A Conversation for Country Music

Dolly Parton

Post 1

Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

My TV watching has gone from the sublime to the pendulous - Dolly Parton. She was on the ever-excellent Southbank Show (British) this week. To keep abreast of trends in Country Music I watched to find out why.

Parton is like the curate's egg - famous in parts. She sings gushy little country songs that she writes herself; she smiles blondely and loves her siblings. But does this qualify her for the SBS, which usually features the likes of Frank McCourt? Hmm.

"Whaat we yate wers whaat we grew," she nostalgically drawls and I sneeringly reply: "So daddy farmed in Silicon Valley, huh?"

But cynicism gradually wanes in the face of sincerity; she really was dirt poor and she really did come from the deep woods.

She learnt to sing the air-brained hymns of Pentecostalism as a child. Her first public song really was "Dumb Blonde". She may well have penned that born-again anthem "Gonna Drop-kick Dear Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life".

Life has been simple - she married and settled down to make money. She met hubby Karl in the "Wishy-washy Laundromat" in '63 and has been "haypilly mayried to thayt mayn' ever since.

The fact that her autobiographical love songs, such as Y"ou Ain't Worth the Salt in My Tears", have several hundred different male subjects doesn't seem to have fazed the equanimous Karl. She built a park in her hometown to create employment. The theme, coincidentally, was herself: Dollywood".

By programme's end we realise clever Mr Bragg had never intended this as a celebrity interview. It's an anthropological documentary featuring a rare and endangered animal. Wealth has spared Dolly Parton from the status quo into which her people have been ground by welfare dependency. She remains a female hillbilly - true to her roots, and perhaps the last of her kind.

Dolly Parton

Post 2


Gasp! Silicon Valley? Heavens, no! They're natural!

Dolly Parton

Post 3


Actually, Dolly didn't build Dollywood. She bought a fledgling theme park called "Silver Dollar City" and renamed it. Silver Dollar City had the usual rides, but it was popular for its preservation of certain local handicrafts, such as glass blowing, making of straw-brooms, and horse-cart construction. Dolly left these specialty areas untouched, and a visitor to Dollywood can still buy genuinely crafted goods today. As a matter of fact, the horse carts are largely sold to the Amish communities in the U.S.

Another interesting note: On the Dollywood grounds, there is a sanctuary for injured and imprinted birds of prey. If you're ever in the W. North Carolina or E. Tennessee area, give Dollywood a visit!

Dolly Parton

Post 4


Are you sure about that? The only Silver Dollar City I've ever heard of (and the only one that comes up on a google search) is in Branson, MO, and there's no indication that it is or ever was a chain (like Six Flags or Disney). smiley - erm

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