Country-pop singer Dolly Parton certainly exemplified the American dream of going from “rags to riches,” but never losing sight of where she came from.
Born the fourth child of 12, Dolly and her family lived in a rustic, dilapidated one-room cabin in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, near the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. She often has referred to her family’s early days as “dirt poor” and described her family’s lack of money in a number of her early songs, most notably in “Coat of Many Colors” and “In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad).”
At 12 years old, Parton appeared on Knoxville television; at 13 she recorded on a small label and appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. At 21, her 1967 hit “Dumb Blonde” (which she’s not) caught Porter Wagoner’s ear. He hired Dolly to appear on his television show, where their duet numbers became famous.
In addition to all of her success on the country music charts which would follow, where she had a whopping 108 charted hits, of which 57 landed in the Top 10 and 23 reached No. 1.
Dolly is a prolific songwriter, having written many of her own songs. She’s also a pretty darn good actress, having starred in “9 to 5” (whose theme song she wrote), “The Best Little Whore House in Texas,” “Steel Magnolias” and “Straight Talk.”
But even with all of her success, Dolly has never forgotten her country roots and modest beginning — always giving back to those less fortunate.
One of the ways Parton has given back is through her “Imagination Library” program.
In 1996, Dolly launched this exciting new effort to benefit the children of her home county in east Tennessee. Dolly wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could ensure that every child would have books, regardless of the family’s income.
Over the last 15 years, Dolly’s book program has grown to include all of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. And it has even made its way to little old Payson, Arizona.
“Dolly’s ‘Imagination Library,’ along with financial assistance from Gila County, has helped fund our library’s Early Childhood Literacy Program,” said Katie Sanchez, youth programs coordinator at the Payson Public Library.
“Children up to 5 years of age are mailed one age-appropriate book each month, at no cost to the family and will be mailed to the child’s name, making it an exciting and anticipated monthly event for the child,” continued Katie.
There are currently 240 children in the Early Childhood Literacy program, with room for a whole lot more.
To register your child, please call Katie at 474-9260. You and your child will be glad you did.
This week’s music trivia question is: Which of the following 1977 female country music No. 1 hits was recorded by Dolly Parton? A) “Here You Come Again,” B) “That Was Yesterday,” C) “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” or D) “She’s Got You.”
This week, if you are the sixth caller and have the right answer, you’ll win a CD of Dolly Parton’s top hits, which includes her autobiographical “A Coat of Many Colors,” her first No. 1 hit, “Joshua,” her romantic ballad “I Will Always Love You,” (later covered by Whitney Houston) and her smash duet with Kenny Rogers, “Islands in the Stream.”
Now, let’s see how we did with last week’s music trivia question, which was: Can you name the contemporary country singer who in 2004 released the patriotic song “American Soldier,” a song honoring the fighting men and women in all branches of the military? Is this artist A) Tim McGraw, B) Billy Currington, C) Toby Keith, or D) Bill Sahno?
The correct answer was Toby Keith.
Tim McGraw and Billy Currington are also well-known contemporary country singers. Bill Sahno, a Paysonite, is a retired Marine colonel, who once again headed up the recently celebrated Marine Birthday Ball.
Congratulations to this past week’s trivia winner, Grace Mootsey, who has won several times in the past, most recently about a year-and-a-half ago. Grace and her husband, George, are longtime Payson residents.
Lastly, wasn’t the recent Tonto Community Concert Association’s “Take Me Home — John Denver” tribute a beautiful, nostalgic experience?
From the second row, watching Jim Curry’s mannerisms, basking in his perfect inflection of John Denver’s voice and being mesmerized by the videos of Denver in the background, I had this overwhelming feeling that the “real” John Denver had never “left the building.”
Hope to see you next Thursday at the Elks Lodge Community Thanksgiving Dinner — free to the public from noon to 3 p.m. Come for the food, stay for the fellowship. Enjoy our music.
DJ Craig - Phone: 468-1482