After graduating from high-school she married Mickey Riley and, with amitions to become a professional musician, she moved to Nashville. It was there that she recorded a few demos that led to her first single You Write The Music/What About Them. However, it was a meeting with producer Shelby Singleton that would take her career to a whole new level. Singleton had a song he had wanted to record but had spent months looking for the right singer and then he met Jeannie C. Riley. The result, Harper Valley P.T.A., written by Tom T. Hall and released on Plantation Records, became an instant hit, reaching number one on both the pop and country charts.
The song told the story of Mrs Johnson, a widow who confronts a group of P.T.A. members after her daughter had brought home a note from the school criticising her habit of wearing mini-skirts and going out with men. The climax of the song comes when Johnson turns the tables on them and exposes, one at a time, their hypocrisy.
The song became an overnight sensation and would go on to earn her the Grammy Award for ‘Best Female Country Vocal Performance’ and the Country Music Association ‘Single of the Year.’ Riley was also nominated in two of the major Grammy pop categories – ‘Best New Artist’ and ‘Record of the Year.’ Harper Valley P.T.A. would go on to sell over five and a half million copies and was awarded a gold disc less than four weeks after its release.
More hits followed including The Girl Most Likely, There Never Was A Time, The Back Side of Dallas, Country Girl and Good Enough to Be Your Wife. During the late-1960s and early-1970s Riley was ranked as one of the most popular female vocalists in country music.
She became well-known for her sex appeal and beauty as well as her music. At a time when many country girls were keeping a wholesome image Riley was keeping in touch with the typical sixties fashion by wearing mini-skirts and boots, on and off-stage.
As we have come to expect the sound is excellent while the sixteen-page booklet features comprehensive liner notes by Roger Dopson, detailed track listings and images including album/single artwork and some lovely photos of the lady herself. A great release at a very reasonable price which will hopefully bring Jeannie C. Riley’s music to a wider audience. Highly recommended.