Dolly, Loretta, Tanya, Tammy, and more: This '70s country vinyl cover gallery and playlist will make you long for the days of colorful threads and twangy sounds.
Look on YouTube or TikTok any day and you see plenty of "haul" videos. Some content creators show off all the makeup or apparel they grabbed at a market or an in-demand retailer; others keep it vintage and breathlessly hold up the choice finds from their latest Goodwill or Salvation Army spree.
There's something compelling in the art of the haul -- it reveals as much about the hauler as it does about the items being shown off. With that in mind, I'm about to reveal something about myself:
I'm obsessed with '70s country vinyl, and there's no turning back.
I have a huge recent haul of vinyl covers and tunes I want to share with you. The reason? Those covers are stunning. And I need someone else to hop on this train with me. Trust me; you'll be glad you did.
You'll soon find yourself scoping out the used record shops near your town. You'll be on the lookout for the colors, the patterns, and the musical brilliance of a flowery, melodic country era.
The relaxed, earthy styles and mores of the '70s made their impression not only on the look of country music acts, but also the sounds. Loretta found even more bravery in tackling controversial, real-life topics. Tammy started to grow into her earned status as a reigning country queen. Dolly (ahhh, Dolly) brought groovy, ethereal colors to her already brilliant lyrics.
All the ladies you are about to see and hear embraced the styles and trends in their albums, from the front cover to the blissed-out musical arrangements.
Barbara Mandrell was and is a huge deal in country music — she brought worldly style, TV-trained acting and comedic chops, and powerful vocals. First song I went to when I put this one on the player? "Sleepin' Single In A Double Bed," of course!
Listen to this album here, complete with vinyl scratches and fuzz. I wasn't too familiar with Donna Fargo as a kid, although she was one of the biggest country acts of the '70s. You can hear why in the barn-burner opening track, "It Do Feel Good."
The cover concept, the title, the coat she's wearing. Is there anything you don't love about this one from Dottie? The song "Country Sunshine" makes you want to leave everything behind for a grassy hill and a picnic basket full of Cokes (in the glass bottles.)
That Showtime series has us in full-on George-and-Tammy mode these days, and for good reason: They both imbued their tunes with so much soul and heartbreak. You can identify a full range of human emotion in the seemingly simple expression on the cover of this album. Don't you just love the title?
A little younger, a little wilder, and a lot more rebellious, Tanya broke the flowery '70s mold with this one. But she certainly had the defiant message to match the leather pants.
We still miss you, Loretty. But we have a big collection of your records to keep us company. The outfit on this cover seems at once vintage and timeless. The title song always stops us in our tracks, with groovy instrumentation and powerful embrace of independence.
Loretta's sister Crystal also had a blockbuster run of albums in the '70s, with equal amounts of glamour and sophistication. Beautiful voice. Someone out there is trying to recreate her eye makeup at this very moment — you just know it.
You don't have to move a mountain, but you do have to admit how stunning the yellow dress and hair are when combined.
I like the way Emmylou emerges from a more faded backdrop, cutting a confident figure with guitar in hand. She's tops in my book. If I could only listen to her music on that oft-imagined desert island, I certainly wouldn't complain.
It always comes back to Dolly, doesn't it? And the title track of this album has had me hypnotized for weeks since I picked up the record. It's perfection, and I'll leave you with a video of her performing it. She was born to do this.
More glorious '70s country to come soon ... Waylon, Willie, Kris, Gene, Merle, and more are now moving to the front of the record box. Stay tuned!