Dolly Parton is one of those rare country artists whose success spilled over into the mainstream in such a large way that they’ve became not just a piece of country music history, but American culture.
After bursting onto the scene as a teenage girl from Tennessee, Dolly built a career that will quite honestly never be rivaled whether you look at the numbers and awards or zoom out and see the overall impact she had on the following generations of country stars, and she continues to add to this resume into her late 70’s, having just released her first ever rock and rock album titled Rockstar a few weeks ago.
When you have a name as large as Dolly’s, you’re bound to make a few friends in different industries and one of those was Patti Labelle, the legendary R&B singer who’s widely known as the ‘Godmother of Soul’.
Back in 1987, Dolly invited Patti to join her for an episode of her variety show and the two got to talking about songwriting and how Dolly make the most of what’s around her if she has an idea but no guitar.
“You know I write a lot of songs when I don’t have my guitar. You know, I beat around on the dashboard in my car when I’m riding around writing songs.
But then I have a little rhythm that we can do with these acrylic nails. Can you do that?”
Obviously, they planned on doing this bit, Patti even said so, but that doesn’t take away from what the two were able to do with nothing more than their voices and nails.
Dolly starts singing “Shortnin’ Bread”, an African-American folk song which dates back to at least the 1890’s and when Patti joins in, let me tell you, it’s very impressive.
I’d have loved for these two to do more work together throughout the years, but we’ll take what we can get, even if it’s only a short clip of the two singing an oldie.
Hats off to both Patti and Dolly, two women that sure made their stamp on music.