Good golly, Miss Dolly: Simon Hattenstone goes on the road with Dolly Parton | Music | The Guardian
Dolly has been candid about the difficulties they faced, given that their . Shortly after their marriage, Dolly became a regular on The Porter. It has been never said if she ever had a relationship other than professional with Porter Wagoner.. but the song " I will always love you" has. Dolly Parton will always love her husband, but the superstar has a few skeletons in her closet when it comes to their year marriage.
Jolene is a beautifully crafted short story; one that could have been written by Carson McCullers. At a first listening, the song may appear to be about a weak woman, but her honesty, her fighting spirit, the power of her love and her words make her anything but a victim. Parton often turns traditional country on its head. The title and melancholia of I Will Always Love You suggests a woman clinging to her man, but, in fact, it's about a woman walking away. She sings, "I will always love you", not as a wail of grief but as parting solace to the weeping man she leaves behind.
Typically, her songs, with their ecstatic crescendos, extol the positive - domestic idylls, the work ethic, God and self-assertion. She can be horribly saccharine, cheesy as Brie, but her powers of description are awesome.
By the end of My Tennessee Mountain Home, you can see not only the junebugs and glowing fireflies, but you can hear the crickets and smell the honeysuckle of her childhood, too. Parton couldn't be more different from that other great female country singer, Tammy Wynette. While Tammy sang about misery and misfortune, Dolly has often sung about her luck and love. And while Tammy had all her operations because she was ill, Dolly had them because she wanted to - she likes to say that as soon as she spots something draggin', saggin' or baggin', she gets 'em nipped, bumped and tucked.
When Tammy found happiness, it was a brief interlude. When Dolly suffered depression, it was a blip. She has always consider herself blessed.
Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton | irobot-roomba.info
I am waiting for her in a London hotel room. Suddenly the door swings open and she appears as if out of a puff of smoke. She is 62, alarmingly skinny but strong as ever.
She has just written a stage musical of the film Nine To Five, has a new album, Backwoods Barbie, guested on American Idol, and extended her child literacy scheme to Britain.
Parton was born in the Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee in January Her father, an illiterate sharecropper, could not afford to pay the doctor who delivered her, so he gave him a sack of home-grown corn meal. She was the fourth of 12 children growing up in a two-room shack in Sevierville, Tennessee. As a young girl she would sing at the top of her lungs to anybody who would listen. She took a tobacco stick, stuck it in the cracks on the boards on the front porch, put a tin can on top and transformed it into a microphone.
The porch became her stage. She was playing guitar at five, writing songs at 10, and she made her TV debut at She talks in a singsong, schlurping drawl. Every "I" is an "Ah", every "My" a "Mah". It's like I love them, and I want them to love me - a give and take. Every time I go out on stage, I feel like these are my people, my family.
Avie Lee's family were musical, and as a child Dolly started writing songs with her uncle Bill and aunt Dorothy Jo Owens. From the off, she knew how she wanted to look - cheap. There's a story that she used to watch with adoration the town prostitute, all dyed blond hair and synthetic glamour, and decided to model herself on her. I'm not a natural beauty, so I just wanted that look. I was so intrigued with the Frederick's of Hollywood catalogues.
The models in there always had a lot of hair and their push-up bras She has often said that her heart is the only bit of her that is genuine.
Today, she's wearing a pinstripe jacket that verges on the discreet - except for its plethora of brass buttons. I never grew another inch. I was a full-grown woman at So I picked up early on that men were looking at me. But that was all right. I wanted them to look at me. I was very secure in myself as a woman, and I grew up with six brothers and my dad and all my uncles, so I knew men, knew the nature of men, and I wasn't afraid of that.
And I used that to my advantage. A lot of my dad's sisters had the big boobs and the little waists, and the big butts, and several of my mom's sisters, but I flaunted mine more than the rest of them did. I wasn't afraid of my body. I never slept with anybody to try to make it in the business. I would tell jokes. She started the scheme in Tennessee in - every child in a chosen area received a hard-back book every month from birth to the age of five.
She backs the library with her own money from the Dollywood Foundation, manages the distribution of books, and helps find sponsors in local areas.
So far, the library has distributed 11 million books in 46 US states, and in every Native-American reservation. InParton extended the library to Canada, and now it's coming to the Yorkshire town of Rotherham.
Amazingly, Parton's imminent visit has caused a stink in the town. One councillor has complained that it is wasting valuable council time because a meeting has had to be cancelled. When she addresses the assembled crowd, things get worse.
There's an embarrassed silence. She has stressed the silent "h" in Rotherham. But there's worse - we're in London. One of her aides whispers in her ear. We're in London now. I've been reading about how some people don't want me to go there, so I'm glad I'm in London now!
She explains how Rotherham became the first UK town to benefit from the literacy programme. This was the first time I had ever been stalked over a kids' programme, so I just want you to meet somebody who loves kids just as much as I do, and who is the real reason why we are here - Mr ROGER The whole thing, with its surreal mix of country music and local politics, is beginning to remind me of Robert Altman's film, Nashville - only, this time, Nashville remade by Britain's Shane Meadows.
Nashville has played a crucial part in Parton's life.
She moved to the city, a four-hour drive from her home in Locust Ridge, when she graduated from school at I figured I'd always find a way to eat, and if you can find a way to eat, then you can survive. They have been married for 41 years. He's an elusive man. There are rumours that he doesn't even exist. Has he ever been seen in public?
I write my cheques as Dolly Dean.
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If I make reservations at restaurants, I always do so as Mrs Dean. Parton admits it's a sadness in her life, "though I always say I didn't have children so everybody's kids can be mine". There have been countless rumours about their marriage, and Parton seems to love stoking up the gossip - neither denying nor confirming stories about affairs with country star Porter Wagoner and leading men Burt Reynolds and Sylvester Stallone, and often using them for punchlines. We were both attracted to him.
Is that quote accurate? She yelps louder than ever, but there's as much warning as humour in her laugh this time. I had said as a joke that I fantasised about Keith Urban, but I didn't say it about the women.
She was 21 when he hired her to sing on his television show. She was sexy, funny and sang with a crystalline purity. They competed with each other for the highest pompadour, the kitschest outfits and the best songs. And when they sang together, they did so beautifully - the innocent certainties of her voice harmonising brilliantly with his sleepy-dog sadness. InParton decided it was time to go her own way and develop her career as a singer-songwriter and movie star.
She said that they split because of creative differences - "I was creative and Porter was different. Parton went on to have 25 number one hit singles in the country charts and a record 42 top 10 albums.
She has won seven Grammies and has been nominated for a Grammy all of 44 times and sold more than million records. Meanwhile, the Dollybus is heading north from London. She is due to present the first Imagination book to the first-born baby at the local hospital at 10am, and I'm determined to get there before her. Half an hour before I am due in, I ring her team. They are still on the motorway. On my way in, I see Parton, in her most buttoned-up, book-lady outfit, not a hint of cleavage, barely a rhinestone in sight, walking out.
She's ahead of schedule. She's always ahead of bloody schedule. By her side is Judy Ogle, who always travels with her. Dolly and Judy have been friends since they were seven. Judy applies the finishing touches with tenderness - a dab of lipstick here, a puff of powder there. That seems to be a real-life trait, a characteristic that helps her get things done, rather than just hanging around dreaming about them. But Parton's career as a star does have one major drawback: It may have drained too much attention and perhaps some of her own energy from Dolly Parton the singer.
A friend of mine at the time, one of the truest country fans I've ever known, casually mentioned what a great singer she was. He also noted her skill as a guitarist, which seemed doubly unbelievable to me, given those devilish fingernails.
I resisted even further -- until I heard "Coat of Many Colors," Parton's autobiographical song about the ridicule she experienced as a young schoolgirl when she wore the patchwork coat her mother had lovingly made for her. You might hear "Coat of Many Colors" and call it a tearjerker. I call it a heartbreaker, a song that has the power to change you, subtly, forever, maybe not so much for the subject matter as for the way Parton sings it.
The song's lyrics are simply written, a straightforward narrative: Parton's voice stands alone among living country singers, but it also stands as one of the greatest country voices of all time.
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Her plaintive, shivering phrases come straight from the mountains, though not from the earth: She skims through a song the way a brook trips and trickles over little stones -- there's both merriment and stately beauty in it. You can get a sense of the fineness of Parton's vocal texture by listening to her own recording of "I Will Always Love You," playing it against Whitney Houston's megahuge, bloated version of the song.
No need to actually put the Houston version on the turntable; simply playing it in your head is torture enough. A guitar motif washed with mournful sunset colors opens Parton's version; when she steps in, she handles the lyrics with the cautious tenderness of a farm girl carrying a jumble of newly hatched chicks in her apron.
She's aware of the fragility of what she's holding, and of its fleetingness: Unlike a passel of chicks, it's destined to soon fly away from her forever. Houston's version, on the other hand, is an overbearing monstrosity, nothing but a vehicle for her windup-toy melisma. She works the inherent wistfulness of the song as if it were pie dough, rolling and patting it until it's thick and heavy and tough. Parton's reading packs boundless, if restrained, passion into phrases that barely rise above a whisper.
I'd say that of all her country contemporaries, living or dead, Parton is the most sensuous. Her voice has so much shimmering life to it, as well as a kind of voluptuousness -- it's the voice of someone who's eager to take everything in. Even if Parton sometimes sings of restraint, her music is never about repression.
That's confirmed by the way she writes about sex in her autobiography: I have been driven by three things; three mysteries I wanted to know more about; three passions. They are God, music and sex. I would like to say that I have listed them in the order of their importance to me, but their pecking order is subject to change without warning. Even if Parton tends to revel in melodrama and melodrama is, after all, essential to country musicshe never quite succumbs to the self-pitying victimization that so many female country singers slip into.
She claims she wrote "Just Because I'm a Woman" as the result of her husband's asking her if he was the first man she'd ever slept with; the honesty of her answer hurt him deeply. But Parton couldn't change the truth, and she didn't feel she should apologize for it.
The song addresses the hypocrisy of a certain kind of man who'll sleep with one type of woman but look for "an angel to wear his wedding band. Parton, who considers herself a Christian as well as a deeply spiritual person, is unfettered by the Bible Belt notion still extant today and not just in the Bible Belt that sex should never be spoken of, let alone enjoyed. The hardest part of being a Dolly Parton fan is navigating her currently available catalog.
The state of her RCA releases is, quite frankly, a mess, a jumble of greatest-hits packages that repeat one another endlessly. Parton's work on the "Trio," her first recording with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris a second followed inis lovely, particularly her rendering of the traditional "Rosewood Casket.
If purity is what we demand of our country singers -- even our complex and sometimes puzzling ones -- then Parton, no matter how many pop-crossover successes she's had, is the consummate country singer.
If I had to choose one song that crystallizes Parton's supremacy as both a singer and songwriter, it would be "Down From Dover. The song tells the story of a young girl who's been left waiting, pregnant, for a boy who's clearly never going to come back. As it begins, "Down From Dover" sounds much like a regular pop song, with its curlicued guitars -- by the lines between pop and country were already fairly blurred.Kenny Rogers Talks Relationship With Dolly Parton
And its story is told so straightforwardly that it's almost a miniature novel. But the mood of "Down From Dover" springs directly from the most tragic ballads of Scotland and Wales, songs that, even with centuries of mourning and keening poured into them, manage to hold tight like a corset.
In these songs, emotions don't spill forth in a cathartic outpouring; they tremble inside the meter and musical phrases, concentrated, distilled and devastating. Parton's voice tears your heart in two, not because it's sad but because it's so relentlessly hopeful, through the very end.
The tiny baby dies in the woman's arms, and she explains it this way in the song's final lines, ones that hit with an anvil's force and a butterfly's delicacy: The dying babe is, of course, the song's most highly melodramatic image. But its purpose is actually quite subtle: It exists to deflect our attention from the song's true center, the mother's pain as it's reflected in Parton's voice, because to look too directly at that would be too much to bear.
The song's gracefulness may seem at odds with Parton's spun-sugar hair and glossy fingernails, and certainly it's at odds with her chirpily cheerful radio hits. But the devastating song and the desire for the glamorous trappings both spring from the same heart. And both the song and the desire are older, perhaps, than we want to allow: