Saturday, January 26, 2013

SOTW - January 26, 2013 - Jack and Dolly

I don't know anything about Dolly Parton ... besides the obvious. I've never been to Dollywood and her brand of post-outlaw, heavy make-up Country has never been of particular interest. I don't mean to knock Dolly, I just don't know a thing about her. Her style of music and my tastes overlap in one microscopic point. Leave it to Jack White to find it.

We haven't talked much about Jack White here. For the uninitiated, Jack White is a 100% genuine complete total through-and-through authentic mucho bad ass; a modern musical Legend (capital "L"). There is no genre that Jack White cannot conquer. No bit of musical history, no matter how minute, is lost on him. If music had a Riddle of the Sphinx, Jack White would be the man we'd call to solve it. He's one of the few Big Ticket Rockers whose musical IQ and ego are of like size. Most of us know him from the White Stripes; it's hard to watch a sporting event these days without hearing the crowd chant the Epic Riff For the Ages from "Seven Nation Army." But the creator of that atomic bomb also recorded a modern masterpiece with .... Loretta Lynn?!?! (If you do not have Van Lear Rose, there's a hole in your library.) More later on Jack White later. In the meantime, check out the 2008 Page/Edge/White documentary, It Might Get Loud, for more background.

I have a pages-long list of questions that I'd ask Jack White if given the chance, but near the top is the following: "Man, how in the world did you end up covering a Dolly Parton song?" I'd like to think he was stretched out on an ratty old tweed sofa one night in a one-bedroom studio apartment in Detroit combing through a dusty box of discarded vinyl he'd picked up at a nearby thrift store that day for $5. Meg would have been sitting on wooden stool nearby staring blankly at the wall above the muted television and beating the coffee table with her sticks. Upon pulling out a well-worn copy of Dolly's 1974 LP Jolene and considering the Great Lady of Country's visage, how could he not have given the title track (and your Song of the Week for January 26, 2013) a try? So moved, how could a man of such dark proclivities not have been enthralled by a haunting tale of a homely woman repeatedly begging a more-attractive seductress: "please don't take my man." And a whole new universe of people who'd never even heard of Dolly Parton now sing in unison ...


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