Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music


WEST, Dottie

(b Dorothy Marie Marsh, 11 Oct. '32, McMinnville TN; d 4 Sep. '91) Country/pop singer, songwriter. Raised on farm, oldest of ten children; sang soprano in church choir; obtained degree in music, moved to Ohio, appeared as duo on local TV with first husband steel guitarist Bill West; recorded for Starday, Atlantic; success came on RCA, after song/jam sessions with Patsy Cline, others; she learned from Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, others; Jim Reeves recorded her 'Is This Me?' for no. 3 hit '63; her own first hit 'Let Me Off At The Corner' was top 30 same year; duets with Reeves incl. top ten with Justin Tubb's 'Love Is No Excuse' '64 (she made an album with Reeves but he didn't want to tour; ironically, he was killed that year in a plane crash). Top ten solo 'Here Comes My Baby' '64 was co-written with Bill, covered by Perry Como, earned her a Grammy. She joined the Grand Ole Opry '64, had many hits incl. 'Would You Hold It Against Me' '66, 'Paper Mansions' '67, both top ten; 'Mommy, Can I Still Call Him Daddy?' was top 25 '66 as she and Bill divorced (she later married drummer Bryon Metcalf). Hit duets with Don Gibson '69-- 70 incl. 'Rings Of Gold' (no. 2), 'There's A Story Goin' Round' '69 (no. 7). 'Country Girl' '68 was no. 15 hit, turned into Coca-Cola TV advert '70 that won awards, showing her tending a garden which turned out to be atop a skyscraper. Her good looks and solid professional training paid off in crossover success; 'Country Sunshine' '73 was another Coke advert and went top 50 pop. Toured Europe, popular in UK; switched to United Artists '76, had big hit 'When It's Just You And Me'; duets with Kenny Rogers incl. LPs Classics '79 and Every Time Two Fools Collide '81 (both crossed to pop chart; latter was no. 1 country LP), duet single 'What Are We Doin' In Love' went top 15 pop; her solo LP Wild West '81 made top 200 pop LPs; by now on Liberty, her New Horizons charted, single 'Tulsa Ballroom' reaching country top 40 '83; duet Together Again with Rogers was top 15 country hit '84; her singles came out on Permian and charted '84--5, but her peak seemed to be past. She appeared in touring production of The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas '83 and the play Bring It On Home with Mary Martin and Shelley Duvall '84; continued touring heavily and remained a member of the Opry, but due to poor management went bankrupt '90, the IRS sold her possessions '91. On her way to Opry show she was in a car crash and died five days later; TV movie of her life-story was made '94. She helped several struggling newcomers incl. Larry Gatlin, Steve Wariner, Tony Toliver, etc; daughter Shelly West became a country star early '80s. WEST, Shelly (b 23 May '58, Cleveland OH) Daughter of Dottie West and a successful country singer in her own right and as duet partner with brother-in-law David Frizzell (b 26 Sept. '41, El Dorado TX; younger brother of Lefty Frizzell). Started out singing backing and harmony vocals with mother's road show '75-7. Allen Frizzell, show's lead guitarist, started dating teenage Shelly, the pair married '77 and moved to Lindsay CA. There they joined David Frizzell's band, working local clubs and touring Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. David set about trying to secure record contract and working with Snuff Garrett recorded demo of 'Lovin' On Borrowed Time' as duet with Shelly. The demo led to contract with newly formed Casablanca-West; before they could get a record out the label was closed. Garrett, a good friend of actor Clint Eastwood, passed demo tape to him and insisted that one of the songs, 'You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma' be included in his new movie Any Which Way You Can. The song was licensed to Warner Brothers and became a no.1 country hit '81; also gained Frizzell-West CMA's Duo of the Year, whilst album Carryin' On The Family Name went gold. More duo hits followed '82-5, whilst both David and Shelly released solo records; Shelly made no. 1 with 'Jose Cuervo' 83 and further top 10 hits '84-6. Divorce from Allen Frizzell '85 led to discontinuance of duets, though she remarried '88 and she and David got back together for show dates and small label recordings. Albums incl. Red Hot '83, West By West '83, Don't Make Me Wait On The Moon '84 all on Warner- Viva; The David Frizzell and Shelly West Album '82, Our Best To You 83, In Session '84 all with David on Warner- Viva.