Dolly Parton

When you consider that Dolly Parton grew up with eleven brothers and sisters on a poor farm in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, it almost makes the tackiness of her theme park, Dollywood, seem forgivable. (There but for the grace of God goes Tammy Faye Bakker.) Of course, there are also Dolly's dalliances as a sex-charged media superstar, her courting of the pop mainstream with Playboy cover shots, and lame movies like Rhinestone that made Opry-programmed puritans cry foul (the same Opry puritans who embraced Parton every time she donned cheap pumps, fake eyelashes and a towering bouffant to sing "Dumb Blonde"). But for anyone who thinks Parton betrayed her musical talents, go back and revisit "The Grass Is Blue," "Jolene," "Coat of Many Colors" or "Just Because I'm a Woman." Listen to that voice, a quavering cross between Glinda, Witch of the North, and something eerily angelic. It's a siren call -- timeless, pure and intimidating, especially to any dizzy-headed good ol' boy who ever knelt before two of Dolly's biggest attributes: brains and ambition.


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