The twelve best Dolly Parton covers

With John Prine she’s American’s greatest living songwriter, and I’m glad part of her iconicity includes her sharp, clear gift for metaphor and a voice that gave flesh to those metaphors. These dozen tracks honor her.

1. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood – Down from Dover
2. The White Stripes – Jolene
3. Emmylou Harris – Coat of Many Colors
4. Merle Haggard – Kentucky Gambler
5. Kesha – Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You
6. Glen Campbell – Light of a Clear Blue Morning
7. Bettye LaVette – Little Sparrow
8. Maria Muldaur – My Tennessee Mountain Home
9. Reba McEntire – Starting Over Again
10. Johnny Cash – I’m a Drifter
11. Linda Ronstadt – I Will Always Love You
12. Miley Cyrus – Jolene

4 thoughts on “The twelve best Dolly Parton covers

  1. Jukebox

    You made me re-discover this gem of a woman. Thank you!!

    No “Bargain Store” cover? I understand: it’s too short!! Too spare, too minimalistic. I love it even more because she was not ornamental in music; all the ornaments went in hairstyling and makeup: “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap”. She was overselling herself, not her music. Smart.
    Also, a performer as well a great songwriter: “Here You Come Again” is proof, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil were not my fav. songwriting duo of the 60s; but she comes in that song as vulnerable as, say, “Touch Your Woman”. But it’s an even better performance.
    I’ve never been that sold on her poppier side. I like everything in “9 to 5” except the melody, which I think is a reshape of “Two Doors Down”. But since I found out she used her fingernails as percussion (badass!!), I’ll give it another try.


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