Monday, 14 July 2014

Words about Dolly

Before it was cool to love Dolly (hello Glasto 2014) I really loved her. I mean really loved her. It's actually a little embarrassing how infatuated I am. It's a running joke amongst my friends that on countless occasions they found me, earphones in, belting out Jolene in my best country voice and dancing like a middle aged woman.

Therefore, it was with much excitement that I headed off to London at the end of June to watch Dolly perform at the 02 arena.

This is the face of someone who is a bit too excited.

My Gran bought me my first ever Dolly Parton CD. I remember walking around the shopping centre in Dundee holding on to her hand and feeling excited that she was sharing the music she loved with me. The case was green with white writing at the top, spelling out the name of the red headed temptress 'Jolene' and below the writing there was a picture of a young, beautiful Dolly.

Image from here.  This is likely the only time that I'll EVER link to the Daily Mail

When I got home to my own house that night I put the disc into my CD player (how very quaint!) and pressed play. The unmistakeable guitar intro kicked in instantaneously and then Dolly's voice began pleading to Jolene and I fell in love instantly.

Every time I hear Jolene I'm that young girl again, with my Gran at my side, sharing a mutual love of a song.

As I grew into a teenager, my love affair with Dolly and country music in general, faded as I started to enjoy rock and roll. I may have thought myself cool but I was never above cutting some serious shapes to 9 to 5 in the nightclub when it came on at the end of the night.

Then I grew into an adult and my music tastes shifted a little again. Gone was the infatuation with new 'cool' bands and in its place remained a desire for the past to be reignited. I am now filled with a longing to listen to the music of my childhood, the music that my Gran introduced me to and that my parents also played.

I fell in love all over again with Dolly and in particular with the lyrics to her songs which often go unnoticed, lost amongst the focus on the mass of blonde hair and her most famous assets *ahem*. Here are a few of my favourite.

Tennessee Homesick Blues

'Life ain't as simple as it used to be, since the big Apple took a bite out of me. 
And Lord, I'm so Tennessee homesick that I could die'

Despite living only an hour away from my home town I suffer from homesickness quite frequently. Knowing that a legend like Dolly feels like that sometimes too makes those days a little easier to bear.

9 to 5 

'You're in the same boat with a lot of your friends, waiting for the day your ship'll come in.
And the tide's gonna turn and it's all gonna roll your way.'

This was particularly appropriate for me in 2013 when I was applying for job after job, with little joy. Dolly's lyrics helped to convince me that bigger and better things were on the horizon for me.

I Will Always Love You 

'Bittersweet memories, that's all I am taking with me.
So goodbye, please don't cry.
We both know that I'm not what you need'.

I'm always at pains to point out to people that I Will Always Love you is NOT a Whitney Houston song, it's a Dolly one. She wrote it about her decision to split with long term music partner Porter Wagoner and this song was her goodbye. I love the selflessness of the song. Having the bravery to walk away for the other person's benefit rather than your own is a difficult but sometimes necessary thing to do.

I not only love Dolly's music but I genuinely like her as a person also as she has a lust for life that comes across in every interview and is infectious. What's more, I love that she is very aware of the stereotypes that surround her and manages to make fun of them. At the concert at the 02 arena she delivered quip after quip and it was almost a stand-up comedy show in between songs. With that in mind I'll leave you with my favourite Dolly statement.

'I'm not offended by the dumb blonde jokes because I know that I'm not dumb. And I'm not blonde either'.

Clever, talented and funny. Oh and she likes kittens too.

Images from here , here and here

She's my kinda gal is Dolly.

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