Dolly Partoncomes by her impressive singing chops real honest.
Back in 1976, she had a syndicated variety show called Dolly, and this episode in particular, featured pretty much her entire family, save for her three oldest brothers.
Dolly’s late parents, Avie and Robert, as well as seven of her brothers and sisters, joined her to sing “In the Pines,” which is an old mountain song that has been around for centuries.
Often called “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” these days, the one we all know today originated from two tracks, including the aforementioned “In the Pines” and “The Longest Train.”
The authorship of both songs is unknown and dates back to at least the 1870’s. Both songs are believed to have originated in the southern Appalachian region of the United States, with influences from Eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, Western North Carolina and Northern Georgia.
Over the years, it has been covered by a countless array of artists, including bluegrass musician Bill Monroe as well as folk and blues musician Lead Belly. They each did their own versions of the song in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
It had resurgence in the 90’s with a younger audience that became extremely popular when Nirvana reimagined it during their 1993 MTV Unplugged performance (which Koe Wetzel has covered before, as well).
Dolly opened their performance by saying that she remembers her family singing “old timey mountain songs” together all the time when she was growing up, and they still hold a very special place in her heart:
“I remember how we used to all gather around when we was all together back home and sing the old timey mountain songs. You remember that?
Songs like ‘In the Pines’ and ‘Little Brown Jug’ and all that stuff.’
Her dad jokingly responded that he knew the brown jug well, as he dabbled in the moonshine business some back in the day:
“I know that jug well, yeah.”
Dolly and her mom both laughed at his answer, with Dolly making sure he was okay with admitting that on TV. Avie, who was not a fan of her husbands drinking, said they’d better keep it in there:
“Yeah, leave that right in there!”
And since her dad used to drink his liquor back in the pines of the Smokey Mountains of East Tennessee, Dolly figured it was fitting for their appearance on the show:
“Why don’t we sing ‘In the Pines?’ That’s where you used to go drink it.
Let me see if I can get my pickin’ finger working. I took lessons from Mother Maybelle Carter.”
I mean, her parents both have great voices, but I was blown away at how rich and beautiful her moms vocals were.
Also, they’re a precious little family, and when you see them together here, it’s easy to see how Dolly became such an incredible performer, but even more-so, a truly great person.