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A Quietus Interview

The Liberty Belle - Dolly Parton Speaks
Jude Rogers , August 30th, 2011 09:41

Ever the showbiz professional, Dolly Parton leads Jude Rogers a merry dance during her allotted 20 minutes of chat about partners, Gaga, sexuality, The Lord and avoiding a big breast-induced bad back

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Bloody Dolly Parton with her huge candy-floss hair, her Botoxed-to-death cheekbones, her zeppelin tits. Bloody Dolly Parton with her perfect one-liners, her ripe Southern charms, those sweet down-home songs flavoured with gravy and grits. Bloody Dolly Parton for being both a Backwoods Barbie and a feminist icon; for making me love her to pieces despite her being such a hard nut to crack; and for only giving me 20 minutes to try.

And bloody Dolly Parton for being late on the phone today, my nerves ringing like pedal steel strings as I wait for her. My dictaphone in front of me to the right, waiting to count the seconds down. A sheet of 43 questions to the left, many of them I'll never get to ask. Sex, religion, lesbianism, death… I've got all of it, and I know that to get a new answer I'll have to arm myself, shake the girl up.

But I can't piss off Parton, either. She's Dolly Fucking Parton, the girl who first sang at home as a child, into a tin can on a stick, living with 11 siblings and her parents in a one-room cabin; who recorded her first single and played the Grand Ole Opry at 13, finally getting known for her TV show duets with Porter Wagoner in her early-twenties, a quirky young thing next to a big-nosed, lanky beast. She got married around the same time to Carl Dean, a man, 45 years later, we still never see. Her solo success burned slowly, even after her 1967 hit 'Dumb Blonde' ("Don't try to lie, or I'll catch you with it," she sang, every word bouncy with intent), until sparks flew with her cover of Jimmie Rodgers's 'Mule Skinner Blues' in 1971, which started with our girl whistlin', whoopin' and crackin' a...

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Stephen Dalton
Aug 30, 2011 2:10pm

Fab interview Jude. I saw her play last week, she was both dazzling and disappointing. The songs are great but the super-slick plastic facade and total lack of any personal revelation do grate in the end.

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Aug 30, 2011 2:50pm

Great interview - well done.

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Sep 1, 2011 9:36am

Brilliant! Loved this piece. And thanks for prying just that wee bit more from Dolly :-)

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DJ Wagoner
Sep 2, 2011 3:01am

I have read many interviews from Dolly through the years. This one I'll remember for the ugly thing you said about my Dad, you see I'm Porter Wagoner's daughter. Dolly was with my Father's show in the 60's, she was just in Her 20's, I had just become a teenager. Saying my Father was the "Big Nosed, Lanky Beast", next to Her. How cruel. I know how thankful Dolly is for everything My Father did to help promote her career. Too bad you felt describing my Father that way added anything to you article other than being ugly, for His daughter to read. How Sad.
Thank goodness all my memories of Porter & Dolly duets are lovely with lots of love and joy all around.

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Barry Mazor
Sep 4, 2011 10:10pm

I've interviewed a lot of famous performers, in country music in particular, and including Dolly. II salute you for trying to do what you tried to do. A few cases--and this one just puts it out there--are impenetrable. There's so much practice in image creation and press handling that I'm not sure there's any point in going there. She knows we will anyway. She's nothing if not brilliant.

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Oct 3, 2011 2:20am

In reply to DJ Wagoner:

Very well spoken.

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