From the Stacks

From The Stacks: Mary Kay Place, ‘Tonite! At the Capri Lounge Loretta Haggers’

Remember Mary Kay Place?

If you do, I’m sure you remember her from The Big Chill, Being John Malkovich, or the Kurt Russell masterpiece Captain Ron. But what you might not know is that in the long tradition of people with two first names, Mary Kay had herself a li’l ol’ country music career. Whee doggies!

Place released two albums on CBS records back in the ’70s, the first of which was 1976’s Tonite! At The Capri Lounge Loretta Haggers. The title is a reference to the character Place played on the truly legendary (unlike Captain Ron. You really need to work on identifying sarcasm) Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, the soap opera that was a parody of soap operas. Place’s Loretta Haggers was an aspiring country music star, which makes this real country record a parody of a country record that was spawned by a soap opera that was a parody of soap operas.

The album kicks off with “Vitamin L,” a song penned by Place and performed by Haggers/Place on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman:

There’s some serious star power involved in this project: Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Anne Murray all provide vocals, and Albert Lee lays down some guitar. The record even earned a Grammy nomination.

So Tonite! At the Capri Lounge is a country-comedy record that’s a great novelty for people of a certain age and pop culture junkies, but not of much interest to the average record collector. It’s the kind of album that you’ll find in the dollar bin of a charity shop. Even a signed copy like this one is only worth five bucks or so, but ain’t it cool? Happy hunting.

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