Another female country music legend today, we head south from Kentucky to Tennessee for Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors”. This album is #2 on the tasteofcountry.com list of Top 10 Country Music albums of all time. I really did enjoy “Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Loretta Lynn, but in total, I think I liked this album even more.
There are notable similarities between the two. Both albums open with a title track, authored by the vocalist as she looks back at her humble beginnings. In this track, Dolly reflects on a moment from her childhood when her mother made her a jacket out of household rags as a heartfelt tribute to Joseph’s biblical coat. The song tells us how much she loved that jacket, even as her school-age peers mocked her for this coat. In both songs, you hear the affection for her family, her background, and her humble beginnings.
Almost all of the songs on this album are Dolly Parton originals, and once again this is just pure, authentic country music, rooted in the Americana of the rural United States. We hear once again, the turmoil and trouble that comes from a man who won’t be faithful on “She Never Met A Man She Didn’t Like”, and longing for a more exciting life in “Traveling Man”. Two other songs that really stand out, although I like the entire album, is the simple ballad “Early Morning Breeze”, and the surprisingly contemporary piano-based track “The Way I See You”, which I think is my favorite on the album.
I have wondered for years if I have what it takes to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine, and cuts through the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. If I make that trek happen, I can guarantee this album goes on as I enter those hallowed hills. Great work, Dolly.