And, for those in merry ole England, be sure to catch Dolly's Christmas radio special, Holly Dolly, 3:05 p.m. Christmas Day (British Winter Time), BBC Radio 2.
More Best Of Year Lists
Here's another best of the year list: Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette contained a round-up of several of its staff members' tallies, and one included Dolly! Andrew Morgan, under the title "I liked 'em when they came out, and I'm still playin' 'em," put Halos & Horns fourth out of 12, saying: "A legend, an American music treasure. 'Dagger Through the Heart' is a great hurtin' song; audacious cover of 'Stairway to Heaven.'" Read the paper's full lists here. Also, The Tennessean on Saturday released its best of 2002 list of CDs, and while Dolly's didn't make the top 10, one recording featuring her did make it: Pam Tillis' It's All Relative. Read their list here.
Steady On U.K. Chart
Halos & Horns remains steady for yet another week at No. 37 on the British independent label albums chart, released Sunday.
And A Mention
And Dolly got a mention in Sunday's celebrity column by Brad Schmidt in The Tennessean. In a note from assistant features editor Susan Leathers about a local restaurant to be profiled on The Food Channel's The Best Of series on Monday night, it says: "Who would have tagged Dolly Parton as a big-time burger lover? Though she weighs barely a pound herself, word has it the Fat Mo's regular dropped by the Melrose location on a recent Sunday for a half-pound patty with all the trimmings. Pam Tillis is another frequent customer, says owner Shiva Karimy." Read the story here. Thanks, Mike!
Just In Case You Missed It
And just in case you didn't check out the site over the weekend, Harrell Gabehart and Patric Parkey sent in a great journal and several dozen amazing photos from their stay in Dolly's apartment on the grounds of Dollywood and attendance of her benefit concerts last weekend. The pair participated in a charity auction for the special weekend, complete with an opportunity to meet Dolly herself. And they were ecstatic to have placed the winning bid. (There were a couple of complaints about the pop-up windows containing the photograph collections for this section, with the set size of the window being too large for some people who had their computers set to smaller sizes. The window sizes have since been changed, so hopefully there won't be any more problems.) Visit this special section of the site here!
Exclusive Report: Tour Dolly's Apartment, See Concert Pics
I had mentioned at the start of the week that you'd be in for a treat with an "extra special" report coming from a "special place," and here it is! My Dolly pals Harrell Gabehart and Patric Parkey a few months back won a charity auction to spend last weekend in Dolly's apartment on the grounds of Dollywood and meet Miss Dolly herself! The loving fans that they are, they offered to share their experience with everyone else out there by providing Dollymania exclusive access to their full journal of the weekend's events and photos of Dolly's apartment and her benefit concerts for the Dollywood Foundation. So sit back, prepare to be envious, and click here to read their journal and access the photos for your own virtual tour of Dolly's apartment and concert! Thanks, guys!
BBC Concert, Documentary Update
An update to the story here yesterday on Dolly's BBC documentary to air Jan. 6: Apparently, the documentary is expected use the footage from her November London concert, but the full concert itself will not air on television as a separate special. The tour's U.K. promoter confirmed to Dollymania that only one BBC camera was present at the show to record part of Dolly's performance "for illustrative purposes" only, meaning that while clips will likely air in the documentary, there was no recording of the entire concert. Thanks, Paul!
Holdiay Special To Air In England
And in another BBC note, I thought I had reported this, but an alert reader reminded me today that I hadn't. The BBC Radio 2 network will air a holiday music program hosted by Dolly on Christmas Day, according to its web site. Dolly will play some of her own holiday and non-holiday recordings, like including "Winter Wonderland," "Hello God" and "Travelin' Prayer," as well as seasonal songs by her friends such as Dwight Yoakum, The Texas Tornadoes, Wynonna, Garth Brooks, Take Six, Ricky Skaggs, James Taylor, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Trisha Yearwood, The Mavericks and Travis Tritt. The 55-minute show, titled Holly Dolly, is set to air at 3:05 p.m. British Winter Standard Time on Christmas Day. Read more about it here. Thanks, Keith!
British Chart Update
And still on the BBC, their web site has updated its Dec. 15 independent label albums chart, although there was no explanation why last Sunday's chart wasn't posted until Friday, but Dolly's Halos & Horns remains at No. 37 for the week.
Library Story Reprinted
The Oklahoman on Friday reprinted a story which originally appeared in the Knoxville News-Sentinel last weekend on Dolly's Imagination Library expansion to Native American communities nationwide in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. If you missed it the first time, read it here.
Up On The U.S. Charts
Pushed by continued gift-giving sales for the holiday, Dolly's Halos & Horns inches up one spot on both the country and independent label albums charts for its 23rd chart week to come in at No. 50 and No. 16, respectively, on the Dec. 28 numbers Billboard released on Thursday. The CD, which had peaked at No. 4 country this summer, remains steady at No. 6 on the bluegrass albums chart. Patty Loveless' Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas, featuring vocals by Dolly and Ricky Skaggs on the title cut, loses one on the bluegrass chart in its seventh week to make it to No. 3 but gains one spot on the country chart to reach No. 20. The CD gains seven places on the holiday albums chart to reach No. 41 in its second week there, but it loses nine notches on the pop albums chart to come in at No. 182 for its second week there. Selah's Rose Of Bethlehem, with the amazing Dolly duet on her own "Once Upon A Christmas," loses one spot to No. 23 on the contemporary Christian chart and one to No. 16 on the Heatseekers chart in its seventh chart week. The Songcatcher soundtrack gains one on the bluegrass chart for a 16th week, coming in at No. 14. And the Sweet Home Alabama soundtrack, featuring Dolly's "Marry Me," moves up one to No. 16 on the soundtrack albums chart in its 11th chart week. Shania Twain's Up! retains its No. 1 position on both the pop and country charts for its fourth week, while the Dixie Chicks' Home, benefiting from post-TV special sales, jumps from No. 3 country and No. 9 pop to take the No. 2 spot on both in its 16th chart week.
Down A Bit In Canada
And up in Canada, Kenny & Dolly's double-platinum 1984 holiday disc Once Upon A Christmas loses four spots to come in at No. 13 on the Dec. 19 country albums chart released Thursday. Now in its seventh chart week for its annual appearance up north, it falls from this year's peak at No. 9 last week.
BBC Documentary Air Date Announced
A very comprehensive documentary on Dolly's life and career is set to air on BBC One in the U.K. on Jan. 6, British entertainment site Waveguide reported Thursday. As you may recall, a BBC film crew had been following Dolly through her tour of the region last month, so this probably will include that footage. The special will feature exclusive interviews with Dolly, her family and friends including Lily Tomlin, Shirley MacLaine, Shania Twain, Kenny Rogers and former Monument Records president Fred Foster, who produced Dolly's first minor country hits. The site reports that the documentary will also use never-before-seen home movies of Dolly's childhood and "extensive" footage from throughout her career, with producers saying they will "show her as she's never been seen before." Read Waveguide's brief here.
More Best Of 2002 Lists
I've come across a couple other Best Of The Year lists featuring Dolly. Listeners to BBC Radio 2 chose Halos & Horns as one of the top 12 country releases of the year here, and Venus Zine, an American magazine covering "groundbreaking" women in the art world, selected it as the second-best album of the year in any genre here.
Making The Best-Of-Year Lists
Well, the year-end top music lists are starting to appear, and as expected, Dolly is getting some recognition for her amazing CD Halos & Horns. The Chicago Tribune on Sunday ranked it the seventh-best country release of 2002, with critic Chrissie Dickinson saying it proves "this lady still has the power to reduce the entire house to tears. A genuine country legend, Dolly's charisma, heartbreaking Appalachian soprano and songwriting skill rightly earned her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Although she has followed the pop muse at various times in her career, Parton returns again to her mountain roots for this collection." Read the full list here. Thanks, Bryan! And Thursday's issue of Nashville Scene features two Dolly mentions on its staff's lists. Bill Friskics-Warren places "Hello God" from the disc and Chuck D's "Twisted Sense of God" at No. 5 on his list of the most important musical efforts of the year, calling them "pop's two most passionate, incisive theological meditations on 9/11." He adds: "Parton's is the more searching, enlisting an Appalachian chamber quartet and gospel choir to call on heaven with her . . . Neither lets anyone off the hook, citing not just humanity's pervasive bad faith, but also the need for heaven and earth to forge peace and justice together here and now." Also, Bruce Dobie puts the CMA Awards as his seventh pick for the most important local events in Nashville, citing spectacular performances by Faith Hill, Dolly (saying with "Hello God" she "rang the rafters with an African American choir"), Rascal Flatts and Rebecca Lynn Howard. Read both lists here.
And A Mention
Although she didn't make the Rolling Stone best-of-the-year list, Dolly did get included in its annual year in review section. Under July, Dolly's releasing her cover of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" on Halos & Horns made their list of the most newsworthy musical developments of the year. A photo of Dolly performing at Today in New York that month is shown alongside her mention. Thanks, Mark!
Sorry, That's Not Dolly
It's that time of year again, when I always get several e-mails asking where one can get a copy of Dolly reciting an emotional holiday poem titled "The Christmas Guest," the tale of a lonely old man whose guest for Christmas is none other than God himself. Since the first couple have already come in, I decided to note for everyone that the recitation is not by Dolly. Instead, it is by another country diva who counts Dolly as her greatest influence: Reba McEntire. Reba recorded this number, co-written and originally performed by Hee-Haw and Grand Ole Opry star Grandpa Jones, on her 1987 album Merry Christmas To You, which is still in print (click on the title to order). Still, Dolly has put out some great holiday music, including her gold album Home For Christmas, her double-platinum Once Upon A Christmas with Kenny Rogers, her version of "Silent Night" on the Annabelle's Wish soundtrack, harmonies with pals Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt (plus Neil Young) on the title track to Emmy's Light Of The Stable, and this year's guest appearance on Patty Loveless' Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas and duet on Selah's Rose of Bethlehem (plus holiday-themed DVDs and videos of The Magic School Bus Holiday Special and Unlikely Angel).
Paper: Mae West Film, More Music Coming
Dolly's Mae West bio-pic for ABC is back on track and may air during the November 2003 sweeps, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported Tuesday. In a great interview with Dolly, she also notes that she doesn't have plans to record any bluegrass in the immediate future. She has enjoyed a critical renaissance of sorts in recent years, starting with the straight bluegrass of The Grass Is Blue in 1999 (before anyone had even heard of O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and followed by her more mountain-sounding Little Sparrow in 2001 and this year's almost mainstream country disc, Halos & Horns. Dolly tells the newspaper that she doesn't want to get "pigeonholed" into recording strictly bluegrass music. She says she hopes to soon record a "great" country album, another gospel album (which would be her third) and a children's album (which would be her first) as well as release a dance remix CD, explaining that she wants to please everyone in her diverse fan base. Read the full interview here.
A Dolly Mention
Dolly got a couple of mentions in an article in this week's Village Voice about Shania Twain. It is noted that, in the reviewer's opinion, Dolly is the only woman of country music who can retain her playful sexuality throughout a long career instead of becoming a more "wifely" performer as well as the only exception to his rule that country singers either put out the same album again and again (such as George Straight), go retro (such as Patty Loveless and The Dixie Chicks) or move to pop (such as Faith Hill or Wynonna), instead doing all three as "the exception to every rule and that's why she has her own theme park." Read the full story here.
More Concert Pics!
Brenda Willis sent in some great shots of Dolly from her concerts over the weekend at Dollywood, including the one at left. Take a look at them here. Thanks, Brenda! And keep checking back for more photos and news from the shows throughout the week. (If you want to send anything in, please do so here. Thanks!)
Dolly Up For Gay Honor
A Dolly performance has been nominated for the 14th Annual Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards, it was announced Monday. The BBC America premiere episode of openly gay British television host Graham Norton's series So, Graham Norton featuring Dolly (and titled, appropriately enough, "Dolly Parton,") has been nominated for Outstanding Talk Show. It faces an episode of The Rosie O'Donnell Show on adoptions by gay parents and an episode of Donahue on gay athletes. Winners will be recognized in three ceremonies, April 7 in New York, April 26 in Los Angeles and June 7 in San Francisco. Considered one of the world's top gay icons, Dolly has long been a supporter of the gay and lesbian community. No word on whether Dolly or Graham (whose cheeky holiday special together, Graham Goes To Dollywood, premiered in the U.S. on BBC America Monday night) will attend any of the award ceremonies, which are held as benefits for the organization, raising an expected $2.5 million for its efforts to promote fair and inclusive representation of gay and lesbian individuals in the media. Read the full story here.
Reliving The '80s
Dolly got a sizeable profile on the premiere of VH1's I Love The 80s! Monday night sandwiched between such 1980 notables as punk hair, Strawberry Shortcake, The Empire Strikes Back and "Who Shot J.R.?" Her segment focused mainly on her entry into film with the 1980 hit 9 to 5, but they also discussed the pop phenomenon which is Dolly as well as her boobs. On the film and the acting ability she showed, Hal Sparks of Queer As Folk said, "Dolly Parton - fantastic!" Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: SVU said, "You know, you think that she's like going to be a bad actress because of those boobs, and she just rocks!" And Cheryl Hines of Curb Your Enthusiasm lamented, "Dolly Parton has always been overshadowed by her breasts." Leeann Rimes sang a chorus of "9 to 5," Mark McGrath recounted her appearance on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson a couple of years earlier when he commented that he'd give a year's salary to peak under her shirt (and they showed that clip). Her famous "rooster to a hen" scene from the film was also shown as well as a few still photos and the scene of her roping in Mr. Hart. The episode also included a segment dedicated to her frequent duet partner, Kenny Rogers, although it didn't mention their collaborations, focusing instead on his hit "The Gambler." The series continues through the week, profiling two years of the 1980s each night.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel gave thumbs up to both Patty Loveless' Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas and Selah's Rose Of Bethlehem, both of which contain Dolly appearances, in its review of recent holiday releases published Sunday. About Patty's album, reviewer Wayne Bledsoe said it was "one of the most welcome Christmas discs of the season." And Selah's effort was called "sweet stuff," with Beldsoe adding : "The group gets points for landing Dolly Parton as a guest vocalist on Parton's 'Once Upon A Christmas.'" Read the full reviews here.
A Gaggle Of Dollys?
The Dallas White Rock Marathon raced through the streets of Texas on Sunday, complete with more than two dozen bands and choirs entertaining runners throughout the course. One group of entertainers, however, received a bit more attention that the others. In an area they called "Dolly World," about 20 individuals dressed in full Dolly regalia and blared out country songs as they handed refreshments to passing participants. Read a mention of the group from Monday's Dallas Morning News here.
I finally got my hands on the Dec. 27 issue of Goldmine with its great Dolly interview. Dolly talks about the new CD and its songs, her life, her break-up with Porter Wagoner, 9 to 5, her desire to record a bluegrass version of "I Will Always Love You," Dollywood and the Imagination Library (which she says will soon begin sending books outside the U.S.!). And here's their list of some of the most collectable Dolly records, with prices all given for near-mint condition:
1. "Puppy Love"/"Girl Left Along" (single, 1959, Goldband), $600
2. "It's Sure Gonna Hurt"/"The Love You Gave" (single, 1962, Mercury), $300
3. Just Because I'm A Woman (album, 1968, RCA, mono version), $100
4. Just Between You And Me (album with Porter, 1968, RCA, mono version), $100
5. Country And Western Soul (album, 1963, Time -- covers of Kitty Wells songs), $40
6. Dolly Parton and George Jones (album, 1968, Starday -- same songs as above, but B-side is early George Jones material), $40
7. Hello, I'm Dolly (album, 1967, Monument, stereo version), $30
8. Hits Made Famous By Country Queens (album, 1963, Starday, same Kitty Wells songs as No. 5 and 6, with B-side featuring Faye Tucker), $30
9. Just Because I'm A Woman (stereo version of No. 3), $30
10. Hits Made Famous By Country Queens (mono version of No. 8), $25
11. Hello, I'm Dolly (mono version of No. 7), $25
12. A Real Live Dolly (album, 1970, RCA), $25
13. Personal Music Dialogue With Dolly Parton (promo album of radio special, 1977, RCA), $25
14. 1968-1972 RCA albums on orange label, $20
15. 1968-1971 RCA duet albums on orange label, $20
16. Eagle When She Flies (album, 1991, Columbia, issued on vinyl through Columbia House club only), $20
17. My Tennessee Mountain Home (album, 1973, quadraphonic version, APD1 prefix), $20
18. Dance With Dolly (12-inch single of "Baby I'm Burning"/"I Wanna Fall In Love," 1978, pink wax, RCA), $15
19. Various colored-wax promo RCA singles in 1980s, $10-$12
20. "Coat Of Many Colors"/"Here I Am" (picture sleeve single, 1971, RCA), $10
The list also notes that most of her other singles fetch about $5 each. However, I thought conspicuously absent from their list were a couple of items, including her early pop Monument singles from the '60s (which Goldband's own price guide puts at $10-$15 each) and the 1973 single "Here Comes The Freedom Train" with Porter Wagoner, which is not listed in any price guide but copies of which I have seen go for anywhere between $100 and $250 each.
Benefit Concerts Notes
I've been getting a few reports on Dolly's weekend fundraising shows for the Dollywood Foundation and its Imagination Library, and while I don't have a full report to give to you yet, I'm told she was amazing, as expected, at each show, captivating the audience and getting them all to sing along several times. Cameras were seen recording all three shows for an expected live video/DVD/CD or possibly television special. The set list was apparently the same as her live shows, with the exception of adding "Stairway To Heaven." And the documentary film crew of For The Love Of Dolly was around all weekend interviewing fans. Plus, a special fan got a real treat at Dolly's Friday show: One of my Internet pals, David Schmidli, as his mom, Jo-Ann, were sitting on the fourth row, and Dolly recognized him and pointed to him. Then, as she sang "I Will Always Love You" and David rose to give her a standing ovation, she looked at him and said "David, I love you, too." The only person whose name was called during the concert, several fans came up to congratulate him afterward. Several friends have promised to send in reports and photographs once they have their film developed and the shots scanned in, so keep checking back here over the next few days for more. (If anyone else wants to send some in, please do so here!) And there will be one extra-special report from the weekend's festivities coming up from a "special place." More details soon. Thanks to everyone who sent in their notes! And late Sunday, my good friend Debbie Poole sent in two sets of pics from the concerts. See them here and here. Thanks, Debbie!
Library Coverage All Over The Place
An Associated Press recap of the expansion of Dolly's Imagination Library into nearly 100 Native American communities across the country got a lot of coverage over the weekend, with an Associated Press article appearing in several dozen newspapers nationwide. Read it from the Washington Times here. Also, an original story (with a great photo!) appeared in Saturday's Knoxville News-Times here with some additional quotes from Dolly at Friday's ceremony. Plus, Dolly was all over the Knoxville paper Saturday, with an article on British tourists coming to the area (primarily to see Dollywood) here and a preview of the Graham Norton Christmas special with Dolly on BBC America Monday night here. The Mountain Press also featured an original story on the announcement ceremony here on Sunday, also with a photo.
Goldmine Story Notes
Dolly graces the cover of the Dec. 27 issue of the music collectors' magazine Goldmine, as has been previously reported by Voice Of An Angel. I've been trying to find a copy in my area, but shipments of this issue haven't arrived here yet :( Anyway, a friend provided a few details after he got one. The article is a five-page interview by Jeremy Rush which took place prior to the release of Halos & Horns and her summer tour. There are photos from her Chicago concert and Today show concert and in the studio recording plus album cover artwork from Halos and Little Sparrow as well as the 45 picture sleeves for "I Will Always Love You," "9 to 5" and "Islands In The Stream." It also provides a list of the 20 highest-priced Dolly singles, with the top four consisting of "Puppy Love"/"Girl Left Alone" (original 1959 release, not the mid-80s re-issue), $600; promo "It's Sure Gonna Hurt"/"The Love You Gave" (1962, mint), $300; "Just Because I'm A Woman" (1968) and "Just Between You And Me" (1968), $100 each. I'll post the full list here as soon as I get a copy. Thanks, Mike!
Native American Library Program Ceremony Recap
As was reported here Thursday night, Dolly on Friday announced a partnership with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to bring the Dollywood Foundation's Imagination Library to 92 Native American communities nationwide. In a press release detailing the announcement ceremony at Dollywood, Dolly said: "You know, I feel my Imagination Library is now truly a national gift. We are up to almost 200 community programs in half the states, we have the federal government involved, and even a whole state is attempting to provide books to every single child. But you know I feel the same today as I did when we enrolled the first child in Sevier County - I feel blessed to be in a position to help any child to learn to read, and probably more importantly to love to read!" The program partners the Foundation and Bureau with Parents as Teachers and the National Center for Family Literacy called FACE and Baby FACE. Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Neal McCaleb said at the program: "We knew we were missing one important ingredient in order to complete the circle (of educating children on reservations). By enriching our efforts with the gift of Dolly's books, we can teach and inspire parents to read to their children." Read the full release here. The Knoxville News-Sentinel also posted a short story on the announcement late Friday. Read it here.
Need A Ticket?
If you were thinking of running up to Dolly's sold-out concerts at Dollywood this weekend but didn't have a ticket, you're in luck. C. Howard contacted me to say he has one extra ticket to the Saturday night concert and will sell it for the original $35 purchase price. If you're interested, call his cell at 423-742-0119 (leave a message if no answer). Look for recaps and photos from her Friday night and Saturday shows here in coming days. (And if you want to send some in, please do so. E-mail me here!)
Goodness, Gracious, Great Graham Preview
The Athens Banner-Herald in Georgia on Friday offered a great preview of Monday night's U.S. premiere of Graham Norton's 2001 holiday special with Dolly titled Graham Goes To Dollywood. The hilarious program gets its first American airing at 11 p.m. Eastern on Monday courtesy of the cable network BBC America (which also has a page dedicated to the special here) one year after it aired on British television. In the newspaper, Sam Bishop raves about the show, saying the boob-pillow on which Graham rests his head while flying to Dollywood offers a good "representation of the traditional English cheekiness that is peppered (and how) throughout the show's hour-long proceedings." He adds that the program "entertainingly showcases Dolly and Dollywood in all of their local colored glory" and that Graham's "unending adoration" for Dolly "seems unparalleled." He notes: "Never has Dolly seemed more comfortable with her celebrity and so appreciative to her many fans. And after all, that is really what Dollywood is, a big 'thank you' to those same devotees. Granted there is a good deal of sugarcoated corniness in the special, but Graham's participation tends to temper the effect from becoming overly cloying." Read his full review here. (And, as you may recall, Dollymania was the first media outlet anywhere to have exclusive photos from the September 2001 filming of the special at Dollywood. See them here!)
Helping You Pick Out A Present
And with holiday gift CD sales in full swing, a slew of reviews made the papers Friday on Dolly-related projects. The Boston Globe offered a shinning opinion of Pam Tillis' It's All Relative, calling it a "double delight" and saying that Dolly's duet on "Violet And A Rose" is "lovely." (Read it here.) The Buffalo News gives Patty Loveless' Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas three-and-a-half stars (here), while The Oregonian (here) opines that Dolly's "pungent harmony on the title track is a particular treat." And the Dayton Daily News gives Patty's disc an "A," calling it a "rootsy, heartfelt package," and offers a "B" to Selah's Rose Of Bethlehem, saying: "Surprise! Tucked into this powerful collection of inspirational holiday songs is the worshipful Dolly Parton tune 'Once Upon a Christmas.' Even better, Miss Dolly herself joins the vocal mix." Read it here.
Christian Chart Update
Dolly's duet with Dottie Rambo, "Stand By The River," drops four spots this week on the PowerSource weekly Christian country countdown, coming in at No. 10. The song had peaked last month at No. 1 for two weeks and is the publication's No. 1 song this month in its only "official" chart (its monthly tabulation).
Tribes To Get Dolly's Library
The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Dollywood Foundation are set to announce on Friday that a partnership between the two organizations will bring Dolly's Imagination Library program to 92 Native American communities nationwide, The Oklahoman reported on Thursday. According to the newspaper, the Cherokee National Youth Choir is set to perform with Dolly at a ceremony at Dollywood on Friday to announce the partnership. Read it here. The Imagination Library, which is expanding nationwide at an impressive rate, provides one free book per month to every child in a participating community whose parents sign up. It is administered free of charge by the Dollywood Foundation, and local organziations in each community pay $27 per child, per year, for the cost of the books and postage. Started in Dolly's home of Sevier County, Tenn., several years ago, the program expects to distribute more than 1 million books nationwide next year. (And speaking of the library program, another article showed up on it coming to Whiteside County, Illinois, on Thursday. Read it here.)
Dolly Does Bellamy Tribute
According to an article published Thursday in The Eagle in Bryan-College Station, Texas, about an upcoming Bellamy Brothers concert, Dolly has signed on to record with the duo on an upcoming guest album next year featuring many of their past hits. Others the newspaper reported are on board include Kenny Rogers and David Allen Coe. Read the story here.
Up On U.S. Charts
Dolly's Halos & Horns inches up one spot on both the country and bluegrass albums chart in its 22nd chart week to come in at No. 51 and No. 6, respectively, on the Dec. 21 tally, Billboard announced Thursday. It also moves up five places on the independent label albums chart to reach No. 17. Patty Loveless' Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas, featuring Dolly guest vocals, jumps up five on the bluegrass side in its sixth week to make it to No. 2 and a whopping 23 spots on the country chart to No. 21, earning it this week's "Pacesetter" designation. Selah's Rose Of Bethlehem, with the Dolly duet on "Once Upon A Christmas," loses three notches to reach No. 24 on the contemporary Christian chart and four spots to No. 15 on the Heatseekers chart in its sixth chart week. The Songcatcher soundtrack re-enters the bluegrass chart for a 15th week, coming in at No. 15. And the Sweet Home Alabama soundtrack, with Dolly's "Marry Me," drops two to No. 17 on the soundtrack albums chart in its 10th chart week and falls off the pop albums chart, down from No. 191. Shania Twain's Up! retains its No. 1 position on both the pop and country charts for its third week.
Continuing Canadian Climb
Kenny & Dolly's Once Upon A Christmas continues it annual rise on the Canadian country albums chart, gaining three more spots to reach No. 9 for its sixth chart week this year.
Atlanta Constitution Journal critic Craig Seymour on Tuesday included Dolly's version of "Hard Candy Christmas" from The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas as one of the best Christmas songs of all time (even though it isn't actually a holiday song -- this number from the original score of the Broadway hit just uses the word "Christmas" in its chorus). About Dolly's performance, he notes: "'I'm barely getting through tomorrow,' sings Country earth angel Parton on this sob-worthy Christmas wish for strength and a new life." Read the full list here.
Maybe A Nice Christmas Gift?
A new book was released last month on daytime TV diva (and fellow Mississippi native) Oprah Winfrey which includes many Dolly appearances. The photo book, To Oprah With Love: A Photographic Tribute, features shots of Oprah over a 10-year period with prominent politicians, celebrities and sports heroes on her show. One page features Oprah hugging Dolly during her first appearance on the program in 1987, another has Dolly trying to teach Oprah how to play guitar from a 1992 appearance and another shows the cast of Steel Magnolias on the show in 1989. Order your copy here. Thanks, Greg!
More Patty Press
CMT.com on Tuesday offered more promotion for Patty Loveless' Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas, complete with a mention of Dolly's guest appearance. Read it here.
The music site PopMatters on Tuesday published its review of Pam Tillis' tribute to the songs of her father, It's All Relative, calling it "a most worthy album." About Dolly's guest vocals, the reviewer said: "And 'Violet and the Rose,' one of Mel's more wondrous efforts which substitutes hearts for flowers to tell an age old story of infidelity and jealousy, is especially beautiful, helped out considerably thanks to the angelic voice of Dolly Parton on harmonies." Read the full review here.
Dolly got a mention in Wednesday's The Tennessean in a story on an upcoming local production of Steel Magnolias, noting that the director ran into Dolly and asked for some advice the night before auditions. Read it here.
Another Library Story
Television station WQAD in Illinois on Wednesday reported on the Dollywood Foundation's Imagnination Library program in Whiteside County in partnership with the local United Way chapter. Read it here.
What's In A Name?
Silver Dollar City, Inc., Dolly's business partners who co-own Dollywood, Dolly's Splash Country water park and the Dixie Stampede chain of dinner theaters with her, has changed its name. The Missouri-based theme park company (which also operates properties in Georgia and Missouri, among other locations) will now be known as Herschend Family Entertainment Corp., named after the family which originally founded the company and remains heavily involved in its projects. Read a story on KOLR TV10 from Tuesday here.
VH1: Dolly One Of The Greats Of The '80s
Dolly is scheduled next week to be profiled as part of a new VH1 series celebrating the 1980s, titled appropriately enough I Love The 80s!, it was announced Monday. The series' first episode, "1980," is slated to include some Dolly material, the network says. I'd expect it to center around the hit film and song "9 to 5," as the channel's web site here notes in the description of the episode: "Well, hellllllo Dolly. Dolly Parton exploded onto the big screen in '9 to 5' and even earned an Oscar nomination for her efforts. That song was pretty catchy, too. 'Working nine to five what a way to make a livin'…'" Dolly, along with Journey and The Captain and Tennille, is listed as a "featured artist" on the site for that episode. The show premieres at 9 p.m. Eastern on Monday. And while I haven't seen anything saying she'll appear on the third installment, "1983," which airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, I think VH1 would be committing a major oversight not to at least mention that her duet of "Islands In The Stream" with Kenny Rogers sold more copies (well over 2 million) in the final three months of the year than any other single did for the entire year.
More Holiday Reviews
Patty Loveless' holiday album Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas, with harmonies by Dolly and Ricky Skaggs on the title track, is continuing to get positive reviews, with USA Today on Monday calling it "one of the season's finest." The article (here) also mentions Dolly's appearance on Selah's Rose Of Bethlehem, calling that CD "inspirational."
For those of you attending Dolly's concerts this weekend at Dollywood who are interested in possibly being interviewed for the fan documentary For The Love Of Dolly, remember that the film crew will be heading out on Tuesday morning, so you'd better get your e-mails in to the director, Tai Uhlmann, at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP. (And, as your webmaster is unable to attend this year's shows, anyone who could please e-mail reviews and photos would be greatly appreciated! Send them here. Thanks!)
'Hello God' Video On GAC
Although I don't believe CMT is playing it, the cable music network Great American Country (GAC) has begun airing a music video of Dolly's current single, "Hello God," taken from her performance of the song on the CMA Awards. Click here to vote for it in GAC's weekly countdown and here to do a "write in" vote for it on CMT's MWL.
Up On U.K. Chart
Dolly's Halos & Horns moves up two to No. 37 on the British independent label albums chart this week, it was announced Sunday. The CD had peaked at No. 11 indie and No. 37 pop overseas earlier this year, plus held onto the No. 1 country album spot in Britain for 10 weeks.
Preliminary Grammy Voting Starts
Grammy voters are casting their initial ballots for next year's ceremonies, and Dolly has three entries in the preliminary list from which the nominees are chosen. According to a friend who has seen the ballot, Sugar Hill submitted Halos & Horns for consideration as Best Country Album and the album's single "Dagger Through The Heart" for Best Female Country Vocal Performance (the category which she won last year for "Shine"). In addition, Sony Music has submitted her appearance with Pam Tillis on "Violet And A Rose" from Pam's It's All Relative for Best Country Vocal Collaboration. Voters still have a little while to get their ballots in, and the top choices will make up the final nominations, which will be announced on Jan. 7. The awards will be handed out on Feb. 23. Here's hoping that Dolly gets nominated and wins all three categories, although I would have submitted her version of "Stairway To Heaven" for single and "Hello God" to one of the sacred music categories. Thanks!
New Holiday Tunes?
Rolling Stone Online reported Thursday night that a new holiday album is set to include a Dolly song, but little additional information was available, giving no indication whether this would be a new recording or one of her older Christmas tunes. The brief report (here) read: "Rockapella, Dolly Parton, Natalie Cole, Olivia Newton-John, Patti Labelle and the Ventures have contributed songs to 20 Christmas Stars, due this month; proceeds from the album will benefit various children's charities." In researching this news, I could not find any album by that title for sale or advance order from any of the major music retailers; however, I did find a series by that title for sale through Wal-Mart. Volume 4 of that series went on sale in October, and while it features cuts by Rockapella, Natalie Cole and Olivia Newton-John, there was nothing on it from Dolly, Patti Labelle or the Ventures. Look for more information here as it becomes available.
Dolly's gospel duet with Dottie Rambo, "Stand By The River," loses another spot to come in at No. 6 on the PowerSource weekly Christian country countdown, it was announced Friday. The song had previously spent two weeks at No. 1 and is the No. 1 song for the magazine's official monthly chart dated in December.
More Christmas Reviews
A few more holiday reviews came out on Friday. The Calgary Sun gives Patty Loveless' Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas four out of five stars, calling her newfound bluegrass sound "a treat." Read it here. The Mobile Register, however, gives it just three "Christmas bells" saying the CD is a "puzzler," because it doesn't sound like a real bluegrass album. It also calls Selah's Rose Of Bethlehem a "little bit of a head-scratcher," saying its traditional hymns are too "slow-paced" and the arrangements of its contemporary songs, including "Light Of The Stable" and Dolly's "Once Upon A Christmas" with guest vocals by the composer herself, "manage not to sound like Christmas songs." The reviewer gives it just two-and-a-half bells. Read the full reviews here.
'Dollymentary' Comes Back To Dollywood
The crew of the documentary For The Love Of Dolly, which has been interviewing Dolly fans around the country including at Dollywood's 2002 opening weekend and some stops on her U.S. and European tour this year, will be returning to Dolly's park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., to continue interviews when she arrives for her benefit concerts this month. The filmmakers described the project to Dollymania as follows:
FOR THE LOVE OF DOLLY
"Without Dolly Parton's fans there would be no Dolly Parton"
- Dolly Parton
Part documentary, part tribute, For the Love of Dolly, takes a fascinating and intimate look at the lives of Dolly Parton's biggest fans. From Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to Middlesex, England, you will meet a diverse group of adoring fans eager to open their homes and talk about how Dolly Parton changed their lives forever. Delight in their stories and experience why Dolly has been called a "world Icon," and as one man from Tennessee put it, "She could be our lady of Guadeloupe." Through the eyes of her fans you will fall in love with the phenomenon that is Dolly Parton, and through the eyes of the filmmakers you will fall in love with her fans.
CALLING ALL DOLLY FANS:
The filmmakers are going to be at Dollywood for the Christmas show. If you are going to be there between Dec. 13-15 and you have stories about your fandom and love of Dolly that you want to share, please email the film's director Tai Uhlmann at email@example.com before Tuesday, Dec. 10. For anyone not going to the Christmas show, we would love to hear from you as well. Please feel free to be in touch at any time.
Thanks, Tai and Valerie!
Down On The U.S. Charts
Dolly's Halos & Horns loses four spots to come in at No. 52 in its 21st week on the Dec. 14 country albums chart, Billboard announced Thursday; the album had peaked this summer at No. 4. It switches places with Patty Loveless' Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas, featuring Dolly guest vocals, to come in at No. 7 on the bluegrass albums chart, while Patty inches up to No. 5. Dolly also drops four places to No. 22 on the independent label albums chart. Patty's disc moves up six spots on the country chart to come in at No. 44 , while Selah's Rose Of Bethlehem, with the Dolly duet on "Once Upon A Christmas," loses five notches to reach No. 21 on the contemporary Christian chart and six spots to No. 11 on the Heatseekers chart, while falling off the holiday albums chart, down from No. 42; both Christmas CDs are in their fifth chart week. The Pinmonkey CD, offering Dolly harmony on "Falling Out Of Love With Me," falls off the country albums chart after seven weeks, down from No. 67. And the Sweet Home Alabama soundtrack, with Dolly's "Marry Me," drops four to No. 15 on the soundtrack albums chart and 24 notches on the pop albums chart to No. 191 in its ninth chart week. Shania Twain's Up! retains its No. 1 position on both the pop and country charts for its second week.
Still Rising In Canada
Kenny & Dolly's Once Upon A Christmas gains two more spots to come in at No. 12 for its fifth chart week on the Canadian country albums chart this holiday season.
First Irish Review, Pics
The first published review I've seen anywhere for Dolly's final show of her European tour, last Friday night in Dublin, Ireland, was posted Monday on Show Biz Ireland, complete with a couple of great photos! The brief review called the show "thigh slapping" but mistook Dolly's teleprompters (which are to remind her of the lyrics) as cues for the audience to see the words and sing along. It also noted that the front row featured six women wearing shirts which spelled out "Hello Dolly." Read the full review, and see the pics, here. Thanks, Thea!
More Patty Praise
And another reviewer loves Patty's Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas. The San Francisco area Contra Costa Times on Thursday gave it four "Christmas Stars," or its "very good" rating. It notes guest appearances on the disc by Dolly, Emmylou Harris, Amy Grant, Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill, calling it all "some of the prettiest singing you'll ever hear on a Christmas record, with great arrangements." Read it here.
'Halos' Songbooks Released
Dolly's most recent CD is now available in songbook format, I'm told. While I haven't seen it myself, I'm told that the sheet music for the full CD Halos & Horns has been issued by Warner Brothers Publications (ISBN 0-7579-0947-7). Thanks, Sam!
Dolly On BBC2 Religious Program
Dolly appeared Sunday on the BBC2 religious radio program Good Morning Sunday. Her song "High And Mighty" was played about four minutes into the program, and an interview with Dolly (recorded about two weeks earlier) aired about an hour and 20 minutes into the show. Dolly talks at length about her family, her church upbringing, her faith in and reliance on God, the loss of her father, her songwriting, the new CD and much more. During the approximately 20-minute segment, they also play her live version of "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" and "John Daniel" from Halos. To take a listen, visit here, click on "Listen Again Player" and choose "Good Morning Sunday" from the list. Thanks, Michelle!
Covers Page Updated
The Dollymania Covers Page, listing dozens of versions of Dolly compositions as recorded by other artists, was updated this week to add several additional entries. Check it out here.
'Halos' Passes 125K Mark
It's been several weeks since Dolly's album sales figures were updated here, and I've started getting e-mails asking about them, so here they are. As of this week, Halos & Horns has just passed the level of 125,000 copies sold in the U.S., up 34,000 from your last update or an average of about 3,100 copies per week. Little Sparrow stands at 201,000 units, up 22,000 from the last update or an average of about 2,000 copies per week. And The Grass Is Blue is at 182,000 CDs, up 3,000 from last update or an average of about 300 per week. Of course, these are SoundScan figures, which I understand do not include every sales outlet, and they also don't include CDs which have been shipped to stores but have yet to sell. Thanks, Rob!
Holdin' On To Bluegrass Chart
Bluegrass Unlimited on Monday issued its December bluegrass albums chart, and Dolly's Halos & Horns retains its peak No. 4 position in its fourth chart month.
Another Greatest Hits Collection
BMG is releasing yet another Dolly compilation CD in Europe, I've been told. According to the label's official store site, a new Greatest Hits is set for release in Britain on Dec. 16 (cover art at left). The track listing is: Jolene, I Will Always Love You, We Used To, Harper Valley PTA, D-I-V-O-R-C-E, Here You Come Again, Lovin' You, Bobby's Arms, 9 to 5, Do I Ever Cross Your Mind, Two Doors Down, Hold Me, It's My Time, In The Ghetto, Mama Say A Prayer and Love Is Like A Butterfly. Thanks, Sean!
Thank You! 'Dollymania' Ranks High
A big thank you to everyone who voted in the Dot Music Interactive Music Awards over the past few months. The top 1,000 site rankings for their Peoples' Choice Award were released Monday, and Dollymania just barely missed being in the top 100, coming in at No. 102! Two other Dolly sites were represented in the top 1,000: with Dolly Online at No. 477 and All Things Dolly at No. 534. Dot Music says more than 2,000 music-related sites received more than 130,000 votes in the competition. Taking the top spots in the countdown were: the official site for boyband Westlife at No. 1, a Radiohead fan site at No. 2, the official Depeche Mode site at No. 3, a Kylie Minogue fan site at No. 4 and the official site for boyband A1 at No. 5.Thanks to everyone!
Services will be held Tuesday at Christ Church in Nashville for Howard "Happy" Goodman, 81, who died Saturday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, The Tennessean reported. Patriarch of the Happy Goodman Family music group, he was the husband of longtime Dolly friend and gospel performer Vestal Goodman, with whom on her 1999 CD Vestal And Friends Dolly performed a duet on "Satisfied." Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
Dolly Scores First Official Gospel No. 1
Dolly's duet with Dottie Rambo, "Stand By The River," has reached No. 1 on the national Christian country music chart, which is published by PowerSource Magazine, it was announced Sunday. Although the magazine also compiles a weekly countdown broadcast via radio on which the song spent two weeks at No. 1 in November, the only "real" chart they produce for the record books is the monthly tabulation, with Dolly and Dottie at No. 1 for the month of December, based on November airplay. This is Dolly's first official gospel No. 1 on any chart, even though she has recorded many spiritual numbers throughout her career as well as two full-length gospel albums, also earning a Grammy nomination for Best Sacred Recording. Look for more information here, including reaction from Dottie and Dolly, soon. And while we're talking about the song, it is also No. 1 for December in the monthly chart of Country Gospel Southern Style and No. 2 for November on the chart of Country Gospel Connection, both of which are available on the news site Burning Country, which also lists Dolly's "Dagger Through The Heart" at No. 8 for the week of Nov. 23 for independent country singles. The song is also No. 43 in the Glory Train/Hilltopper Music Group top 100 country singles chart for Nov. 8-27. The single had been No. 1 on their chart earlier this year.
Still On U.K. Chart
Dolly's Halos & Horns loses two spots to come in at No. 39 on this week's independent label albums chart in Britain. The CD had peaked at No. 11 indie and No. 37 pop overseas, plus held onto the No. 1 country album spot in Britain for 10 weeks.
New U.K. Compliation Released
A new 20-song compilation of Dolly material from her time with Columbia/Sony was released last week in Britain titled Songs Of Love And Heartache. The track listing for the collection is: Put A Little Love In Your Heart, Yellow Roses, You Got Me Over A Heartache Tonight, Slow Dancing With The Moon, I Will Always Love You (With Vince Gill), More Than I Can Say, Jolene (1995 version), If You Need Me, What Is It My Love, Rockin Years (With Ricky Van Shelton), Eagle When She Flies, To Daddy, Silver And Gold, What Will Baby Be, Something Special, Crippled Bird, True Blue, What A Heartache (1991 version), Let Her Fly (With Tammy Wynette And Loretta Lynn), He's Alive.
More Praise From Scotland
The Scotsman on Friday posted its review of Dolly's Glasgow concert last week, noting that "her dress was worth the price of admission alone." The reviewer discussed her Scottish roots and praised her performance. Read it here.
Photo Available Online
My pal Mike came across a great rare photo of Dolly, taken at the Nashville DJ Convention, which would evolve into the CMA Awards. The shot, included in a special section of The Tennessean online edition, is from the RCA Victor breakfast at the Municipal Auditorium in 1967, one of her first appearances after signing to the label. View it here. Thanks, Mike!
Have A Holly, Dolly Christmas!
A few new reviews came out Sunday on some Dolly-inclusive holiday products. Comparing each new CD to a dish in a holiday meal, the Pioneer Press of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., called Selah's Rose of Bethlehem a "delicacy" and noted that its "centerpiece" is the duet with Dolly on a cover of her "Once Upon A Christmas," and the newspaper praised Patty Loveless' Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas (which includes Dolly on the title cut) for her "fine voice" and "bluegrass seasonings," calling it "the homestyle biscuits for old bluegrass fans and new ones." Read the reviews here. The Washington Post also lauded Patty's CD, paying particular attention to its superb instrumentation and delivery. Read it here. Of course, there are many more Dolly Christmas items available, including The Magic School Bus Holiday Special and Unlikely Angel on DVD and the CDs Home For Christmas by Dolly, Once Upon A Christmas by Kenny & Dolly, Light Of The Stable by Emmylou Harris (featuring Dolly and Linda Ronstadt on the title track as the first Trio recording -- plus Neil Young to make it a quartet) and the Annabelle's Wish soundtrack, which features Dolly performing "Something Bigger Than Me" and "Silent Night."