Since day one, Dolly Parton has told captivating, believable stories that speak for the people of East Tennessee without limiting themselves to regional appeal. Her debut album, 1967's Hello, I’m Dolly, proves as much with characters ranging from one woman offering life advice to her younger sister to another ready to go Biblical and cast stones at a former lover’s bride-to-be.
Read on to find out how The Boot ranks the tracks on a classic and influential 12-song collection without a dud.
A small army of backup singers create an oddly jubilant mood within a song that helps its narrator exorcise past heartbreak. On second thought, maybe it does make sense for a song about escaping a knucklehead’s grasp to sound this peppy.
One of the masters of heartbreak songs dreamed up a character so trampled down by men that she doesn’t even let anyone consider her as a love interest. Maybe this same woman lived through “The Giving and the Taking?”
“Put It Off Until Tomorrow”
Parton embraces the slick Nashville Sound with this song about trying to sidestep an impending breakup. It’s a fine example of her songwriting and deserves credit for kickstarting her mainstream career.
Parton and her uncle Bill Owens wrote this 1960s song interpreter’s dream. Skeeter Davis scored a Top 15 hit with her 1967 version.
Small oversights like not buying your significant other candy can be annoying, but this tale’s partner really did drop the ball when he forgot her birthday.
While other songs on Hello, I'm Dolly offer first-person perspectives on everyday heartaches and annoyances, this one serves up a little sisterly advice from one character to another.
“The Giving and the Taking”
Many of Parton’s narrators learn that, sometimes, you put way more into a relationship than you get back. That’s certainly the case here, as Parton’s character realizes she’s “given all I can give and taken all I can take.”
For this song’s narrator, so-called “woman’s work” falls on her plate ... as does every other chore in the yard and around the house. It’s one of the great sendups of supposed domestic bliss.
Had Brad Paisley been born way earlier and gotten to tour with his pal Little Jimmy Dickens back in the day, this smart aleck (in a good way) set of lyrics would’ve been the ultimate answer song for “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song).”
“I’ve lived my life, and I’m only 18” begins this powerful take on the sorts of everyday people Parton might’ve observed while growing up in rural Tennessee.
Parton’s always poked a little fun at herself, but as this opening track establishes, she’s no dumb blonde. If you believe otherwise, consider yourself warned: She always gets the last laugh.
“I Don’t Want to Throw Rice”
This work of genius comes out of nowhere with the chorus: “I don’t want to throw rice; I want to throw rocks at her.” Wanting to give a blushing bride a black eye is a little excessive, but it’s an example how absurd we can get when blinded by jealousy.