Aug 10, 2011

Parton Trumps Harburg

I don't think the woman can do no wrong, but anyone who wrote both "Jolene" and "Down From Dover" is doing something right, and heartily worth a tip of the margarita at El Chavo. But a fun piece in the Los Angeles Times about links between Shakespeare and country music gives us yet another reason to revere Dolly Parton. Check out this stanza from her 1993 single "Romeo":
Hey Romeo where art thou
Get out here on the floor
I want to dance you darlin’
‘Til you forget wherefore
Did you catch that? Dolly actually used the "wherefore" correctly (and cleverly). That arguably beats even the great wordsmith Yip Harburg, who once had a tin man sing, "Picture me/A balcony/Above a voice sings low" and then look around as an offscreen voice chirped, "Wherefore art thou, Romeo?" I guess the case isn't open-and-shut, but it sure sounds like Harburg is tossing off the line the way it's most often misunderstood (as a question about location). Score one for the Great Smoky Mountain gal.

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