornerstone," had three more Top Ten numbers, of which "Why, Wyoming" is not one. 

They were: "Love Someone Like Me," "Only When I Love" and "Strangers Again." Why oh why choose "Why, Wyoming?" Because it's not well known, because it was co-written by her brother Chris Waters (born Chris Waters Dunn). And because I'm still not over how an almost empty piece of Red State land called Wyoming could count for more in the Electoral College than, for example, California. Wyoming, a heart breaker indeed.

Speaking of heartbreak, Holly Dunn had the misfortune to be a huge star on a shitty label. MTM went bankrupt. It was fortunate that Holly's potential was seen by Warners. Too bad that the label apparently was bankrupt in the heart department, and as soon as Holly faltered, cut her loose. Three years later, she surfaced on a record label called River North. After two albums for them, she was without product for six years. In 2003 she issued her new (and last) album, "South Heart." 

Things became dire when Holly was diagnosed with a fast-moving form of ovarian cancer. She was optimistic, but any time a "has-been" gets a big write-up in the London Daily Mail (aka the Creepy Daily Fail) you know something bad is happening. "I ask for prayer of strength and courage," the rag reported in August of 2016. 

"If you read the statistics," she said, "it is very bleak. Good thing I don't believe in statistics. I had surgery and now I am having chemo treatments. I have since grown more tumors and it is going to be more of a battle than I anticipated, but I have a huge faith in the healing power of God and the healing power within me that originates from my God." 

Naturally, this was met by trollish comments from the hairy-handed London Daily Mail bunch, laughing at her. Just why newspapers even allow "comments" at the end of an article, I don't know. These "comments" almost never are enlightening; they are instead dark and warped insults from the vast unwashed, angry mob. 

"Doesn't believe in statistics. Believes an invisible god will save her," somebody wrote. "Lesbian?" another asked. Another commented: "Praying to an imaginary being while poison is being pumped through your veins. Sounds like a plan. Shell be dead in a year, right after the medical industry sucks every last possible cent out of her and her insurance company."

Oh, and this: "But cancer is only caught if you are obese or smoke?" And, "God Schmod." 



Allison Hunt said...

I think I know who she is. She use to play, what I call, the casino house-band circuit. As I recall, around 1986, she sang in a band featuring a piccolo sax player whom called himself "Speedy". Unless I'm thinking of a completely different person, Holly Dunn played keyboards and listeners of her music loved the "female baritone" Karen Carpenter richness of her vocals. So often would she hear fans of her music compare her to Carpenter, she felt obliged to cover a few Karen Carpenter hits.

Other near famous, talented people on the casino circuit was a keyboard-singer named Kathy-lee, who did a lot of girl-group covers (don't recall the name of her band). Another one was a Canadian named David Proud, who actually did make on the Canadian charts. I'd love to know what became of either one. I can find no trace of David Proud on the internet. The woman named Kathylee, I wouldn't know where to begin.

Allison Hunt said...

PS: If there ever there was an award for the most hilariously esoteric blog on the Internet, I think you'd win first prize. Your opening self description of your blog was enough for me to spit-take my coffee.