Mary Kay Place Music Information

For Mary Kay Place music photos,
please click here.
Mary Kay Place's previously unreleased third album Almost Grown is now available from Wounded Bird Records! It was released by the reissue label on October 18, 2011.

You can order yours from Amazon!

Wounded Bird also reissued (for the U.S. market) Mary Kay's first two albums on a 2-for-1 disc! For that disc, go here.

You can also find Mary Kay's first two albums from the Australian reissue label Raven Records. Visit their Web Site On-Line shop to order this CD:

Raven's Press Release:

The Ahern Sessions 1976-1977 (2-for-1 CD)
(Tonite! At The Capri Lounge, Loretta Haggers / Aimin' To Please)

Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowell, Dolly Parton, Anne Murray, Leon Russell, Nicolette Larson, James Burton, Albert Lee, Byron Berline, Herb Pedersen, Rick Cuhna

Having established her television persona as irrepressible C&W star Loretta Haggers in the satirical 1970s US series "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," singer / actress Mary Kay Place also recorded two critically acclaimed country albums with veteran producer Brian Ahern and Emmylou Harris's Hot Band. Featuring vocal contributions from Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Anne Murray, with music from Rodney Crowell, James Burton, Albert Lee, Byron Berline, Leon Russell etc, the albums spawned two US Top 10 country hits, "Baby Boy" (at #3) and the Willie Nelson duet from 1977 "Something to Brag About" (at #9). Both albums are released here on CD for the first time, replete with detailed liner notes and color booklet.

Track Listing

Tonite! At The Capri Lounge, Loretta Haggers, 1976
Aimin' To Please, 1977

(Total Music Time: 60 minutes)

It is sort of surreal to me that Raven Records quite liberally used content from this web page to display images and some text in the great liner notes for the CD. They sort of surprised me with an e-mail after all of the work on the disc’s liner notes had gone to the printers. Glenn Baker from the label fully credits me with photos and links my fan page in the notes. Still, I can’t get over how odd it is to see the personalized autograph to me inside the liner notes. Perhaps the “proudest” (I highlight that word because I use a not-so-fancy little computer to create my audio files) moment is to discover the incredibly cool “ghost track” at the end of the CD. If you listen to the 20th track to its end, you’ll hear something from this site.

It had been my musical fantasy that somehow her work would be released on disc and now it has come to fruition. The whole package is wonderful. The music has been completely remastered allowing me for the first time to actually hear Emmylou’s background vocals clearly. These songs are incredible honky-tonk numbers that endure. My poor vinyl had been played to death, so extra special thanks to Raven for relieving my records.

Tonite! At the Capri Lounge…Loretta Haggers (1976) and its companion piece Aimin’ to Please (1977) are treasures. Place wrote two of the songs on Tonite!, “Vitamin L” and “Baby Boy.” Both showed that she knows how to capitalize on the character’s personality and comic effects. “Vitamin L” is “love you see, and without it, well, it’s hell.” (Pronounced “hayull”)

Listen to a snippet from “Vitamin L.”

“Baby Boy,” which charted on country radio, told the story of Loretta and Charlie Haggers (played by Graham Jarvis). The couple was forever trying to conceive (the joke being that she was half his age and the sex was non-stop). “Baby Boy” was mythical in that she announced “I just found out today that our baby’s on the way.”

Listen to a snippet from “Baby Boy.”

Both albums featured A-list country and pop performers from the 1970’s. Dolly Parton, on whom the Loretta character was loosely based, provided backing vocals as well as the song “All I Can Do.” Emmylou Harris, Anne Murray and Nicolette Larson sang back up as well. Aimin’ to Please’s “Something to Brag About” was a duet with Willie Nelson and charted for the pair in 1977.

Listen to a snippet from “Something to Brag About.”

I've added a little feature about the Aimin' to Please artwork on my Odds and Ends page.

Here are the original Billboard Magazine reviews of her two albums.

MARY KAY PLACE / Tonite! At The Capri Lounge Loretta Haggers
Producer(s): none listed
Columbia PC34353

Originally reviewed for week ending 10/2/76

Presumably this album would have sold respectably even if it
was mediocre or worse, because of the legion of tv addicts of
"Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" who have been drawn into
the manifold sufferings of the hapless country singer,
unintentional bigot and sometime religious fanatic Loretta
Haggers, brought to life by vivacious actress-singer Mary Kay
Place. The good news is that with the top-rank production of
Brian Ahern and the sterling backup band of Emmylou Harris,
Place is revealed as a genuinely talented and winning
contemporary country singer, with a twinkly voice that needs
no apologies at all. If "Mary Hartman" had never existed, Place
could have just as convincingly have established herself as a
country-pop singer to be reckoned with on the basis of this LP.
Because of her "Loretta Haggers" image, there is a necessary
element of tongue-in-cheek through much of the record. But
every piece of music also works as straightforward country
material. Background vocal guest shots come from Dolly
Parton, Emmylou and Anne Murray. This is an offbeat but
truly enjoyable LP. Best cuts: "Vitamin L," "Baby Boy," "Coke
And Chips," "Have A Little Talk With Jesus," "All I Can Do."
Dealers: Although basically a progressive country album, the
artist's "Mary Hartman" show notoriety makes it a natural for
college and adult pop customers.

MARY KAY PLACE / Aimin' To Please
Producer(s): none listed
Columbia PC34908

Originally reviewed for week ending 11/12/77

Much improved over the first Place LP in which she was more
of a country music mimic than a country stylist, this allows the
actress-singer to forge an individual style. Place wrote some of
these tunes and she renders them with a stronger delivery--far
beyond the cute style reflected on her first hit, "Baby Boy."
She gets some able assistance from Emmylou Harris,
supporting vocals; Willie Nelson, vocal harmony on
"Something To Brag About," and Leon Russell, piano on the
remake of "Save The Last Dance For Me." Best cuts: "Even
Cowgirls Sing The Blues," "Paintin' Her Fingernails,"
"Something To Brag About," "You Can't Go To Heaven (If
You Don't Have A Good Time)," "Save The Last Dance For
Me." Dealers: Captivating cover should provoke stares and

Here are some reviews from Country Song Roundup Magazine

Tonite! At the Capri Lounge Loretta Haggers
Mary Kay Place
Columbia 34353

Mary Kay Place took the country by storm with her character portrayal of Loretta Haggers, the loony-tune, hopeful country singer on the "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" show.

Well, down here in Nashville we wondered just what those folks out in Hollyweird were up to, and some folks were downright put out by what they felt was an extra nasty satire of country music. But that's not really the way it is.

Mary Kay first off can sing. She can be Loretta or Mary Kay. They are different people.

Loretta is a fiction; Mary Kay is real. Loretta is partly Mary Kay; Mary Kay is partly Loretta. If that is confusing, it shouldn't be. Actors often put themselves, at least part of themselves, in their role. And often they take a bit of the character that they play and add it to themselves.

What this all has to do with this record is that it is really like two different records. Loretta singing "Baby Boy" and "Vitamin L" and Mary Kay singing the Louvin Brothers' "Get Acquainted Waltz" or "Settin' the Woods On Fire" are not one in the same.

Out of the character, Mary Kay Place is a decent singer who will probably improve with time.

Her deep feeling for country music is evident in the songs she picked for this album and her careful handling of them.

Behind her sometimes sily smile and dumb-like-a fox down-homeisms, Mary Kay has already established herself as a fine actress and scriptwriter. Her debut as a country singer and writer do her credit.

-Rick Bolsom

Aimin' to Please
Mary Kay Place
Columbia PC34908

Mary Kay is not capitalizing on her Loretta Haggers image at all on this record. Far from the cutesy hillbilly girl, Place comes off as a sophisticated vocal stylist, capable of switching from authentic sounding country to pure pop. This is anything but a conventional country album. The lyrics are offbeat and often excellent. "Don't Make Love (To a Country Singer)" is a prime example, proclaiming that, "he'll tell the world about it in his country bedroom song." There's a good Shel Silverstein tune, "Painting Her Fingernails." It's another lonely girl killing time while growing older theme, but it's well done and Mary Kay sings it with conviction.

Everybody jumped in to help out on this record. The liner reads like who's who. You've got Emmylou Harris and Nicolette Larson singing harmony vocals and Leon Russell adding some keyboard licks. There's even a duet with the great country funky Willie Nelson, and the combination is terrific. Bobby Braddock wrote the tune, "Something To Brag About," and the cut is truly fine. The Album opens with "Dolly's Dive," on which the vocal backup sounds like the Andrews Sisters. There's western swing, up-tempo country jive, and even a gentle Southwestern feel in "Save the Last Dance For Me." Even so, this package does not come off really country.

Mary Kay Place is a unique talent. She is one of that lost breed we used to call a song stylist. It's a real pleasure to listen to her. The picking is superlative, and there are long instrumental breaks that give you a chance to appreciate all that West Coast studio talent. The little girl who won the hearts of everyone in Nashville during the Dee Jay convention has a bright future ahead, but despite her down home image, Mary Kay Place comes a whole lot closer in sound to Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie than Dottie West.

-Valerie Ridenour

This next excerpt from an article from Atlanta's Creative Loafing newspaper appeared in the January 20th issue from (I believe) 1992. The article featured lost recordings that deserved to be remembered. The focus was decidedly on the country/rockabilly side, as must have been the writer's personal bent. Mary Kay Place's Tonite! At the Capri Lounge was featured among such other albums as Willie Nelson's Phases and Stages, Joe Ely's Lord of the Highway, Carlene Carter's Musical Shapes, and Porter Wagoner's The Cold Hard Facts of Life. I have chosen only to feature the Mary Kay Place portion of the reviews, and obviously, the "buried treasures"component of the piece is no longer an issue for MKP fans as both of her LP's are now available on compact disc.

Buried Treasures

By James Kelly

Throughout the many years of country music's recording history, thousands and thousands of release have been made available to the public. Some of these stand as landmarks in the careers of certain artists, and other have defined the genre, indicating the effect of popular culture on the themes, styles and presentation of country music. Granted, there have also been some really bad records put out. However, when the volume of releases is high, it inevitable that some great music is overlooked. This is particularly true with country, which has always been "singles-oriented," focusing on individual tunes, rather than whole albums. Also, the business is so obsessed with "sure hits" that it is rare for a new or different artist to get the kind of attention and airplay that keeps the stars where they are. The following 10 albums are products of this dilemma, great music that was overshadowed or underpromoted for whatever reason. They cover four decades of country music, and are highly recommended to the readers. Have fun, dig up and discover a rare gem. While most of these titles have long been out of print, some have been re-issued on CD. Most can always be found in used record stores, in cut-out bins or at record shows.

Mary Kay Place-Tonite! At the Capri Lounge Loretta Haggers (Columbia, 1976) - Fans of the "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" show will remember cast member Loretta Haggers, an aspiring country singer, who with her devoted husband Charlie, accidentally killed a carload of nuns on her way to Nashville, then lost her chance at stardom when she commented that "all these Jewish Music business people are so nice, even if they did kill our Lord." In reality, Mary Kay Place was quite a talented singer, and her performance on the show actually led to a record deal, and an appearance on "Saturday Night Live," as hostess and musical guest.

On her two releases, she was joined by such luminaries as Emmylou Harris (whose Hot Band backed Place on the first album,) Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Anne Murray. The first release is the focus here, although the second is really good, too. Maintaining the "Loretta" persona, Place wrote several songs on the album, including some from the TV show. Her acceptance by major artists was no fluke, as she is an excellent Honky Tonk singer, and she works her way through a fine collection of tunes. She throws in a Hank song, covers the Louvin Brothers, and includes a pair of hot Gospel numbers for good measure. These two albums are a testament to real talent.

I have a seriously cool Tonite! songbook and have the opportunity to (absolutely correctly) provide the lyrics for the two MKP originals from that album.

Here are the song lyrics for "Baby Boy"

"Baby Boy (Big Ole Baby Boy)"
Words and Music by MARY KAY PLACE

Well, I never will forget
The first time that we met,
Dancin’ squares and a do-si-do-in’ at the V.F. Hall.
He was old as my pappy,
But that didn’t make me unhappy.
He was cute as the dickens,
Just a doll.

Had no hair on your head,
But a lot above your lip;
You was all dressed up in cowboy corduroy.
Felt my soul start a thrashin’
And my heart-strings a lashin’
I knew I had found my Baby Boy.

Baby Boy, Baby Boy
Sweet Charlie, you’re my
Big ole Baby Boy.
Well, you’re my life
And you’re my joy;
You’re my precious bedtime toy.
Sweet Charlie, you’re my
Big ole Baby Boy.

Later on that night
You asked me would it be all right
If you took me for a bit
To the Tas-tee Freeze.
Well, we shared some chunky tuna;
Then we kissed under the moon-a,
And I knew forever
We’d be thick as fleas.

And then quicker than a wink,
I said, “Now, Baby Boy, I think
It’s time we tied the knot,
Said nupital vows.”
My folks cried, “Cradle robber!”
I said, “Please, he’s my heart-throbber.
The Lord wants us together
Here and now.”


Ev’ry single day
I count my blessings and I say,
“Thank you, Lord for sending me
My Baby Boy.
Life with him’s a pleasure
And there’s no way I can measure
All the love I feel inside for Baby Boy.

And I just found out today
That our baby’s on the way,
An expression of our love
And of our joy.
Well, a girl would be delightin’
And, oh, it sure would be excitin’
To have my Baby Boy’s baby boy.


Here are the song lyrics for "Vitamin L"

"Vitamin L"
Words and Music by MARY KAY PLACE

When I was a kid
‘N’ livin’ at home,
I took feelin’ fine for granted.
Well, I didn’t know then
What I know now;
Why Mama always raved ‘n’ ranted.

She said, “Early to bed
‘N’ early to rise;
Live the golden rule
‘N’ exercise.
‘N’ most important of all,”
She said with a grin,
“Be sure you get your vitamins.”

Vitamins A ‘n’ C ‘n’ D ‘n’ B,
Well they keep you healthy ‘n’ well.
But Mama didn’t tell me when I was a kid
All about Vitamin L.
She sure forgot to tell me
When I was a kid
All about Vitamin L.

Mama made me eat carrots
‘N’ hominy grits,
Though I really felt disinclined.
But she said they was packed with vitamin A
And if I didn’t that I’d go blind.
She said, “Your skin’ll break out
‘N’ you’ll get beri beri
‘Less you eat all them black-eyed peas.
‘Cause them and the greens
‘N’ the lima beans,
They all got vitamin B.

‘N’ you’ll get scurvy
‘Less you eat them prunes
‘Cause they got vitamin C.
Well then, c’mon outside
‘N’ play in the sun,
Or get rickets from no vitamin D.”

Well, I did what she said
‘N’ I ate what she asked
‘N’ for a while I felt real swell.
But I sure wish Mama
Had told me back then
All about Vitamin L.
Yeah, I sure wish Mama
Had a mentioned to me
All about Vitamin L.

Well, thanks to vitamins
‘N’ Mama’s advice
I grew to be healthy ‘n’ strong
Till a cowboy one night
That I loved at first sight,
Well, he hurt me ‘n’ he done me wrong.
Well, he loved me ‘n’ he left me,
But he taught me the ropes,
‘Specially ‘bout Vitamin L.

‘Cause Vitamin L is a love, you see,
And without it,
Well, it’s hell.

‘Cause of all the vitamins in your
Daily minimum requirement,
Mm, Vitamin L’s the most
Important to you.
‘Cause if you don’t get enough Vitamin L,
Your heart’ll break a-right in two.
I know vitamin C’s real good for a cold;
Vitamin B if your lips should swell.
But the only thing that cures
Them love sick blues
Is a shot o’ that Vitamin L.
Well, I surely do need me
A big ole dose
Of that good ole Vitamin L.

Mary Kay recorded one song on the 1977 soundtrack for her film New York, New York. Robert De Niro did a duet with her on the standard "Blue Moon."


Mary Kay's third and previously unreleased album, Almost Grown, was recorded in 1979. The songs on this album show continued musical growth for her in areas not yet approached on the first two records. She delves into blues a bit and even covers an Elvis Costello song. The style and sound is quite similar to work from contemporary female artists (like Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris and Rosanne Cash) in the late 1970’s. The legend is that the players and she rehearsed mostly at SIR in Los Angeles, did a few gigs (most notably opeing for Willie Nelson at the Circle Star Theatre in San Francisco) and finally recorded the album for CBS/Columbia, produced by Rob Fraboni. Before Rob got the gig, Kim Fowley was an interim producer and there were some sessions at Leon Russell’s house.

Songwriting credits include an Elvis Costello ("This Year's Girl"), a Greenfield/Miller cut originally made famous by Gene Pitney ("It Hurts to Be in Love") and a Chuck Berry tune ("Almost Grown"). K.T. Oslin wrote the corny "Cornell Crawford." K.T. has sung it live and tells a story about seeing graffiti on a bathroom wall in Due West, S.C. that said, "I ain't ever gonna love nobody but Cornell Crawford." This is perhaps the inspiration for Ms. Oslin's first songwriting endeavor.

"Good Girl" and "Volatile" are Mary Kay Place compositions. My favorite cut on the release is "Taking It All in Stride" written by Tom Snow. It's just gorgeous country/pop.

I really did not expect that this would be released, but thankfully, it has. For fans of Ms. Place, this is justice served.

Paul Marshall, who was a session musician for this recording, says this in reference to the Mary Kay and the recording of the album:

"Not only am I a big fan, but when Mary Kay decided to pursue her record career in 1978, I was selected to be her bass player. She's a great talent and a cool person, and I'll always treasure the times we spent together."

The tracks for this album are:

1. Almost Grown
2. This Years Girl
3. Down Upon The Swanee River
4. (Oh Baby) We Got A Good Thing Going
5. Good Girl
6. Volatile
7. Taking It All In Stride
8. It Hurts To Be In Love
9. Cornell Crawford
10. Over And Over
11. I Feel A Sin Comin' On (bonus track)

The final album sounded great, but was never released. Her reputation as a singer surely has grown since this album showed much growth compared to the first two albums.

By the time CBS decided not to release the album, Mary Kay had pretty much had it with the music end of the business, and decided to get back into screenwriting.

Here are a couple more things that you might get a kick out of. The first is the song lyric that Loretta sang to Charlie when he left her because he could not fulfill his husbandly duties after getting shot in the you-know-whats by Merle Jeeter. There's no telling whether or not MKP actually wrote the song, but since it's been reported that she wrote about 75 of Loretta's songs, it's quite possible that it's another MKP original. Since another "Mary Hartman" fan took the time to transcribe it for me (muchas gracias, Bob!), I owe it to him to post it on the web page. It's too precious that he tape-recorded it when he was a kid (how he probably rejoiced when VCR's became commercially available):

Oh my baby boy done gone and left me
All alone on the dance room floor
and there's no reason
Since my baby boy done left me
No reason for the music anymore

So, I'm
Giving my prom dress to the salvation army
Cause I won't be needing it no more
I'm giving my prom dress to the salvation army
Cause my baby boy done walked out my door

Oh, that night that we met
At the sweet high school prom
I was the teen queen you held in your palm
When you told me you loved me
You said we'd never part
And you gave me a wrist corsage
In the shape of your heart
Now it's been so many years
Since I was that prom queen
And in oh, so many ways
It seems like a dream
That we moved to dear old Fernwood
And were happy here I thought
Till that night in the motel
When you went and got shot
Now Charlie come home
Oh, baby boy you get on home
And dance with your lonely prom queen

you don"t think I was maybe too obsessed?

And this last one is from the Ben Stein book Fernwood U.S.A. I can't say with certainty that it was used on "MH2" because Mr. Stein wrote a lot of new material for the book. Regardless, it is true to the Loretta format and reinforces the kind of pure love that Loretta had for Charlie.

"Just a Cotton Farmer's Lovin' Daughter"
A Song by

I listen to my radio, oh,
And I watch my television, too, you know,
So I see a lot about that big world out there,
From New York City to Hollywood, Cal-if-forn-ni-ay.

But I am just a cotton farmer's lovin' daughter,
I only know what's in my bones,
I don't know much about women's lib, sir,
I don't know about other people's homes.

I grew up with thirteen brothers and sisters,
We didn't have no fancy clothes;
No trips to Euope or islands, Mister,
And when I looked for work, Mister,
The door was always closed.

But I am just a cotton farmer's lovin' daughter,
I only know what's in my bones,
I don't know much about Fifth Avenue,
But I know a lot about me and you.

I didn't go to no college, or have me no strikes;
I just grew up a "workin'," and a "thankin'" God each night;
That's hard for some folks to understand, I know,
But I just want what's right.

For I am just a cotton farmer's lovin' daughter,
I only know what's in my bones,
And though you drive that fancy car and wear them snappy ties,
I can see that your love for me ain't much more than lies.

I never went to no psychiatrist or laid on no couch,
And had men paid to hold my hand while I cried,
Cause when a man wanted to hold me tight,
No one paid him-that's right.

For I am just a cotton farmer's lovin' daughter,
I only know what's in my bones,
And I know that when that mornin' sun rises tomorrow,
The "Today" show won't even see your toe.

I seen you with your briefcase,
And all your fancy books,
I guess that's supposed to win the race,
That ends with lovin' looks.

But I am just a cotton farmer's lovin' daughter,
And though I ain't been around much, it's true,
I've seen mass murders, sin, drinkin', and I've had amnesia,
And I know enough to see through a man like you.

I live in just a small town, I know,
And to you I guess we ain't much,
But we've got our gypsies and our swappers, our critters high and low,
And I've got a man to love me that you can't even touch.

For though I'm just a cotton farmer's lovin' daughter,
I've seen enough to know what's right,
I've wandered off when I got hit on the head, sir,
But I won't leave my baby boy while my eyes still see light.

A rumored bit of trivia is that the Emmylou Harris song, “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight" (written by Rodney Crowell & Donivan Cowart) was indirectly related to Mary Kay Place. Emmylou recorded it on her album Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town. The song was written during a Mary Kay Place recording session (probably the Aimin' To Please album), hence the song's "Mary,” who took to running with a traveling man. Rodney also released his own version of the song on his 1978 Warner Brothers debut album, Ain't Living Long Like This, which was released after Emmylou's Quarter Moon, I believe. One other music trivia bit-she worked with pop artist John Stewart (not to be confused with "The Daily Show" Jon Stewart) on his 1979 album Bombs Away Dream Baby featuring the hit song "Gold." She played bass and did vocals on this LP, which also featured members of Fleetwood Mac on vocals.


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