Dolly Parton - Jolene
Jolene (1974) was Dolly Parton's declaration of independence, her first album after ending her partnership with Porter Wagoner.
Any concerns that she could make it on her own were dispelled by this nearly-flawless work. Its title track became an instant classic, thanks to its plaintive lyric and Appalachian-accented melody. "I Will Always Love You" was even better, an exquisite country/pop aria with a heart rendering chorus. While these two masterpieces are the peaks on Jolene, there are no low points here...Dolly's career ascended to the stratosphere after Jolene- but she arguably never made a better record.