I don’t know when it was that Dolly Parton became a kind of caricature, but there was a time when she was simply a wonderfully talented country music singer. Even now there is something endearing about her, with her big smile, squeaking laugh, and high spirits, and those charming qualities were even more evident without the overblown wigs, pasty make-up, and other distractions. She has always had a attractively bright and agile voice.
My favourite of her songs is “Coat of Many Colors”; for some reason I have been listening to it repeatedly this week, and thought I’d post it here in consequence. This footage is evidently quite old — I’d guess late 1970s, but I can’t be sure. Equally evidently, it was taped from a more recent television programme, and includes one of those annoying voice-overs that interferes with the beginning and the end of the song. There is also an irritating banner at the bottom that pops up with trivia as the song progresses. But none of that, however idiotic, can destroy a good song:
There is also a good version of the song sung by Emmylou Harris, vintage 1977, that can be seen here. (What a voice!) A surprisingly decent “Oprahfied” version is here, with Dolly in duet with Shania Twain.
(Incidentally, my wife saw Ms. Twain a few weeks ago at our local grocery store. The fellows working behind the deli counter were apparently all in a tizzy. I can’t be sure I’d have kept my head on straight either.)